Kali, queen of the night-sky, your skull
necklace rattles on dancing breasts.
Blood stains the cavern and corners
of your mouth. Your obsidian face gleams;
your ruby tongue defies all who claim dominion.
Your many hands grip many lethal weapons-
swift swords and whirling discus; lightning
cracks open this labyrinthine brain, its convoluted
folds sizzle into mist. Silence returns
to the sky, to the heart.
Around a demon’s hair, your hennaed hands
are curled; his severed head swings above
the earth; ragged droplets drip scarlet from his
neck’s stump. Broad, black feet-your feet-stamp
on his headless body; your eyes are fierce
coal-stars, every eyelash a cluster of
constellations. Such power, milady, I
am breathless at this naked red display-
my own long shrouded in seemly white.
I’ll strip off these penitent robes, unpin
my hair, let it float above my roaring
chest. And shout, a bawdy barker bellowing:
come, take–enter if you dare!
In Hindu Tantra, Kali is the consort of Shiva–the power that makes consciousness manifest.
Along the continuum of Being, which stretches from formlessness and unity into form and particularity, Shiva is pure consciousness, without form. Kali’s domain is the world of form, reality as we know it.
She is the power of incarnation, the creative and destructive force that manifests our universe of time, space, and duality.
Her wisdom is that there is no life without death, no light without dark–all things and their opposites co-exist on this plane of duality. And underneath them lies the unmanifest world of unity and wholeness.