Woman as Kali and Durga: Some dark and powerful Goddesses as a role models for women
4.7. Kali’s appearance in rejuvenation
When world-transforming energy gets moderated through an individual's unconscious, it becomes a personal epitome. For many contemporary Western women, Kali represents not the inhuman power in nature or culture but the possibility of a bold fierceness that has historically been denied both to the divine feminine and to individual women. Almost always, when a woman says, "One need to find my Kali side," or "One need some Kali energy," here she's looking for a way to stand up for herself, to discover her inner fierceness, or to express the outrageous side of her sexuality. Despite her problematic aspects, or perhaps because of them, Kali fascinates contemporary women. As feminist oriented social system, goddess centred spirituality, and rebellious thought have spread through the Western world, the image of Kali has surfaced in Western culture more visibly than any other Indian goddess. As a modern goddess, Kali exposes popular culture as the incarnation of the fiercely outspoken side of feminine power. Kali is the force many young women call on in those moments when they courageously face and move beyond their own trauma or when they want to break through their struggle with sexual shyness, politesse, insecurity, and discomfort. Kali's image offers an entrance into a wild audacity that has historically been denied both to the divine feminine and to individual women. If Kali symbolizes feminine audacity and youthful intensity, she also symbolizes more shadowy and problematic forms of power, especially the angry and aggressive energies that are hard for many women to own and for men to handle.
Even in East basically Indian society, to call a woman as a regular Kali, is not a compliment. Instead, it is a kind of tag or title for foul tempered or rageful. Kali, like all divine forces, is much bigger than our human ego. So when she shows up in the feminine psyche, it can feel as if we have been obsessed, literally taken over by something that has nothing to do with our normal, everyday personality. Kali’s power, suppressed, will often turn in on us, fester in the form of rage, attack our mind in the form of dominant toward the situation. Which will lead into external behaviour in ways that can destroy our love and the love others have for us.
It was not until the situation that conveying woman in general realized that many women suffering from misery and existential crisis had been the victims of rape or sexual abuse of different kinds. Their rage and pain had been stuffed inside and needed to be expressed as well as cleared in order for the women's bodies and psyches to heal. Women, as we know, have
repressed their power for thousands of years, becoming masters of passive aggression and remote offstage influence. So the procedure of discovery and binding that energy in ourselves is oppressed with errors. We do not always recognize how to separate the transformative resentment; that can stand against injustice. And from the rage of the wounded feminine, which all of us, whether we know it or not, can solve the current gender issues. And that way is to learn the root that the boldness and audacity that is as much a part of the divine feminine as her softness can be channelled into powerful and effective protest. Divine feminine anger can also erupt in ways that destroy the structures of our lives but also can form a social system that will be helpful for all.
For many women, specifically third-wave feminists in their twenties and thirties, owning their Kali side is a symbol for learning to love their own wrath and sexuality. Kali storms through us as the suppressed power that women hide as they try to live up to the image of the loving, nurturing feminine model that every society idealizes. It is no wonder that Kali and Kaliesque are more often than not used as rebellious terms for feminine rage. On the other hand, some women use the Kali image to justify shadow behaviours like unrestrained surges and acts of revengeful anger against members of the society and even family, who have abused or betrayed them. The following version of the Kali myth carries the scent of this uncontrollable quality as it appears in the personal psyche. A demon has appeared who can only be killed by a woman. So, at Shiva's request, Parvati enters his body and transforms herself by drinking the poison that Shiva holds in his throat. In this way, she takes in all the negativity of the collective consciousness, which she turns into wrath. She emerges as the naked, bloodthirsty Kali with matted hair and a blazing, red third eye in the middle of her forehead. Kali quickly dispatches the demon, but afterwards, she is so intoxicated by battle lust that she refuses to return to her beautiful form as a devoted wife. Instead, she wanders into the forest, where she dances so wildly and with such force that she threatens to bring down the worlds. The local sages petition Shiva for help, but even he is unable to get Kali’s attention. Finally, he challenges her to a dance contest. He begins his own dance, which is so intense that it creates craters in the earth and shakes the planets from their orbits, causing so much destruction that it arouses Kali’s compunction, and she comes to her senses and returns to her normal form. This story comes from the Shiva Purana, a text in which Shiva is the dominant partner and the Goddess merely a consort. From one point of view, it expresses both the male terror of the uncontrollable side of feminine power and the masculine instinct to show his strength in order to control the
feminine. In this instance, Shiva tames Kali by acting so wild that she has to calm down in order to soothe him. (In another version of the story, Shiva transforms himself into a baby, which arouses Kali's mother instinct.) From a neuropsychological point of view, we could look at Kali in this story as emotion and Shiva as reason, Kali as the amygdala and Shiva as the neocortex, Kali as a passion, while Shiva is insight. From the point of view of conventional society or of modernist rationalism, the Kali appearing in the personal psyche carries the blood scent of chaos—the all-bets-are-off chaos that arises when the abused and betrayed feminine rises up in vengeance or simply with a cry of "Enough." When women are seized by the rage of shadow Kali, it can wreak massive personal destruction.
Like all shadow behaviours, the expressions of negative Kali energy are distortions of the positive qualities of Kali Shakti. They twist and mask a quality that is essential and sublimely transpersonal: the force of liberation through a radical change. Kali can manifest sublimely through the intense activism of the women who fight to expose human sexual trafficking, factory farming, and the exploitation of workers in electronics factories. Any more than understanding what Kali is about will necessarily make your experience of a life upheaval more comfortable. But if you pay attention, Kali can teach you how to channel power so that you recognize, integrate, and deeply honour the forces of change, including the change that comes about through your encounter with the dark energies of the world. Kali offers us the freedom that lies beyond death. You can enter her freedom through many doorways looking into her force in nature, examining the hidden forces behind your shadow rage, or invoking her fire to help you dissolve emotional patterns and negative tendencies. Ultimately—and this is the secret that Kali reveals only to those who seek it Kali’s essence is the vast, empty, ultimately fertile void itself. Kali’s blackness is the darkness of the ultimate mystery, the transcendent womb of black light out of which reality is always arising and into which it constantly subsides (Sally Kempton, 2013).
Kali’s power and existence are uncontaminated in nature, which is unconcerned to human observation. Any purpose and emotion we may venture on her are mere versions like She occurs as strong and liberated from any of culture's restrictions belong to our social system.
She signifies nature at its rawest and most wild and the culmination of all that is power. Kali’s femininity is not performative if we take her as a role model. As She is loving without being devoted, but the woman is always accompanied by many relations like wife, daughter, mother and so on. The woman should take the nature of Her existence to solve and adjust to the social
norms. However, She is the ultimate mother, the mother of all power, without being concentrated on the role of a mother. Kali’s femininity is not performative in practical life. She is not, like more adaptable avatars of the female divinity such as Durga or Parvati, relaxing, reasonable, submissive, or modest. But she does not even have the traits that feminists old and new have seen and loved in her. She is not angry, although she is like wrath because nature knows no fury. She is not even harsh, though her presence rejects the limitations of ethos. She is, simply, wilderness itself. Thus choosing Kali as a role model is not reclaiming the right to be aggressive, feral, ugly, or merciless. It is embracing that the ultimate goal for which women continue to be at war is, simply, to be. Like Kali, whatever the human gaze may choose to see in it.