Dead Love and Kali Ma

Kali Ma, the black one, blue one, great mother, mistress of time and change, creatrix, destroyer, Hindu goddess, consort of Lord Shiva, warrior, demon eater—she is many armed and dangerous, eats corpses and dances on the bodies of the dead. In the Rigveda she is Ratri, the supreme force of the Universe. In the Tantras she is Shakti (power), the one who finishes and the Ultimate Mother.

I think you want to stay on her good side. I don’t care if they say it’s the ego she’s killing or demons: she always symbolizes annihilation, so get ready for a rough ride into the dark side.

You’ll recognize Kali by her four or ten arms; by her tiny fangs; by her tongue, which is often sticking out like a wild tongue of fire. She carries a sword, a trishul or trident, a severed had and a bowl or skull-cup to catch all the blood. She has a jackal attendant, wears a garland of human heads and is often in the midst of a bloodbath.

Not pretty, or pretty cruel—but Kali Ma can be distracted from all of the destruction by the wail of an infant. She’s the Great Mother and she’s generally going after all that’s stupid and nasty. So don’t incite her. Don’t get her riled up. If you want to make war, she’ll do it, and let me tell you … she’ll win.

Happy Mother’s Day, Kali Ma.

—Erin Orison, DEAD LOVE/The Daily Slice