3/22/10

Goddess of the Week: Devi

Cafe Pasadena wants to know if there is one all purpose, multi-function goddess. Who can blame him? The good thing about monotheism is that it streamlines the whole worship process. There's no this temple for love, that temple for war, this sacrifice to the hearth goddess, that sacrifice to the lava goddess. Monotheism is like the supermarket -- it just makes things easier -- and the supermarket of goddesses is the Hindu goddess Devi.

Tridevi: Lakshmi, Parvati, SaraswatiImage via Wikipedia


Devi is kind of like Plastic man. She can look however she wants. By doing so, she can be whatever kind of goddess you need. She can have ten arms and be the goddess Durga if you need a warrior. She can have blood-red eyes and be Kali if you need some destruction and/or rebirth. She can put on a party dress and look all June Cleaver if you need Parvati, the good mom. I could go on and on. She can become your water goddess, your wealth goddess, your boons goddess, your compassion goddess. You could channel any of these manifestations of Devi, or you could just go straight to Devi and channel her. It just depends upon your need.

Let's say, for example, you need cash. The manifestation of Devi you need would be Lakshmi. Shibang. Channel her. But let's say you're a fricking mess. Not only do you need cash, but you need to be nice to your kid who everybody is teasing, you need to kick some butt with the administration of her school because they're doing nothing about it, you need to find your kid a new school so that she can have a fresh start, and, to top it all off, your toilet is overflowing. In that case, you can straight-up channel Devi. (Then, for godsake, get yourself some wine because you need a fricking drink.)

Devi reminds us that we, too, are more than the sum of our parts. We may be daughters, partners, mothers, workers, lushes -- we may be many things. But, always, we are fricking Helen Reddy Women! Hear us roar! And don't be messing with our blood-red bent on destruction eyes. Out of them, whole worlds are born.

Channel this goddess: when a piece-meal goddess just won't do, when you need the whole package to save your flipping mind. Also, when multi-tasking.

Need a goddess: I got goddesses! Post a request and I'll see what I can do.

Also: You might want to read my thoroughly ungoddess-related opinion essay in today's Pasadena Star News.


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20 comments:

Stacey Smith said...

Need a new school? Allow me to recommend a Christian and classical school (perhaps one is near you http://www.accsedu.org/Page.aspx?id=36682). What's great about these schools is that they are academically first-rate and, get this, the people are NICE. I know all this because my son, who has strong Asperger's traits, goes to this type of school. If he had been at a public school all these years, I know he would have been eaten alive.

Godspeed in your search!

Bec said...

Really enjoyed your article in the Star News. Sorry for what your daughter has been going through. I was teased a lot as a child and made it to adulthood but I worry about my daughter because it seems like kids only get meaner.

Rois said...

My older son has a 504 Plan for his Crohn's disease do you know about these plans? The federal government mandates that any child with a disability and goes to a public school has rights and the school must comply or risk losing their funding.
It can be a bear to work through the schools red tape but if you just keep standing strong you can get your daughter one.
I know this dose not take away the bulling but it will cover a lot of other things that may pop up.
I was picked on as a kid and it sucks.I learned to "pluck a turkey" a technique of throwing things back at a bully.Say some one pulls your hair so you turn around,just don't show them you are deep inside shaking, and say something like "Thanks for pulling my hair,it makes it grow faster." It takes courage but if your daughter is like you she will find it.
Good luck with the walk!

Margaret said...

Stacey: Thanks. I think I have the school we want, but I'm always up for my investigating.

Bec: It's so hard to separate these things. I was bullied a bit myself so it's especially hard to see this going on.

Rois: She already has an IEP. She's not so quick with the comebacks. We're working on ignoring. Sigh.

But, everybody, we are Helen Reddy Devi Women! Hear us Roar! Roar.

Cafe Pasadena said...

I wish there was a "1,2,3 You're Free" answer for this. But, these cruel kids themselves probably have been mistreated/igonored. In a weired way they also are asking for attention, or help.

Your daughter is a special girl.
She will survive, and thrive, and be stronger for it despite the childish cruelty of some kids.

Desiree said...

Great--just great

Joanne said...

