Tag Archive: dance


Goddess Ahnt Kai

“Dancer” by ~omonteon

“Ahnt Kai’s themes are balance, femininity, freedom, protection, fertility and overcoming. Her symbols are fish, sacred music and dance.  In Mexico, this Goddess of women and children taught them how to freely dance and sing, expressing the beauty within and liberating them from societal constraints. In myths of the Seris, Ahnt Kai specifically teaches the fish dance, alluding to fertility.

Sometime around the 1930’s a comic-strip artist captured the image of Sadie Hawkins optimistically stepping outside the usual boundaries of ‘womanhood’ to ask a man for a date. The custom continued through special dances for many decades, as people revelled in Ahnt Kai’s liberating atmosphere.  Thus, for both women and men, today is a time to free yourself from any restricting, stereo-typical, negative, or outmoded images that originate with yourself, others, the media, or the public. Ahnt Kai’s counsel today is to remember that true comeliness, true beauty, is not measured by externals – it begins within as we reunite ourselves with the Goddess and learn to love ourselves just as we are.

Add fish to your diet today (maybe a tuna sandwich) to internalize self-love and begin the process of personal liberation. Name the meal after an attribute needed to overcome your constrains. Ask the Goddess to bless your food, then eat with anticipation and self-confidence!”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

I couldn’t find too much on today’s Goddess.  What little I did find stated that She was the “Goddess of women and children. Daughter of Koo-mah’mm hahs-ay’ tahm (First Woman). She flies at night and lives above the peak of Tiburon mountain. She is the teacher of singing and dancing, and tells the women and children when to do the Fish Dance. She heals snake bites. Equivalent to Athena (Greek), Kuan Yin (Far East) and Estsanatlehi (North America).” [1]

 

 

Sources:

Angelfire.com, “Mythologies of Central America“.

 

Suggested Links:

women in pre-columbian latin america [DOC from web.clark.edu/afisher/…text/women_medieval_meso-america.doc] – (p.7 just above “Inca Society”.)

Goddess Ame no Uzume

“Ame no Uzume ‘s themes are honor, longevity, wisdom, psychic abilities, prosperity, protection and kinship. Her symbols are antique items, aged wines or cheese (anything that grows better over time) and sacred dances.  A Japanese ancestral Goddess, Ame no Uzume’s magic is that of generating a long, happy life for Her followers. Shinto festivals in Her honor include special dances that invoke the Goddess’s favor for longevity, honor, prosperity, protection and a close-knit family. In some areas, people also turn to Her for foresight, considering Ame no Uzume the patroness of psychic mediums.

Join with people in Japan and celebrate the wisdom that longevity brings for the aged. If there is an elder in your family or magic community who has influenced your life positively, pray to Ame no Uzume for that person’s ongoing health and protection. Go see that individual and say thank you. The gesture greatly pleases this Goddess, who will shower blessings on you, too!

To gain Ame no Uzume’s insight in your psychic efforts, find an antique item that you can wear during readings, like a skeleton key (to ‘fit’ any psychic doorway). Empower this token, saying:

‘Ame no Uzume, open my eyes, help me to see!
Let nothing be hidden that need to be known, whene’re I speak this magical poem.’

Touch the key and recite your power phrase, the incantation, before reading.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Ame-no-Uzume-no-mikoto is the Goddess of dawn, mirth and revelry in the Shinto religion of Japan, and the wife of fellow-god Sarutahiko Ōkami“. [1]

“Uzume” by Hrana Janto

Patricia Monaghan writes that Uzame was “ancient Japan’s shaman Goddess…who lured the sun Goddess Amaterasu from the cave where She’d hidden.  She did so by a merry mockery of shamanic ritual.  Tying Her sleeves above Her elbows with moss cords and fastening bells around Her wrists, She danced on an overturned tub before the heavenly Sky-Rock-Cave.  Tapping out a rhythm with Her feet, She exposed Her breasts and then Her genitals in the direction of the sun.  So comic did She make this striptease that the myriad gods and Goddesses began to clap and laugh – an uproar that finally brought the curious sun back to warm the earth.

Shaman women who followed Uzume were called miko in ancient Japan.  First queens like Himiko, later they were princesses and even later, common-born women.  Some Japanese women today, especially those called noro and yuta in Okinawa and the surrounding islands, still practice shamanic divination” (p. 305).

“Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto is still worshiped today as a Shinto kami, spirits indigenous to Japan.  She is also known as Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto, The Great Persuader, and The Heavenly Alarming Female.  She is depicted in kyōgen farce as Okame, a woman who revels in her sensuality.” [2]

“The dances of Uzume (Ama-no-uzume) are found in folk rites, such as the one to wake the dead, the Kagura (dance-mime), and another one which symbolizes the planting of seeds.” [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

Lindemans, Micha F. Pantheon.org, “Uzume“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Uzume”.

Wikipedia, “Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Ama-no-Uzume“.

Ampontan. Ampontan.wordpress.com, “Yuta: The Japanese Shamans“.

Ashkenazi, Michael. Handbook of Japanese Mythology.

Corrao, Tom. Chicagookinawakenjinkai.blogspot.com, “Okinawan Uta – The Shaman Women of Okinawa“.

Goddessgift.com, “Amaterasu Goddess of the Sun/Uzume Goddess of Mirth and Dance“.

Lysianassa. Bukisa.com, “The Goddess Ame No Uzume in Mythology and History“.

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Uzume – Laughter“.

Schoenberger, Karl. Latimes.com, “Shamans Look to Spirits for Guidance: In Okinawa, Supernatural Is Taken Very Seriously“.

Wikipedia, “Ryukyuan Religion“.

Willis, Roy G. World Mythology, “The Divine Crisis“.

Goddess Parvati

“Parvati’s themes are fertility, femininity, cleansing and devotion. Her symbols are lotus, elephants and dance.  The celebrated Hindu Goddess of women is the center of festivities in Nepal today. Parvati’s domain is that of faithful companionship and fertility as She is the consort of Shiva. Art often shows Parvati dancing in the company of Shiva or with an elephant’s head.

Try following Nepalese custom. Wash your hands and feet with henna (or henna-based soap product) for Parvati’s productive energy. Or, go out and swing on a swing set singing sacred songs; this draws Parvati to you.

Another way to invoke Parvati is by giving a special woman in your life (a friend, lover, relative, etc.) a gift of thankfulness for her companionship. The Goddess exists within that friendship and will bless the relationship. Take a ritual bath to cleanse yourself of negativity and problems of the last year. Water offerings are also a suitable gift to the Goddess. Pour a little bit on the ground and then drink some to internalize any of Her qualities that you need.

Wearing fine clothing and flowers is also customary, because all things of beauty please Parvati. So get out your finery for your celebrations and put on a boutonniere! Or wear something with a flower pattern to draw Parvati close to your side.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“One of the greatest Goddesses of India is the daughter of the Himalayas, known as Uma, Gauri, and sometimes Shakti (‘energy’).  She was the consort and enlivening force of Shiva, the lord of life’s dance, and many myths surround Her.

She gained Shiva’s attention by practicing magical asceticism until She had such power that he could not resist Her.  Thereafter he spent this time sexually pleasing the Goddess.  Once, when interrupted before She was satisfied, Parvati cursed the gods so that their consorts were barren but they themselves were pregnant.  They were most miserable with the affliction, until Shiva allowed them to vomit up the semen that had impregnated them.

Parvati had one son of Her own.  It was no thanks to Her spouse, for Shiva did not want to be bothered with children.  As they argued about it one day, Parvati cried out that She wanted a child to hold and caress. Shiva teased Her, ripping a piece of Her skirt and handing it to Her, telling Her to fondle that.  Hurt and betrayed, Parvati grasped the red cloth to Her breast, and – touching the nipples of the mother Goddess – the cloth took form and began to nurse.  Thus was Ganesha, the benevolent god, born.  But Shiva, angry and jealous, found an excuse to behead the child, saying that he had slept in a ritually incorrect way.  Parvati was desperate with grief, and Shiva, ashamed, told Her he would find the boy another head.  The only one he was able to locate – Parvati must have received this news suspiciously – was an elephant’s.  And so Ganesha was reborn half human, half elephant.

Shiva’s Shakti is also called Kali and Durga, for She is at times a fierce form of femininity.  One legend explains how the Goddess divided Herself.  Originally, it seems, She had dark skin, about which Shiva teased Her once too often.  Furious at him – for She felt less than beautiful, wishing that Her skin was golden like his – She set off for the mountains, intending again to practice asceticism until She gained Her desire.  Ganesha accompanied Her; She left Viraka, Shiva’s attendant, to guard his bedroom so that he didn’t enjoy other women’s company during Her absence.  But a demon disguised as Parvati attempted to kill Shiva.  He lured the god to bed after loading his illusory vagina with real nails.  Shiva recognizing the deceit, put a sword on his penis and dispatched the demon.

