THE MANY FACES OF LOVE by Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD


Earlier today, I was wondering about The Face of Love – does it, like we humans, wear a mask? does it have no form? Is it… essentially amorphous, like constantly-shifting fumes of smoke wafting through the air?

If we do not know its form, or face, or facade, how do we then recognize it when we see it? (The understanding of Love-as-a-vibration-that-permeates-All is something I will explore in another post)

Now the ‘Love’ that so many of us associate with the Spiritual often takes the form of babies giggling, joyful eyes, smiles and tender hugs.

Sometimes it’s a deep seated state of contentment, or peace accompanied by a powerful sense of knowing – almost a neutral, peaceful expression.

Sometimes its the fierce kind of joy that loved ones express in a tight hug when reunited after a long time.

Already, in this little list, we see so many different ‘faces’ or forms of joy in human expression and emotion.

Sometimes we recognize love in an act of kindness, of sitting down with the homeless, of helping to save kittens from a flood, or offering food and good company to the destitute. In these cases, the action, rather then expression (possibly both) becomes our way of viewing What-Is-Love.

And now we get to the tricky bit – What does Love Look Like when preserving or defending that quality and ability to give Love in yourself or in another person?

Emotions such as fear, anger, shame, resentment, or the perception of being threatened subconsciously block the flow of Love in ourselves. Our egoes (and rightly so) move into ‘flight or fight mode’.

Embracing a person seeking to attack or violate you (or as suggested to Indian women, to ‘call him Bhaiyya/Brother!’) isn’t going to do a single thing.

In moments like these we attack, or simply defend enough to get away. And hopefully, we prevent others from being attacked by lodging a police report or complaint.

Now that doesn’t look like cuddles, hugs, or acts of kindness, does it?

So sometimes Love is Fierce. And, to the outsider, it can look like Anger, Wrath or Rage.

The difference is truly in the internal perception of what is going on with you at that time. I recall one incident that really brought the point home for me:

My housemates and I (two women younger than myself) went to this birthday party at a house. We didn’t really drink, but the crowd got progressively wilder and wilder, and more and more people getting drunk to the point where it actually got quite scary. People were flinging and swinging the birthday man up and down with reckless abandon (in retrospect I wondered why he didn’t break anything/himself) and some guy had the bright idea to cover himself with chocolate cake and rub himself over the equally drunk female guests.

By this point we were just looking for the right opportunity to leave, and I was already on edge, scanning the room to see potential threats coming. (I was studying Wing Chun, a Chinese martial arts form invented by a woman at the time). I wanted to get out of there, but hated the idea of leaving my housemates with that lot.

The chocolate-rubber-guy came over and tried to rub himself over my friends. He took one look at me and just slid back… silently… looking as though something had frightened him.

I had no knowledge anything was going on except that I was very very focused.

Later on, my housemates told me that my eyes were focused upon him and my hands went up in mon sau wu sau position (the fighting stance that I was trained to adopt in my classes). There was no Anger, no Fear, nothing – I had no knowledge of what I did, how I did it.

I just did what I had to do.

So, apparently, My Face of Love in that scenario … to that guy at least …

Looked Absolutely Terrifying.

Cue Kali-Ma and the iconography of Dark Goddesses – The Terrifying Mother in Her Act of Love. Subject for another post, another time  ❤ ❤ ❤ 

Blessings to all,

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD


Woman protecting a unicorn from a hunter – Flore de virtu e de costumi (Flowers of Virtue and of Custom) (mid 15th C), f. 36v detail – BL Harley MS 3448.jpg , unknown [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons