Fire of the Goddess is a beautiful goddess-centric guidebook by Katalin Koda. With myths, exercises and ritual tips, Fire of the Goddess is a spiritual guide that offers words of wisdom, courage and kindness. Copper Moon E-zine is lucky to have had the opportunity to interview Katalin Koda regarding this latest work!
Can you tell us about Fire of the Goddess and how the idea developed?
I had been working directly with the goddess and sacred feminine for about fifteen years. I was first introduced to the goddess through Wicca, then later while living in India and studying Yoga, Tantric texts and Vajrayana Buddhism. I lived with my husband in India for seven years and our daughter was born in Kerala. There, I found myself surrounded by women who were immersed in a different kind of relationship with the divine feminine, one that had many faces, moods and qualities. When we left India, I was contemplating a book on the sacred feminine and in one moment, this list of archetypes emerged during one of my evening meditations. Then I began researching the goddess much more in depth, really seeking out stories and myths and the evolution of the sacred feminine. Then my family moved to the Big Island of Hawaii where I was introduced to Pele, the goddess of the volcano and the rich stories of Hawaiian mythology and culture. That was a huge turning point, to be able to feel the presence of the sacred feminine beyond India, and in relation to the land even more deeply. All of this inspired me to create a way for women to access archetypes beyond maiden, mother and crone, something more complex. During the writing of Fire of the Goddess I co-taught a women’s group on Power, Love and Wisdom of the sacred feminine which corroborated with my research and I used those as the themes for my book.
The book begins with the Fire Bearer and the Initiate. These two archetype themes at first seem dark in nature but have purpose. Why did you start out with such intense archetypes ?
I feel a sort of urgency right now to reclaim ‘darkness’ which for me is actually the indigenous heart and connection to the earth. In order for us to do this, it seems imperative to face things as they really are, to face our own rage, fear, sorrow, loss and allow those things to be there and then learn to accept them, thus creating space for dissolution. To me, this is true power and I don’t know how far we can progress if we do not first begin to interact with our inner power. I find in many spiritual traditions, there is first the work on quieting the mind and building compassion in the heart and these are essential of course, but often these spiritual traditions are born out of male lineages AND are from eastern cultures. Although in essence, we are all the same mind, still women, western women have specific cultural and gender issues which I feel must be dealt with before we can really cultivate this quiet mind and compassionate heart. It is as if thousands of years of subjugation lives in our DNA even, dominating earth, women, fear of birth, menses and death, racial slaughter, the list goes on. And my method is to get in there and start digging around, unearth, get that soreness out to the light, so we can examine it and begin to build our power, which is really an aspect of deep self love. I feel that by connecting with our inner fire first, gives us the strength to face the darkness revealed by the initiate and allows us the ground to reclaim our specific traumas around our first menses, rape, molestation, or simply feeling lesser for being a woman. Then the healing process arises naturally and we are better able to grow in a loving manner without suppressing these parts of us that are yearning to be heard.
You emphasis women connecting with other women (i.e. starting a women's group.) What are some of the benefits to this type of gathering?
As a woman, when we gather with other women, we can create a safe and grounded container. Women often feel less than or unsure of their own gifts, but when supported by other women who are making themselves vulnerable they will feel more comfortable to explore the more sensitive areas. I also feel that women when they open and relax together are so capable of creating magic and love. Any woman knows that feeling of spending time with her girlfriends, trading secrets, sharing intimate parts of oneself and laughing over wild stories of the past is so fulfilling. A women’s circle can be like that, and then it can also go further to help deal with loss/trauma/sorrow specific to women such as issues around sex, birth, and relationships as well as celebrating things specific to women such as birth and reclaiming rites.
If a reader is new to the concept of female deities how would you ease them into finding a connection with this divine nature?
