Sakti (Sanskrit) Śakti [from the verbal root sak to be powerful, energetic, have force] Universal energy, the feminine aspect of fohat; one of the seven forces of nature, of which six are manifest and the seventh partly manifest. It is energy that proceeds through itself, not being due to the active or conscious will of the one that produces it. Popularly, the wives or consorts of the gods — the energies or active powers of these deities represented as feminine influences.

“These anthropomorphic definitions are unfortunate, because misleading. The Saktis of Nature are really the veils, or sheaths, or vehicular carriers, through which work the inner and ever-active energies. As substance and energy, or force and matter, are fundamentally one, . . . it becomes apparent that even these Saktis, or sheaths, or veils, are themselves energic to lower spheres or realms through which they themselves work.
“The crown of the astral light, as H. P. Blavatsky puts it, is the generalized Sakti of Universal Nature in so far as our solar system is concerned” (OG 150).

Sakti in another sense is soul-power, the mental-psychic energy of the god as of the adept. In the Mahabharata, Draupadi, the wife or sakti of the five Pandava brothers, represents a spiritual power they all possessed in common. In legends and tales of the ancient peoples, the wives of the great heroes mystically represent the aggregate of the saktis or spiritual powers that the heroes had individually attained.

Considering the saktis as more or less conscious forces in nature, gives a picture of not only the turbulent and ever-active movements in the lower planes of nature, but likewise the calm and stately measures of spiritual activity. It is common in the West to associate power, activity, energy, and force with masculine correlations; but this is quite arbitrary, and an impassionate viewing of nature will show it to be continuously moved by vehicular as well as inspiriting causes.

Cosmically sakti or the saktis originate in the summit of the astral light or akasa, which in one sense may be considered as not only the womb of the cosmic saktis, but as their playground and in another sense as the saktis collectively themselves. In man, sakti is the buddhi in its higher aspect, and the activities of the various pranas in the human constitution in its lower aspect. There is no essential distinction between any divinity and its consort, between Brahman and pradhana, Brahma and prakriti, or between parabrahman and mulaprakriti. Furthermore, all the saktis are either conscious entities in nature, or vital effluxes or emanations, cosmic fluids, with which nature is infused throughout.

The reason the occultist of all ages looks askance at the tantric practices, or the Tantras dealing largely with the saktis, is because these tantric books and practices are almost wholly occupied in relations and correlations both in nature and in man of the saktis in their lower aspect. The kundalini, for instance, is likewise born in the buddhi in man, but descending through the human constitution has its pranic or psychovital physical representations in the various chakras or vital centers of the human frame, and thus the kundalini is an example of sakti or of its fluidic effluxes in the lower portions of the human constitution.

The early Christians looked upon the Holy Spirit as of distinctly feminine characteristics, influence, or svabhava, as the center not only of vital but of spiritual and intellectual activity, whether in the universe or man, so that the Holy Spirit corresponds to a divine sakti. A notable instance in Hinduism is the Sakti or goddess Durga, having both a lofty or spiritual, and an inferior or distinctly material, function in nature, and therefore a beneficent as well as a terrible action therein — the very name Durga meaning “terrible in action,” or “terrible in going.” And yet Durga is the consort or sakti of Siva, often called the Mahesvara (Great Lord); and the name of this goddess arises from the utterly impartial, infinitely just, and yet often simply terrific action of the forces in nature, particularly when karmically directed to works of regeneration, often called destruction. Cosmic operations or cosmic justice are often indeed to human vision terrible in their operation, which can never be set aside, stayed, or diverted. Hence Durga is often represented in iconography as surrounded with a necklace of skulls or by similar ghastly emblems — a series of ideas which the pragmatic West misinterprets and consequently depicts as horrible and revolting.