12/29/08

Goddess of the Week: Kali

Out with the old, in with the new.  As the new year approaches, it is best to remember Kali, the Hindu goddess of death and rebirth. 

With a sword in one of her four hands, the head of a demon in the second, two dead heads for earrings, a skull necklace, red eyes, and blood-doused face and breasts, it is easy to see why Kali is one of the most feared of the goddesses.  Indeed, you don't want to mess with this mama.  In one battle, this fierce warrior became so enraged that she began destroying everything in her path, which included far more than her own enemies.

But like all powerful women, she is a bit misunderstood.  The name Kali is derived from Kal, which means change.  And, more than anything, Kali is the goddess of change and time.  Things change.  Times change.  Deal with it, says Kali.  Her real enemies are false consciousness and ego, the enemies inside us that keep us from enlightenment.  Facing any enemy is not pleasant, and it is not easy.  Sometimes you must be brutal, even with yourself, if you are to move on.  Fortunately, Kali's other two hands (that's half of her hands!) are raised in compassion, which is Kali's way of reminding us that even as you face the toughest demons inside you, even as those demons cling to the past or tell you lies about yourself, you must hold yourself in compassion and forgiveness, for forgiveness, too, is the key to rebirth.

Channel this goddess: When faced with destruction and decay and with bad endings and unhappy endings.  These are the things that make new beginnings possible.  

6 comments:

altadenahiker said...

I want those earrings! Actually, I find these posts inspirationally fun. Or funnily inspirational. I don't imagine we'll ever run out of goddesses, will we? Do you have a favorite Margaret? Mine is probably Diana.

Margaret said...

My favorite goddess is Venus, who is much more complicated and cool that artists would have us believe. But I also really like Quan Yin, who is the Buddhist goddess of Compassion because -- really -- who among us couldn't benefit from a bit more compassion. Both of these goddesses figure in the novel I'm shopping around. It's called The Goddess and Lounge and the first three pages are on my website: MargaretFinnegan.com. I really like my novel.

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

Kali is my gal. I wouldn't mind a few extra hands as well as needing this sentence tatooed to the back of my eyelids "even as those demons cling to the past or tell you lies about yourself, you must hold yourself in compassion and forgiveness, for forgiveness, too, is the key to rebirth" ....beautiful

and heres Kali with a really long tongue. I'm a fan of Indian miniatures

altadenahiker said...

It's thanks to you I've dusted off my Bullfinch and am reading it again. I think your mother sounds just charming. Happy New Year.

Margaret said...

PA: That's a great graphic. She's pretty glorious isn't she?

AH: Glad you've dusted off ol' Bullfinch. Enjoy.

Susan C said...

I was really frightened when I first started reading about Kali, but now I feel like I really understand her and channel her often.

AH - I love Margaret's novel.

PA - I'm with you on that tattoo.