|India ~ K|
The Hindu mother of the Nagas (the serpent race); the wife of Kasyapa.
The goddess in the aspect of Liberator. Unlike much Western mythology, Hinduism at all times has recognized the feminine principle, most prominently in the form of Kali, the consort to Shiva or Shiva-Shakti. The male power, inert, is useless without this energizing female power, conceived of in its benign form as Parvati, and in its fierce or destructive form as Kali. In this terrifying aspect, the goddess drips blood from her devouring mouth, and her huge sword has beheaded the demon Ignorance, while her other two hands signify the blessing implied by this penultimate spiritual deed. The Ancient Goddess, in her warrior aspect of Inanna, Medusa or Athena, served a similar psycho-spiritual function in western cultures.
She is the Mother who purges us of fear, anger, jealousy and grief, then nurses us back to balance in the ultimate act of soul-healing. Beneath her frightening appearance lies the truth that life, though sometimes fraught with suffering, is rooted in joy. "The whole universe is created by Kali," says the Shiva Purana. Her luxuriantly flowing hair and outstretched arms reveal her power over Time, while quiet-gazing Shiva supports her. Kali's garland of demon heads represents both her detachment from the world and her inner nature of deep compassion. Her fierce wisdom slays ignorance, giving bloom to flowers of hope and healing.
Kubler-Ross and other psychotherapists (especially the practitioners of Gestalt therapy and Re-evaluation Counseling) insist on our need to ventilate, externalize, or discharge these feeling, either through tears, rageful yelling, or symbolic destroying. Kali of the fearsome form is the patroness of such healing. Kali emanates from the warrior goddess Durga in times of peril, and like a bloodthirsty whirlwind slays the demons of ignorance which conflict the human mind. In her greatest of such archetypal battles, Lord Shiva had to throw himself at her feet to halt her. Dancing upon his body, she calmed and brought the universe back to life, as symbolized by Shiva's enigmatic smile.
Her dance of destruction is ultimately the destruction of evil, and seekers who throw themselves at her feet are reborn out of pain into vitality, spontaneity, and appreciation of the full joy and beauty of existence. Hindus recognize that beneath her frightening appearance is the truth that life, though fraught with suffering and terminated in death, is ultimately rooted in joy.
All ancient traditions created archetypes of this wisdom. The Greek Medusa, the medieval Hecate, the Yoruban Oya, the Celtic Morrigan, the Norse Valkyerie, and the Mayan Ixchel each tell us that to realize this joy, suffering and death must be faced. Only by conquering them through recognizing them as portals of rebirth, thereby reconciling them with ones hopes and expectations, can peace and joy be found.
Kali is the destructive aspect of the goddess. She is usually pictured as a black goddess, for time has no color. The string of arms around her waist represent the lives that are born again and again in the cycle of reincarnation or samsara. She holds a cup in which she has caught the blood of the head she has just decapitated. But Kali's raised right hand is in the mudra "Be not afraid." She is dancing on her consort, Lord Shiva. One interpretation of this image is that after the goddess slew the buffalo demon, she got drunk on its blood and started to destroy indiscriminately and with wild abandon. (Remember, the problem is not power, but how to keep power under control.) In an effort to calm her, Shiva lay down and let her dance on him, bringing an end to her rampage.
Kali is represented with four arms; in one hand she has a sword, in another the head of the demon she has slain, with the other two she is encouraging her worshippers. For earrings she has two dead bodies and wears a necklace of skulls ; her only clothing is a girdle made of dead men's hands, and her tongue protrudes from her mouth. Her eyes are red, and her face and breasts are besmeared with blood. She stands with one foot on the thigh, and another on the breast of her husband.
Black Earth Mother, Conqueror of Time, Goddess of fertility, death and regeneration. Dark Mother, Hindu triple Goddess of creation, preservation and destruction. Birth and Death Mother. Treasure house of Compassion, Giver of Life to the World. Her mantras brought into being the very things whose names She spoke for the first time, Originator of the creative word or Logos. A triple Goddess - Maiden, Mother, Crone. Lady of the Dead. The Ocean of Blood at the beginning and end of the world. Also known as Jagadamba.
Kali's fierce appearances have been the subject of extensive descriptions in several earlier and modern works. Though her fierce form is filled with awe- inspiring symbols, their real meaning is not what it first appears- they have equivocal significance:
Kali's blackness symbolizes her all-embracing, comprehensive nature, because black is the color in which all other colors merge; black absorbs and dissolves them. 'Just as all colors disappear in black, so all names and forms disappear in her' (Mahanirvana Tantra). Or black is said to represent the total absence of color, again signifying the nature of Kali as ultimate reality. This in Sanskrit is named as nirguna (beyond all quality and form). Either way, Kali's black color symbolizes her transcendence of all form. She is also known as Kalikamata ("black earth-mother") and Kalaratri ("black night"). Among the Tamils she is known as Kottavei. Kali is worshipped particularly in Bengal. Her best known temples are in Kalighat and Dakshineshvara.
A Hindu goddess, one of the later wives of Krishna.
('wanton-eyed') One of the benign aspects of Parvati, she may have been an early Hindu fertility goddess.
A Hindu goddess. The Rajahs of Kangra claim to be descended from the perspiration of her brow.
('girl') One of the most ancient Hindu goddesses, she is represented the the constellation Virgo.
Originally an Indian Buddhist goddess who devoured children, she later became a protectress of children whose cult spread to China and Japan. She is depicted standing, with a baby at her breast holding a flower of happiness; or seated and surrounded by children.
(Khamden) ('Cow of Plenty') A Hindu mother goddess universally worshipped in India, capable of granting all desires. She is regarded as the ancestress of the Mlechchas (everyone in the world outside of the four Hindu castes.
An Indian Buddhist who is said to have been the first of an order of nuns set up by Buddha, in spite of his reservations about women.
The Hindu goddesses associated with the constellation Pleiades.
Hindu Goddess of witchcraft.
Hindu goddess of pottery.
The Hindu goddess of the new moon.
('girl', 'daughter') A Hindy and Tamil goddess who was celebrated by girls who ran races along the beaches in her honour. An aspect of Parvati, she is probably of earlier origin.
('coiled') The feminine serpent force, especially in relation to organic and inorganic matter; the universal life force manifested in electricity and magnetism. This force moves in a counter-clockwise spiral from the base of the spine up to the brain, and can be devastating if the initiate is not properly prepared.