Tag Archive: shakti


When God Was a Girl

Take an hour out and treat yourself – reclaim your herstory, reclaim your divinity! Wonderful and informational.  “Historian Bettany Hughes visits a world where Goddesses ruled the heavens and earth, and reveals why our ancestors thought of the divine as female. Travelling across the Mediterranean and the Near East, Bettany goes to remote places, where she encounters fearsome Goddesses who controlled life and death, and she ends up in modern-day India, where the Goddess is still a powerful force for thousands of Hindus. Immersing herself in the excitement of the Durga Puja festival, Bettany experiences Goddess worship first-hand, and finds out what the Goddess means to Her devotees.”

 

Goddess Gujeswari

“Anapurnadevi – Hindu Goddess of Abundance” by Geoglyphiks

“Gujeswari’s themes are Earth, water, abundance, offering and prayer. Her symbol is a bowl of water. Gujeswari is a potent Nepalese Goddess of Earth and all its bounty, and today is Her festival day, known as Gujeswari Jatra. In many temples, the Goddess’s presence is represented by a simple bowl of water, the life-giving substance and purifier of body, mind and spirit.

Buddhists and Hindus in this region honor the mother Goddess Gujeswari today by giving Her offerings, usually preceded by fasting and prayer.  Follow this example, and put a bowl of fresh water on your altar or a special place where it won’t be disturbed for the day. If physically feasible, abstain from eating one meal today to honor the Earth and Gujeswari’s goodness by returning (or preserving) some of that bounty. Otherwise, simply abstain from a favorite food for the day as a kind of sacred sacrifice.

At the end of the day, just before you go to bed, sprinkle the water from the bowl around your living space. First, go counter-clockwise to banish negative energy that hinders free-flowing blessings. Then go clockwise, allowing Gujeswari’s water to cleanse and renew the ambiance in every room.  If you have some left over, sprinkle your pets (for health), your car (for safety in travel), and children’s beds (to protect them from nightmares), and dab some on mechanical objects to keep them working smoothly.”

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

I really couldn’t find anything on today’s Goddess or the festival; it seems as if this Goddess and festival are some big secret.  The only information I could find was on a temple called Guhyeshwari Temple, that I had initially assumed would be dedicated to Her.  “Guhyeshwari Temple, also spelled Guheswari or Guhjeshwari, is one of the revered holy temples in KathmanduNepal. This temple is dedicated to Adi Shakti. This refers to the popular legend where Shiva distressed was carrying the corpse of Devi Sati and Vishnu annihilated it with his Sudarshan Chakra. Shiva later declared the 51 such places where Devi Sati’s body parts fell to be worshipped as the Shakti Peethas and meditated at all these places as various forms of Bhairavas. The place where Devi Sati’s knees fell is Guheswari in Kathmandu. In Nepal the form of Shakti is Mahashira and the form of Bhairava is Kapali. King Pratap Malla built this temple in the 17th century.

The temple name originates from guhya (cave) and ishwari (goddess). Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter this temple.

Guheswari Temple is located near Pashupatinath Temple. It represents female force.” [1]

  

In another piece I read on nepal.com, it states: “The two main religions in Nepal are Hinduism and Buddhism and very often worshipers from the two faiths intermingle at temples and shrines. This sort of interfaith is practiced throughout the country though really each person is worshiping his or her equivalent of the god to which the temple or shrine is dedicated. There are a few exceptions to this intermingling of believers though and the Guheswari Temple is one of them. The temple is strictly a Hindu temple and all non-Hindus – whether the person is Christian, Buddhist or from some other faith – are not allowed access to the temple courtyard let alone the temple itself.

The Guheswari Temple in Nepal is a very sacred temple which is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati. The name ‘Guheswari’ is sometimes also spelled ‘Guhyeshwari’ or ‘Guhjeshwari’. The temple has a strong sexual connotation that is not only linked to its fabled beginning but also to its name. According to legend the wife of Lord Shiva, Parvati, sacrificed Her life by burning Herself to death in Her father’s ritual fire. Her distressed husband then chose to wander the world, carrying the body of his dead wife as he did so. As he passed over the spot where the Guheswari Temple is located today it is said that Her ‘yoni’, or female sex symbol, fell to the earth. In the 1653 King Pratap Malla saw fit to restore the magnificent Gushewari Temple. This temple represented the female force that Parvati was the very embodiment of.

Guhyeshwari (Guhjeshwari) Temple by goutammitra

The Guheswari Temple is located in Kathmandu not far from the Pashupatinath Temple. The actual temple does not house any images of the legendary Goddess but there are a lot of other things here worth seeing. The building is ornate and beautiful and the worship of the people here is usually very sincere and touching. Many believe this to be the temple to go to in order to pray for marital fidelity and a lot of different Hindus will make the trip here to ensure that their marriages do not suffer.” [2]

Several other articles I read also said that this is where Her yoni had fallen.  This makes more sense to me as when you break Guheswari down: guhya (cave) and ishwari (goddess) – the cave is a very earthy and primordial symbol of the womb; which is exclusively female – making it a female force.   Also, I found that “devotees offer wine, eggs etc. in a holy orifice which has been regarded as the place of  worship since times immemorial.” [3]  Again, eggs being a very feminine symbol and this holy orifice symbolizing the yoni.

