If I were to choose a favourite phase of the awakening process I would always select “Decent of Shakti” as my preference. I say this while acknowledging that both phases – Kundalini and the Descent – are beautiful, powerful and yes, sometimes challenging and confusing. The Descent has qualities of embodiment, groundedness, functionality, practicality, wisdom and radiance that I find particularly precious and glorious and I will share more about just why that is.
What is Descent of Shakti?
The Descent of Shakti, like Kundalini, is an awakening process where Shakti consciousness moves through the body and energetic system of a person. In the Descent, divine consciousness, Shakti, descends directly down from divine source above and enters the crown of a person’s head. It is often experienced as golden light, or white light or energy, or even as energetic alchemical “quicksilver” streaming down onto and into a person.
The ancient mystical Christians described it as being struck by tongues of golden light, or fire, upon the top of their head, and that the consciousness of Christ has descended upon them. In India the ancient Rishis called it “Descent Of Shakti”, Shakti being the pure liquid light, consciousness and energy of the divine.
Descent of Shakti is known in many spiritual traditions around the world; it is a process of profound, deep spiritual purification and transformation.
Once the Shakti has entered the crown centre, it then simultaneously pours through the aura around the body, and it gradually, carefully descends through the uppers chakras (energy centers and nerve plexus) of an individual. It slowly makes its way gently through the lower body and chakras, eventually travelling out the chakra points in the arches of the feet and grounds itself into the earth.
At this point it starts to deeply transform a person’s relationship with the earth, integrating being grounded, and being embodied in a whole, complete and amazing way.
After this process is finished some of the Shakti then travels back up through the aura to the crown and then it continues this cycle down through the body again, deepening and supporting awakening.
How is the Descent Different from Kundalini?
The Kundalini process is the much more commonly experienced (though no less precious and amazing) form of awakening process where Kundalini Shakti awakens from its dormancy at the mulabunda, at the base of the pelvis, and moves upward along the spine and through the body. Kundalini Shakti is seeking to merge with formless divine by travelling up the body and out through the crown of a person’s head, up through the upper chakras above a person’s head and then directly to divine source. Once Kundalini merges with the divine a person can experience ongoing states of deep awareness and big gaps where consciousness expands beyond the limited experience of the body, and powerful spiritual insight. It transforms your awareness of who you really are – your deepest nature as consciousness. Importantly, Kundalini travels in the reverse direction to Descent of Shakti.
Kundalini is often a hot and fiery experience. It can be volatile, wild and extremely painful if the process is running too fast or too unregulated in a person’s system. By contrast Descent of Shakti is in my experience, and from working with clients, a much gentler and more easeful experience with far less difficult body symptoms. It goes slowly and does not seem to pulse or surge Shakti into the system and cause suffering in the way Kundalini can. One of the blessings of Descent is that it is a process of consciousness entering and anchoring into and through the cells, so it is constantly bringing consciousness, wisdom and energy into the body. This it is thus mostly a very embodied, grounded process that is friendly with and to the body and brings you into a new relationship with being in your beautiful consort, your body. Descent brings you blessings of expansive states of awareness, and oneness and grace, but they are experienced more from within the body, and emanating from out of the body into the universe.
Kundalini, with its upward momentum, can give people access to vast states of consciousness, emptiness, bliss and awakened awareness. This can also lead people to be very ungrounded, very out of their bodies and often to have little relationship with the body. They can experience themselves more as awareness located out, above and beyond the body and then consequently may struggle to have the body perform well in practical, everyday tasks.
Most spiritual traditions emphasise having this expanded state of oneness and emptiness, which is very beautiful and important.
Yet much of our spirituality has created a strong focus on being out in mystic states of awareness and not integrated in a functional way with the body, and in fact can often be very dismissive, unkind and critical of the body, and marginalise it and preference only consciousness.
Descent of Shakti by contrast, provides a loving remedy and natural balance for this bypassing of the body and its feelings. Descent supports you to be functional, embodied and in relationship with the beautiful planet Earth.
The downward momentum of Shakti brings a soothing, grounding heaviness and solidity to the body, to the integration of consciousness within your body, and thus to your experience of your self.
