So I’m on the hunt for interesting tarot and oracle decks, and I’m looking in the “what’s new” section on Aeclectic Tarot, and I come across the “Animistic Yoga Oracle Cards”….
….so I was like “Okay, the art is kinda’ funky, let’s go to their website and–ooh, they’re Canadian!
And then I found this passage:
The term Hatha Yoga has been shaped around two important celestial bodies. “Ha” means the Sun and all his masculine attributes as a giving, passionate, active, rational and creative energy, and “Tha” is the Moon and all her watery feminine qualities, such as receptivity, creativity, nurturance, fertility and intuitive insight. Hatha Yoga symbolizes the alliance between pairs of opposites: the Sun and the Moon, the male and the female, the Earth and the sky, positive and negative, inside and outside, darkness and light, giving and receiving, rational and irrational… Therefore, by practicing Yoga, one integrates these essential poles that make a person whole.
Don’t you just love it when Western dualism is applied to Eastern systems like yoga? I know I do! /sarcasm
I don’t have the energy to unpack this, so here are some brief points:
According to the very reliable source Wiktionary, one of the words for “sun” is “surya” which is also the name of the sun deity. I’ve come across a bunch of other terms, but none of them begin with h or are monosyllabic.
The moon deity is Chandra, also male. Sometimes Chandra is conflated with Soma, again, a male deity who has twenty-seven wives.
Furthermore, hatha translates as willful or forceful, yoga is usually translated as way, therefore the meaning of hatha yoga is “willful/forceful way”….
….which has absolutely NOTHING to do with the sun and moon, btw.
Even if my lazy translations are waaaaay off base, there’s nothing in this passage that indicates the author has even a basic understanding of so-called “masculine” and “feminine” forces in Hindu thought, namely that THE FEMININE PRINCIPLE IS THE ACTIVE ONE!
I could have used the older image for this, but this modern depiction will do nicely:
I remember my professor showing us an image like this one, and asking us. “What’s going on in this image?”
“It looks like she’s being a good
servant wife and massaging her husband’s feet,” someone said.
“She’s waking him up.”
In a nutshell, Lakshmi is waking him up so he can start doing important stuff like, oh, CREATING THE UNIVERSE! (Symbolized by Brahma, the god in the lotus flower.) If she isn’t there to “stimulate” him, nothing ever gets done, he just lies there, being all “Whatevs, I’m happy on the cosmic serpent.” the cosmos is here because Shri takes the time to get her husband up every morning! She is active, he is passive.
In fact, this idea is so pervasive that in order to work in a temple, a brahmin must have a living wife (they might have changed this since I was in school) because without his shakti to support him, he can’t do his job.
Now, of course, the situation’s much more complicated than that, and the kyriarchy being what it is, women are often blamed if their husbands die before them, and “active” power is seen as dangerous unless it’s…ahem….brought under control, buuut that’s way beyond the scope of what I’m talking about.
tl;dr version: You FAIL Hinduism 101!