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LATEST DIALOGUES Kali Takes America: I’m with Her ~ Vera De Chalambert


Donald Trump might have become the president of the United States. But make no mistake, it is really Holy Darkness that won this election.

Last year, Kali, the Hindu Goddess of death, destruction and resurrection, appeared on the Empire State Building, projected as an avatar of conservation by the filmmakers of Racing Extinction, a documentary about the environmental catastrophe now upon us. At the time I was so struck by the image, I wrote an article about the apparition. This is the sign of the times, Kali Takes New York, I raved.

On election night, as the results were projected onto the Empire State Building, all I could see was Kali’s fierce stare. This was déjà vu. This time, Kali took America.

Donald Trump might already be picking his deplorable cabinet, but it is the Dark Mother, the destroyer of worlds, oracle of holy change, the tenderhearted be-header, that won this country. Kali has brought down our house in a shocking blow; all the illusions of America, stripped in a single night. We are not who we thought we were. Now we must get ready to stand in her fires of transmutation. We need them.

Listening to Hillary Clinton’s concession speech, one had the impression that this was a different woman from the political candidate that we have come to begrudgingly accept as the champion of the Democratic Party, assured by the establishment to become the first Madam President.

Stripped of her hopes and lifelong dreams, speaking honestly and transparently about her pain, this woman in a dark suit was a far cry from the controlled, manicured version of her shiny political persona. Stripped of her agenda, stripped of her certainties, this Hilary might have won the country. This Hillary touched our hearts. This is what we look like after the Dark Mother has had her way with us.

We stop shining of the false light. As our heart breaks, as our veneer cracks, we open to more integrity, more truth, more tenderness. We stop trying to be all things for all people. We become this one small thing, feigning nothing.

“Only to the degree that people are unsettled is there any hope for them.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Paradoxically, the price of true hope, it seems, is being unsettled beyond repair. And this is exactly the opportunity our political moment is presenting to us all. Right now, from all corners of our shocked culture, there are cries of hope, demands of needing to become even brighter lights amidst the spreading darkness. I disagree.

I think that this moment gives us an opportunity for reckoning only if instead of running for the light, we let ourselves go fully into the dark. If instead of resolving our discomfort too quickly, we consider the possibility of staying in the uncomfortable, in the irreconcilable, in the unsettled.

Before we rush in to reanimate the discourse of hope prematurely, we must yield to what is present. Receptivity is the great quality of darkness; darkness hosts everything without exception. The Dark Mother has no orphans. We must not send suffering into exile — the fear, the heartbreak, the anger, the helplessness all are appropriate, all are welcome. We can’t dismember ourselves to feel better.

We can’t cut off the stream of life and expect to heal.

Cutting off the inconvenient is a form of spiritual fascism. By resolving to stay only in the light in times of immense crisis, we split life; engage in emotional deportation, rather than hosting the vulnerable. Difficult feelings need to be given space so they can come to rest. They need contact.

In a culture of isolation, be the invitation to everything.

The intuition that the Dark Mother has returned is pervasive if we heed the signs, and our thirst for the dark is deep. Her every apparition spreads like wildfire. My Kali article went viral within hours, it was as if that image of Kali up there on top of the world overlooking Manhattan nourished the collective soul.

There is a great yearning for change in the order of things, and the Great Mother is leading the revolution. I’m with her.


Christian theologian Mathew Fox speaks extensively about the reemergence of the Dark Feminine archetype into our collective consciousness in his piece The Return of the Black Madonna. It is really in darkness, he reminds us, “where illusions are broken apart and the truth lies.”

We are collectively getting so sick and tired of lies, of the superficial, of the shiny neon lights of pop culture, pop spirituality and politics as usual. We thirst for the Real. And the Dark Mother is here to quench.