Margaret, what a powerful piece you've written. I'm inclined to ask what's wrong with those classmates, and the administration? The behaviors, and lack of them, are simply unacceptable. I have a strong feeling that you are now and always will be your daughter's Goddess of the Week. My hat's off to you.

Daisy said...

I agree with Joanne. Margaret is not only a goddess, but also Friday's Wise Woman!

The PAC (PTA in the US I think) is having an evening about bullying in our schools. I think it would help if kids were forbidden to watch the tv news. All those nasty adults aren't good role models.

Sandra Lee said...

You are so funny!

Shell Sherree said...

Having a poor memory for goddesses as I do, I'm ever so grateful for Devi ~ all-purpose works for me. I can feel your protective ferocity from here, Margaret. I'm so sorry things are still going tough for your daughter.

altadenahiker said...

Don't mess with Margaret's cubs. Great post, great article.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

yup, a mama bears got to do what a mama bears got to do.
.....and your cub will do better with a new start. Some believe that such experiences make you stronger. I'm not one of them. Their damaging and lifelong.

Just warn me before you drop in so I can make sure the Simpson's aren't on.

Petrea said...

While reading this I was hoping you'd link us to your Star-News piece, which is indeed goddess-related, Margaret. You are that goddess. Don't mess with goddesses! You've certainly taught us that.

If I were a South Pas mom and I read that piece, I'd be trying to contact you right now to find out what school that is so I don't put my kid there.

Margaret said...

Petrea: To the school's credit, they are trying, but it is hard because it's become viral. She doesn't even know half the kids who say things to her so she can't identify them later. Also, as I mention in the piece, the school can tell kids they can't make fun of seizures, but they find ways around it. In this case, because of the Simpsons episode, Simpson's has become code for seizure. So they just hun the theme song when they see her or talk about the episode they saw last night, and apparently you cannot stop people from their god-given right to hum. What they are looking for is a big reaction, and while she is getting better at ignoring them, in the past in particular she would get really upset because she's already in a fragile place right now. The fun was getting the reaction, and since she gave it them, the whole thing mushroomed.

Petrea said...

I guess you can't tell people not to mention the Simpsons. And if we tell the Simpsons not to make fun of seizures, will they cite freedom of speech? If only their writers knew how this one "joke" was being used. I wonder if any other malicious kids use it this way to abuse their fellow students?

Cafe says "these cruel kids themselves probably have been mistreated/igonored." I'm no behavioralist and he may be right, but I'd be willing to bet it's more likely those cruel kids are over-indulged and spoiled. They aren't born with this kind of behavior. They learn it.

claire said...

I lived in New Delhi for four and half years in the early and mid eighties. I had the opportunity of learning about Devi, Lakshmi, Parvati, Kali, etc. All these are really a facet of Shakti, the Feminine Divine.

A male god, whether Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva or any of the Vishnu avatars can do little without his Shakti, his feminine consort.

The Mother Goddess is very big in India, very real, even though so many women have no power whatsoever.

Possibly men worship Shakti and all of her forms because they too want her power.

We could say all these goddesses are put on a pedestal the way men in our societies put Virgin Mary on a pedestal, strangely enough as to keep us women in our place -- lower that is.

I remember once having created at the time of Diwali a small altar to Lakshmi and Vishnu (?) with all the small details that I had found at Khan Market. I felt awed when I saw the lady working for us bowing in front of my makeshift altar. What I had created, as a cultural experience, was very real to her. As if someone created a Catholic altar in a house for the effect it would create...

claire said...

PS: I feel very much for what your daughter is going through. I hope children are shown by their parents how to be kind -- and intelligent?

Coppertop said...

Loved the post and loved your article as well. I do mediations for state agencies and it's true: small, mean words create huge problems. "Meanness," bullying, "jokes," are just a way for people to control others. I bet your daughter will grow up knowing how to kick some ass because of her mom. Good for you.

... daisy... said...

Multipurpose? Multitasking!!! Multitasking... only a woman could do it! so no wonder it's a godESS! :-D

Margaret said...

Claire: Thanks so much for your insight. I really appreciated what you added and how you clarified.