Lord Shiva and the Sacrifice

Siva and the Sacrifice

In the Tantric rituals, the mind is Siva. He is resolved passivity. His is the condition of

stasis, presence, timelessness, and being. with his feat of endurance

is liberation achieved in ecstatic delight, that indulgent release by

which the whole may be experienced.

Siva is the ultimate perpetuity. by His skill are all things sustained,

extended, deepened. through His mediation is resolve inspired, are

complications simplified. He becomes known to us as the personal

world, the eternal spiritual monad, dwelling forever in His placid

stability, the essential core of self, state, and substantiation.

the Soul and Conscience of the World, Siva engages the heroic

challenge of purification, from complete delusion to perfect

consciousness. He is the Knower, the Known and the Ignored of all

manifestation; the Perfect Witness. His most diligent

characterizations usually appear supine below His mate and

Tamomayi Sakti provides for the integration and discipline He

may derive from accepted limitation and circumstantial

His dedication and sincerety enable diligence and commitment

such that our spirit may be tempered. He provides the enduring

stability and the well of enthusiasm without which we would

His sacrifices are of many characters, though always aspiring

to self-perfection and to an ideal of complete surrender to Sakti

and the moulding influence of Her priestess. His is Submission

to the Mistress, the complete abandonment to direction and

guidance, challenge and reward by she who becomes the

manifestation of Sakti.

whereas the priestess perfects the sometimes ecstatic and

excitatory experience of divine power, the skilled sacrifice learns

to quiet his mind: to shift sensitively and flexibly in response to

direction, patiently waiting on the priestess, and enduring to

his limitation the tensile and flagellatory effects she may see fit

to induce during ritual. he is studied in meditation, surrender and

communication so as to assist the priestess in directing the

interaction to both their benefit.

by far, however, the most important aspect of the initial period in

ritual is his patience, since there may be some necessary transition

time for the priestess between ordinary and ritual modes. he can

use such time productively by entering into deeply suggestible

trance, meditating upon the character of Siva in both erotic and

ascetic modes, and generally calming any anxiety he may be

experiencing at the outset through breathing and attention-

focussing techniques.

while the priestess engages self-indulgent activity, it is the role

of the sacrifice (or priest) to renounce or release the world,

relaxing into a state of total dependence and transformative

awe. He should be provided with some means of communicating

his condition (verbally, manually, or merely by position of his

body) to the priestess, into whose instruction he will have entered

cautiously and with careful assessment of her ritual skill. being

convinced of her trustworthiness, he will set about the surrender

of his will to hers, a necessary requirement for the chance at

to assist himself in this process, therefore, the responsible sacrifice

becomes familiar with himself, the capacities and endurance of his

inspiration, the typical rhythms and nuances of his surrender. he

will develop the ability to discern with clarity his internal

resistance to Sakti’s direction and from whence it arises (out of

hesitation, rebellion, or a real need to protect some vulnerable part

he will come to understand that he is as much a plaything, an

entertainment for the delight of the goddess and a symbol for

the congregation which may be present as an individual whose

maturation and development toward *internal* liberation are

of value. he will accept and comprehend that the proper

configuration of elements must coalesce in order for the rite to

proceed — that Sakti must be *pleased* with these elements lest

the rite be terminated as ill-timed or of improper arrangement —

and that it is the *priestess’* role to monitor this configuration

rather than his.

provided that the rite continues past the preparatory stages, the

more intense challenge of encountering the most active of Sakti’s

manifestations, such as that of Kali, may begin. it is at this time

that the communicative ability of the sacrifice may become the

most imperative, since Kali’s force and destructive potential are

simultaneously promising (She makes possible the destruction of

the very chains by which She has bound him) and frightening

(especially if there is some concealment from Her or a lack of

heart-felt devotion).

this unswerving loyalty and trust of the divine, this resolute self-

abandonment in the face of horror is an important facet of Siva’s

character — the basis of His identification as the Lord of both

mysticism (union) and magic (art). it is for this reason that Siva is

often shown, in classical Indian iconography, in a meditative

posture and/or adorned with cobras, skins of ferocious animals,

and the bones of the dead. His willfulness and devotion have been

the ideals of Indian mystics for centuries, and His fondness for

crude, untamed or horrific dwelling places often underscore these

the adept sacrifice, at least within rites of male-submission,

becomes accustomed to the intense and unpredictable extremes of

passion with which the Dark Goddess has come to be associated.

this is balanced by a resolve to attain liberation (with the guidance

of Sakti) from the internal constraints that provided the limitations

to and directions for growth and maturation in his earlier life. it is

for this latter reason that those who have lived full and deep lives

will have the greatest potential for successful emancipation — a

prerequisite which forms the mystery of Sakti’s instruction.

to some it may seem that the sacrifice has the enviable role in the

rite, bereft as he is of decisive responsibility. yet this can easily be

turned upon its head should the goddess inspire. the priestess may

direct the sacrifice to request or even beg for that which he desires,

feels will set him free, or fears, placing the additional

responsibility of decision-making upon his shoulders (subject, of

course, to the veto of the priestess). she may ignore him

completely or deem him unworthy of sacrifice, unsuitable for her

taste. he is completely at her disposal, and the most guileful and

insightful priestesses will come to know what their sacrifices need

in order to perfect their temperance and spontaneity.

given this, the mastery of the role of sacrifice involves as much the

summoning of willpower as it does surrender. Sakti can only lead

one so far along the road to freedom, and while some of Her

actions may confuse us in their apparent disconnection from the

beauty of awakening, She will not make the leap *for* him,

instead assessing his readiness and directing him to fly from

internal branches and soar with new wings when he is ready.

with the experience of countless rites behind him, the sacrifice may

anticipate the style and will of the priestess, facilitating not only

her direction of his development, but also, perhaps, her interaction

with those assembled when he is tasked to this end.

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