“Yoni” by ~aerphis

So, in conclusion, I do not believe that Gujeswari is a Goddess per se, but more of a primal force, aspect or attribute of Parvati, who is considered as complete incarnation of Adi Parashakti (who is considered to be truly spirit without form – the Great Divine Mother Goddess, the source of all other Goddesses).  Good stuff to wrap your head around, eh?

 

 

 

Sources:

Geneeyuss-placesofpilgrimageofnepal.blogspot.com, “GUHESWARI TEMPLE“.

Nepal.com, “Guheswari Temple“.

Wikipedia, “Guhyeshwari Temple“.

 

Suggested Links:

Nkdedhann.com, “List of 51 Shakti Peetha of Goddess Durga“.

Wikipedia, “Adi Parashakti“.

Wikipedia, “Mother Goddess [Hinduism]“.

Goddess Annapurna

“Annapurna’s themes are providence, prosperity and charity. Her symbols are corn and grain.  This Indian grain Goddess is kind and charitable, providing to those in need. According to tradition, Annapurna watches over the world’s storehouses when supplies wane, and over the storehouse of our soul when our spirits hunger.

The United Nations created World Food Day to draw public attention to the world’s food problems and promote cooperation among people to battle hunger and poverty.

Today is an excellent time to give some canned goods to a local food pantry or shelter, especially corn or grain products. The canning process preserves Annapirna’s energy for providence to help those less fortunate turn their lives around in powerful ways, or at least to reclaim some sense of dignity. Say a brief prayer over the goods before giving them away so the Goddess’s blessing will inspire renewal for those in need.

To keep Annapurna’s providence in your home, take any grain product and sprinkle it around the outside perimeter of the dwelling. The birds will carry your need to the Goddess. If you must perform this spell indoors, sweep up the grain in a clockwise manner and keep it in an airtight container to preserve its positive energy. Release a pinch of this to a northerly wind any time you need money quickly.”

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

“Annapurna or Annapoorna is the Hindu Goddess of nourishment. Anna means food and grains. Purna means full, complete and perfect. She is a form of Parvati [who is one of the numerous forms of Shakti], the consort of Shiva. Annapurna is eulogised in Annada Mangal, a narrative poem in Bengali by Bharatchandra Ray.

Annapurna is the Goddess of the city of Kashi (now known as Varanasi, U.P., India). Kasi is also known as the City of Light. Ka means the cause, a means the manifestation of consciousness, sa means peace and I is the causal body. Kasi is also the place which causes consciousness to manifest the highest peace of the causal body. And She is the Supreme Goddess of the City of Kasi.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “‘Food giver’ was the name of this ancient Indian Goddess whom some scholars connect with Rome’s Anna Perenna.  A common household deity, often depicted enthroned and feeding a child from a full ladle, Anapurna was especially significant to the city of Benares, where harvest festivals honored Her.

The Hindus, finding it necessary to systematize their complex pantheon, called Her a form of Durga or of Devi, but She retained Her rulership over food production and distribution” (p. 48).

One of Her myths says that “once Goddess Parvati was told by Her consort Shiva that the world is an illusion and that food is a part of this illusion called maya.

The Divine Mother who is worshipped as the manifestation of all material things, including food, became angry. To demonstrate the importance of Her manifestation of all that is material She disappeared from the world.

Her disappearance brought time to a standstill and the earth became barren. There was no food to be found anywhere and all the beings suffered from the pangs of hunger.

Seeing all the suffering, Mother Parvati was filled with compassion and reappeared in Kasi and set up a Kitchen.

Hearing about Her return, Shiva ran to Her and presented his bowl in alms saying, ‘Now I realise that the material world, like the spirit, cannot be dismissed as an illusion.’ Parvati smiled and fed Shiva with Her own hands.

Since then Parvati is worshipped as Annapurna, the Goddess of Nourishment.

Annapurna has many names. The Annapurna Sahasranam presents Her one thousand names and the Annapurna Shatanama Stotram contains 108 of Her names. She is variously described as:

  • She who is full, complete and perfect with food and grains
  • She who gives nourishment
  • She who is the strength of Shiva
  • She who is the grantor of knowledge
  • She who takes away all fear
  • She who is the Supreme welfare
  • She who manifests truth and efficiency
  • She who is beyond Maya
  • She who is the cause of creation and dissolution
  • She who is adi sakthi

Physically, Annapurna is described as holding a golden ladle adorned with various kinds of jewels in Her right hand and a vessel full of delicious porridge in Her left. She is seated on a throne. In some depictions, Lord Shiva is shown standing to Her right with a begging bowl, begging Her for alms.

