In Memorium of Psalm Isadora and the Wild Tantric Path of the Devis
News of my yoga teacher passing has hit my community like tsunami waves on land, overtaking our psyches, our minds and most importantly our hearts.
Psalm Isadora my beloved friend and tantra yoga teacher passed away on March 25th. We all have our preconceived notions on death, and what it means, and how tragic yet how deeply profound the teaching of death is.
I was just speaking to a dear friend about how I wished Psalm deeply had the unconditional self-love piece. It seemed like she was always fighting an inner demon, always slaying a part of darkness inside of her, and inside of the world. Not to say that she didn’t fiercely love herself.. no one will ever know, but I felt an ache in my heart through hers.. and I pondered…why is she hurting and what will it take for her to really see. I suppose it took full transcendence for her to find her full freedom beyond this life.
I’m sure she was tired of fighting, of being Durga Ma with eight arms, being a mother and lover, teacher to so many, holder of so much. I imagine she wanted to put down her swords and return to the state of an innocent baby; be one with everything, laughing in wonder, the true state of the guru, she taught as the Satvic state. She is there now, her body transformed back into spirit, I see her dancing in the sky like the wild Dakini she is; she is with her masters, and she is a master. We can get caught up in the pain and the suffering and the story of life and death… or we can just say that she wanted to be liberated, and she is now.
She taught us that healthy attachment is in the heart- like a mother being attached to her child, nurturing it so that it may grow. So many spiritual teachings focus on non-attachment; but if a mother was not attached to her child, none of us would make it past infancy, life would not go on. In the path of the Goddess, we are taught that desire fuels our enlightenment, and that attachment breeds love, and we must have a healthy attachment to be embodied on earth, we must love, we must become vulnerable in order to be seen; and it is through this vulnerability, and our imperfections that we become punctured into the light.
Non-attachment doesn’t lend vulnerability; it can mean a hardening of the heart, a lack of intimacy with the world around us. I incarnated on this Earth to become deeply intimate with THIS reality; a full sensory experience, to be obliterated in the wounds of love, and love lost. Why did creation create so many colors, an array of sensory pleasures, audible variations of vibration, sacred taste and nourishment, and aromas of our mates that fill our groins with lust- if we were not to become deeply immeshed and imbedded in the very fabric of the senses?
Buddha attempted to renunciate himself from the world, in order to alleviate the suffering of it; and he found that by retreating from intimacy from reality, by retracting his sense pleasures, by not eating, by not participating in this dimension, he would quickly whither away from it. Now no one knows what HE experienced as a master; but he quickly found that a middle way of enjoyment and partaking was necessary on the path of evolution.
Tantrics teach a deep entrenchment into the senses as a pathway to the divine; can you become the sound that is hitting your ear drum? Can you trace the origin of the primordial sound of the Universe? Can you inhale a scent so deeply that you become transported to the realm it was created in? Can you ride a taste all the way down into your groins…can you allow sensual touch to remind you of the unconditional loving space of God? We listen, we become intimate with… until… we become the drummer and the drum, the air that passes through the flute, the sound in which leaves the instrument, and the listener that hears the vibration. Can you look so closely at the grain of sand… to realize the infinite journey that the grain had to take to become the grain that you are looking upon? The millions of years of explosions and the cooling of heated matter, and then the beating of the waves… for you to be contemplate sand.. nonetheless the evolution of your neuronal pathways inside of your brain to even to begin to understand “sand.” If you gaze intimately with wonder upon a flower, and her succulent shapes and erotic display of color, her erogenous zones will carry you deeply into the bosom of the Mother. We only need to see not with our minds but with our hearts.
This is just one pathway in an infinite labyrinth back to God, to Shakti, To Shiva, to our Source of life and breath. Psalm taught through her own embodiment and ‘give no fucks’ attitude that it is through the body, through sex, through intimacy and pleasure that we become whole beings, and we can begin to heal. I think some spiritual teachers taught non-attachment because of the suffering that is caused when we become too rigid with reality; the Tantrics taught to be with it all, and to allow it to pass through when that experience wishes to leave us. Just … don’t hold on.
And now, Psalm blazed through this Earth, being deeply intimate with it all, sharing her pain and her laughter, her light and her darkness, she was fearless in her life and now in her death. She was with it all, and now she is the all.
Gently stepping into the inquiry.. .what does it mean to not let go, but just not hold on; to sit with our palms extended, open in receptivity and offering, of giving and receiving, without which the entire universe would perish.
Now receive the next inhalation, fully. Now give it back to the air; this exchange is all that we are, all that we have, and all that ever will be.
The never ending, intimate exchange of life and breath through our bodies-what is more sacred and profound and simple than this?