Musings on the goddess Kali

For a few weeks now I’ve been thinking about the Hindu goddess Kali. How her skin captures light and darkness at once, how her violent dance encapsulates creation and destruction and life and death at once, and how here raging passion is the passion of the earth, and the universe.

Since Kali is a manifestation of Durga, and Durga is a manifestation of Parvati, and Parvati is Shakti, then Kali is Shakti, and she is a representation of the power of Shakti. And Shiva is the male Shakti, Shiva and Shakti are male and female reflections of each other and the same primal force. Thus, the dance of Shiva is also the dance of Kali, and the motion of the primal force.

I can’t help but imagine Kali burning down the churches of the Abrahamic faiths.

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A toast to the gods of chaos

A god of chaos is a mythological deity who represents not just classical chaos or primordial chaos, but also primal forces, and the link between chaos, the primal, the sensual, and creation and destruction. You may not believe some of the gods that I have elected as gods of chaos. Also, not all gods follow the same pattern. Also, I am aware that a there is a god called Khaos in Greek myth, but I do not count it because (a) that would be dumb, and (b) Chaos was more a concept in Greek myth anyway, just like the way I see it. Satan and Angra Mainyu don’t count either, because officially they are not gods.

Shiva

I swear I’ve said this three times now. Shiva’s intimate link to creation and destruction and primal forces and desires, for me, merits him his staus as a god of chaos, in some way. To add to his primality, he has a heavy association with the Aum, the primordial syllable of creation and the universe.

Set

He’s not here just because everyone else calls him a god of chaos.

Ah, the ancient Egyptians. They sure loved their order, and whenever it was disturbed, they described it in in pretty calamitous proportions. Set was a god of storms, chaos, and dark forces, and he was already a force to be feared, but he could also aid those who worship him, so, like the rest of the pantheon, he was an ambivalent force. Then, politics ruined his image. He became the victim of an Egyptian chaoskampf (“stuggle against chaos”) in which he is slain by Horus, and over time he effectively became an Egyptian Satan. Is it any wonder he became worshipped by theistic Satanists?

Tiamat and Apsu

A painting of Tiamat by Susannah Iles

Tiamat may have been a chaos monster, but she was also a goddess of the primordial chaos, the creatrix of the universe along with Apsu another primordial chaos god. Together they made sweet primeval love and Tiamat birth many gods, as well as dragons and serpents. She would later be slain by Marduk, and become the archetypal example of the Chaoskampf.

Aditi

Aditi is a creatrix mentioned in the Vedas as a mother of the gods and the goddess of both heaven and earth, in contrast to many traditions having a sky father and an earth mother. Her attributes are freedom, infinity, creation, and might, and she is often corresponded the primordial of many ancient mythologies. Unsurprisingly, this includes Chaos, but it also refers to the waters of space, or the deep, and primordial light. She is also associated with Lajja Gauri, the nude earthly goddess of fertility and abundance in folk Hinduism.

Kali

Statue of Kali Maa

Make no mistake, she’s a wild lady alright. Beautiful too. She is really violent and destructive ,but that ain’t the only side to her. In fact, I believe she is just as linked to creation and the primal as well as destruction as Shiva. She might just be a female image of Shiva, though Parvati/Uma and Durga are also the shakti of Shiva.

Tezcatlipoca

Jaguars aren’t his only deal.

Tezcatlipoca is a very diverse god, and a very dark one. He’s a god of war, strife, disorder, chaos, the sun (he did rule the sun a few times in Aztec lore), obsidian, beauty, the earth, the night, hurricanes, kings, temptation, and magic. His complexity is the main attribute that merits his status as a god of chaos.

Eris

Yeah, as long as we’re talking about gods of chaos, but just what’s so primal about her? Well I suppose she is the daughter of Nyx. You could say she’s the strife side of chaos. Then again, she’s the goddess of Discordianism, whose authors have written this about Eris in the Principia Discordia: “I am chaos. I am the substance from which your artists and scientists build rhythms. I am the spirit with which your children and clowns laugh in happy anarchy. I am chaos. I am alive, and I tell you that you are free.” I guess I can accept that.

Gaia

She looks beautiful in this modern artwork.

Gaia is extremely intimately linked to primordial chaos, having been directly born from chaos. She is primality. Since she is nature, or all things earthly, and chaos seeps into and is a huge part of the natural world. Chaos then is the blood of the natural world. By this logic, any earth mother can count as a beautiful and bountiful goddess of chaos, or at least most earth mothers.

Now, to raise a glass to these magnificent gods.