Kali Ma by Jassy Watson


IMG_3813The creative ‘Wisdom of the Goddess’ Journey Within Program I am facilitating has moved into its’ second trimester, ‘Transformation’. It is winter here in the South; a time to release what no longer serves us and look at the shadow aspects of ourselves. I decided that the goddess Kali Ma, often referred to as the “Dark Mother” was most suitable to explore at this stage. Kali Ma is the Hindu goddess of creation, preservation, and destruction and is better known for her destroyer aspect. She serves as the archetypal image of the birth-and-death Mother, simultaneously the womb and tomb, the giver of life as well as the taker. She is the primordial female principle of manifestation and embodies shakti – feminine energy, creativity and fertility.

Kali is a warrior and is usually depicted with her tongue protruding, brandishing a sword in one hand a decapitated head of a demon in the other. She wears a necklace and belt of skulls, and she drips with blood. The demons she slays however, are the demons of the ego and the attributes of ignorance. Kali is the enlightening force that dismantles preconceived notions, frees you from conditioned beliefs, false personal identities, and anything else that keeps you from recognizing your true identity. In other words, part of what Kali represents is the power to release that which is true in you. Even in destruction, She reminds us that good really can come of bad situations. If you find your hopes and dreams have been crushed, Kali can change the cycle and produce life out of nothingness. Where there is sorrow, She dances to bring joy. Where there is fear, She dances in courage.

Tuning in to Kali in daily life often means tuning in to aspects of yourself that you normally don’t have access to, a power that can be reached outside of conventions. This power can enable one to become bold and fierce—fierce in love, fierce in ecstasy, fierce in a willingness to stand up to the demons in yourself and others. Kali can also assist us with recognizing our negative aspects such as anger or hate and transforming it or using it for good. She is ultimately a symbol of female empowerment and let’s us know when it is time to make or embrace changes in our life. Given this, she is the perfect Goddess to assist women with the cycles of life – birth, maidenhood, motherhood, menopause and death. She dances at the gateway to all of these transitions.

Although Kali is most often depicted in her warrior aspect, she is also revered as a Great Mother goddess – protector, nurturer, lover, creatress. This is how she came to me while I rode on her breath in meditation. It was a great letting go where I fell into  the expansive, cosmic void; Kali’s divine world. The following painting represents Kali in her nurturing mother aspect. Born from the void, as soon as her form came to be  a message came through loud and clear. She just said ‘fierce compassion’. I took this to mean I must transform the anger and rage I feel at the state of what is going on in the world into ‘fierce compassion’, that is the place from which I must take action.

Kali Ma - She who carries transformation upon Her breath.

Kali Ma – She who carries transformation upon Her breath.

May Kali remind us all to stand up for what we believe in, to stand in our truth, and to recognise that our darker side is not something to be feared or shunned but rather something to be embraced and transformed. May She guide us on our quest for freedom; freedom from the shackles of ego and freedom from social, political, cultural and religious discriminations. May we dance in peace and joy with Her and with great courage may we face the inevitable changes that life brings.

Om Kali Om

Jassy Watson, who lives on the sub-tropical coast of Queensland Australia, is a Mother of four, passionate organic gardener, Intuitive/Visionary & Community eARThist, Teacher, Intentional Creativity Coach and a student of Ancient History and Religion at Macquarie University, Sydney. She is the Creatress of Goddesses Garden, Studio & Gallery; a school for the Sacred Creative Arts. Jassy teaches regular painting workshops in person, nationally and internationally, and online based around themes that explore myth, history, earth connection and the Goddess. This year her Journey Within Program is creatively exploring the ‘Wisdom of the Goddess’ over 10 moons.  You can see more of her work at www.goddessesgardenandstudio.com

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Categories: Art, Goddess, power

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8 replies

  1. Gorgeous essay and painting, Jessy. I can just feel your fierce compassion and love for Goddess. It’s empowering simply to read your beautiful words. Om Kali Ma.

