My Kali 2009.
I’ve been pondering about the multiple meanings of Dakshina Kali for years. There seems to be multiple meanings in an endless array with this Goddess. When I visited Kolkata this year to participate in Kali Puja, She didn’t hesitate to give me yet another meaning. This time it goes like this:
Kali’s left side, with the sword and the cut off head: These are all my painful experiences, reality hitting me too hard, broken dreams, what James Joyce calls the “hard and constants of life”. What I must endure even if I cannot. It is also the nasty sides of myself, what I am ashamed of, my weaknesses, my perversions, what I hide away even from myself, my anguishes in the nights I cannot sleep, my fears, my anger, my resentment, my hatred. Evil creatures squirming away, they don’t even want to be seen. Deep sea monsters, murderous feelings. Shame shame on you. They will stone me if they find out these horrible sides of my self. That horrible night of Kali when I will have to accept that this, all this is also me.
Kali’s right side: She says: Do not fear, you do not need to be afraid. You are my child, and I accept you just as you are. Look: I will give you a gift. What is this gift, Mother? It is access to a bottomless ocean of love and energy. If you have no fear, even when I kill your ego, this will transform your life completely making you able to accept reality, the world you are thrown into just like it is. I will tease you, I will test you, but you must trust me, because from now on I will be your Mother. You think I look like a crazy Mama? Do I look bloodthirsty? Well, do not be afraid, because this is the world we’re living in. This is a crazy world we’re living in, and I am the Mother of this world. Do not be afraid, cause right in this crazy world I will make you whole, I will make you complete. This is the gift of Kali.
The upper side: Sword and do not be afraid gesture. In Christian terms this could be the two sides of the Old Testament God: God’s mercy and God’s severity. In kabbalistical terms: Chesed and Geburah, the right and left pillars (Jachin and Boas). There is also the middle pillar, and here we have Kali’s naughty protruding tongue. This is my experience of it now:
This is my own tongue. With this I taste the world, both directly and as a metaphor. The tongue is also strongly connected with my smell, tasting and smelling are very direct experiences. The tongue is a tool. As any tool it must be in good shape. No smoking. It will be difficult to taste. Not too much salt or sugar, it will take away the taste. Every taste is to be meditated on. Yes Kali is willing to taste everything, even menstruation blood and pee, but every taste must be digested slowly and listened to. What is the taste telling me? What step am I taking next after this taste? This must be experienced step by step. Every taste is information, a guide to a world beyond our social and cognitive categories. Slowly Kali’s tongue might tell you the correct diet, but this cannot be written down in a book, it is a too direct information for that. It is information constantly changing, it is individualized knowledge.
There are also the cut off heads and arms. This existential approach to Kali considers this as the cutting off of attachment to the ego (heads) and the breaking of the habit of desperately clinging to life in order to participate joyfully in whatever takes place in the moment.
The lower side. Here Kali is standing on Shiva. Philosophically considered this can be seen as energy (activity) arising out of calmly and meditatively regarding life in a mood of nonattachment. There is also a sexual interpretation to this: A male attitude of letting the female counterpart taking the active role. This would be the meaning of woman on top, letting her take the leading part, let her be strong in her femininity. Setting your woman free. A man can also be a feminist. Womanhood has been repressed in too many cultures in too many years.
As already said: Dakshina Kali can be regarded from many angles. This is a nonacademic existential angle, the way I see Her right now. For a more academic approach, none in my opinion is better than David Kinsley: The Sword and the Flute is superb, and so also Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine that introduces the ten Mahavidyas, a group of Goddesses with Kali in the lead. And have no doubt about this: Dakshina Kali is a manifestation of the Great Goddess.
Geir nov. 2009