Her story begins in the depths of the battle between good and evil.
As the world was created so too did the battle for who would conceive and rule over the dominion for humans to reside in. Energies rose and took form. Some came from light and were known as gods whilst others arose from the darkness and were known as demons. The gods wished for a paradise for us to live in, whilst the demons wanted a world of trials and suffering.
The two powers met upon vast battlefields, carrying weapons and surrounded by armies, but some battles could not be won by sheer force. For not all demons were of the simple flesh and blood as we know it, and not all gods were as invincible as their intentions.
Durga stood upon a small mountain and looked upon the plains below where she stood. It would be here that she must defeat the darkness or else it would consume her. Her head pounded with anger and her heart punched out a tormented rhythm in her chest as she imagined the souls who might suffer if she failed. Durga also took a deep breath and remembered she was born of Shakti; an energy beyond time and space; that was beyond anything imaginable and that could create any possibility. It was this energy that carried her down the mountain and onto the plain to face her foes.
Below on the field stood the evil spirits Chanda and Munda, generals of the great Shumbha, a powerful asura demon who also wanted his victory decided upon this day. Behind the two generals a vast army awaited to move forward and claim all that lay before them.
When Durga saw the two demons waiting for her, their bows drawn and ready, her rage expanded into a great inferno within her. How dare Shumbha send these two men with their darkest of souls. How dare he believe that such demons had the right to face a goddess of her power.
So powerful was the anger rising up within her that it became embodied and from her forehead, from the place of her third eye, was birthed another goddess.
Kali now stood before her, her skin was dark like the night, her hair was unbound and untamed, around her body a tiger skin barely covered her. In one hand was a staff and in the other a great sword. She was ready and excited to head into battle. Throwing back her head she released a guttural scream to let the world know she had arrived.
The sound of her voice crossed the plains to where the generals stood and they smiled. Chanda raised his hand and from behind him the army returned the yell with a wave of sound that blew Kali’s hair back from her face.
She breathed their cries in. Kali tasted fear within them and it delighted her.
The first arrow landed by her feet and as she looked forward, another and another flew through the sky each arriving harder as Chanda ran towards her, releasing arrow after arrow from his bow at her. As each one soared towards her Kali flicked them away with her staff as though they were merely flies annoying her.
Then Chanda was upon her and their eyes met. As he looked into her eyes he saw the sunken darkness around them and the red fire within them. In Chanda’s eyes Kali saw confusion. For in the moment he faltered as he believed he saw a demon before him.
“She is one of us?” he asked of himself.
That slip of hesitation was all that was needed to allow Kali to plunge her sword deep into his chest.
Chanda fell lifeless before her.
Across the plain Munda saw his ally fall limp before the goddess. Now it was his turn to bellow with rage. He lifted his sword and began to run towards Kali, determined that the next one to be lifeless would be the wild goddess.
Kali stood firmly in place, her rage was still intense and now it had the thrill of Chanda’s slaying as fuel. As Munda bore down upon her Kali lifted her own sword and held it firm so that Munda pushed his own neck upon it, severing his head from his body.
Kali lifted the head and impaled it upon her staff with glee. She raised it into the air showing the asura army before her, who now retreated, running to the borders of the plains.
Turning she walked to Durga who was waiting for her and placed the staff before her on the ground.
“It is done,” Kali said.
Durga lifted the staff and handed it back to Kali and said…
“Carry this always. This is your reminder to the demons of your power and dedication. Let them know that what you have done before, can be done again.”
Shumbha heard of the defeat of his powerful generals at the hands of the newly birthed goddess and in turn he created a new demon to continue the war against light. So it was that Raktabija came into existence and now walked onto the battlefield to face the gods and goddesses.
Durga now stood in her form as Ambika ready to face Shumbha. Emboldened by the triumph of Kali, her eight arms spread out ready for battle. It was now that the newly birthed Raktabija strode towards her.
Ambika lunged at him slicing a tear into his arm. The demon laughed as he saw his blood drip to the ground, for as every drop landed a new demon was born. Ambika slashed at him again but as more blood left his body, so too more demons were born so that Raktabija was surrounded by an ever-expanding army.
Ambika called to her sister goddesess and they came to her aid, but so too did their own blades draw blood and create a growing army of demons.
When all seemed lost a great roar was heard and Kali joined them. She had watched the demons spring from the land as Raktabijas blood had fallen and now as her sisters lunged at him Kali caught the drops of blood with her tongue, pushing it from her mouth, letting it become long and wide so as not to miss any.
Every drop she drank stopped the army from growing and so too did it empower her to overcome Raktabija so that once more her sword decapitated her opponent. Kali caught the head drinking the blood as much to stop the birth of more demons as well as to take his power and make it her own.
