The promise of radical change, of rebirth remains in the energy of Shiva. To crush bad habits that new ones might emerge, to let an old self die that we might become who we are meant to be – such is the dual force of Shiva’s destruction and creation.

Imagine a dread-locked dude hanging out in cemeteries and smoking hash and talking a big talk about, say, some big dream he had called “The World” inhabited by 10,000 forms of humans, creatures, plants. But for a long time – say, eons – this wild renegade guy, none other than Shiva, dwelled in death and denial of worldly pleasures and destruction. He just sat and meditated and dreamed this dream. That is, until he met his Shakti – the feminine force who taught Shiva the dreamer how to dance. When Shiva got his Shakti, the god of destruction also became the force of creation. For this lord of dances, the dream became real, and the world and its many forms became manifest. Shiva the dread-locked ascetic also became a householder, the partner of Uma/Parvati.

This rich form assumes many names depending on the particular energy to be invoked: Triyambakham (possibly “One with Three Eyes”) relates to Shiva’s divine vision, dreamy lunar nature, and association with the Third Eye; Bhairava (“One Who is Fierce and Terrible”) refers to that quality of our will that can destroy the old and stagnant; and Nataraj (“Lord of the Dancers”) refers to that quality in which we manifest both destruction and creation, both illusion and grace, our foot fully planted on the dwarf of ignorance.

Give a Shiva or Nataraj figure to somebody, and you are giving her or him the blessing to be fully integrated – masculine and feminine, ascetic and householder, dreamer and actor. If you need assistance in manifesting a dream – a book, an art project, a social project, a business – then you could not go wrong in placing a figure of Shiva prominently in your work space or dream space. Someone desiring to change old patterns and habits also could benefit from Shiva’s aid. Shiva’s association with dance and renewal makes him a prime connection to Spring-related holidays as well.

provided by Jeff Davis:
Author of The Journey from the Center to the Page: Yoga Philosophies and Practices as Muse for Authentic Writing.

His essays, articles, short stories, and poems have appeared in publications around the country and in London. He is a former senior yoga teacher at Bliss Yoga Center in Woodstock, NY and founder of WEN Barn & Gardens in Accord, NY. He resides near Woodstock, NY, between the Catskill Mountains and the Shawangunk Mountains with wife Hillary.