Kali of Hindu Mythology

Friday, February 01, 2008

Literally “the Black One,” in Hindu myth, Kali is the destructive aspect of Parvati, consort to Shiva. She is usually depicted draped with several human heads and trampling on the body of her slain husband. She is simply one of aspect of the ultimate goddess, Devi.

She is often called Kali Ma, “the Black Mother,” and in addition to being a necessary destroyer, she is also a powerful creative force. Many of her rituals are orgiastic in nature. According to Patricia Monaghan,* Kali first manifested herself when the demon Daruka threatened the gods. The great goddess Parvati frowned at Daruka, knitting her brows in fury. From her sprang Kali, armed with a trident. She chased off the demon and made the heavens safe again. Myths tell of Kali dancing with Shiva, her dancing becoming wilder and wilder. She pauses, but should she continue, she could shake the world to pieces with her wildness. Despite the seeming negativity of this goddess, she is one of the most popular in India and is adopted by some Witchcraft covens.

*Monaghan, Patricia: The Book of Goddesses and Heroines.

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