It is said that She does not eat a morsel unless all Her devotees have been fed in Her temple.

She is worshipped through the recitation of Her thousand names and her one hundred and eight names. The Sri Annapurna Ashtakam composed by Shankaracharya is chanted by several devout Hindus around the world as a prayer for nourishment, wisdom, and renunciation. Before partaking of any food, Hindus chant the following prayer:

‘Oh Annapurna, who is always full, complete, and perfect. Beloved energy of Lord Shiva, for the attainment of perfection in wisdom and renunciation, give me alms, Parvati.

My mother is Goddess Parvati, my father is the Supreme Lord Maheswara (Shiva). My relatives are the devotees of Lord Shiva, and the three worlds are my Motherland.’

The Annapurna Vrat Katha containing stories of Her devotees are also recited by Her devotees.

The most well-known temple dedicated to Goddess Annapurna is in Varanasi, U.P., India. Adjacent to the Sanctum of the Goddess is the Kasi Viswanath temple. The two are separated by only a few yards. Annapurna is regarded as the queen of Varanasi alongside Her husband Vishweshwar (Shiva), the King of Varanasi.

In the temple, at noon time, food offerings to the Goddess are distributed to the elderly and disabled daily. During the Autumn Navaratri food is distributed on a larger scale.

The other famous temple is Annapoorneshwari Temple, situated at Horanadu in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, where evening prayers are held after the devotees are fed. Another famous temple of the Goddess is situated in Cherukunnu, Kannur, Kerala.” [2]

“The Annapurna Ashtakam is one of the shlokas or hymns to Dea or Devi in Her personification as Annapurna, composed in Sanskrit by the great eighth century enlightened sage (jnana), vedanta philosopher, religious reformer and monastic Sri Adi Shankara.” [3]  Click here to view a beautiful rendition of The Annapurna Ashtakam on Youtube (It’s in 2 parts).

 

 

Sources:

Eternalfeminine.wikispaces.com, “Annapurna Ashtakam of Sri Adi Shankara“.

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

Wikipedia, “Annapoorna devi“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bharath.K. Bharathkidilse.blogspot.com, “Annapoorneshwari Devi“.

Chatterjee, Aparna. Ayurveda-florida.com, “Annapurna Devi“.

Hindudevotionalblog.com, “Sri Annapurna Ashtakam Lyrics and Video Song“.

Festivals.igiftstoindia.com, “Annapurna“.

 

Goddess Lakshmi

“Lakshmi’s themes are devotion, luck, wealth, relationships, prosperity, love, the harvest and autumn. Her symbols are a lotus, rice, coins and basil.  A favorite Goddess in the Hindu pantheon, Lakshmi brings devoted love into our lives, along with a little luck and extra pocket change to help things along. When called upon, Lakshmi opens the floodgates of heaven to meet our heart’s or budget’s needs.

The annual Lakshmi Puja festival celebrates Lakshmi and honors Her ongoing goodness, which manifests in an abundant autumn harvest.

If you are a merchant or store owner, it’s customary to appeal to Lakshmi today for the ongoing success of your business. You can do this by placing a few grains of rice, some basil, or a coin in your daily tally sheets. This neatly tucks Lakshmi’s fortunate nature into your finances.

For those wishing luck in love, gather a handful of rice cooked in basil water (the cooking process adds energy and emotional warmth). Sprinkle this on the walkway leading up to your home and your preferred vehicle, saying:

‘Lakshmi, let true love find its way to my home;
Let me carry luck with me wherever I roam.’

Keep a pinch of this in an airtight container and carry it with you into social situations. It will act as a charm to improve your chances of meeting potential mates.”

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

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “ancient India did not erect temples to this Goddess, for why try to contain the one who embodies Herself in all forms of wealth? Lakshmi is everywhere: in jewels, in coins, in rare shells, in every child born to welcoming parents, and particularly in cows. The well-known reverence for cows in Hindu India is based on the worship of this Goddess, called the Shakti of life-preserving Vishnu. Hindu philosophy defined male godhead as passive and abstract, distant and powerless, unless activated by the Goddess. In Vishnu’s case, his power to maintain and enrich life only functions when Lakshmi inspires it. Therefore it is thought good policy to bestow reverence on those embodiments of wealth-the cows who in some parts of India are simply called ‘lakshmi’ after their owner.

