Kali, Enemy of Ego

This article originally appeared in the October, 2007 issue of Immanence.

Kali is a more misunderstood Goddess of the world. We can all get behind the endless-love-compassion thing. But death and destruction? Scary!

Ease your fears – Kali is endless love and compassion, though in a different light. She is the death of the ego, the death of the illusion we perceive as reality. She makes us remember we are spiritual beings on a human journey – not vice versa. She grants total liberation.

Attachment to the ego comes from over-identification with the body, the physical plane. Kali’s name comes from the Sanskrit kal, meaning time. Time takes its toll on our bodies as Kali wears away our ego.

Not scary, huh? Better than the endless sex-death-violence thing.

Where did that misconception come from? One word: iconography. Kali is usually seen with dark blue or black skin, standing on the chest of the white-skinned Shiva (Her male counterpart), wearing a garland of skulls and a skirt of dismembered arms, holding the severed head of a demon in one of Her four arms, tongue sticking out and Her face alive with triumph – while Shiva’s face is so peaceful one must believe Him to be dead.

Kali is the womb of creation from which we came and to where we shall return, the inky darkness of primalness. She is form supported by peaceful formless awareness, the bright light of enlightenment. She wears the trophies of Her conquest over the material world – destruction of the ego and the body. Kali destroys demons, personal or otherwise. She allows us to be who we truly are.

By granting Her children moksha – liberation – Kali is the ultimate Goddess of enlightenment and compassion. Meditate on Kali’s love – She has much to teach us, and we have much to learn.