I’m not religious but I am curious about the weirder, voodoo stuff. I light candles and incense and tell futures or respond to a yes or no question with my intuition. I think the moon and the (non-)alignment of planets have strange effects on our bio-rhythm and that, in the face of modern ruin, we’re further and further removed from, what my mate Fannie described to me as, a “cunt feeling”.
No wonder the symbol of a goddess, shakti in Sanskrit—meaning empowerment and existing in the libidinal zone of the body—is the yoni, or vagina.
Here are five goddesses that, put together, represent the whole universe. It doesn’t matter if they’re real, mythological, literary metaphors or imaginary environmental patrons. They’re the original superheroes: semi-naked ladies that don’t give a damn, fight demons and dragons, and protect the planet. And all this by caring, listening to their bodies and following their instinct.
Parvati: Goddess of Fertility
Parvati is the goddess of masculine energy, while her husband, Shiva is the god of feminine energy. Shiva, the blue-ish coloured god who looks like an Indian Medusa, with a pile of snakes coiled on top of his head, is often depicted by a lingam or penis, while Parvati is represented by the yoni.
Together, their union gave birth to the half-man, half-elephant, Ganesh, the god of wisdom. Parvati is depicted fair, bare-breasted and dancing, the final—and emancipated—incarnation of goddesses before her that suffered miserable fates in the face of men.
Parvati is also the daughter of the mountains: elusive as the antelope and changing as the moon. She is that lumber girl that gets down in the bushes, and afterwards, grabs your underwear and runs.
Kali: Goddess of Time
Kali, meaning both black and time, is the fiercest of them all. She is the most misunderstood goddess who kills every demon with her 18 arms, and has a raging temper with her swords and daggers. She can create and destroy with her might, and often needs help harnessing her intensity.
Kali is the coloured woman who is doubly oppressed, but her subtlety lies in the fact that she is not simply a destroyer; she is instead the triumph over death, the woman that has her self-defences down. She is the woman who knows that she’s got to survive in order to win the battle.
At a more spiritual level, she does not symbolise, as many believe, the void, but rather the eternal darkness that surrounds us and into which we meditate. She is the violence that can be softened, the hardness that can be viewed as fear and respected. She is, in a way, the goddess of loss, accumulating power by slaying it.
Saraswati: Goddess of Knowledge
Saraswati means pure water, which comes from her flowing elegance and the ink of the written word. She is the patron saint of science, music and the arts. She played the veena, a Hindustani harp, and appears as the celestial symphony when the universe began.
Today maybe she would play the synth, have an all-girl, post-punk band named, ‘The Lightening Feels’. She is surrounded by books and is said to be the impulse for the creation of one of India’s most important spiritual texts, the Rigveda. She is eloquent, infinitely creative and wise. If you’re studying, reading, writing, singing, free-styling or selling flowers, you should probably look to her for inspiration. And wear yellow, that’s her vibe.
Green Tara: The Female Buddha
At some point in Tara’s long and incessant path towards enlightenment, she was advised to pray to be reborn as a male so she could attain her goal. The very stubborn, tantric deity refused. Instead, she pledged to be born as a woman in every one of her ten thousand or so reincarnations.
Tara is the goddess that transforms the mundane experience of two bodies in pleasure into a heightened experience of total transcendence. In other words, she is ace at converting your taxes into a life’s balance sheet. But here’s her ultimate strength: she doesn’t take her path terribly seriously.
She’s full of play: she does yoga in the morning, masturbates and gets on with her day. In the evening, with whatever gender her partner may be (she often emits rainbows), she elicits a multiple orgasm. Whether she does it with a temporary lover or a long-time love, she is independent without being selfish. She laughs a lot.
Aditi: The Goddess of Limitlessness
Aditi, meaning light, is a cosmic mother. She is the goddess of the 12 astrological signs and is associated with the infinite space—both of the sky and the soul (she flies through the clouds on a rooster).
She is the past, present and future collapsed into one. She is the first element, the origin of everything, the creator of the earth. She is not the source of light of the stars or the sun or the moon, but the eternal luminosity that sustains this light.
Aditi is the pregnant girl at Burning Man wearing blue topaz and sipping tulsi tea. She makes infinity signs with her bicycle and makes the central labyrinth around which the whole town gathers at night. If you’re fighting for free speech, vegetarianism or children’s rights, pray to her.