Parvati’s informants spread the word that a woman had been seen entering Shiva’s bedroom, and Parvati exploded with anger.  Her anger shot out of Her mouth in the form of a lion; She cursed the false guardian Viraka to become a rock.  Then She continued practicing yoga until Brahma took pity on Her and asked Her what She wished.  When She said She wanted a pure golden skin, he blessed Her.  From Her body sprang another Goddess, one ugly and black, usually named Kali.

Now golden and beautiful, Parvati started home.  Viraka, still on guard, refused to let Her enter, not recognizing the Goddess in Her new skin.  Realizing that She made a mistake in cursing him – but unable, so powerful are a Goddess’ words, to recall Her ill wish – Parvati mitigated it by allowing him to be reborn as a girl named Rock” (Monaghan, p. 248 – 249).

“Parvati represents the part of ourselves that creatively brings forth nourishment even in the midst of what seems to be rejection and disapproval. She is a wonderful affirmation that there are no limits to what a woman can do when she uses her spiritual energy in the pursuit of any goal she chooses.  When we embrace love, Parvati is there to bless us.” [1]

 

 

 
Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Parvati: The Hindu Goddess of Love and Devotion“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Parvati”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddessparvati.com, “Goddess Parvati“.

Kumar, Nitin. Exoticindiaart.com, “Parvati the Love Goddess: Tales of Marriage and Devotion in Art and Mythology“.

Lotussculpture.com, “Hindu Goddess Parvati – Daughter of the Mountain“.

Soulcurrymagazine.com, “Goddess Parvati – Wife of Lord Shiva“.

Wikipedia, “Parvati“.

“Oya” by Danilo Lejardi

“Egungun-Oya’s themes are destiny, death, ghosts, divination, foresight and truth. Her symbols are dance and fire.  The Yoruban Mother of the Dead and mistress of spiritual destinies, Egungun-Oya helps us peek into our own futures, being a Goddess of fate. Traditionally She is venerated through folk dances that show Her guiding spirits in the afterlife with the flames of truth in one hand.

As one might expect, the people of Nigeria honor the ancestors on this day, believing that they and Egungun-Oya control the fates of the living. It’s a common custom, therefor, to leave food and gifts for both the deceased and the Goddess today, hoping both will find pleasure in the offering. In your own home, put out pictures of loved ones who have passed on and light a candle in front of these today so that Egungun-Oya’s truth will fill your home. When you light the candle, observe its flame. If it burns out quickly without your assistance, this indicates that you should take care – you’re burning yourself out on too many projects. If it flames up brightly and steadily, anticipate health and longevity. An average-sized flame that burns blue indicates spiritual presences and a normal life span.

To keep any unwanted ghosts out of you house, put a light of any sort in the window, saying,

‘Egungun-Oya is your guide,
return to your sleep and there abide.’

The Goddess will safely guide those spirits back to where they belong.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Ancestor Spirits” by Willow Arlenea

“In Yoruba mythology, Egungun-oya is a Goddess of divination. ‘Egungun‘ refers to the collective spirits of the ancestral dead; the Orisha ‘Oya‘ is seen as the mother of the Egun.

In Egba and Egbado area, as well as many parts of Yorubaland, Odun Egungun festivals are held in communities to commemorate the ancestors. Egungun masquerade are performed during these annual or biennial ceremonies as well as during specific funeral rites throughout the year. The masquerade is a multifaceted ceremony which includes the making of offerings as well as the honoring of ancestors for past and future aid.

Egungun performances organized for funerary purposes mark the death of important individuals. In this context, the masks reflect a creative response to death as a time of crisis involving mourning and loss. Elaborate performances serve to commemorate the dead through the remembrance of their past life while simultaneously reinforcing the relationship between the living and the recently deceased ancestor.

Among the broad range of themes incorporated in the Egungun masks are representations of numerous societal and cultural stereotypes as well as acrobatic images in which dancers turn their clothing inside out, in part to suggest the power and distance of the ancestral world. Entertaining satirical masks depicting animals and humans are performed during the masquerade and often serve as a social commentary on the life of the community.” [1]

Here is a video highlighting some scenes from a Egungun festival held in the Oyortunji African Village (near Sheldon, South Carolina) from 2010.  This sacred festival is a type of Memorial Day in which the ancestors and deceased are collectively remembered…

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Egungun-oya“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Oya“.

French, Selina. Order of the White Moon, “Oya“.

Hargrow, Tirra. Goddess-Body-Mind-Spirit.com, “The Goddess of Transformation“.

Heathwitch. Order of the White Moon, “Oya: Lady of Storms“.