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  2. Love your message.

    Symbols are open to many interpretations. But let us not deny or gloss over the fact that the idea of an armed Goddess is a product of a military society. We can attach different meanings to symbols, but we should not deny that others may (legitimately I would say) interpret an armed Goddess as leading them into actual battle with human enemies (understood to be demonic forces).

    Armed deities have served this function throughout history and despite efforts of some to interpret the weapons as spiritual not actual weapons.

    This raises for me another question: with respect to ourselves (first): are we “doing battle” with “forces of evil” within us? This is the path of some ascetics east and west. I advocate gentler path that while acknowledging personal and structural evil, focuses on expanding our horizons of care and compassion for self and others.

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  3. I do like your painting (especially the smoke rising from her burning hands- reminds me of Stuart Dean’s previous frankincense post!)- but I have typically pictured Kali as a much older woman, one of those fierce grandmothers who is just not going to back down no matter what kind of weapon you are brandishing in front of her.

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  4. Exquisite painting. I love the blueness of your Kali Ma darkness — such a gorgeous color to begin with, but it also reminds me of the deep heavens, which we think of at night as expressing the radiant beauty of dark. The news these days so depressing, I think we are all subconsciously looking for more hope in our world, and very certainly for more “fierce compassion.” May it be so.

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  5. I can’t speak to hindu tradition so much but in Egyptian tradition, and druid, the sword really represents the spinal column where kundalini or secheim rises and clears the blockages to enlightenment. It is the same sword Archangel Michael uses and it is not a weapon but more of a light saber or wand that is used to bring light to dark situations, clear illusion, it also summons personal courage and power – the strength needed for difficult situations. But yes the sword can signify how we use or abuse power and that is the warning of the saber. In druid tradition Arthur never used the sword for battle except in the later interpretations, I am sure patriarchal, of the Arthurian legends. Today in the UK there are still ceremonies where the sword is revered but with the understanding it is not used for harm but an instrument to remind us of how to use our power for goodness and not harm – and also the potential for harm when misused. In the tarot the minor arcana has the swords and wands suits representing similar functions. Wands are spiritual fire that we can raise and bring creative solutions and passion to a situation, swords are the power of the mind and air and wisdom and the cards teach us how we can use these gifts for positive purposes in our own lives whilst also reminding us that abuse of these gifts and powers can cause great harm to ourselves and our relationships. It is the tempering of our own spiritual energies that the sword can remind us of. The sword up right and erect is like the spinal column receiving the energies and circulating them in a balanced way and grounding them into our bodies and daily life. Another way I relate to Dark Mother is how Clarissa Pinkola Estes refers to her in her book “Untie the Strong Woman” where she explains Dark Mother as She with low light vision to help us see what we can not in ourselves through being unconscious about repressed shadow or trauma. She also says that she walks with us in the darkness with her special ability to see and with compassion helps us to see ourselves and bring deeper healing, compassion and integration into ourselves. Whenever I am not getting something I call on Dark Mother to show me the way. It is Dark Mother who brings the light. Thanks for listening….

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    • Nancy, thank you for your reply. Yes, the sword is not always an instrument for harm – it is a reminder to use our power for good not harm. From the dark, comes light. I leave in 7 days to train with Dr Estes for 5 days, all her texts are great influences. x

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      • P.S. Jassy, just to mention an exceedingly helpful, free online Dream Dictionary, located at cafeausoul.com and edited by Kari Hohne. It defines various meanings of images that appear not only in our dreams, but also in our fantasy, fiction, artwork, poetry, etc. Whether I agree with a definition or not, it always takes me deeper into whatever I’m working on. I think you would enjoy it.

        The entry for SWORD says:

        “Weapons represent what you hold in your hand to express, feed, defend or build something. A sword is a symbol that asks you to cut through illusion to get at the truth. You may need to separate fact from fantasy. The sword can also symbolize defense mechanisms that are keeping you from knowing greater intimacy.”

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