Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9104
In India one of the accepted divine symbols is of a dark woman, nude, with flowing hair, four-armed, with two hands in the act of blessing and two holding a knife and bleeding head, garlanded with a necklace of skulls, dancing with protruding tongue on the prostrate figure of a man. Frightening as she may seem, she calls our attention. Sister Nivedita says:

Whether we know it or not, we belong to her. We are her children, playing round her knees. Life is but a game of hide and seek with her, and if we chance to touch her feet, who can measure the shock of the divine energy that enters into us? Deep in our hearts is rooted the assurance that the moment will come – her mystic name will fall upon our ears. (Nivedita 1950, p. 20)

Kali Ma. How is it that an image so fierce can invoke the energy of the Mother? How is it that an image so fierce can evoke the energy of the mystic? Is her appearance to be taken at face value – is she a warrior goddess from the matriarchal tribal cultures of...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sofia University (formerly Institute of Transpersonal Psychology)San FranciscoUSA