Shakti and Goddess Power (Part 2 of 3)

The over-arching Shakti, “the formless course of everything” [1] – a definition that’s strikingly similar to the concept of Tao – is believed to take the form of various gods and goddesses, which personify the “different energies that make up the multiple dimensions of existence and of our own consciousness”.[2]

Cassandra Lorius gives further food for thought on the distinction between Shakti and other goddesses: “In fact, Shakti is not so much a goddess, as the creative force behind existence, who manifests in different forms. That’s why she’s not depicted as a single deity, but as a number of goddesses who represent the various qualities of this primal energy.”[5]

Bearing in mind that abstract concepts are fluid and subject to perception, and as a neophyte to Tantra, I am tempted to situate the all-encompassing Shakti in the transrational sphere and put the various personifications of Shakti – for example, the different tantric goddesses like Durga, Parvati and Tara – within the transpersonal plane in the form of archetypal energies.[3] “When [Tantric adepts] invoke a particular deity, they mentally bridge the gulf between the personal and the impersonal.”[4]

In contrast to my own viewpoint, however, Georg Feuerstein suggests that the gods and goddesses of Tantra aren’t solely archetypal energies: “The Tantric worldview affirms the existence of deities – long-lived higher beings on subtle planes who are endowed with extraordinary powers. […] The gods and goddesses are powerful but not liberated. […] The Western mind tends to hastily dismiss this aspect of Tantra as mere superstition or, at best, as a projection of archetypal imagery resident in the human psyche. For the Tantric practitioners the deities are very real, however, each corresponding to a particular energetic presence that can be palpably felt in meditation and even at other times.”[6]

Sally Kempton clearly agrees with Feuerstein when she writes: “Gods and goddesses are ‘real’. They are actual beings who exist in eternal forms in the subtlest realms of consciousness.”[7] However, she also affirms a view similar to my own: “…within the human psyche, these cosmic beings also exist as psychological archetypes.”[8]

Excerpt from “Looking for Tantra – living the tantric dream”


[1] Kempton, S. (2013) Awakening Shakti. Sounds True: Boulder, CO, p.7.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “An archetype is a subtle blueprint that both transcends individual personality and lives in it, connecting our personal minds to the cosmic or collective mind”: Kempton, S. (2013) Awakening Shakti. Sounds True: Boulder, CO, p.9.

[4] Feuerstein, G. (1998) Tantra: the Path to Ecstasy. Shamballa Publications: Boston & London, pp.71-72.

[5] Lorius, C. (1999) Tantric Sex. Thorsons: London, p.22.

[6] Feuerstein, G. (1998) Tantra: the Path to Ecstasy. Shamballa Publications: Boston & London, pp.70-71.

[7] Kempton, S. (2013) Awakening Shakti. Sounds True: Boulder, CO, p.9.

[8] Ibid.

4 thoughts on “Shakti and Goddess Power (Part 2 of 3)

  1. Deeply fascinating reading Sam, I’m greatly enjoying revisiting your Shakti and Goddess explorations. However defined, for me the ‘goddess’ energy remains real and always accessible … internally, externally, and eternally. I deeply resonate with Sally Kempton, as I also believe that these archetypes live within all of us. Much food for thought here dear friend. Blessings always, Deborah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, dear Deborah. Totally appreciate hearing your perspectives, especially as I know how important the concept of the Goddess is to you. Love & blessings, Sam 🙂


    • Thanks so much for the comment 🙂 From a non-dual perspective, I believe we have all potentialities inside ourselves – it just depends which “music” we choose to “play” 🙂 Joyful greetings, Sam 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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