“Laksmi” by Hrana Janto

Some myths say that Lakshmi existed from all time, floating before creation on a lotus; for this She is called Padma (‘lotus-Goddess’), whose symbol became the sign for spiritual enlightenment throughout Asia. Some stories say that Lakshmi sprang up from the ocean when it was churned by the gods, emerging like a jewel in all Her beauty and power, covered with necklaces and pearls, crowned and braceleted, Her body fat and golden [Hhmm, kind of reminds me of someone else I know – Aphrodite or Venus perhaps?]. Many interpreters see the variant legends as recording Lakshmi’s preeminence in pre-Aryan India, where She was Goddess of the earth and its fructifying moisture, and Her later incorporation into Vedic theology when Her worshipers would not abandon their devotion to the lotus Goddess. Once established in the religious amalgam called Hinduism, Lakshmi grew to symbolize not only the wealth of the earth but of the soul as well, becoming a magnificent symbol of the delights of spiritual prosperity” (p. 190).

“Also called Mahalakshmi, She is said to bring good luck and is believed to protect Her devotees from all kinds of misery and money-related sorrows.  Representations of Lakshmi are also found in Jain monuments.

Lakshmi is called Shri or Thirumagal because She is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities, or Gunas, and also because She is the source of strength even to Vishnu. When Vishnu incarnated on earth as avatars Rama and Krishna, Lakshmi incarnated as his consort. Sita (Rama’s wife), Radha (Krishna’s lover) and Rukmini and the other wives of Krishna are considered forms of Lakshmi.

Lakshmi is worshipped daily in Hindu homes and commercial establishments as the Goddess of wealth. She also enjoys worship as the consort of Vishnu in many temples. The festivals of Diwali and Kojagiri Purnima are celebrated in Her honor.” [1]

Gyan Rajhans breaks down and explains Her iconography and their symbolism:

“The Four Arms & Four Hands

In Goddess Lakshmi’s case upper left back hand represents Dharma (duty). The lower left frontal hand represents Artha (material wealth). The right lower frontal hand represents Kama (desire) and the upper back right hand representsMoksha (salvation).

Half open Lotus (Upper left hand)

In the upper left hand Goddess Lakshmi holds a half-blossomed lotus, which has a hundred petals. In philosophical terms, the number 100 represents the state of Sadhana. Notice that this lotus is basically red. It is not in full blossom. It has streaks of whiteness. The red in it represents Rajoguna, the functional aspect, and the white represents Satoguna, the purity aspect. In other words this symbolizes progress in both mundane and spiritual walks of life side by side.

Gold Coins (Lower left hand)

Invariably this hand of the Goddess is shown dropping gold coins on the ground, where we find an owl sitting. The dropping of coins represents prosperity in all directions, or total prosperity. The gold coins do not only represent money; they also symbolize prosperity at all levels.

Abhaya Mudra (Right lower hand)

Now we come across the right lower hand, which is held in Abhaya Mudra (the pose signifying assurance of freedom from fear). The Gita says fear is caused by unfulfilled desires. The ultimate gift of the Goddess is the blessing of deliverance from fears.

Lotus in The Right Upper Hand

This hand is holding a lotus, which is fully opened; a lotus with one thousand petals (in contrast to the upper left hand holding half open lotus having a hundred petals), which is synonymous with sahasra-ra-chakra (the highest point in the evolution of the Kundalini Shakti). This lotus has a red base, with a blue tinge. The red in it represents ‘Rajas‘ and the blue represents ‘Akasha‘ (space). They signify total evolution.

The Red Sari (dress)

Lakshmi is shown wearing a red sari. It is again the colour of Rajas, which means creative activity. The golden embroidery indicates plenty. This re-affirms the idea of prosperity in general. This is in keeping with Her being the Goddess of prosperity.

Sitting on Lotus

The Goddess is shown sitting on a lotus. This posture means ‘Live in the world, but do not be possessed by the world’. The lotus keeps smiling on surface of water. Its origin is in mud, deep under water but its flowering is above the water-surface. Detachment and evolution is the message of this poetic symbol.

The Owl

The owl sitting on the left side of Lakshmi, where gold coins are falling, represents darkness.

An owl, generally speaking, is a night bird. It is very clever. It can’t see clearly in the daytime.

It represents perversion of attitudes in material prosperity. Undue attachment to wealth shows ignorance (darkness) and disturbs the economic balance in society. If man does not keep his balance when he gets a lot of material resources, he is bound to become a nuisance to himself and to others around him.

Four Fair Elephants Pouring Water (From Golden Vessels)

In common pictures of Lakshmi, we see four whitish elephants pouring water drawn from the ocean on the Goddess. This water is contained in golden vessels. Those four elephants represent the four directions—North, South, East, and West. The white hue here means purity. Wisdom has been occasionally represented in Hindu mythology by the form of an elephant.
The symbol of four elephants pouring water from golden vessels on the Goddess suggests that the chain of Purushartha (endeavour), dharma, artha, kama and moksha has to be continuously strengthened with wisdom, purity and charity.

