Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kali - Creator and Destroyer


Fiona Horne recommended calling upon Kali for when you want to 'get the dross out of your life.'

Kali is the fearful and ferocious form of the mother goddess. She assumed the form of a powerful goddess and became popular with the composition of the Devi Mahatmya, a text of the 5th - 6th century AD. Here she is depicted as having born from the brow of Goddess Durga during one of her battles with the evil forces. As the legend goes, in the battle, Kali was so much involved in the killing spree that she got carried away and began destroying everything in sight. To stop her, Lord Shiva (her husband) threw himself under her feet. Shocked at this sight, Kali stuck out her tongue in astonishment, and put an end to her homicidal rampage. Hence the common image of Kali shows her in her mêlée mood, standing with one foot on Shiva's chest, with her enormous tongue stuck out. 

Some say that Lord Shiva changed himself into the form of a plump baby when he threw himself at her feet and from there she took him and suckled him as the Dark Mother.  Later in the evening he transformed back into himself and convinced her to join him and others in the dance of creation.

The Hindu goddess who lives in crematoriums is depicted as an agressive 'Dark Mother' dressed in a girdle of dead men's arms and adorned with a necklace of skulls she does not discriminate when destroying - unless you're a worshipper.  As a worshipper you are taken on as a child to the Dark Mother who can be called upon to 'kill off' negativity surrounding you and on her flip side can be called upon for fertility.  She has eight arms (four on each side), one holding a sword, the other a demon's head with a remaining two to bless her worshippers, two arms are dead to hold earrings and the rest hold forms of weapons.  She is sometimes seen with blood on her face and chest as she drinks from a skull cup of blood.

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.

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