Chapter 5-Mahadevi/Kali/Parvati

April 20, 2010 at 3:46 am (Goddess, love, magic, metaphysics, Mythology, paganism, philosophy, religion, sex, spirituality)

 

Once again it is not completely edited, but another installment in my book.  Enjoy:)

Chapter five-Kali/Parvati

 In India, just as in Egypt it seems the schism of light and dark was not so severe. In fact the Hindu/Vedic acknowledges the concept of a great Goddess, named Devi or Mahadevi. This all encompassing deity had different aspects, whom had different names. The two I am interested in are the two consorts of Shiva, Ma Kali and Parvati.

Parvati is a goddess that was first known as Uma. There is really no distinction between the two so I will discuss her in her later form. Parvati means daughter of the mountains. She was characterized as the gentle passive aspect of Mahadevi. She and Shiva had two children the elephant headed God Ganesha, and the warrior God Skanda. As Uma she is thought to have been the sister of Vishnu. There is a story of Shiva where he angry starts dancing so hard that he began to destroy the earth. This is not uncommon as apparently he has done this many times but always restores the earth and the whole process happens so fast that it is indiscernible to us humans. Parvati seeing what’s going on and gathers all the herbs she can think of, including Marijuana, and prepares a drink for him called Bhang out of these herbs. Shiva drinks it and is calmed and thus the world is saved. She must always be invoked in temple rituals to ensure Shiva beneficence. In some instances she was portrayed as dark skinned and Shiva apparently teased her for this. She fled to a forest and became an ascetic. In one version she impresses Brahma with her austerities, and he transforms her into a golden goddess Gauri, but in another, her dark skin becomes Kali, and it is in this version I am much more interested.

There is a recurrent theme with these “dark” Goddesses of shame, of degradation of betrayal, and it would seem that maybe Kali is no different. After all hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Kali, is one of the most misunderstood deities of our time. Most have betrayed her as mindless evil, and it must be argued that she is usually portrayed with a severed head in her left hand, a garland of skulls and a skirt made of severed arms, not to mention her tongue lolling out, thirsty for blood. But Kali is an incredibly wise and powerful figures. Just as with the rest of the Ladies I have discussed she is the electrical ground if you will of all creation, she exists at the end and at the beginning, and as such stands outside the realm of the known and controllable. It is said the severed head she carries is representative of destruction of ego. She breaks down all pretense and illusion of control and of self-aggrandizement with her bloody head-taking sword. Her tongue lolling out for blood is a symbol of hungry death, a fearsome quality but no doubt necessary. However in her right hand she holds boons, and just like all the other Goddesses there is wisdom to be found in facing ones own death and mortality. That being among other things, is that there is a portion of any person that does not die, it can be hidden, suppressed, mutilated denied whatever, but it is always there, even if it is forced to become shadow. And when that happens then it rules from the unconscious, even then it cannot be destroyed, it only becomes more powerful and dangerous. This is the very nature of Kali, or Ereshkigal. The Goddess forced into the underworld, the dark spurned goddess, the underworld being the unconscious and vice versa. When the illusion of control is sacrificed and a person realizes that all they can really do is control themselves (and even that is a stretch), it begins the inward journey that results in the wisdom, that a persons integrity is really all they have, and it is the most priceless thing in existence. And when one faces death, and has the courage to realize this is all that really matters, somehow death is not so scary. The real death to be feared in our world is the death of this eternal flame if you will, and I am so sad to say that there are more dead people running around than there are living.

Integrity and honor are the True Self, the God within, that is beyond all failing of the human personality. No matter how depraved or degraded a person may become, this fire still burns, and it links all of us. It is never too late to acknowledge this divinity with in and to honor it. It is a slow process, and the demons and mistakes of the past will come back to haunt you. But the path to redemption lies with in you, and your own internal compass, this fire, call it your conscience, will lead you through your past to find out where it all went wrong and how to fix it. Jung called the sum total of these “fires”, the collective unconscious, I call it God, and I mean by the divine before we labeled it. The divine that is beyond any one persons fathoming, and we are forced to describe in our meager terms and as such we put a face like Kali or Christ on it, even though that is not the whole truth, only a part.