We saw darkness reclaiming its place also in the passing of Leonard Cohen, this most belated of biblical prophets. He left us with his last and perhaps most spiritually astute album, “You want it Darker,” which has skyrocketed in popularity. The entire album is the ultimate invitation into Holy Darkness. Once he famously preached that the cracks are how the light gets in. Now, he assured us God wants it darker.

Many have interpreted it to be an expression of hopelessness. No. He is asking the only relevant question of our time, whether we can swallow the pill of darkness and still say Hineni! I am here, God, here I am, bring it on! In his last interview about the album, Cohen says that this track is about offering ourselves up when the “emergency becomes articulate.” I think we can all agree that it has finally become articulate.

The mystics tell us that we need spiritual crisis. That we must enter the Cloud of Unknowing, the deepest despair, the most profound darkness within, without hope, in order to grow spiritually. They call such a time of deep crisis, of great uncertainty, the Dark Night of the Soul. There, in our radical desperation, in our absolute abandonment, it is said, the Divine Doctor awaits. Holy Darkness was Her medicine all along.

Darkness heals us without a spoonful of sugar; the wound is the gift, and this election is a good dose.

As the spirit of the Dark Mother hovers upon the collective waters, she has much to teach us. Kali is the great protectress and ultimate sacred activist. She is standing at Standing Rock, roaring against the black snake and the abuses of corporate capitalism. She is marching in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

She is here mourning the dying out of species and showing her terrible tongue at the shocking xenophobic, nationalist regressionism swallowing the planet. She is the changing of the tides, and she means business. She has come to burn up the old paradigm of separation and transfigure the collective heart.

Scientists tell us we live amidst the 6th extinction. Every 20 minutes, another species disappears from our planet. Our oceans are dying, our rivers are burning. Kali beckons us to embrace our sacred fury and let our heart roar for all living beings. Like her, we must rise as protectors, else perish as fools. She knows that we belong to each other and share one fate.

Recently, three protesters at Standing Rock got their Kali on. In a radical act, worthy of the great Mother herself, they crawled inside the Dakota Access Pipeline, putting their bodies on the line. Reading about it, I was shocked, I was troubled, I was moved. Suddenly I realized that love is always a disturbing presence. We must disrupt the order of things to obey the orders of Love.

These acts will keep growing, because the fires of truth that Kali has lit are spreading. As the old story of convenience and profit turns to ash, hearts across the planet are aflame for love and justice. Over a million people checked into Standing Rock after organizers worried that police can track protesters through their Facebook statuses.

Started by an indigenous mother, the Standing Rock protest has become a cultural creative movement no one could anticipate. Here everything meets: social justice, ecological justice, economic justice, sacred activism. And there are reasons to celebrate, such as the Army Corps’ momentous decision to deny the pipeline permit.

This might not be the end of DAPL, but this victory is a testament to the sacred fire. This is a beginning. This is what a prayerful movement looks like. This is what a culture waking up looks like. The struggle is far from over, but the zeitgeist has spoken. Hineni! it bellows.

Deeply we recognize that we are living amidst the churning of ages, although the climate catastrophe is not yet visible, most scientists now believe it is inevitable.

Climate change is here, whether we believe in it or not. Politically, with the election of Donald Trump, our country and the world have entered a dark night of the soul. We might still live in a culture of shine, greed, glam and white supremacy, but the Dark Feminine has now reemerged into this cycle, and heaven has no fury like the Great Mother scorned.

Now we must rest here in this darkness, to lay heart to the ground as a country, and feel intimately all that is being unraveled here. After all, every seed must go into darkness, must turn inside out, must break open in order to grow.

It is my prayer that our country sprouts. That this regression give rise to a counterculture of grassroots movements the likes of which we have never seen. And to a culture of love beyond measure.