With Raktibija now finished Kali turned to the army of demons, slaying each one with little force as though they were dolls. She tore heads from bodies and strung them into a necklace, then took their arms and legs making them into a skirt.
Kali continued on, slaying more demons until the land was strewn with bodies and wet with their blood. Now it was time to rest but Kali was delirious from her conquest and danced with joy upon the bodies, delighting in feeling their soft flesh press beneath her feet.
Her sisters watched her and began to cry as they saw her so lost within her bloodlust. They feared she may never stop as they saw her searching for yet another minion of Shumbha to slaughter. In their desperation to bring Kali back to her peace they called out to Shiva in the hope his divine presence would do this.
Shiva saw Kali in her rampage, stamping across the slain demons. He lay himself amongst the corpses, lying still and quiet. Soon Kali was dancing upon him and still he remained silent and motionless. Kali though felt his flesh was warm and looked down ready to slay again when she realised who was beneath her.
She stopped and looked about her. A sea of bodies filled the battlefield and to one edge she could see her sisters crying for her.
Kali stopped and took a deep breath. She felt the energy of Shakti coursing through her; the very energy that had birthed her through Durga. It was the light that had created her and that had allowed her the strength to battle Raktabija.
She fingered the heads that hung around her neck and remembered the words she had spoken to Durga after her first battle.
“It is done.”
As Kali looked around her she saw that was the truth of this moment as well.
Kali walked from the battlefield and went to embrace her sisters.
The battle between the light and dark was not over. Now the demon Daruka came to face the gods. Born of the very depths of darkness, Daruka was declared immortal by the decree that no man would end his existence.
Shiva smiled when such things were spoken of this new asura. For while he knew he could not defeat this foe, there were many of the divine females who could. Though there were many he could call upon, he sought the one closest to his heart; his consort and partner Parvati.
Parvati’s heart was full and pure. Her grace and compassion were matched by her wisdom. It was this wisdom that knew that while she would never deny her husband the request he had made of her, she also knew that this was something beyond that which she knew of herself.
Parvati called out to her sister goddesses for guidance and the fiercest of all heard her call. Within her the fury of Kali made itself known. Parvati smiled for indeed it was the warrior sister that she needed most in this moment. Parvati called to the dark one.
“Show me what needs to be done!”
Parvati felt as though her skin was peeling and as she looked down to her hands she could see the very tissue of her body rippling and then separating from her. Before her now stood her own form, but with a skin so dark that it was as though she had been charred. Parvati looked down at her hands and arms once more and the flesh that remained was the purest white.
Looking once again before her she understood- though it was her form and her own dark skin, the essence within was that of her sister Kali.
They stood looking upon one another- separate but connected; identical but opposite. They communicated without words, each knowing not only what they wanted to say but what they felt within their hearts and minds.
The dark goddess now turned to walk away, and Parvati knew the Kali she had birthed would fight the demon for her.
As Kali walked onto the battle ground Parvati watched from a small rise- her feet feeling every step, and her chest feeling every breath that Kali took. Parvati felt Kali’s heart begin to beat faster as Daruka appeared and marched towards her sister. She felt the arrows woosh past Kali and Parvati felt her own muscles tense as Kali lifted her sword.
Parvati’s body braced as the sword plunged into the demons chest and, as Kali did, she also took a deep breath as the demon fell to the ground.
In another breath Kali was once more before her. Parvati felt the words “It is done!” She smiled and with one more inhale Kali blended back into her essence; her darkness blending into her light and her skin once more was the warm brownish pink it had always been.
Parvati looked out to the battle ground and saw that Daruka’s body had evaporated. His blood had soaked into soil feeding the grasses and flowers that now grew overtaking his body so that there was no memory of what had occurred here.
As the sun shined down upon her Parvati looked to the skies, the bright light was enough to let her know that all was well once again. There would be no more battles. The light of the gods and goddesses would now shape paradise for all the souls to come.
She put one hand to her heart. Parvati felt Kali resting now within her, but she also knew that should any more battles arise she had everything within her to face any demon that would appear.
For now though, Parvati knew-
“It is done.”
Amaterasu -The Goddess of LightAmaterasu is the Japanese Goddess of Light. When Amaterasu is grief stricken and
Urania - The Muse of AstronomyUrania is the youngest of the nine muses of Ancient Greece. Each muse had their
Rabi'a - the Goddess of God's EmbraceRabi'a's life begins with a promise from Allah that she will lead others to God
Anna Perenna - The Eternal OneAnna Perenna's story would have been lost within those of her sibling's Pygmalio