It is in this process of Self realization, that Mother Kali, Ma Kali steps in. Like a wise mother she does what needs to be done to help her children grow, and sometimes such lessons are very painful, because the child thinks it knows when it really does not. We are her children and she is always teaching us. Kali just like all the other Ladies I have mentioned, are trying to teach us. It is only in the denial or disrespect of Her that the terrifying aspects come out.

In some cases her girdle of severed arms were a girdle of snakes, and she is associated with snakes. Snakes in many cultures are considered creatures of wisdom. Fearsome but have knowledge to impart to those courageous enough not to run. Kali also is associated with human sacrifice and this is true. However the portrayal of the screaming victim, devoured against their will, popularized by Indiana Jones is not true. Sacrificial victims more often that not where willing participants. I cannot say precisely what would lead a person to willingly have themselves sacrificed, but two examples that might explain in my mind are Islamic extremists who will blow themselves up because the reward in heaven that awaits them, is worth it, or the cases of suicide, where people honestly do not want to live any more. The practice of blood sacrifice continued well into the 1800’s when human sacrifice was banned by the British occupying government, who no doubt found the whole process appalling. Kali is also associated with blood red roses, and I think the reason is obvious, the color. It may also be the metaphor of something so beautiful surrounded by something so prickly.

It also may have something to do with her role in Tantra. Tantra, like Kali herself is another widely misunderstood topic in the west. Most associate it with the Kama Sutra and various barely above seedy sex manuals on the subject which treat it as a means to greater pleasure, a marginalization that to me is beyond offensive. It no doubt will teach you a few new tricks in the bedroom, but the fundamental power of this ancient system is breathtaking. Not power in the sense of ego, but power as in wisdom and regeneration. Nobody knows how old tantra is, but is the foundation on which the whole of Vedic and Hindu thought is based. As massive and venerated as those systems are, that go back to the very beginning of civilization itself, Tantra is older, and it remains still a vibrant wellspring of divine life-giving energy even today. Perhaps it was a contribution to Indian society by the Dravidians, a profound lineage from before the Aryan invasion brought a more patriarchal mode of worship to the Indus valley, but wherever it came from, it is a beacon of hope in this day and age.

Tantra is known as a cult of the feminine, where the female is raised above the man. Not to say man is inferior, because it is precisely because of his superior physical strength, he should honor her, for she gave that strength to him is the aspect of his mother. It is all to easy to be strong, and never be humbled. Women deal with humiliation everyday. It is no coincidence that the chakras or energy points of a persons body end with the highest being the feminine wisdom of the crown chakra, of soul of surrender, of incoming will, and the highest male chakra, of spirit is the brow, located right below the crown. Women are the culture preservers, the life givers, the nurturers, the healing salve of love on a wounded man. When venerated and held above we heal, the deepest wounds.

It is this last concept of woman healing that is the primary focus of Tantra as I see it. Magnets have the power to heal, and women’s very nature is magnetic, not just figuratively, literally. There are subtle magnetic generated by women at the moment of orgasm that heal. Men nest with you women when your done making love, don’t run out of bed as soon as the deed is done. Bask in those magnetic rays. But that is not all, the joining of semen and vaginal secretions from orgasm is amrita, the dew of immortality and it is only more potent when a woman is menstruating. Hence Kali’s red roses, the rose being a euphemism for a woman’s genitalia. Guys do not fear this aspect of woman. Not only are you doing yourself a favor by joining with your woman during her moon time, your doing her a favor too, because it eases the pain. Consider it an offering to the dark Goddess.

But there is even more to Tantra, not just an alchemical formula for healing. Tantra speaks of the Kundalini, the serpent coiled at the base of the spine. Sometimes it happens by accident, but the informed Tantric practitioner knows to visualize (and thereby make a reality) the serpent going up the spine into the head. At the point of orgasm energy shoots up the spine/Kundalini into the brain. When those seedy Kama Sutra books talk of mind-blowing sex, they trivialize it, the real mind-blowing happens from this charge to the brain, because it is a means of expanding the mind, and as such enlightenment. It is also a way to increase life essence so that in theory, it is a means to immortality. Kali figures prominently in Tantric ritual as it is from her Basal Earthen energies all life springs, and the energy of alchemical transformation and regeneration . When one looks at statues of Hindu deities in Yam-Yum (a tantirc position) it is no coincidence they are standing very often on corpses. Death no longer has any sting.

 

 

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