After a rather impromptu rite to Kali-Ma undertaken this week, I thought I would share part of an article that I had written about Kali-Ma for "Insight" magazine (either in 2009 or early 2010).
With her dishevelled hair and protruding tongue, Kali does not portray the demure image of the Divine Feminine that we in the West are comfortable with, such as the Virgin Mary found within Christianity.
In Hindu mythology Kali emerged from the brow of the Goddess Durga when, during a battle, the demon Raktabija threatened to destroy all life. It was believed that if one drop of Raktabija’s blood was split, from it millions of demons would spring to life. Kali therefore sucked all the blood from the demon, and as a consequence, she developed a blood lust and started to dance. As her dance grew more frenzied, it was realised that Kali would soon destroy all that had been created in the world. The only way to stop her was for Shiva to sacrifice of his own life. When Kali realised that she was dancing on the body of her consort, she stopped, and all harmony was restored.
|Durga and Kali-Ma|
Kali is usually depicted as having four arms. In her left hand she is usually holding a sword (representing divine knowledge) and severed head of a slain demon (signifying the human ego that must be slain by divine knowledge). Her other two hands are said to be blessing her worshippers. Kali can however also be depicted having two arms or even ten.
|Altar to Kali-Ma|
Kali is the powerful Goddess of creation, preservation and radical transformation. She is raw female instinct, always changing, yet always changeless. She teaches that pain, sorrow, decay, destruction and death is not overcome by denial or explaining them away. Pain and sorrow are woven into our lives and to deny them is futile. For us to realise to fullness of our being, we must accept this dimension of existence.