VeraDeChalambertVera de Chalambert is a spiritual storyteller and Harvard-educated scholar of comparative religion. She recognizes the intricate process of healing and awakening, unfolding for so many around the planet at this time, and offers healing sessions and spiritual direction via Skype and phone. Vera has studied with spiritual teachers, healers and visionaries the world over, and mined for her soul at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, and Jason Shulman’s School for Nondual Healing and Awakening. She is deeply influenced by Buddhist and Kabbalistic lineages, and is a lover of the world’s great wisdom traditions. She speaks internationally and writes about mindfulness in the modern world and the Divine Feminine. You could visit Vera on her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

This article first appeared in the Rebelle Society

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15 Responses to “Kali Takes America: I’m with Her ~ Vera De Chalambert”

  1. December 06, 2016 at 3:41 pm, skynelson said:

    Amazing article. I was so nourished to hear someone embracing reality and seeing it as part of a cycle of renewal, rather than straining always to see the light. Thank you, Vera.

  2. December 11, 2016 at 5:37 am, Soulilluminate9823 said:

    Great perspective on the horror of 2016. Love the darkness and embrace the tears. Reality is good for you. Graham

  3. December 16, 2016 at 9:43 pm, Koort said:

    My experience with Kali goes much deeper.
    What you are describing here is nothing more than the swing of the pendulum in the lila of life.
    If you are fearless, go ahead and surrender to her. She takes devotees but her standards are very high. There is a very good chance that you will not meet them. She demands nothing less than your whole life and everything in it… by that I mean everything.
    What are you willing to give? She is an all or nothing Goddess. She took every little nook and cranny of myself, concepts, experiences, and lastly, the last thing she took away was herself.
    Politics, Standing Rock, your children, worlds upon worlds mean nothing to her. In one quick moment she will chop off your head while exclaiming, “Mama loves you.”

    • December 17, 2016 at 7:19 am, Geofrank said:

      Thank you, Koort. Ms. De Chalambert’s article, though well written, was focused in duality. I think you understand Kali much better than she does.>

      • December 17, 2016 at 4:00 pm, Koort said:

        Your welcome Geo.
        The ideas of an individual self, a world and everything in it is only a joke of an experience or lila, In the midst of all creation and destruction, no one is born…nothing is created…no one dies…nothing is destroyed. Nothing is happening in all the happening.
        THAT (or Self) is undisturbed by all of it. Nothing is added to THAT…nothing is taken from THAT.
        THAT which IS realizes itself in the experience of creation and destruction, life and death…but It is never created nor destroyed, never born and never dies.

It is all never ending because it never started. No final resting place because there was never any movement. No idea of enlightenment or finality belong to IT.
        This is what Kali teaches her devotees, in her no nonsense, take no prisoners way.

        • December 18, 2016 at 3:24 pm, [email protected] said:

          > Wonderful article. Embrace all, we are all – including the educated, white, relatively rich – in many ways they are the poorest. This I know, I have lived amongst them.

        • December 21, 2016 at 2:46 pm, sizzlecat said:

          > Right, because your transcendent rejection of all things material is definitely not dualistic at all…

          Sure, all is Lila, all is play, you could even say all is illusion. But the Divine Feminine reminds us that it is purposeful, like a mother’s love. You skip right over human experience – all the experience contained in this article- and just wax poetic about how things “really are”. If there is nothing sacred about our immanent experiences, in the geopolitical and social movements in the world, what the hell is the point? Just rising above it all? Sounds like patriarchical bullshit philosophizing to me, as well-intentioned as it often is.

          I think this approach is the kind of thing that makes Kali laugh loudest, right before she eats it.

          • June 05, 2017 at 3:54 pm, Koort said:

            sizzlecat, i just read what you wrote in response to my comment and reread what i wrote six months ago, too. i agree that my comments may well sound like patriarchal bullshit. i am not one to deny the human experience. personally, i want to explore it in a more heartfelt way. however, in my very real experience with kali, she destroyed every appearance. never once did she show me anything about transforming the world geopolitically or otherwise. i am most happy to surrender my patriarchal philosophizing to her… if that is what they are. however, i must stand by my experience. the ‘off with your head’ approach is exactly mother’s love. it has nothing to do with rising above it all. i do not deny the appearance or striving to improve my expression in it. it is seeing that any appearance will not stand up to her when she decide to come for it. whether or not we are living in a utopia or a hell, she will take it when she wants and leave you with nothing.

