Chöd Visualization for Westerners – Laura Santi


A practitioner sits down to do their sadna. Playing their drum they become lulled into another state. They visualize dancing chitipati, the lord and lady of the cremation grounds, a fence of flames, vast worlds and expansive light-filled skies full of gods and goddesses, huge as a mountain, their many hands each holding an implement with a world of meaning unto itself. Streams of offerings flow from skullcups, ghostly spirits show up in the shadows, millions of dakinis, like flickering flames, fill the air.

They open themselves to the universe, and asks to connect to the energies of the other side of what their mind can understand.  They steady herself in the midst of the fierce ones’ thunder and snarls, or if they are sweet, tries to keep their seat - its equally difficult to look into brilliant eyes full of so much love that they melt your heart. Holding steady, they keep a theme in her mind - to heal others, to grow as a person, or maybe just to understand.

Laura Santi began her working life as a graphic designer in 1981 before the time of computers, when art was done by hand. She moved into the Movement Center Ashram which teaches tantric practice following two lineages received through Sri Saraswati Swami Chetanananda and Lama Tsering Wangdu Rinpoche. Switching careers, she practiced acupuncture for 23 years, incorporating the silent version of Chöd in her practice. She returned to the arts in 2001, and now writes, and paints Buddhist and Hindu deities.

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