O., Bommie. MotherlandNigeria.com, “Festivals“.

Revel, Anita.  Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Oya“.

Strong, Laura. Mythic Arts, “Egungun: The Masked Ancestors of Yoruba“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Oya“.

Wikipedia, “Egungun“.

Wikipedia, “Oya“.

Goddess Bast

“Bast – Egyptian Cat Goddess” by Sharon George

“Bast’s themes are animals, magic, overcoming, playfulness, joy and humor.  Her symbols are cats.  Bast is the Egyptian cat-faced Goddess of sorcery, beneficence, joy, dance and fertility. Being a cat in nature, Bast teaches us to land on our feet in any situation, using a positive, playful attitude as our best ally. Bast and Her minions were so revered in Egypt that to kill cats was a crime punishable by death. Archaeologists uncovered mummified cats there, whose owners wanted the companionship of cats even in the afterlife. May is one of Bast’s traditional festival months.

In Belgium, people dress as cats today and hold a parade, known as The Kattenstoet, in which Bast is featured as the Queen of Cats. So think cat magic! If there’s a cat in your life, pamper the creature today and include it in spell craft as a magical partner (traditional ‘catty’ role in history). For example, if you find any of your cat’s whiskers, keep them. These may be burned for Bast in return for a wish. Or, carry a pinch of cat hair to tickle your funny bone.

Painting the image of a cat on a paper lantern and lighting it (with either a bulb or flame) draws Bast’s attention and energies to you. Or, carry a cat’s eye in your pocket today to begin developing catlike instincts and playfulness.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Bast” by *Badhead-Gadroon

“Bast, Egyptian Goddess of sensual pleasure, protector of the household, bringer of health, and the guardian saint of firefighters – was the original mistress of multi-tasking!  Bast is a daughter of the Sun God, Ra, sister of Sekhmet (wife of Ptah) and wife of Anubis.  One of the most ancient of the Egyptian Goddesses, She is depicted as a slender woman having the head of a domestic cat. Sometimes She is shown holding a sistrum, a rattle used as a musical instrument in ancient times. Agile and lithe, Bast was recognized as the Goddess of music and dance.  Her worship began around 3500 BCE, before the invention of writing.” [1]

According to Patricia Monaghan, “Bast originated in the Nile delta, but by 930 BCE, the power of Bast was acknowledged by all Egyptians, even those a thousand miles south of Her original home. At first She was lion Goddess of sunset, symbolizing the fertilizing force of the sun’s rays.  Later Her image grew tamer: She became a cat carrying the sun, or a cat-headed woman who bore on Her breastplate the lion of Her former self.

“contest prize – bast” by myworld1

Bast ruled pleasure and dancing, music and joy. At the city of Bubastis (“house of Bast”), the center of Her worship, great celebrations were held.  Boatloads of worshippers – hundreds of thousands of them, Herodotus said – were greeted by pleasant flute melodies as they debarked for a worship service combined with a vast trade fair.  Bast’s followers believed that in return for this reverent celebration Bast bestowed both mental and physical health.

As part of Bast’s worship, Egyptians honored live cats.  Domesticated (if cats can ever truly be said to be domesticated) during the early period of agriculture, cats were  useful to keep down the rodent population and therefor to assure a stable diet for humans.  Egyptians cherished their cats, often decking them with golden earrings or other jewelry.  When they died, the cats were mummified and buried in the vast cat cemetery at Bubastis.” (p. 66 – 67).

“Cats were honored in the temples of Bast and many felines were in permanent residence there. If a local house caught on fire, the cats would be dispatched to run into the flames, drawing them out of the building. (History’s first record of a fire brigade!)” [2]

“Bast” by MaatKaaRe

[As mentioned earlier] “Bast began Her life as a protector Goddess of Lower Egypt. She was as a fierce lioness; Her name is given to mean ‘devourer. She is usually shown in art as a cat-headed woman carrying a basket or as a whole cat. Quite often though, there are kittens at Her feet in the pictures. A woman who wanted children sometimes wore an amulet showing the Goddess with kittens, the number of which indicated her own desired number of children.