There Are Three Ways to Experience Descent of Shakti:
Descent of Shakti can be initiated on its own, meaning you can have only a Descent process occurring in your body alone, as described above.
It can also be activated as a part of a Kundalini process, so you can eventually have a dual process happening. Often after the Kundalini has been progressing for some time and it is active in the upper chakras it can, through Grace, trigger the Descent process to happen. Once this begins a person can have both a Kundalini and a Descent process occurring simultaneously, with Descent of Shakti moving downwards from the divine through the body, and Kundalini moving up from the base of the spine towards the divine. You then have two different flows and Shakti processes at once. This can be very balancing, soothing and supportive, and also exciting with the integration, play and marriage between both processes.
You can also have the Descent initiate after Kundalini has completed and integrated. This was my journey. My Kundalini “blew out” and finished, and was followed by a two-year period of integration. Towards the end of that period, when I was happily out socialising and enjoying the freedom of not being involved in a deep Shakti process, Descent initiated in me. I did not seek it out. I was simply meditating on the spare single bed at my mother’s house a few days after Christmas, when I saw a slender golden stream of light travel down from above and enter the crown of my head. I knew straight away what it was, and was rather ungrateful and frustrated at the time because I knew the sacrifices it would ask of me. It immediately began transforming my brain centers, my awareness, and collapsing parts of my way of functioning in the world so that new ways could eventually emerge that were more in alignment with the Shakti process that was growing in me. I found myself pulled deeply inwards, intensely away from the world, and back into a big, internal transformation. It was powerful, unstoppable, at times deeply perplexing, disorientating, and ultimately very beautiful, all the way to completion.
A Purification Process:
Like Kundalini, the descent process is a purification process, with Shakti moving through the body, chakras and auric systems cleansing and transforming the entire human system to embody consciousness. Shakti is transmuting and releasing negativities, karma, trauma, fears, beliefs, thought forms, emotions, ancestral energies, cultural energies, past life experiences, genetics and everything else that has been stored in you that stands in the way of Shakti and awakening occupying you completely.
In my experience Descent of Shakti completes the ascent experience by bringing new structure down into a system cleaned out by Kundalini. Kundalini takes your system and your ego apart layer by layer to support the flow of consciousness towards the divine. It dissolves your identity structures and supports you to be able to function with increasing high levels of consciousness and vibration. The Descent brings new structure in and “puts your system back together”, but you are surrendered to the complete reconstruction process and not in control of how you are put back together. She is a master craftswoman and puts your new experience of awareness and reality together in a careful, peaceful, inspiring and creative way. The Descent brings wholeness and sacred completion to the beautiful, sacred purification of consciousness of Kundalini.
A Practical Intent:
One of the beautiful aspects of the Descent is that it is highly practical. The descent is seeking to support your life in the ordinary world. It wants to ensure you are able to fulfill any way you are called to express your awakened consciousness and share its blessings, in your life and with others.
The Kundalini process (especially if it is too fast, ungrounded, or too shocking for the system or psyche, or the final blow out of consciousness is too much for your system to integrate) can sometimes leave people struggling for functionality and structure in both themselves and their lives.
Perhaps it is my practical farm girl upbringing, but I truly appreciate the embodied functionality of descent as I have seen so much struggle and trauma from people who have a Kundalini process that leaves them fearful of being able to support their own survival.
I myself had to work very hard through a wild roller coaster Kundalini (which brought up so much, so fast) and still managed to work, but I was much more easily functional during the Descent. I could function during Kundalini, but at times only just and only then with the miracle of Kundalini and Grace getting me through my commitments, and most of the time it was very hard. I learnt a lot though and this wild Kundalini ride has helped me be of service to others. I am grateful for that now, though I wasn’t at the time!
The practical functionality of the Descent process actually amplifies your experience of Shakti and her divine qualities such as peace, love, compassion, awareness, open heartedness and wisdom.
Descent of Shakti is often called the bringer of deep wisdom – a natural, effortless, abiding and spontaneous wisdom that simply emerges whenever you need it.
I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to the glorious Descent of Shakti.
Blessings for your sacred awakening,