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Review: Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Sally Kempton – Photo: Twitter

Sally Kempton – Photo: Twitter

Sally Kempton is the author of the popular Yoga Journal column “Wisdom.” Known for her ability to make yogic insights relevant to everyday life as well as for leading students into deep states of meditation, she teaches workshops and retreats internationally. She has spent more than 40 years practicing, studying, and teaching meditation and spiritual philosophy, including many years as a swami in India’s Saraswati tradition. She is the author ofMeditation for the Love of It.

In Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga (2013), an encyclopedic paperback, Kempton puts on display her sophisticated and wide-ranging knowledge of the goddesses of yoga and their incredible energy to generate feminine strength and intelligence. Shakti, “the formless source of everything,” takes the form of the goddess-consorts who perform a variety of cosmic functions. Instead of seeing these members of the Indian pantheon as purely symbolic, Kempton relies on them as sacred powers within herself.

The Tantric traditions of India and Tibet emphasize the sacred feminine and the dance of life. There are many goddesses in the Hindu pantheon and Kempton has chosen to emphasize eleven of them. Here is a list along with their titles:

  • Durga (Hard to Conquer) 
  • Lakshmi (Auspicious) 
  • Kali (The Black One) 
  • Parvati (Mountain Lady) 
  • Saraswati (The Flowing One) 
  • Sita (Furrow) 
  • Dhumavati (Lady of Smoke) 
  • Radha (Golden Girl) 
  • Chinnamasta (The Severed-Headed One) 
  • Lalita Tripura Sundari (The Playful Beauty of the Three Worlds) 
  • Bhuvaneshwari (Lady of Space)

About this formidable group of helpers, Kempton writes:

“Some of these goddesses are warriors; others are lovers. Some have maternal energy; others are dedicated to opening you to mystical realms. Each one of them can be a guide into the deepest realms of the soul and a teacher of the skills of living as an empowered feminine lover of life.”

Each chapter contains the following information on the goddess: other names for her, ways to recognize her, ways to invoke her, mantras, personal exercises, and suitable meditations about her. The best way to approach this adventure with the goddesses is to see it as a way to draw out the best in you that serves your needs for self-growth.

This review was originally published by Spirituality and Practice.