The Queen of My Self

By Mari Selby

…continued from Part 1, published on Friday, June 5th…

Dakinis by their very essence, represent a transformational journey. The Dakini principle is found in all ancient and modern cultures. Thousands of years ago, before being swallowed by Buddhism, Dakinis were allies in the daily passage of life. Millennia later they were further demoted to a kind of demon encountered during an individual’s journey through the Bardo. (To Buddhists the Bardo is the place you go when you die, then travel through to the next level of spiritual evolution.) Dakini literally translated from Tibetan means sky-goer, one who moves through all dimensions. In our modern world, Dakinis represent the natural ever-changing flow of energy, from wrathful to peaceful, and back to wrathful again. The Dakinis may physically appear to us as a person, in our emotional patterns, or as animals. Dakinis are wisdom beings, as are we all.

The Hindus and Buddhists refer to these spirits Dakinis. Native American, African, Celtic and other cultures also have many names for elemental spirits. Spider Woman is an example of a dakini in the Navajo tradition. The legend of Nzingha, the African woman who saved her people from slavery, is another example of a Dakini at work.

Dakinis are primarily represented via one of the 5 Buddhist families, each seen in its specific color, element, direction, time of day and lunar cycle. Each Dakini also represents a completed integrated range of emotion, for instance, from fear and rage to creative wrath and grace. The beauty of the Dakinis is the full range of emotion and the transformational journey within that range. When we see the creative spark in our rage and feel inspired, when we recognize the power in vulnerability, we truly know what transformation means.

To many traditional Buddhists, the Tantric Dakinis are still secret, with practices given to certain lamas and nuns. Traditional Buddhists normally do not introduce Dakinis to lay practitioners as an enlightenment practice. As well, to some westerners, the idea of confronting our demons of fear, denial, anger, jealousy or greed is very threatening. However, to those of you magnetized by these Dakinis, they are perhaps already familiar allies. To those women, we say, go ahead, leap into your dance with the Dakinis!

Any unreasonable woman is a Dakini. All the therapy and spiritual practice in the world can still leave us caught in endless negative emotional spirals. Through the realization of Dakini wisdom, integrated with our emotional poisons, we are able to break out of patterns.

Dakinis offer women a mirror image of ourselves as untamed women. Who hasn’t had a bad hair day when bitch is the only word we can relate to? By embracing the energy of the Dakini we embody an elemental spirit that surrounds us in nature. By invoking the Dakinis we become a primordial goddess, an eternal image, and a compassionately unreasonable woman.

Unearthing the primordial feminine brings relief to the tensions of a positive outer image and an inner life in turmoil. We can be angry or fearful, and, at the same time, know that the transformation of those emotions is creativity and grace. When we have exposed the hidden poisons in our psyche, the Dakinis provide a path of soulful living and transformation. With rampant worldwide spiritual hunger, Dakinis offer the synthesis of our emotional, creative, and spiritual realities.


Dakini life began for Mari Selby in December 1988 when Tsultrim Allione gave the Queen Simhamukha Dakini transmission in Santa Fe. With the dakinis Mari discovered her whole self. A few months later she began to dream about the dakinis, and of creating an oracle deck. Together with the artist, Jennet Inglis she designed an interactive oracle. Today she has her own publicity firm and is currently looking for a publisher for the Dancing with Dakinis oracle deck.


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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to

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