my youth spills on dancefloors by Téa Nicolae

*poem published in Kamena Magazine, 2022. written in 2019. from my ‘teenage angst’ collection.

pitch-black clubs,
dazed fridays.
my youth pumps through my veins.

high heels,
shiny fake ids.
my youth grounds me.

grimy dance floors,

my youth bursts inside of me

it glides through me

wildly

as my heart throbs beneath my skin
matching the music’s beat

i please my youth
bending my body obediently
with the deafening bass

midnight
the synth dismantles my mind
and my limbs are not mine anymore
they follow the sound

there is no past
or future
only my body
spinning madly
only the music
twisting in my ears
only my youth
spilling on dance floors
from the crashed bottles of wine at my feet

She dances me to her call | bhakti poem by Téa Nicolae

in the depths of my being, She dances me to her call:

“come to me. I want all of you, my child. no part of you is too dark, too gritty, too cruel for me. I claim all of you.”

Māiyā! your waves carry your call and roll it against my chest. i seek you with my breath, eyes, hands, and knees. my lungs seek you like they seek air.

Ya Devī! soothing her tears,

Kṛṣṇa told Pāñcālī

that just as you, Śrī Gaṅgā, hold and wash all pollutions yet are ever-pristine,

so does the fallen empress remain untainted by her shame.

aches bathed in your luster,

i plead:

take all of me, Devī.

leave nothing of me behind.

establish me in knowing

that despite my wrongs, fears and corruptions, i, too,

your fragment in the microcosm,

remain unmarred.

may the holy flow of your untamed waters

sweeten the harshness i bear towards myself and the world

soften the rigid corners straining my being

loosen the knots hindering you from coursing within me.

Śrī Mātre Namaḥ. 🙏

photos: before & after bathing in the waters of Śrī Gaṅgā in the auspicious Gangotri. Śabda Yātra. 🙏 the blessing of blessings. 💙

for how many lifetimes have you been calling me to You? | bhakti poem

for how many lifetimes
have you been calling me to you, Devī?
for how many lifetimes
have i cowered?

for how many lifetimes
have i been lost, Devī?
for how many lifetimes
have you watched me stumble?

i have been through many wombs
to rest my head at your feet today.

yet here i am,
my Devī.

would it be
greedy of me
to plead with you
one more time?

will you
grace me?
will you
wash away
my good, my ugly?
my irreverences, my pride?
my agonies, my beauty?

will you
cleanse this heart
until i am nothing but flow
rushing forth to meet your shores
like the water running between your locks

🤍 what came to me upon seeing the magnificence of Gaṅgā Devī for the very first time. pictures: Gangotri. Gomukh, Her Source. they fail to encompass Her beauty.

The Call of the Himalayas

by Mahārājñī’s grace, my dream of India came true! 🥲 for five years, it has been an ardent wish of mine to see these lands. led by my beloved Guru Kavitha Amma, and together with the Śabda Yoginīs, i was blessed to answer to the call of the Himalayas by embarking on the most special, magnificent and expansive yātra. starting from Rishikesh, we traversed Uttarkashi, Gangotri, Bhojbasa, Gomukh, Barkot, Yamunotri, and returned to Rishikesh for our closing ceremony. we trailed and trekked the mountains in worship of Devī in her forms as Śrī Gaṅgā & Śrī Yamunā. it was a journey of cellular transformation: explosive insights, breath-taking beauty, moving softness, immersion in the love and flow of Gaṅgā Devī and the Guru.

most miraculously, we completed the arduous and most fulfilling trek of 36 km from Gangotri to Gomukh, the source of the Holy Gaṅgā, in two intense & magical days! 💙 i have never felt more alive than on this trail, immersed in the hum of Devī Gaṅgā and held in the lap of the mountains. every step taken was a challenge to my self-imposed limitations and ideas of myself – of who i am, of what i can do and achieve. every step taken taught me resilience and determination, as well as showed me that my strength springs from my longing. it has been most sacred to complete this trail and to come to be at the Source with my Guru & saṅgha. imbibing in Her exquisite vibrations, we worshipped Her through pūjā. we breathed, we smiled, we cried. i will remember this experience for the rest of my life with all the gratitude & awe my being can muster.