“Bast” by valse-des-ombres

Bast is the protector of cats, women and children.  There are many legends that connected Her as an ancient sun and War Goddess.  One legend says that She accompanied the sun god, Ra’s, boat for a million years on its daily journey through the sky. At night She was said to transform Herself into a cat to protect Her father from Apep, a serpent – Her father’s greatest enemy. His greatest and strongest followers attempted to kill the vile creature, but to no avail. Eventually, Bast, with Her superb feline night vision, managed to destroy the serpent thereby ensuring humankind that the warmth of the sun would continue to bless the earth.  Ever watchful, Bast protected Her father from his enemies, thereby becoming known as the ‘Lady of the East’, ‘Goddess of the Rising Sun’, and ‘The Sacred and All-Seeing Eye’.  As a protector, She was seen as a defender of the Pharaoh.

“funeral dance” by B-a-s-t-e-t

Bast can be viewed as an integrative Goddess in Her several aspects.  She is both the sun and the moon. In fact, She is one of the few sun Goddesses that can also be classified as a moon Goddess; Her glowing cat eyes reminds us of the moon that they reflect. She is venerated for singing, dancing, and childbirth suggesting ritualistic ceremonies. Above all, She is concerned with the enjoyment of life and the joy of music, dance, and bright colors. Her shrine in Baubasis was fashioned with blocks of pink granite with an entrance lined with trees. It was once one of the most beautifu temples in the world, but, alas, today, no shrines or temples remain of Bast in Egypt; even Bubastis is mostly in ruins.

“Egyptian Goddess Bast” by Diveena

Her name translates as ‘female of the ointment jar; hence She would gradually become the Goddess of Perfumes and Oils. In connection with this, when Anubis became the god of embalming, Bast, as Goddess of ointment, came to be regarded as his wife.

Statues of cats are commonly passed off as facsimiles of Bast, but this is incorrect. The cat was indeed Her sacred animal and the people of the time tended to see the Goddess in every cat that walked past, but Her original depiction was as a royal lady or a priestess with a cat’s head. The ancient Egyptians celebrated Her feast day on October 31st with lots of merry making, music, dancing in the streets and drinking with friends. Sadly, in modern times, Bast and Her feast day are overlooked, but you could perhaps say that Halloween was originally celebrated as the Feast of Bast.

She also has the gift, like all cats, of looking deep into your soul.Take a moment today to honor this ancient Egyptian Goddess. Light a green candle, Her sacred color, and be affectionate to a cat, Her cherished animal. When you address a cat, remember you are speaking to a little divinity, and a creature beloved of Bast.” [3]

“The Egyptian Goddess Bast reminds us of all that is feline and feminine.  Her gifts, very cat-like in nature, include the refusal to be at everyone’s beck and call and an insistence on the freedom of expression. She teaches us to relax and never waste energy, reminding us to luxuriate in beauty, perfume, and to sway in graceful movement. Bast refuses to take anything too seriously. But most importantly, Bast leads us to accept the true nature of things (ourselves included) and helps us remain unswayed by the opinion of others. Curled up like a cat lying in the sun, the Goddess Bast foms a complete circle . . . a symbol of the eternal.” [4]

“Bast” by Lisa Hunt

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Cats, rising sun, utchat (the “All-Seeing Eye”), pottery jars as perfume holders, parades (and floats), castanets and rattles (as musical instruments), beer, music and dance.

Animals: Domestic cats, lions

Plants: Cattails and other reeds, yew, cypress, mint (especially catmint), barley, and hemp

Perfumes/Scents: Musk, cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh, hemp, catnip, vervain, sandalwood, geranium, and lavender

Gems and Metals: Cat’s eye, sunstone, agate [esp. fire agate], jasper, lapis lazuli, pyrite, and jasper

Colors: Black, gold, red, turquoise, clay and silver   [5]

Also seen as Bastet, Baast, Pacht, Pasht Pasch, Ubast, Ubasti and Baset.

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Bast, Goddess of Protection and Pleasure“.

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Bast“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Bast”.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Bast“.

Suggested Links:

Carnaval.com, “Bast“.

Egyptian Myths, “Bastet“.

Fearn, Tranquillity. Order of the White Moon, “Bast: Queen of Cats“.

Goddess-guide.com, “The Egyptian Cat Goddess Bast“.

HDW Enterprises & Foothill Felines Bengals, “The History of the Domestic Cat“.

Hill, J. Ancient Egypt Online,Ancient Egyptian Gods: Bast“.

Moggies, Home of the online Cat Guide, “Bastet – Cat Goddess“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Bast

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Bast: enjoy play-time – Egyptian cat goddess“.

Seawright, Caroline. Tour Egypt, “Bast, Perfumed Protector, Cat Goddess…

Shira. All About Belly Dance by Shira, “The Goddesses of Ancient Egypt“.

Temple of Creation, “Working with the Goddess Bast“.