I like to think of deities more as aspects or qualities of the divine, which includes us as well. I feel it is important that the deity, goddess, god, or otherwise is not a separate object we are necessarily bowing down to outside of us, but instead an aspect of ourselves that we feel a sacred connection to. For example, when we think of Quan Yin, we could simply imagine the qualities of compassion and wise and peaceful loving emanating from within. Or when we are in a time of life that requires anger and passion to cut away what is no longer working, we may connect to Kali, the dark goddess of India who cuts through all illusions. The ideas is to discover, remember and identify with feminine images that empower us and enliven our reality instead of just taking what is being force fed to us. To revitalize our inner psyche with courageous, passionate and wise female archetypes enables us to act in our lives with more courage, passion and wisdom.
Fire of the Goddess is geared toward women and encourages a deeper connection within themselves and to a feminine spirit/deity.Do you think it would benefit men to read Fire of the Goddess or connect with the feminine divine? If so, how can these delve into this experience?
Yes, I do. Not only women, but men have been deeply affected by the western system that until recently, primarily honored white male images. Several men have been reading my book and have found a lot of benefit from doing the exercises to reconnect with the earth, creating ceremony and understanding their own relationship to the sacred feminine.
How was writing Fire of the Goddess different than Sacred Path of Reiki?
It was a completely different process. When I wrote Sacred Path of Reiki, I had been teaching Reiki for over ten years and had clearly solidified my teaching and Reiki Warrior philosophy. I wrote the entire book in just six weeks, while on my own in the Himalayas, in Dharamsala. I had a very regular routine of meditation, writing, walking and attending teachings. It just flowed out in one smooth gesture. Writing Fire of the Goddess was the complete opposite! We had moved to Hawaii where I could not afford to go and rent a room alone in the mountains, nor did I even have a studio. So, I was researching and writing at my kitchen table in our small home by the sea, listening to the roar of the ocean, in the jungle, off grid, but also cooking, paying bills, giving healing sessions, doing a lot of ceremony with the land, gardening, teaching, working, raising our child, and so forth. I truly felt like the goddess with many arms doing several things all at once. The entire process took about 3 years with 3 major rewrites, and a constant feeling of chaos. Each time I began to investigate a goddess, an archetype or a myth, a whole vast reality of information and teachings opened up. This was an amazing feeling, but to try to consolidate this network or field was like trying to describe the entire earth to someone who had never been here in a few sentences. It was outrageous and very feminine in that way (in my mind): chaotic and at the same time in complete harmony.
Which goddess archetype do you draw upon most frequently? Why do you return to this one time and time again?
For me the most powerful archetype of the sacred feminine is the dark mother. I feel continuously nurtured and guided by the essence of the depths of the feminine throughout the writing of my book. For me the dark mother is the raw, spirited indigenous heart that connects us to our mother, to the earth, to birth, life, death and rebirth. I feel a kinship with the night and the unknown and feel that her many stories teaches us how to live fearlessly, with courage and also how to be patient, like waiting for seeds to sprout out of the dark soil, how to listen carefully and honor our heart. The dark mother can also be rageful, vengeful and wrathful, all qualities that are necessary at times to overthrow old systems, old ways of working and come up with ways that are more in harmony and balance with the earth. I fell that the dark mother is the balance to the light and feels like the ancient song of remembering.
Your author's bio says that you live in Hawaii; how do you use this majestic local as inspiration?
I feel so fortunate to be living on the Big Island of Hawaii where the land is constantly changing due to the lava flow. We are very close to where the lava flows into the ocean and this serves as a powerful reminder of impermanence, change, destruction and creation. We also enjoy wild jungles, raw ocean and beautiful mountains all still holding their native Hawaiian names which connects me directly into the land. Although some stories have been lost with colonization, much is being reclaimed and there is a sense of merging the ancient with the future in a timeless kind of way on these magical islands.
Do you use social media to bring awareness to you writing, and projects (like workshops)? Can you provide links?
Yes, I have a website: www.katalinkoda.com which has information about my work, upcoming workshops and a blog on it, as well as my main blog: www.earthweaver.blogspot.com I also have a Reiki website: www.sacredpathreiki.com
Katalin Koda is on Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook, check out my two pages as well: Sacred Path of Reiki and Fire of the Goddess, the latter being a community platform to share sacred feminine works, art, information, etc.