KALI - Manifestation of a Goddess
Upon returning from the Women’s March on Washington after the disastrous election of 2017, I was compelled to crochet a tribute to Kali, the goddess of time, creation, destruction and power. Considering the destructive results of that ill-fated election and the subsequent worldwide pandemic, it seems that Kali has truly released her wrath upon this world. Hopefully, we will now reap the benefits of the creative aspects of her manifestation.
Following the Hindu tradition but adapting to our Arabic alphabet, her necklace consists of 26 severed heads, one for each letter of the alphabet representing the power of the written word. She wears a skirt of dismembered arms because the ego arises out of identification with the body. In truth we are beings of spirit and not flesh. So, liberation can only proceed when our attachment to the body ends. Thus, the garland and skirt are trophies worn by Her to symbolize having liberated Her children from attachment to the limited body.
Kali’s right hands form the abhaya (fearlessness) and varada (blessing) mudras. Her left hands hold the sword of divine knowledge which has chopped off the orange head of human ego. (Any similarity to persons living or dead are purely coincidental.)
Lord Shiva, Hindu god of Creation, Destruction and Regeneration, the patron god of yoga, meditation and art soon followed in the manifestation. You might recognize him by his third eye, matted hair and the crescent moon on his forehead.
There is a story that Shiva used to walk around naked, and this really caught the ladies' attention. The wives of several powerful saints became extremely distracted, and this caused a bit of jealously. The husbands created a tiger to take care of the bare-bodied sage, but Shiva symbolically defeated the tiger and wrapped himself in the skin, symbolizing the victory of the divine force over animal instincts. Shiva wears a tiger skin symbolizes that he has conquered and transcended illusion and ego.
Vasuki is a nagaraja, one of the King serpents of Hinduism and Buddhism. There is a story that there was once a lethal poison called Halahal. This poison terrified the gods and demons because the poison was so powerful that it could destroy all of creation and was even harmful to a god. The other gods approached Shiva for protection. Shiva, being the daring god that he is, consumed the poison to protect the universe. His wife Parvati (an aspect of Kali) grabbed Shiva's throat to prevent him from swallowing the poison. As it is not feasible even for a goddess to hold on to anyone's neck forever, it is believed that she tied the snake around his neck to prevent him from swallowing the poison. As a result, Shiva's throat turned blue. For this reason, Lord Shiva is also called Neelakantha (the blue-throated one; "neela" = "blue", "kantha" = "throat" in Sanskrit).
There is another story that when the snake species were endangered, they approached Shiva for shelter. As a protector of snakes, Shiva wears them as ornaments to keep them warm, plus, they are fun to make.
There is yet another story that Kali was rampaging out of control and destroyed many demons. Shiva, fearing that Kali would not stop until she destroyed the entire world, could only think of one way to pacify her. He lay down on the battlefield so that she would have to step on him. Seeing her consort under her foot, Kali realized that she had gone too far, and calmed down.