How I Work Somatically With Climate Trauma
February 21, 2020
April 25, 2021

As I witness dire and cruel, brave and inspiring events unfold I am again reminded of a vision I received in late 2016.

On the morning of election day, I did some intensive chod (“feeding the demons”) practice, to satiate any demons (harmful energies) associated with this election, so that they would be at peace, and release their hold on voters.

When I offer this practice for people who are facing illness, surgery or obstacles, I often receive intuitions or visions about them.

During this practice focused on the election, I saw many wrathful dakinis mischievously dancing and stomping around.

[From Wikipedia: “In Tibetan Buddhism. The khandroma (dakini), (is) generally of volatile or wrathful temperament…Dakinis are energetic beings in female form, evocative of the movement of energy in space…the insubstantiality of all phenomena (and) the pure potentiality for all possible manifestations.”

In other words, dakinis remind us that nothing is solid or permanent, and that anything is possible.]

These particular dakinis were delightedly raising hell. Tearing down EVERYTHING.

One demolition dakini paused her mayhem to casually inform me that this gleeful destruction was necessary to clear space for Feminine energy to ascend and guide the world.

Her mood was playful, powerful, and rowdy.                   

I felt dismayed and comforted.

I trust dakinis.

It has been a mischievous time since. 

We have witnessed the destruction of much we hold dear, but also astounding eruptions of wrathful women cutting through age old delusions.
In 2019 it’s obvious that nothing, no matter how beloved or sacred, addictive or entrenched is safe from being torn down, innards exposed.

We cannot predict the next twists and turns. We don’t know what will unfold.

But surprises are guaranteed. 

We might be the next Surprise…

A Dakini for Climate Crisis

The Yogini Project website tells us about a particularly timely dakini:

“The Lion-Faced Dakini is appropriate for clearing obstacles of the most pervasive and malignant kind…

She is particularly focused on pacifying the destructive influence of the Mamos, the forces of disturbed “yin” or feminine demonic energies.

The wanton destruction of the environment and degradation of human culture greatly stirs up and enrages these elemental forces.

They retaliate with disease, epidemics, weather disturbances and calamities on a major scale.

Her practice is one of the great antidotes for this critical time of the “five degenerations.”

As a wrathful dakini, the Lion-Faced Dakini is also one of the Phramenma, a group of female deities from the Bardo Thodol, or ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead.”

Celebrating Dakini Wisdom

I honor the human dakinis in our midst.

Wrathful, uncompromising female leaders such as the Squad, Maxine Waters, Vandana Shiva and Joanna Macy. The founders of Idle No More and Black Lives Matter.

Changemakers calling tired old structures into question and imagining new realities.

Human dakinis who teach us that nothing is solid or permanent, that anything is possible.

I have an affinity for dakini qualities wherever they show up.

Qualities such as wrathfulness, compassion and irreverence.

My own temperament tends towards compassion and anger.

Compassion and anger about unfairness threw me into righteous, caring social justice circles when I was thirteen, propelled decades of anti-racist activism and education work.  

Compassion and anger about human suffering drew me to my Nyingma Buddhist teachers, who modeled a ferocious Bodhicitta commitment to spiritual practice and awakening.

My own nature is gently irreverent.

I often experience forms and concepts and categories as conditional and arbitrary…on the verge of dissolving.


When I was little, my social behaviors and spiritual perspectives made people uncomfortable.

I kept crossing their religious and cultural boundaries. 

When grown ups found out I talked to God directly, they ordered me to pray to His intermediary, Jesus. 

I was pissed.

Concealing my “inappropriate” social, cultural and spiritual perceptions was the price of my survival and belonging.  

By the time I was visited and instructed by Green Tara and Kali Ma, I was an adolescent–old enough to know not to tell the fundamentalist Christians around me. 

Hiding my truth became an efficient, entrenched habit.

Now, as I enter elderhood, I am unwilling to mask who I am.

Even if that means unsettling others.

Here I am: innately angry, irreverent, a lover of formlessness and form.

The fleeting nature of forms does not stop me from loving them–

–Don’t you love a gentle breeze?

I love many so beings and forms. 

Living Contradiction

Honoring *all* the compassionate, wrathful beings that inspire me creates contradictions in the human world:

I am a white woman who takes care to not appropriate cultures that are not mine.

I fervently wish I had not been born a settler-colonizer on stolen Indigenous land;

But I am also a Western convert Buddhist.
I was given a Tibetan name when I took Refuge. 

I strive to live up to the potential of that name.
But I will not go by it. 
As I am neither a diasporic Tibetan confronting genocide, nor an Asian American Buddhist facing racist persecution and erasure in the USA;

This white body cannot intimately know the history, beauty, power, and suffering connected to a Tibetan name.

Since my white skin shields me from the full experience of bearing this name, I do not claim it. 

But contrary me, I do claim the names I was given in visions;

I grant visions more authority than any finite organization or group, no matter how just or wise.

Some may call this white arrogance, or cultural appropriation.

But when a dakini deigns to speak with me, I listen. 

In this I honor my fierce women of color teachers, who have taught me how to trust my intuition;

Who insist I not disavow my spiritual experiences for any human, not even for members of spiritual and social justice communities;

Who just as fiercely insist that I earn the right to serve others by rigorously excavating my projections and biases.

I honor their wishes.

***I do not know why Tibetan and Hindu deities occasionally address me–a white colonizer–in visions.

I do not know why the spirits of birds and plants drop in on me–a fossil fuel-using, planet-desecrating human–when I meditate. 

Is it my love for the Playful, Primordial Ground? 

The Ground which creates-dissolves-encompasses all boundaries and categories?

Is it my neurodivergent brain, with its unfiltered, extra-permeable perceptions?

Is it my seer blood-ancestors living on through me? 

I don’t know, but–

I refuse to water down visions that arise during a sacred practice. 

I am stubborn that way. 

Stubborn and hyper-focused,

like Greta Thurnberg.

Reverently, irreverently,

I love and fight for our messy, inspiring, traumatized-and-resilient social justice communities;

I support the principled leadership of women of color and neurodivergent women.

I stubbornly believe,

If we are to survive, it is these wrathful human dakinis who will save us. 

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