Śrī Mātre Namaḥ! Har Har Mahādeva! Hare Hare Gaṅge!!!

what is more, in Gangotri, we hiked to a cave where it is said that Draupadī and the Pāṇḍavas spent time while on exile, and had the fortune to meet the sādhu who has been living there, entrenched in tapasya. ♥️ i have felt the Mahābhārata vibrantly coming alive for me on our yātra; from being at Gaṅgā Devī’s feet, arguably the precursor of the Mbh’s unfolding, to reaching Yamunā Devī, whose shores welcomed Ambā, who burned herself on a pyre at Yamunā’s banks to gain Lord Śiva’s boon… these mystical lands are unparalleled in beauty, significance, power and history.

birthday dawn

i turn 24 today! 💖 23 has been a dream shaped by my Guru’s grace, whom i got to meet in-person for the first time as the pandemic eased. externally, Guru’s grace took me to places i thought i’d never see, such as the transcendental Himalayas or America, while it internally catapulted me to priorly unimagined heights of euphoria & expansion. when i look back to my young life, i glimpse a golden thread expertly weaving each fragment and pulling me to where i am now; a glimmer nestled within me, of me and yet not of me, calling to me, caring for me, polishing me, shaping me – preparing me, guiding me to the path. a glimmer, a spark; the love of the Guru. the love of Mahādevī. the love of Hari.

and so, today i am moved to share verses from a sweet song.

☁️ time, mystical time
gave me the blues and then purple pink skies
were there clues
i didn’t see?

isn’t it just so pretty to think
all along there was some
invisible string
tying You to me?

a string that pulled me…

something wrapped all of my past mistakes in barbed wire
chains around my demons,
wool to brave the seasons
one single thread of gold tied me to You. ☁️

today & every day i pray to flow like the waters of the magnificent Gaṅgā Devī holding me in this photo. 💖

you elude me: bhakti poem by Téa Nicolae

you elude me,

my Beloved.
your nectarous call
trickles in my ears
and i run to you,
maddened.

i run to you,
enamoured,
clothed by longing
and with tears as jewels.

i run to you,
bare,
silk dress in shreds,
ripped slippers.

i’ve been running to you
since before i was born.
i am tired, Hari.
my dignity and pride
are long forgotten.
my toenails are cracked,
the skin peels off my feet.
my hair is rumpled,
my breasts are bruised;
your wayward bride.

whenever i get close
to throwing myself at your feet
my mind entangles me.
my wrongs push against my bones
and i fall on my face.
my blood smears the ground
and i grovel. i cry. i howl.

when your nectarous call
trickles in my ears,
i jolt forwards.
and i run to you,
maddened.

~ poem to Madhav, published in Śabda Magazine, volume II. my offering of longing as we approach the auspicious day of Vijayadaśamī! may we be victorious in our quest to merge with the Divine Beloved. 🙏

aegina, greece, 2018.

Hymn to the Empress of Kings by Téa Nicolae

Praise be to The Empress of Kings
seated on the throne of five corpses in the palace of ruby.


Her blinking eyes birth and collapse the cosmos,
and her crown is the lunar half-moon.


She whose reddened eyes roll ecstatically,
She is Mahātripurasundarī,
The Great Beauty of the Triads.


Praise be to Parā Aṃbikā,
of allure so exquisite that, enchanted,
Śiva grew his third eye just to worship her beauty.


Her body is anointed with sandalwood,
and her fragrance bathes and deludes the three worlds.


She is Śrīmātā,
The Auspicious Mother.


Praise be to Lalitā Aṃbikā,
The One Who Plays,
whose girdle of tinkling bells stirs creation into being.


She who gifts the sun his effulgence,
Her toenail holds the universes,
and Her auspicious thighs are known only by the fortunate Kāmeśvara.


She is Kāmākṣī,
She whose eyes are desire.


Bhavānī,
you are the nectar of the ocean of compassion:
grace this songstress to only sing of your praises.


