The eternal, ageless Divine Feminine
Creator and Preserver
As Virgin and Mother, the Goddess is considered to be the very spring from which every kind of love flows into the world. From the vast ocean of her being the morphogenetic field that produces all forms the Goddess gives birth to all living things. The pouring forth of this love-energy from her timeless, formless source into the field of time constitutes a sacred mystery.
Representations of the Goddess as a crouching woman giving birth to the manifold forms of her creation can be found in Indian art. As the Sky-Goddess Aditi, she pervades all space and is mother to the Gods so revered by the Indo-Aryans.
Maya the Sanskrit word for ‘magic’ and ‘illusion’ describes her role as the originator of all material things, all that is perceptible to the senses.
Displaying the protective and maternal side of her nature, she revels in her multitudinous manifestations and joyfully embraces the bounty of her gifts. Sculptures adorning Hindu temples frequently depict the Virgin Goddess as a young, beautiful and voluptuous woman. Sometimes she stands on her own, at others she is paired with her God-consort.
As Earth Mother, she is also a deity closely associated with Nature and fertility. Images of her priestesses, the Yoginis and Saktas, often incorporate organic forms such as branches or vines, symbolising Nature in its most instinctive form, proliferous and fruitful. Plants, leaves and flowers are commonly used in Indian medicine and, when they appear in portrayals of the Earth Mother they are considered to reflect the magical powers with which she is endowed.
As Devimahatma, Mahadevi or Durga (one of her most ancient titles), the eternally existent mother who nurtures and protects her offspring, the Goddess’s influence swept across North India and was particularly popular in the regions of Bengal and Rajasthan.
Famous for her prowess in battle, Durga the Unassailable used the strength of her will, her knowledge and force of action, to defeat the purveyors of evil and to vanquish the demonic forces upsetting the balance of the universe.
Riding on a lion or tiger, her multiple arms wielding auspicious weapons, she was Cosmic Energy personified. When her mission was fulfilled she returned to her mountain home, promising to nourish the earth and protect her worshippers, only returning should her divine force be needed again.
At the height of this great cosmic battle, Durga was aided by the awesome Kali, who burst from her forehead to devour or crush the army of demons. As Kali drank the seed-blood of her enemies, she rendered impotent the destructive phallic power of her assailants.
Black Kali represents the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess. With her disheveled hair and lolling blood-drenched tongue, she presents a fearsome figure.
As the active power of Time, her three eyes look to past, present and future. Her thin waist is encircled by a girdle of human hands, symbolizing the accumulated deeds of karma. Around her neck hangs a rosary of fifty skulls, each one inscribed with a magic letter of the Sanskrit alphabet representing the sacred word, or mantra, which vibrates within the primordial creative energy of the universe.
The Dark Goddess’s four hands are also symbolic of her function: one wields a sword to cleave the threads of bondage, another grasps a severed head, representing the annihilation of the ego. Her two remaining hands are poised in gestures to dispel fear and inspire her devotees with spiritual strength.
We can only be truly human through our connection to the Sacred Feminine. She is part of us and we are part of Her. If we deny our feminine aspect, we lead incomplete lives. She helps us to integrate our body, mind and soul. It is the integration of our masculine and feminine aspects which makes us whole and holy. We can be gentle and strong, intuitive and intellectual, inward and outward, reflective and active. We can love one another and care for each as brothers and sisters, as husbands and wives.
We need the Goddess in our lives to repair, to nurture and to heal.