Kim Fraser came from a ”good Roman Catholic household”, was a successful barrister and a single mother of two children.
Now the central coast resident is Australia’s first female guru. Called Shakti Durga (meaning divine feminine force) she has disciples around the world following her multi-faith teaching. She has 20,000 followers on Facebook alone.
“I never expected I was going to become a healer.”
To become a guru means to become a spiritual teacher. The word derives from Sanskrit and roughly translates to moving from darkness into light or ignorance into wisdom. The Western world’s first female guru, Brooklyn-born Alyce Zeoli – now Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo – was initiated in 1988, but the Spiritual Research Foundation says that in 2006 there were only 500 gurus around the world.
It was a ”devastating” divorce from her first husband that sparked the transformation in Fraser 20 years ago. Struggling to sleep and stressed, and depressed, the then 34-year-old went to a meditation class and felt an immediate affinity with the people running the centre. ”I could feel their heart and their warmth … I thought ‘I feel safe with these people’.”
She began attending regularly, studying spirituality.
”It was a revelation,” she says, ”that the way you think tends to change the probability of what you’ll draw into your life, and that you have choices about what you think.”
But it took a stubborn bout of bronchitis for her spiritual pursuit to shift from play to passion.
”I was a single parent and trying to earn a living and maintain a practice – you can’t be sick all the time. I had tried conventional medicine and I was still sick, so really out of desperation I went along to my first ever energy healing. To my shock, I was well within a couple of days.”
Determined to try to understand the experience, she began studying various healing modalities and strands of spirituality. ”I never expected I was going to become a healer,” she says. ”I was just fascinated – what happens to your own consciousness, what happens to energy.”
She began ”healing anybody who’d let me”, eventually introducing small fees until suddenly she realised another income stream.
Then, after 16 years at the bar, she decided it was time to refocus her life. She continued her study and, in 2003, after an intensive period of studying, fasting and meditating, was given a blessing by her teacher, the Hindu Sri Jayanara, a ”Maha” guru from Bali – to become a guru.
It took another three years of preparation before she felt ready to take on the title.
”There was this whole transmission of energy and consciousness where I realised my name was Shakti Durga and that I was meant to be a guru,” she says.
She initially struggled against the high-voltage bolt from the blue, but eventually had her name changed by deed poll.
It did draw flak. Even her parents, who by this stage accepted their daughter’s new direction, found the new name too much. ”My parents still call me Kim,” she says.
”People outside might find [it] confronting but for people given these names it’s like a pathway to understanding how your soul is going to live its life on Earth … a deliberate choice to live in accordance with what your soul is trying to get you to do and be.”
She teaches Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism. In two weeks she is teaching about Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism.
Her soul’s purpose, she believes, is to help people ignite their own spirit and find peace within themselves; a task that her own life’s lessons have readied her for.