🌺 “Hymn to the Empress of Kings”, one of my poems offered to Devī at the magnificent Siri Jyoti Pūjā in Seattle. inspired by the verses of the Lalitāsahasranāma which extoll Lalitā’s rapturous beauty. Śrī Mātre Namaḥ. Happy Navarātra! 🙏
📸: SJP, Seattle, September 2022.

blissful Śabdopāya Retreat, Seattle.
continuously reborn in your presence. śrī gurubhyo namaḥ.

last day of summer, first nights of autumn (2.2)

ah! seattle! what a dream it has been. travelling to the united states is movie-like for me. growing up in romania, i was exposed to so much of american culture, yet i never imagined i would be making my way here. what is more, it is incredibly precious to be here with my beloved Gurus and with the dearest saṅgha of sisters and brothers. reality truly does trump even the most elaborate dreams and fantasies!

this early autumn, i fell in love with seattle! i was already in love with its beautiful people, so it did not take much. 🙂 this city has the most harmonious blend of urban & nature! vast city skylines & crystal lakes in forests which still your mind into silence. featuring: space needle, chihuly glass garden, jimi hendrix memorial. i saw the very first, original starbucks and the busy, electric pike market, while laughing and holding hands with my dearest sister, L. will never forget the moments of vulnerability, intimacy and longing for Truth shared together while exploring these streets.

“the best love to have is the love of life.” ~ jimi hendrix. 💙🙏

last day of summer, first nights of autumn (1.2)

i have just come back from seattle, u.s., where i spent the most beautiful two weeks with my beloved saṅgha of Śabda Institute. i am taking this opportunity to express my gratitude for this dream, as well as for the beautiful summer that has unravelled. these months of sun were rich with expansion, laughter, warmth. i am thankful to have been held by loved ones and, most importantly, held within myself, while She painted the path in resplendent hues.

☀️ most monumentally, i traversed the u.k. with my saṅgha and Gurus in deep exploration of rasa (sanskrit for juice, flavour or essence of an experience.)🍯 our rasa tour culminated with a workshop in london centred on emotional healing, which additionally was the first u.k. workshop of Śabda Institute. words fail to express how exquisite and cellularly transformational this journey has been. it was a privilege to share this space with our beloved teachers and imbibe in the magnificent teachings together with the saṅgha. check out @sabda_institute for more photos, reels & accounts of both the workshop. the pure joy of being!

☀️ i soaked in sun and beauty in italia with my beloved family, who unrelentingly teach me about love, patience, and openness, and never cease to hold the mirror to show me the muck that i am to work on and through – even when it is incredibly uncomfortable to look. i dipped my toes in the sea in my home-country and burnt my skin with joy, met up with olden friends and laughed ’til our bellies hurt while reminiscing past silliness and childish cruelties.

☀️ finally, i came together with my saṅgha sisters and conducted the most nourishing pūjā to our beloved Gaṇapati, whose playfulness and delight infused our every offering.

may we have the eyes and heart to see Her sweetness permeating all that is!

Guru Pūrṇimā

i’ve been quiet,
as shy as the fawn
you,
you are teaching me to roar


i’ve been compliant
i’ve stumbled through life
with two left feet
you,
you are teaching me to stand


i’ve been fearful, small
i’ve moved reluctantly
you,
you are teaching me to dance
rapturously


i’ve been ashamed,
my heart’s been shrunken
you,
you are teaching me
to burst into the light

📷: embracing my beloved teacher for the very first time! Barcelona, winter 2021. photo by Holly ♥️


clumsily,
i have shied before your love,
enchained by what i thought was darkness
etched in my reflection.
with wonder, i continuously discover
that my flaws do not faze you
and you,
you remain steady in your love.


i have allowed myself to be tamed,
but for you,
beloved teacher,
i can learn to be unbound.

~ a poem for Guru Pūrṇimā ♥️. celebrating today the love of the Guru, a love so unconditional that it rewires every inch of the being who opens to it. Śrī Gurubhyo Namah! 🙏