Tiamat, Avalon Sakti. Way of the Wild Rose, “The Goddess Bast“.

Wikipedia, “Bastet“.

Goddess Laka

"Laka" by Kristine Provenza

“Laka’s themes are tradition, heritage, weather and arts.  Her symbols are lei flowers, dance and the color yellow.

Laka is the Hawaiian Goddess of Hula, through which the myths, legends and histories of the Hawaiian people are kept intact. Today She charges us with the sacred duty of collecting the treasures of our personal legacies and recording them for sharing with future generations.

In stories, Laka is the sister of Pele (the volcano Goddess) and a nature Goddess who can be invoked for rain. Artistic renditions show Her wearing yellow garments, bedecked with flowers and always dancing.

The cherry blossoms of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Hawaii are spiritual, not real, symbolizing the power of tradition among the predominantly Japanese community. On this day people gather together and honor their heritage by participating in martial arts, Japanese dances, weaving and arts competitions. So, if there’s any art or craft you learned from an elder in your family, take the time to display that craft or work on it today to commemorate Laka’s attributes.

If possible, get together with members of your family and begin creating a family journal that will record all the important events in your lives. Cover the journal with yellow paper dabbed with fragrant oil to invoke tending care on the sacred documents.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Laka is most well known as the Goddess of the hula and the forest. Even today, in very traditional hula halaus, an altar or offering is prepared in honor of Laka with a very specific succession of plants.” [1]  After the dance, “the altar is dismantled and ever leaf is taken to the ocean or a deep stream as a way to honor Laka further.

She is also known as the Goddess of the wild woods and over all vegetation.  Plants sacred to Her are: maile, Lama, hala pepe,`ie `ie, ki, `ôhia lehua, and palai.  The maile flowers are commonly used to make Lei, which are draped over the neck.  As vegetation Goddess, She is associated with the nourishing elements of light and rain.  Rain connects Laka to Her husband, Lono, the fertility god who descended to earth on a Rainbow to marry Her.” [2]

“In some traditions of Hawaii the hula was brought to the islands by a brother and sister, both named Laka. Although prayers are addressed to Laka in many hula performances, few, if any, hulas are ever dedicated to her. Because of many stories connecting Laka to impregnation and fruitfulness, Beckwith calls Her ‘the Goddess of love.’ The name laka means “gentle, docile, attracted to, to attract,” and there are old chants asking Laka to attract not only love, but wealth. Of very different origin, She was nevertheless incorporated into the Pele religion. Due to Her associations with the forest She represents the element of plants.” [3]

Sources:

Flidai. The Goddess Tree, “Laka, Polynesian Fertility Goddess“.

King, Serge Kahili. Hawaiian Huna Village, “Hawaiian Goddesses“.

Please also visit these sites for some great information on Laka’s background and associations:

Lakainapali, Tracy. Hawaiian Huna Village “Hula: The Soul of Hawaii“.

Powers That Be, “Hawaiian Goddess Laka“.

Retro Glyhs, “Laka“.

Goddess Kali

“Kali” by Lisa Iris

“Kali’s themes are rebirth, cycles, joy, courage, hope, cleansing and change.  Her symbols are flowers, dance, iron, swords, peacock feathers and honey.  Kali, a Hindu Goddess whose name means ‘time’, is the genetrix of natural forces that either build or destroy. Even in destruction, however, She reminds us that good really can come of bad situations. If you find your hopes and dreams have been crushed, Kali can change the cycle and produce life out of nothingness. Where there is sorrow, She dances to bring joy. Where there is fear, She dances in courage.

During the Festival of Shiva, or Maha Shivratri, Hindus gather at Shiva’s temples to honor this celestial dance of creation, and Kali dances with them in spirit. Beforehand, they fast and bathe in holy waters for purification. Doing similarly (in your tub or shower) will purge your body and soul of negative influences. Add some flower petals or sweet perfume tot the bath to invoke Kali’s power.

To invoke Kali’s assistance in bringing new life to stagnant projects or ruined goals, leave her an offering of honey or flowers, and make this Kali amulet: Take any black cloth and wrap it around a flower dabbed with a drop of honey, saying:

 ‘Kali, turn, dance, and change
Fate rearrange
End the devastation and strife
what was dead return to life.’

Carry this with you until the situation changes, then bury it with thankfulness.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Who can comprehend the Divine Paradox of Mother Kali?  Fierce, black in color, large, shimmering eyes, destructive, triumphantly smiling amidst the slaughter of billions of demons, wearing a necklace of skulls and a skirt of severed arms, glowing effulgently like the moon in the night sky, holding the head of a demon, a Trident that flashes like lightning and a knife etched with sacred mantras and infused with Divine Shakti, Kali stands peaceful and content, suffused with the fragrances of jasmine, rose and sandalwood!

