Taking Sannyas | What Kali Means to Me

On April 16, I chose myself. I took sannyas and declared that I was a seeker for truth and for love and for gratitude. I became Ma Deva Kali, or Kali.

Where do I even begin? Path of Love, I guess. It changed my life. It opened my heart. I felt free and loved and safe for the first time. My body was humming and I was high off of staring into my freinds’ eyes. I was the biggest I had ever been. I felt seen. I felt separate from my ego and I could tell it to shut the fuck up. I was in control. I felt incredible love for myself and those around me. I cant even describe what it felt like truly but it’s just, like, you’re literally high off of love. (Excuse the cheesiness, I would probably roll my eyes at that as well.)

Path of love is a 7-day retreat that takes place in 14 countries around the world. Look it up, it might change your life.

Lots of the people I met there had sanskrit names. I hadn’t known many folks with spiritual names at this time and I was really curious about the names and how they got them so I asked about it and found out that they all got their names when they took sannyas. And a whole new world was just injected into my universe.

You’ve probably heard about the documentary Wild, Wild Country. Well, this is my tribe. We’re sannyasins.

I know this is a bit of a controversial topic and that some have gathered the wrong idea about what it means to be a sannyasin, but for these purposes we won’t go into that. I’d like to share what it means for me.

Being a Sannyasin, being Kali, means I have made a dedication to myself as a seeker. It means freedom. It means fuck the past and thank you for the past at the same time. It means I get to be. It means oneness. Wholeheartedness. This is an excerpt from what Osho had to say about it when he was asked what it means to be a Sannyasin:

I call my sannyas ‘neo-sannyas’ for this particular reason: my sannyas is an opening, a journey, a dance, a love affair with the unknown, a romance with existence itself, in search of an orgasmic relationship with the whole. And everything else has failed in the world. Everything that was defined, that was clearcut, that was logical, has failed. Religions have failed, politics have failed, ideologies have failed – and they were very clearcut. They were blueprints for the future of man. They have all failed. All programs have failed… Sannyas is just a beginning, a seed of a totally different kind of world where people are free to be themselves, where people are not constrained, crippled, paralyzed, where people are not repressed, made to feel guilty, where joy is accepted, where cheerfulness is the rule, where seriousness has disappeared, where a nonserious sincerity, a playfulness has entered. These can be the indications, the fingers pointing to the moon.

After Path of Love, I knew I belonged to this tribe. And I knew I would be Kali.

In April, my husband participated in Path of Love and I met him in Colorado after the retreat. The next morning, we both attended a meditation at Osho Leela Meditation Center where I would be taking sannyas. There, among my chosen family, I was named Ma Deva Kali. Mother, divine goddess of darkness, beyond time, beyond death.

Nothing’s really changed on the outside. No church to attend to. I don’t even have to wear red (haha).

On the inside, however, I feel more whole. I have the memory of that beautiful ceremony which says that I am free and that I am loved and that I belong. I allow my breath to ground me here, now.

I remember I am Kali.