Here is a little bit about me, my life story and the things I have survived and how my Hindu faith helped me to change my life for the better:
I struggled greatly as a a child (and even more so as a teenager) with issues of depression and anxiety (I have Bipolar disorder/syndrome), as well as feeling “different” from everybody else – an outsider. This was part of the struggles I went through as I realized that I am a homosexual. Also, I was very badly beaten at school (and other times in my 20s) because I am gay. My right kidney was so badly damaged in one beating (when seven guys gay-bashed me in high school) that it does not function properly (only about 10% of what it should be).
Also, my issues with depression, suicidal thoughts and the struggle to embrace and accept my homosexuality caused me to attempt suicide three times in my life. A lot of this was because of abuse by fanatical Christians who kept attacking me verbally, using quotes from the Bible (such as the part in Leviticus which refers to gay people as “Abominations” – thus implying we are vermin who should be and) and the Christian fanatics also physically harmed me. I have even experienced a lot of judgement and hatred from the devout Christians in my own family.
These issues of mine unfortunately led to my becoming a Heroin addict for almost 4 years. I used the Heroin to kill my emotions and shut myself away from my family, friends and the rest of the world. Happily, however, through my faith, Hindu practises (Mantra Japa, Yoga, Ayurvedic diet, Meditation, Prayers and contemplation of the divine) and the support of my family who accept me, I was able to quit Heroin – with no rehab and no medical treatment. I have been clean and sober for 13 years this October 2013.
I became interested and involved in alternate spirituality and magic when I was 16 and I became a Wiccan Pagan .. I still practise Wicca, but I approach the Craft from an Eastern perspective, by following the Hindu principles and as my religion. I converted to Hinduism 16 years ago, when I was 20. I personally find that the Hindu faith “blends” perfectly with Wiccan Pagan beliefs and methods. Indeed, Wicca embraces all aspects of faith and usually involves the worship and reverence of many different deities. Just as the Hindu religion does.
My Ishtadeva (patron deity) is the Hindu Goddess Kali Ma – primarily in Her aspects as Dakshineswari Kali, Smashana, Chinnamasta and Bhairavi. I also worship and honour Lord Shiva in His aspects of Ardhanarishvara, Nataraja and Bhairava. The other two Hindu deities that I also pray to are Manasa-Nagadevi (the serpent Goddess: a daughter of Lord Shiva) and Vigneshvara (the fierce aspect of Ganesha). Although (of course), I do give honour and praise to all of the Hindu deities, especially on their Jayanthi and at other important festival times. I view the Hindu faith as an Eastern Pagan tradition, as it is the world’s oldest Living religion and has many similarities to the other Pagan tradtions – both western Pagan systems and tribal faiths. I have always been fascinated with Kali since I was a child.
To me, Kali is the aspect of Shakti who personifies Chaos, Death, Endings, Destruction, Entropy, Time, Transformation, Rebirth, Passion, Shamelessness, Sexuality and as the Devourer of evil and corruption, the punisher of evil-doers. She is the destroyer many of the Demons, including: Mahisha, Raktabija, Sumbha, Nisumbha and Dhumralochana – when She became the Champion Warrior-Goddess (wielding all the destructive powers and weapons of all the other Hindu deities) in the Great War between the Daeva (celestial beings – including the Demigods, servitors such as the Apsara and Ghandarva, who are similar to Angels, as well as the Gods and Goddesses themselves and Asura (demonic, lower-realm entities), in order to protect the world, as humanity had not yet been created, and to prevent the Legion of 10 million demons from usurping the position of the deities within the heavenly realms. Of course, according to Hindu scripture this Great War occurred during the Satya Yuga – the first Age .. long before human beings were created.
As a Wiccan “Witch” and devotee of Kali, I do not fear death, but rather acknowledge and respect it as a natural part of the process of life. All things which are born must eventually die and pass through the physical and metaphysical “doorway” of death, as represented by the God and Goddess in their “darker”, negative aspects, such as Kali and Shiva. For example, their Celtic equivalents include the Raven-Goddesses Morrigan, Caillech, Banba, Rhiannon and Cathbodua as well as the God Arawn (he rules Annwn – the Celtic Underworld).
Viking/Nordic deities very similar to Kali and Shiva include the death Goddess/Jotun Hela, and her father Loki is very similar to Shiva as both are often depicted as cunning tricksters in the legends; and both Shiva and Loki are associated with the element of fire. Ancient Greek comparisons would be the Titaness Hekate or the Goddesses Eris/Enyo (a daughter of the War God Ares; Roman: Mars) and Nemesis for Kali. While Hekate’s husband Hades (Roman: Pluto), God of Death and ruler of the Underworld is quite similar to both Shiva and Yama. Egyptian examples of Gods with very similar divine attributes to Kali and Shiva would include the Lion-Goddess Sekhmet and the Warrior-God Sutekh (aslo called Set or Seth) in his older, noble aspect (prior to his demonization by the Cult of Heru/Horus).
Basically, as a Dakshinacara Tantrika devotee of Kali, I believe that for every Beginning there must be an Ending; and after every Ending there has to be a New Beginning. To me, this is the eternal, ongoing dynamic cycle of life and death. Death is not the end of our existence, as the Atman (“Soul”) is eternal. All matter is composed of energy. Science proves that energy cannot be destroyed – it just goes somewhere else or transforms into another state. I believe that death is simply a change of form. We all return to our sources as the Tattva (Sanskrit: “Elements”) Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Ether/Akasha of our physical bodies disintegrate and decay, as we get older, or become sick, or are injured.
When we die, these elements disperse back into the world/universe. But our souls reincarnate into new bodies; or we hopefully attain Mukti or Moksha: Liberation” from the cycle of reincarnation – when we become one with God/Goddess/Sanatan Dharma/Brahman. Provided that we have attained enlightenment by living virtuous lives and fulfilling our Dharma. The Hindu principle of Karma (cause & effect – action & reaction) is identical in my opinion to the Wiccan Threefold Law. What we send out into the Universe returns to us, be it beneficial or harmful. And the Hindu principles of Dharma and Ahimsa are similarly identical to the law of the Wiccan Rede: “An’ it Harm None, Do What Thou Wilt” (do whatever you wish, but do not do anything that will harm anyone).
As a Hindu, I believe the Brahman or Sanatana Dharma (“Supreme Absolute Truth”), the Creator-Being or Divine Ultimate Reality is Infinite in Form, and yet also Formless. Every deity: God or Goddess, is simply a personified aspect of this force, which is beyond Human understanding. All faiths approach it through Personified, Humaniform deities as this is easier for our limited human perceptions to relate to. So, for me: my Hindu faith and my Wiccan Pagan spiritual and magical path are uniquely harmonious. I practise both as a single “religio-spiritual” and “magickal system” in my life.
(James Charles DeWet)