Daily Deity: Kali

Daily Deity: Kali

The other night while we were watching Supernatural, my husband and I saw the Hindu goddess Kali portrayed by a beautiful dark-skinned woman. She was in charge of leading the fight against the Apocalypse, and wanted to use the main characters of the show as bargaining chips.

I understood the modernization of her, but she really did not seem like Kali to me at all. Where was her belt made with human heads, her multi-arm stance with multiple swords? Okay, maybe they will depict her ferocity when she fights, I thought; but no. All they did was make her arms turn into fire, which wasn’t very impressive at all.

As a fan of Kali (I once had a rabbit named Kalika; yes, I know it’s ironic) I would have loved to have seen her in her blue or dark black glory. The thing is, Kali, as the goddess of energy and time, is often depicted differently (just as most deities are). For example, she’s not always skulls and blood. As a teen, I was fascinated by that deathly aspect of her (perhaps because she was always standing on her husband Shiva’s back?) and frequently drew her, but I didn’t realize that she’s also considered a benevolent mother figure, or one of the Tantric goddesses.

Had I known, I’m sure I would have been just as fascinated with her—and I probably would have appreciated her frank and honest description, as the “benevolent destroyer” Christian god I’ve been told to accept my whole life is so often warped into each individual worshipper’s need at the moment as they try to convert you over. Of course, I haven’t met many Hindus, and for all I know, it may work in the same way.

Kali is usually portrayed as having four or ten arms, often naked or with clothing made from human heads. Sometimes she rides a lion, or is standing on Shiva. Her eyes are often red, as is her tongue, which usually sticks out of her mouth, sometimes next to fangs. You can learn more about the Dark Mother and her other names and forms here. (Also, try doing a Google search for more images of Kali; as varied as they are, they usually share these common elements, and are often quite beautiful.) Kali is a favorite goddess to honor at Samhain, as well as when you are seeking change in your life.