Goddess Kali

Goddess Kali is equated with the eternal night, is the transcendent power of time, and is the consort of the god Shiva. It is believed that its Shiva who destroys the world, and Kali is the power or energy with which Shiva acts. Therefore, Kali is Shiva’s Shakti, without which Shiva could not act. Frequently, those not comprehending Her many roles in life call Kali the Goddess of death and destruction.  It is partly correct to say Kali is a Goddess of death, but She brings the death of the ego as the illusory self-centered view of reality. Nowhere in the Hindu stories is She seen killing anything but demons nor is She associated specifically with the process of human dying like the Hindu god Yama (who really is the god of death). It is true that both Kali and Shiva are said to inhabit cremation grounds and devotees often go to these places to meditate. This is not to worship death but rather it is to overcome the I-am-the-body idea by reinforcing the awareness that the body is a temporary condition. Shiva and Kali are said to inhabit these places because it is our attachment to the body that gives rise to the ego. Shiva and Kali grant liberation by removing the illusion of the ego. Thus we are the eternal I AM and not the body. This is underscored by the scene of the cremation grounds.

According to Hindu myth, The Goddess Kali is an incarnation of Parvati. She assumed this form in order to vanquish the demon Raktabija, whose name means “the seed of blood”. The gods could not kill the demon Raktabija because he had received from Brahma the boon of being born anew a one thousand times more powerful than before, each time a drop of his blood was shed. Every drop of his blood that touched the ground transformed itself into another and more powerful Raktabija. Within a few minutes of striking this demon the entire battlefield covered with millions of Raktabija clones. In despair, the gods turned to Shiva. But Shiva was lost in meditation at the time and the gods were afraid to disturb him. Hence they pleaded with his consort Parvati for Her assistance.

“Kali” by maigo-no-kirin

The Goddess immediately set out to do battle with this dreaded demon in the form of Kali or “the Black One”. Her eyes were red, Her complexion was dark, Her features gaunt, Her hair unbound, and Her teeth sharp like fangs. As Kali came in to do battle, Raktabija experienced fear for the first time in his demonic heart. Kali ordered the gods to attack Raktabija. She then spread Her tongue to cover the battlefield preventing even a single drop of Raktabija’s blood from falling on the group. Thus, She prevented Raktabija from reproducing himself and the gods were able to slay the demon. Another form of the legend says that Kali pierced Raktabija with a spear, and at once stuck Her lips to the wound to drink all the blood as it gushed out of the body, thus preventing Raktabija from reproducing himself.

Drunk on Raktabija’s blood, Kali ran across the cosmos killing anyone who dared cross Her path. She adorned herself with the heads, limbs and entrails of her victim. The gods were witnessing the balance of the universe being shattered. As a last resort they had to rouse Shiva from his meditation. To pacify Her, Shiva threw himself under Her feet. This stopped the Goddess. She calmed down, embraced Her husband, shed Her ferocious form to became Gauri, “the Fair one”.

Kali intends Her bloody deeds and destruction for the protection of the good. She may get carried away by Her gruesome acts but She is not evil. Kali’s destructive energies on the highest level are seen as a vehicle of salvation and ultimate transformation.  She destroys only to recreate, and what She destroys is sin, ignorance and decay. The Goddess Kali is represented as black in color. Black in the ancient Hindu language of Sanskrit is kaala –the feminine form is kali – so She is Kali, the black one. Black is a symbol of The Infinite and the seed stage of all colors. The Goddess Kali remains in a state of inconceivable darkness that transcends words and mind. Within Her blackness is the dazzling brilliance of illumination. Kali’s blackness symbolizes Her all-embracing, comprehensive nature, because black is the color in which all the colors merge; black absorbs and dissolves them.

Kali’s nudity has powerful meaning. In many instances She is described as garbed in space or sky clad. In Her absolute, primordial nakedness She is free from all covering of illusion. She is Nature (Prakriti in Sanskrit), stripped of ‘clothes’. It symbolizes that She is completely beyond name and form, completely beyond the effects of maya (illusion). Her nudity is said to represent totally illumined consciousness, unaffected by maya. Kali is the bright fire of truth, which cannot be hidden by the clothes of ignorance. Such truth simply burns them away.