Thus, we see that the idol or picture of Goddess Lakshmi represents prosperity and activity for achievement of liberation and attainment of self-realization.” [2]

“Lakshmi has many names. She is known to be very closely associated with the lotus, and Her many epithets are connected to the flower, such as:

  • Padma: lotus dweller
  • Kamala: lotus dweller
  • Padmapriya: One who likes lotuses
  • Padmamaladhara devi: One who wears a garland of lotuses
  • Padmamukhi: One whose face is as beautiful as a lotus
  • Padmakshi: One whose eyes are as beautiful as a lotus
  • Padmahasta: One who holds a lotus
  • Padmasundari: One who is as beautiful as a lotus

Her other names include:

  • Vishnupriya: One who is the beloved of Vishnu
  • Ulkavahini: One who rides an owl

Her other names include: Manushri, Chakrika, Kamalika, Lalima, Kalyani, Nandika, Rujula, Vaishnavi, Samruddhi, Narayani, Bhargavi, Sridevi, Chanchala, Jalaja, Madhavi, Sujata, Shreya and Aiswarya. She is also referred to as Jaganmaatha (‘Mother of the Universe’) in Shri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam. Rama and Indira are popular.” [3]

 

Lakshmi Chalisa is a forty verse prayer dedicated to Maha Lakshmi. Verses are usually dedicated to praise the goddess. The acts and deeds of Goddess Lakshmi are recalled in these verses to aid the devotee to meditate on virtuous and noble qualities.

 

 

I also really liked this video too.  This is Lakshmi Ashtottara Satha Nama Stotram – 108 names of Goddess Lakshmi Devi and is a Hindu devotional mantra.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Rajhans, Gyan. Gyansrajhans.blogspot.com, “Ma Lakshmi’ Symbols explained“.

Wikipedia, “Lakshmi“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Andromeda. Order of the White Moon, “Lakshmi“.

Barkemeijer de Wit, Rhiannon. Pyramidcompany.com, “Who Is Goddess Lakshmi?

Blue, Nazarri. Order of the White Moon, “Lakshmi“.

Brockway, Laurie Sue. Goddessgift.com, “Lakshmi, Hindu Goddess of Good Fortune“.

Das, Subhamoy. Hinduism.about.com, “Lakshmi: Goddess of Wealth & Beauty!“.

Exotic India, “Lakshmi: The Lotus Goddess“.

Gil / Govinda. Myspace.com, “Symbolism of Lakshmi devi: Very Important!

Kumar, Nitin. Exoticindiaart.com, “Hindu Goddesses – Lakshmi and Saraswati“.

Omgan.com, “Goddess Lakshmi Worship“.

Pandit, Bansi. Koausa.org, “Goddess Lakshmi“.

Sai MahaLakshmi.com, “Goddess Lakshmi Maha Lakshmi“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Sri Lakshmi“.

 

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“.

This was a wonderful read! This is especially true, “Not many people understand what spiritual feminists mean when we speak of Goddess or goddesses…Invoking the names and images of Goddess answers a deep hunger in women, and among a growing number of men, to restore balance, for justice and truth. This longing is felt beyond pagan circles. It’s a call, a cry mounting from women within the majoritarian religions, a movement that transcends traditional religious boundaries. A great expansion is opening, from the nuns who won’t be silenced, women in the gathering Islamic reformation, all the overturnings of decreed female inconsequence, of patriarchal frameworks and hierarchies, in the flowering of an interfaith movement centered in love, not authority.” Max Dashu

We are going through a huge cultural shift toward restoring the female to her full radiance. However you want to define that, it is rising now, through us.

That which is Sacred, what should we call it? We’ve been told to name it he, him, his. That it was blasphemy to do otherwise, to say she, even as they desecrated the Divine with comparisons to mortal overlords, those cruel masters, despoliators, persecutors. No. Reconsider. That fearful address to an authoritarian punisher takes us far from true reverence. Rather revere the roots of Being, manifesting in all Nature around us, within us. The profound silence, and the Deep calling to the Deep.

Deeply I go down into myself. My god is Dark and like a webbing

made of a hundred roots that drink in silence. ― Rainer Maria Rilke

There are myriad emanations of the indescribable Source, but Goddess women call…

View original post 1,291 more words

Goddess Hosia

“The Oracle of the Pearl” by A. Andrew Gonzalez

“Hosia’s themes are cleansing, offering, forgiveness, and magic.  Her symbols are ritual tools.  Hosia is the Greek Goddess who created all sacred rituals and ceremonies, Hosia oversees today’s rite of Thargelia and directs our magical energy toward successful manifestation.

Follow Greek tradition and leave Hosia an offering of fruit, bread or wheat to encourage her assistance. Next, consider creating a personal ritual for cleansing or forgiveness. Hosia will guide your hand in choosing words and actions suited to the working. Alternatively, take out your ritual tools and ask for Hosia’s  blessing on them, saying:

 ‘Hosia, these are the tools of my hand, heart and spirit They symbolize the elements and the corners of creation Today I ask that you empower them for working magic and regulate their use for the greatest good May they always direct my energy in perfect love and trust So be it.’

