Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Kali: Goddess of Revolution
Sally Kempton and Ken Wilber
Audio, 14 minutes
"In Indian mythology, Kali first appears as a frenzied, battle-maddened demon slayer, who comes into the world at moments when dark forces—demons—threaten civilization and especially the feminine. In the core myth of Kali's emergence, she appears out of Durga's third eye at one of the key moments in the Devi Mahatmya, when the Devi is threatened by two demons called Chanda and Munda. Durga's face darkens, and Kali emerges with a roar, her sword swinging, cutting down demons and crunching them in her teeth. At last, she slashes off the heads of Chanda and Munda, and presents them to Durga. Later in the battle, Kali confronts the demon chief Raktabija. Raktabija has a magical power: when drops of his blood spill, they turn into warriors. Kali, with her long tongue, licks up his blood before it can touch the ground.
"Many images of Kali show her with a long tongue, caught in the act of licking the blood of warriors. In these images, she often appears as a hag, emaciated, ugly, with fangs, and with blood dripping from her tongue. But as human consciousness evolved over the centuries, so, it seems, did the image of Kali. Her body became beautiful, as it is in most modern representations. Instead of seeing her as an almost demonic presence, devotees meditating on Kali began to find esoteric resonance in her gestures and implements. Raktabija's blood became a symbol of the uncontrollable desires that agitate our minds, and Kali's tongue became the power of yogic will to eat up desires and thoughts so that the luminosity of our essential awareness can reveal itself."
From "Awakening Shakti" by Sally Kempton
In this 13-part Goddess Returns series, acclaimed teachers Sally Kempton and Ken Wilber discuss one of the most powerful ways we can reconnect with a crucial aspect of feminine wisdom that has largely been lost in today's world: by invoking and internalizing the energetic qualities of eleven different Hindu goddesses.
In honor of the sacred feminine, Integral Life will be publishing discussions of each of these goddesses over the next couple weeks, with a different "Goddess of the Day" featured every few days. Stay tuned for our next installment, Parvati: Goddess of the Sacred Marriage.
(Image from Integral Life)