  4. December 17, 2016 at 12:01 am, davymc said:

    All very true, alternatively hopeful and fearful, exuberant and excoriating. But, recall that most of us reading this, and certainly the white, Harvard-educated woman writer, are all part of the relatively rich, largely white, incredibly privileged class of first world ease and choice. Those who will really taste Kali, in the same way the goat actually dies in the Kali sacrifice at the blood spurts and the priest prays, will be the poor, those who can’t move house in the face of climate chaos. The deep terror and extraordinary sadness of the Mother’s re-emergence, for all of–mostly–them who die needs to be held in grief as well as sacred delight. Please.

  5. December 17, 2016 at 11:43 pm, Climate is just fine said:

    So your side lost the election and now must live in aversion as many of us had to do for the last eight years. So I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas!!!!

  6. December 19, 2016 at 11:30 pm, ghanesh said:

    Kali and consumerism are correlated. As a Mother Nature she prefers to display her pristine compassionate motherly form of Parvathi. But when children go out of control, disobeys to make havocs, she is forced to take the fierce Durga form to establish rules & controls. Unfortunately, some children find loop holes in rules and laws she established as Durga and go against her. It is at this juncture Mother nature is compelled to take the terrible dark Kali form. Especially when mad consumerism rules the roost. Once again this is out of extreme compassion on her children, as some children got so much clutched with the transient reality thinking that it is real. Only Siva – the Pure Consciousness is Real. Sat Chit Ananda.

  7. December 30, 2016 at 2:55 pm, Abhinav said:

    What does it mean “Kali took America”?
    What or who is America, who is Kali?

    Kali is virtually present everywhere at all times. She is part of ourselves revealing conflicts and tensions. Durga is the part of us that inspires and guides us to determine and follow the right path.

    So Kali cannot take anything, neither America nor any other country nor anyone. She makes us aware by informing our consciousness. She isn’t a dark force. The kind of light she shines reveals the shadow, the dark side. We are the conscious cocreators of reality. We are all divine beings including Trump.

    I look at the American scene from France where I live. I feel compassion, but this doesn’t become “compathology” which would mean that I am identified with the “Trump effect”. And I have the possibility to contemplate the events happening on the world stage without contemplaining and becoming sick.

    The spontaneity of my heart is not affected by darkness. So I don’t need intellectualising too much about the things. Anyway, all kind of reasoning is dual. “Science and Nonduality” is dual. But that’s OK if I am aware of it.

    Moreover, all philosophical affirmations found here or elsewhere should be preceded by: “based on my present knowledge (scientific, spiritual, social…) it seems to me that…” Or: “according to…”. But maybe this is already tacitly assumed, …sometimes at least.

    Thus, “it seems to me” that as conscious beings we have the freedom of choosing, but at a different level freedom also means to have no choice. We are all responsible, individually and collectively, for what is called an unprecedented crisis and for what will be the next one.

  8. January 01, 2017 at 12:03 pm, Abhinav said:

    I just would like to add:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR from Europe to all Americans !

    “I choose to be happy because this keeps me in good health”. (Victor Hugo)

    “Heal yourself and you heal the world”. (Socrates modified)

  9. March 13, 2017 at 5:51 am, kenny alton said:

    Great read, I have been thinking along this subject as well with the vision of Kali cutting off heads while still holding the cup of nourishment. We are caught in our heads-materialism, ego, reasoning and away from our hearts. Its time we started feeling again and Kali is our guide with fierce compassion

  10. May 11, 2017 at 4:09 pm, Grayce said:

    Trump is no more dark than Hillary is light. Ignorant and judgemental writings.

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