In Greece, a scapegoat (often a criminal) was often identified to bear the sins for an entire community, then banished into the wilderness. A way to adapt this is by designing an image of something you need to banish, then ‘driving it away’ by putting it in the car and leaving it in a remote spot. As you turn away, ask Hosia to witness the rite and to empower your efforts for positive change.”

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

“Mother of the World” by Nicholas Roerich

While researching Hosia, I found some interesting things about the term hosia.  I discovered that Hosia “is a word placed before the names of Goddesses. It means something like “holy” and “praise” and other things along the same lines.” [1]  This could be the equivalent of the use of “Sri” in Hinduism, which is used as a title of veneration for deities (usually translated as “Holy”).

According to Karl Kerenyi as written by Daniel Browning, “cosmically, the gods form a boundary to human existence, at which humanity becomes aware of the difference between mortality and eternity. The victory of the gods is only possible because of their proximity to man. In this regard, certain protocols in ancient Greece had to be followed. Things and activities for the Greeks were either ‘hosia’ or ‘not-hosia.’

For example, in the Odyssey it is ‘not-hosia’ to call on the gods in the presence of corpses. Likewise, in the Hymn to Apollo, it is ‘not-hosia’ for mortals to use the horses tethered in the sacred precinct of Poseidon Hippios, because they are sacred animals. In reality these horses were cared for by priests. Poseidon’s horses were symbolic of the power behind the Sun, of the movement of time and the journey between cosmic shores. Poseidon’s trident was the center of their course: according to Robert Graves Poseidon planted his trident in the Moon and three fountains were born.

Kerenyi later points out that in Roman religion, the priest of Jupiter was not allowed to mount or ride any horse whatsoever — the horse being under the jurisdiction of the priest of Mars, the antagonistic deity of war. The priest of Mars sacrificed a horse on the October Horse day and thus was in intimate contact with the horse and its spirit.

For the Greeks, an animal sacrifice was a hosioter, and the death-dealer purified himself through the death-stroke. For the Bacchants of Euripides, the Hosia floated as a great Goddess on golden wings, a victory of life over death. She made sure that no rite of divine worship was neglected, and thus kept the divinities from exacting punishments. She made sure that both the Jupiter (Olympian) and Martian (Underworld) gods received worship in the form of holy observances. This kind of hosia is surely a precursor to the later Roman religion which was so concerned with Jupiter and Mars.

A characteristic of Greek religion is the ‘remoteness’ of the underworld domain, which is an ‘inner sanctum.’ The hosiotes aspired to Olympic heights, and for them the underworld domain was kept in the background, reinforcing the idea of the underworld as a ‘remote’ place. The regular world of the hosios was bright and clear, and the hosate priest did everything in his power to keep the hosia constantly flowing. One might add that in the everyday affairs of the hosioshosia manifested itself as a simple ritual acknowledgement of the appearances of the Sun and the Moon — rarely did things get more esoteric than this.” [2]

That’s some pretty deep stuff.  I’m by no means an expert or scholar, but after reading this and applying my soft-polytheistic point of views, it would seem to me that Hosia is not so much a “tangible” Goddess so to say (then again, what deity is tangible?) but more of an energy, or an Essence.  It seems to me that Hosia could be compared to Shekinah (the manifestation of the Wisdom Goddess of the Kabbalah, the Hebrew Bible and Merkavah Mysticism [3]), the Holy Spirit , or even Sophia (the beginning, the source of wisdom, and keeper of the knowledge of all that is righteous and just [4]) in the Judeo-Christian religions.  This could be a bit of a stretch, but Hosia could even, in my opinion, be compared to Shakti, the primordial cosmic energy that represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe in Hinduism.

“Sige” by Pamela Matthews

This only furthers and confirms, for me at least, my deeply held soft-polytheistic spiritual views.  With so many Goddesses all over the world sharing similar attributes and similar stories, truly, what else could it be?  It is my personal belief that the different Goddesses are Essences of pure love, compassion, fertility, destruction, etc. – are energy and have the ability to manifest and act as messengers, helpers and catalysts. I often refer to Shakespeare’s quote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” to describe my views of the Goddess as She moves in and through the different cultures throughout this world.  Her name may change, Her “face” may change, but She is still the same through and through.

I truly believe that the “Gods” were ancient man’s way to interpret and explain the world around him/her – giving the intangible forces around them tangible qualities and aspects in an attempt to understand and control Them. Their myths are but parables, tales and life lessons.  In the bigger scheme of things, these Essences radiate from the Great Mother (the “Big Mama” if you will) who is Knowledge, Wisdom, Truth, and the Spark and driving force of Creation.

