My six Ishta-devas

Earlier, I talked about the concept of Ishta-devas, deities who you relate to and connect with your personality. I would like, then, to talk about the deities from various mythologies that I have taken up as personal deities. I had this in the works since March, initially as an art project where deities would serve as metaphors for aspects of my personality. Listed below are those deities.

Chi You – Chi You is my stubbornness, resistance, and rebellion, which I treasure dearly. In Chinese mythology, he was a deity of war and weapons who lead the Hmong and Li tribes in battle against Huang Di, the Yellow Emperor, who ruled from heaven. Years later he would be worshiped by warlords such as Qin Shi Huang (founder of the first dynasty) and Liu Bang (founder of the Han dynasty), and he is attributed to the success of their military campaigns. The background of being worshipped by notable warlords kinda adds some awe to it (despite Qin Shi Huang being a tyrant). I relate to his backstory of opposing the emperor from heaven as like the ideal of refusing external authority, and his belligerent nature to my own.

Dairokuten Maou (a.k.a. Mara) – Dairokuten Maou, or Mara, is my desire, lust, and questing for pleasure, and maybe my emphasis on it. The name means “Demon King of the Sixth Heaven” and comes from a demon lord who appears in the Gohonzon Mandala in Japanese Buddhism. The deity resides in the highest of the six desire, or lust, realms and is the personification of lust, desire, and worldly pleasures and pursuits. This obviously relates to my embracing of desire, lust, and worldly passions rather than denying them. But, he’s also tender, because love relates to desire, and love is tender.

Asura Matsuda (a.k.a. Asura) – Asura is my quest for strength and power, and valuing of it, and also confident, strong will. You probably know Asura comes from Hinduism and Buddhism, and refers to power-hungry divinities. But the name Asura Matsuda is of my own thinking, a version of the name Ahura Mazda, whose name comes from Asura, thus bringing Asura and Ahura Mazda together. This brings an association with fire, which Ahura Mazda was associated with, and a righteous flame against evil. Thus he is a god of power, might, fire, light, strong will, and righteous flame. Like Chi You, he represents a warrior’s spirit.

Shiva – Shiva is my pursuit of Chaos, of rawness, of primal ecstasy, and of creation, and also energy. We all know Shiva is from Hinduism. He is a free spirit. His power is pretty much without equal. He is creation and destruction. He is very potent, and sexual. Passionate and spiritual. I detach Shiva from whatever ascetic associations he has to envision the life-filled, passionate, wild, yet noble deity he is, aligned with both spiritual and material ecstasy. He is my fascination with creation, and destruction, and my fixation on the raw, primal, and energetic, though as an energetic person I can relate to Asura Matsuda as well as Shiva.

Beelzebub (a.k.a. Ba’al, Bel) – He is my alignment towards Chaos, and the freedom and individuality it represents. This Beelzebub is the bringing to together of Baal/Bel, Satan, Lucifer, and Beelzebub. Before Satan was the name of the Christian devil, Rabbinical texts mention a entity named Baal-Zebub (Beelzebub) as the chief rival of “God”, or Yahweh. Thus, Beelzebub is the original adversary of Order and oppression, and the advocate of Chaos and freedom. Since he is Baal, he is a god of power and fertility. He is the pagan in me, and the Satanist. He is pride, ego, selfhood, and individualism. He is the closest thing to the Satan ideal. The supreme advocate of Chaos, save only for Lucifer himself. He shares some traits with Dairokuten Maou, but in a more unique flair. He has an occult flair, and thus represents occult/mystic pursuits.

Kartikeya (a.k.a. Murugan) – He is youth, and the will that it never die. In Hinduism, Kartikeya is a son of Shiva and a young deity of war and youth. In my envisioning of him, he is removed of the ascetic associations he sometimes receives, and is like a younger Shiva. Energetic, heroic, adventurous, and ever young, he represents the ideal of the freedom of the spirit. Even if the body should age, my soul will remain strong and youthful, the ideal of Sanat Kumara (another name for him, it means eternal youth).

I must mention Agni. I don’t know if he counts, but he has symbolic importance, as I already talked about.

So there you have it. The six deities who I take up personally as meaningful to me.

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