We've decided to change our name.
This decision didn't come lightly, but it did come quickly.
We are four white/white-passing women who have chosen a Sanskrit name for our band. We've come to realize that this is problematic and as such we want to create an open dialogue around this issue.
Our early experiences of the Divine Feminine were through contact with Hindu and Sikh traditions that include goddess-worship alongside the worship of gods. The Christian traditions each of us grew up with drew sharp lines of separation between that which is female and that which is divine. As such, we had to move outside our own traditions and culture in order to find Her. There are groups and traditions in practice today that honor goddesses of European origin. As it happened, these were not the traditions that called to us in the formative years of our Goddess-consciousness. When it came time to choose a name for our Goddess-folk-rock band, we felt most closely aligned with the imagery and energy associated with Goddess worship in India and our decision to call ourselves “Devi Vaani,” was guided by the deep resonance we felt, and continue to feel, with Amma, with Kundalini Shakti and with Kali. We are grateful to the cultures and religions that have kept Her alive in a way that has touched our lives and moved our spirits.
In the years since we decided to be “Devi Vaani,” we've developed more of an awareness of cultural appropriation and white privilege, which is leading us to
re-examine our use of this name.
Our choice of name was meant to honor and acknowledge the traditions in which we first found Goddess. We realize that the impact of using a name lifted from a culture that is not our own could be very different than our intentions. At best, it is complicated, and, at worst it perpetuates a rampant pattern of white appropriation of Indian culture that is part of an even larger plague of colonialism and genocide perpetrated for centuries by Europeans and Americans against nations of people of color.
At the moment, we endeavoring to come into greater alignment with our commitment to social justice and our intention to be Her voice in a world that is deeply wounded by patriarchy and racism. In our hearts, we feel like “Devi Vaani.” But we've had to ask ourselves, is that justification enough to continue to use this name?
The answer that each of us feels down deep in her bones is a resounding, “No.”
So... we've decided to change our name. Spirit has yet to reveal to us what our new name will be. The space we are feeling into is liminal- one phase of being feels distinctly done and yet the next has not begun. We are individually and collectively engaging in prayer, meditation, drumming and brainstorming so that our new name may be uncovered. We will share this with you as soon as we know. In the meantime, we welcome your feedback, thoughts and feelings about our decision.