 

 

 

Sources:

d’Este, Sorita & David Rankine. The Cosmic Shekinah, “The Book“.

Browning, Daniel. The Earthspace Discovery Website, “Kerenyi on Greek and Roman Religion“.

Goddessgift.com, “Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom“.

paleothea.com, “Greek Goddesses – H: Hosia“.

Suggested Links:

Harrison, Jane Ellen. Prolegomena to the study of Greek religion, “The Hosioi and Hosia“.

Goddess Maheswari

“Maheswari’s themes are protection, overcoming and prayer.  Her symbols are masks, drums and prayer wheels.  An epic mother-Goddess figure in the Hindu pantheon and a protective aspect of Lakshmi, Maheswari hears our prayers for assistance in risky, threatening, or seemingly impossible situations. When your back’s to the wall, Maheswari opens a doorway for a clever, smooth exit.

Consider following the Indian custom of dancing to drums while masked and enacting a pantomime in which you victoriously overcome some negativity in your life. If you’re trying to quit smoking, for example, dance over your cigarettes and destroy them. To overcome a broken heart, jump over a paper heart, then carry it with you to manifest Mahesvari’s life-affirming energy in your heart.

A fun version of the Buddhist prayer wheel can be fashioned from a children’s pinwheel. Write your prayers to Maheswari on the blades of the wheel. Then focus on your intent and blow! The movement releases your prayers so Maheswari can begin answering them.

Finally, find something that can act as a drum in this spell for protection and victory. Sprinkle the head of your makeshift drum lightly with rosemary and powdered cinnamon. Then tap it, saying:

 ‘Away, away, Maheswari, take the problems away.’

Continue until the herbs have been cleared off completely, symbolically clearing away that obstacle.”

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

Shiva (leftmost) with the Matrikas: (from left) Brahmani, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani, Chamunda.

“Goddess Maheshwari is one among the seven mother Goddesses or Sapta Matrikas.  Matrikas (Sanskrit: lit. ‘The Mothers’), also called Matara and Matris, are a group of Hindu Goddesses who are always depicted together.  Since they are usually depicted as a heptad,  (Sanskrit: ‘Seven Mothers’): Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari, Indrani, Kaumari, Varahi, and Chamunda or Narasimhi.  However, they may sometimes be eight (Ashtamatrikas: ‘Eight Mothers’).  Whereas in South India, Saptamatrika is prevalent, the Ashtamtrika are venerated in Nepal.” [1]

The Sri Chakra, frequently called the Sri Yantra.

“In the scheme of the Khadgamala, each of these Eight Mothers represent a human passion that must be overcome and controlled before we can enter further into Sri Chakra. We worship each passion as an aspect of Devi, then internalize it; and when we internalize each deity, we *become* Her, so that She is not separate from us. In that way, we “conquer” each passion, just as – in the first enclosure wall – we conquered each siddhi.

MAheshwari here represents Her subtle aspect as ANGER.” [2]

 

 

 

“The Matrikas assume paramount significances in the Goddess-oriented sect of Hinduism, Tantraism.  In Shaktism, they are ‘described as assisting the great Shakta Devi (Goddess) in Her fight with demons.’  Some scholars consider them Shaiva Goddesses.  They are also connected with the worship of the warrior god Skanda.

The Seven Matrikas

In most early references, the Matrikas are described as having inauspicious qualities and often described as dangerous. They come to play a protective role in later mythology, although some of their inauspicious and wild characteristics still persist in these accounts.  Thus, they represent the prodigiously fecund aspect of nature as well as its destructive force aspect.” [3]

"Goddess Rudrani (Shodash Matrikas) by Rabi Behera

The Goddess Maheshwari is the power of the god Shiva, also known as Maheshvara.  Maheshvari is also known by the names Raudri, Rudrani and Maheshi, derived from Shiva’s names Rudra and Mahesh. The vehicle or Vahana of Goddess Maheswari is Nandi (the bull).  Goddess Maheswari is usually depicted as having four arms – two arms are in Varada Mudra (granting wishes) and one is in Abhaya Mudra (protection) and two arms are depicted as holding the Sula (lance) and a Akshamala or a Damaru.  The white complexioned, Trinetra (three eyed) Goddess holds similar weapons to Shiva and has numerous other symbols and characteristics of Shiva: when She is depicted with six arms, She carries a Trishula (trident), Damaru (drum), Akshamala (a garland of beads), Panapatra (drinking vessel) or axe or an antelope or a kapala (skull bowl) or a serpent and is adorned with serpent bracelets; and two hands are in the Varada Mudra and the Abhaya Mudra.  Sometimes She is shown wearing a crescent moon and the jaṭā mukuṭa (a headress formed of piled, matted hair).  In some very rare images, Goddess Maheshwari is depicted as having five face.  [4] [5]

 

 

 

Sources:

Rajendran, Abhilash. Hindu Blog, “Goddess Maheshwari“.