“Kali” by Dazy-Girl

She is full-breasted; Her motherhood is a ceaseless creation. Her disheveled hair forms a curtain of illusion, the fabric of space – time which organizes matter out of the chaotic sea of quantum-foam. Her garland of fifty human heads, each representing one of the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizes the repository of knowledge and wisdom. She wears a girdle of severed human hands – hands that are the principal instruments of work and so signify the action of karma. Thus the binding effects of this karma have been overcome, severed, as it were, by devotion to Kali. She has blessed the devotee by cutting him free from the cycle of karma. Her white teeth are symbolic of purity (Sans. Sattva), and Her lolling tongue which is red dramatically depicts the fact that She consumes all things and denotes the act of tasting or enjoying what society regards as forbidden (i.e. Her indiscriminate enjoyment of all the world’s “flavors”).

Kali’s four arms represent the complete circle of creation and destruction, which is contained within her. She represents the inherent creative and destructive rhythms of the cosmos. Her right hands, making the mudras of “fear not” and conferring boons, represent the creative aspect of Kali, while the left hands, holding a bloodied sword and a severed head represent Her destructive aspect. The bloodied sword and severed head symbolize the destruction of ignorance and the dawning of knowledge. The sword is the sword of knowledge, that cuts the knots of ignorance and destroys false consciousness (the severed head). Kali opens the gates of freedom with this sword, having cut the eight bonds that bind human beings. Finally Her three eyes represent the sun, moon, and fire, with which She is able to observe the three modes of time: past, present and future. This attribute is also the origin of the name Kali, which is the feminine form of ‘Kala’, the Sanskrit term for Time.

Kali is considered to be the most fully realized of all the Dark Goddesses, a great and powerful black earth Mother Goddess capable of terrible destruction and represents the most powerful form of the female forces in the Universe. Worship of the Goddess Kali is largely an attempt to appease Her and avert Her wrath. Her followers gave her offerings of blood and flesh, which was important in Her worship, just as blood sacrifice was important in worship of the early Biblical God, who commanded that the blood must be poured on his alters (Exodus 29:16) for the remission of sins (Numbers 18:9).  As mistress of blood, She presides over the mysteries of both life and death.  Regardless, Her followers still found Her to be a powerful warrior Goddess and found Her greatest strength to be that of a protector.

Kali is not always thought of as a Dark Goddess.  Despite Kali’s origins in battle, She evolved to a full-fledged symbol of Mother Nature in Her creative, nurturing and devouring aspects. Some groups of people, unfamiliar with the precepts of Hinduism, see Kali as a satanic demon probably because of tales of her being worshipped by dacoits and other such people indulging evil acts. By not understanding the story behind Mother Kali it is easy to misinterpret Her iconography. In the same way one could say that Christianity is a religion of death, destruction and cannibalism in which the practitioners drink the blood of Jesus and eat his flesh.  Of course, we know this is not the proper understanding of the communion ritual. Rather, She is referred to as a great and loving primordial Mother Goddess in the Hindu tantric tradition. In this aspect, as Mother Goddess, She is referred to as Kali Ma, meaning Kali Mother, and millions of Hindus revere Her as such.

Of all the forms of Devi, She is the most compassionate because She provides moksha or liberation to Her children. She is the counterpart of Shiva the destroyer. They are the destroyers of unreality. The ego sees Mother Kali and trembles with fear because the ego sees in Her its own eventual demise. A person who is attached to his or her ego will not be receptive to Mother Kali and she will appear in a fearsome form. A mature soul who engages in spiritual practice to remove the illusion of the ego sees Mother Kali as very sweet, affectionate, and overflowing with incomprehensible love for Her children.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Bijjam Snaps, The Story of Kali

The Buddha Garden, The Hindu Goddess Kali

Dolls of India, Kali the Goddess: Gentle Mother…Fierce Warrior

Exotic India, Mother Goddess as Kali – The Feminine Force in Indian Art

Infinite Goddess – Embracing the Divine Mother, Kali Goddess

Mythical-Folk, Kali Ma

Rise of Womanhood, Goddess of Destruction

Sathya Sai Baba, Hindu Gods & Goddesses in India – Hinduism, Mother Kali – Goddess Kalika Devi

 

 

Suggested Links:

Kila. Matrifocus: Cross-Quartly for the Godess Woman, “Reconciling Kali and Gauri: Goddess Thealogy and the Art of Peace“.

Pirera, Anna. Goddess Gallery, “Kali“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Kali: chaotic kindess“.

Stolan, Mihai. Liveonlineyoga.com, “Yoga of the Ten Great Cosmic Powers“.

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