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  • Writer's pictureErika Murphy

Shedding old skin

Learn the Way of Truth from the clarity of water, learn freedom from the spreading grass. ~ Hafiz

We are entering the time of year that demonstrates we can become something new akin to the blossoming and birth that rise out of winter. Nature's resurrection is an external enactment of what is also possible for us internally: we have the ability to leave behind old paradigms and establish ourselves in a foundation that nourishes us and the world in a profoundly new way.

Despite its poor reputation in the West, the snake is a rich, ancient symbol of the feminine and rebirth. The snake's ability to shed its skin symbolizes the ability to be "reborn." In the yogic tradition, Kundalini (known as the Holy Spirit in the West) is the transformational energy of consciousness, and literally translates as "coiled one." Kundalini is said to lie dormant at the base of the spine, coiled in the form of a serpent. Her awakening is one of the most significant moments in a spiritual seeker's journey: She begins to rise through the body and radically transform our consciousness, allowing the seeker to shed layers of conditioning and suffering, eventually dissolving any sense of separation from the divine.

Easter marks Jesus' resurrection, a celebration that is also a call for us to rebirth ourselves. When Jesus emerges from the tomb, he is something unimaginable: he is not quite the human body he once was, yet he still retains his wounds. We can understand this moment in scripture not as a story about Jesus alone, but as his teaching about human potential. Jesus transmits his newly awakened state to his disciples: "Jesus breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" Jesus intentionally passes on his spiritual state to his students, an act that has a long tradition in the yogic and Buddhist traditions as diksha, or spiritual initiation. Receiving diksha from a spiritual teacher can result in Shaktipat, or the descent of grace known as Kundalini awakening.

We, too, have the capacity to receive the Holy Spirit and experience the awakening of radical transformation that lies beyond the mind. The Holy Spirit invites us to join Her flow of infinitude, always loving and always present.


Spring and all its flowers

now joyously break their vow of silence.

It is time for celebration, not for lying low;

You too — weed out those roots of sadness from your heart.

The Sabaa wind arrives;

and in deep resonance, the flower

passionately rips open its garments,

thrusting itself from itself.

Learn the Way of Truth from the clarity of water,

Learn freedom from the spreading grass.

Pay close attention to the artistry of the Sabaa wind,

that wafts in pollen from afar,

And ripples the beautiful tresses

of the fields of hyacinth flowers.

From the privacy of the harem, the virgin bud slips out,

revealing herself under the morning star,

branding your heart and your faith

with beauty.

And frenzied bulbul flies madly out of the House of Sadness

to unite with the flowers;

its love-crazed cry like a thousand-trumpet blast.

Hafiz says, and the experienced old ones concur:

All you really need

is to tell those Stories

of the Fair Ones and the Goblet of Wine.


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