Shakti Sadhana Org,  “Maheshwari Devi“.

Wikipedia, “Matrikas“.


Suggested Links:

Divine Downloads, “Sapta Matrukas – Divine Mothers“.

Exotic India, “Conception and Evolution of the Mother Goddess in India“.

Jai Maa Vaishnavi.com, “51 Shakti Peethas of Maa Durga – Maa Sati, Dakshayani| Jai Maa Vaishnavi“.

Krishnaraj, Veeraswamy. “The Saktas“.

Omsakthi.org, “Supreme Goddess Adhiparasakthi and the Seven Goddesses“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Kamala“.

Sri Chinmoy Library, “Will You Speak About the Divine…

Write Spirit, “Maheshwari“.

Wikipedia, “Goddess Maheshwari“.

Wikipedia, “Shakti“.

Wikisource.org, “The Bhagavad Gita (Telang translation)/Chapter 12“.

Goddess Gauri

Maha Gauri

“Gauri’s themes are spring, protection, fertility, harvest, beauty, humor, youthfulness, wishes and equality.  Her symbols are balsam, golden-colored items, milk, mirrors and lions.  This fertile Hindu Goddess extends spring-like youth, beauty and tenderness into our lives. Gauri has a sympathetic ear for all human needs and wishes. In works of art She is depicted as a fair maiden, attended by lions and bearing wild balsam and a mirror. She was born of a milky sea, and Her name translates as ‘golden one’, indicating a connection with the sun. She is offered rice to ensure a good rice crop.

Holi is India’s most colorful festival, filled with Gauri’s equitable spirit. It celebrates an epic tale in which the sun (Gauri) is freed from a god’s mouth by getting him to laugh! Customarily, caste restrictions are shed today in order for people to simply have fun. Everyone squirts colored water at one another, and by the end of the day, no one can tell who is a servant and who is a king! This translates into a good-humored water-balloon toss. Focus on a goal while you play. When a balloon breaks, it releases Gauri’s youthful joy and productivity into your life.

Hindu custom suggests eating sweets to generate Gauri’s beauty and pleasantness in your spirit today. Or, pour Her a libation of milk while making a wish for something you’d like to ‘harvest’ in your life. Hang balsam in your home to foster Gauri’s fairness in your family’s interactions.”

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

Goddess Gauri is one of the manifestations of Goddess Parvati.  She is the divine energy, Mother Goddess.  She is considered as a perfect wife for Her husband, Lord Shiva.  She is a clear representation of purity and austerity.  She is the Kanya (Kumari or unmarried girl) who performed severe tapas (penance) to marry Lord Shiva.  After the conclusion of Her ferocious form Goddess Kali, She observed a severe penance to get rid of Her black complexion.

In another version I read, Parvati first sought out Shiva to seduce him, Shiva found Her dark skin to be unattractive. Parvati retreated into the forest, where She lived a very austere life, developing Her spiritual powers. Brahma took notice of Parvati’s mastery of Her physical self, and decided to grant Her one wish. Parvati asked that Her dark skin be taken away, so that Shiva would love Her. Brahma took the darkness and created the Goddess Kali with it, leaving Parvati with golden skin, and She became the Goddess Gauri.   Because of Her golden color, She is associated with rice and grains, taking on the role of a fertility Goddess.

Gauri Worshipping Lord Shiva

Gowri Puja is an important ritual during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.  Married women worship Goddess Gowri with Sindoor or kumkum for their sowbhagyam (marital bliss).  Unmarried girls worship Her in order to get virtuous husbands.  One prays to Goddess Gauri because according to Puranas, She is the Divine Mother and the origin of the Universe.  Mother Goddess, Shakti, has various celestial manifestations like Goddess Sri Raja Rajeshwari, Goddess Gauri, Lalitha Tripura Sundari Devi, etc. [1][2][3]

 

 

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Gauri“.

The Hindu Universe, “Goddess Gauri“.

Hindupad, Goddess Gauri – Gowri Devi“.

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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Georgia Heathen Society's Blog

Heathen's in Georgia

Mystic Fire Blog

A Spiritual Blog by Dipali Desai. Awaken to your true nature.

art and healing Blog

Art heals yourself, others, community and the earth

My Moonlit Path.....

The Story of My Everyday Life.....

Raising Natural Kids

Because knowledge is the key to making informed decisions for your family.

Philip Carr-Gomm

Philip Carr Gomm

Works of Literata

Magic, fiber, cats

The Northern Grove

Celebrating Pagan History and Culture of Northern Europe

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

The Witch of Forest Grove

Animism, Folk Magic, and Spirit Work in the Pacific Northwest

WoodsPriestess

Exploring the intersection between Nature, the Goddess, art, and poetry as well as the practical work of priestessing.