Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The feminine and masculine aspects

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 7, 2016

Mars

The planet Mars is named after the Roman god of war Mars. The Greeks equated Nergal with their god of war, Ares. The Hellenistic Greeks also called the planet Pyroeis, meaning “fiery”. Its symbol, derived from Roman mythology, is a circle with a small arrow pointing out from behind. It is a stylized representation of a shield and spear used by the Roman God Mars.  This symbol is also used in biology to describe the male sex.

Nergal – Ereshkigal

In Babylonian astronomy, the planet was named after Nergal, their deity of fire, war, and destruction, most likely due to the planet’s reddish appearance. Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld. In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person.

Mars

In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars)—hence the current name of the planet.

Apollo

Nergal seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle. He has also been called “the king of sunset”.

Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. Aplu may be related with Apaliunas who is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo.

Pleiades (Taurus)

Nergal’s fiery aspect appears in names or epithets such as Lugalgira, Lugal-banda (Nergal as the fighting-cock), Sharrapu (“the burner,” a reference to his manner of dealing with outdated teachings), Erra, Gibil (though this name more properly belongs to Nusku), and Sibitti or Seven. In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, is an open star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus.

Gemini

In Greek mythology, Gemini was associated with the myth of Castor and Pollux, the children of Leda and Argonauts. In Babylonian astronomy, the stars Castor and Pollux were known as the Great Twins (MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL).

The Twins were regarded as minor gods and were called Meshlamtaea and Lugalirra, meaning respectively ‘The One who has arisen from the Underworld’ and the ‘Mighty King’. Both names can be understood as titles of Nergal, the major Babylonian god of plague and pestilence, who was king of the Underworld. Nergal’s chief temple at Cuthah bore the name Meslam, from which the god receives the designation of Meslamtaedaor Meslamtaea, “the one that rises up from Meslam”.

Tyr

Týr is a Germanic god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Týr in origin was a generic noun meaning “god”, e.g. Hangatyr, literally, the “god of the hanged”, as one of Odin’s names, which was probably inherited from Týr in his role as god of justice.

Týr is a god of war and will take mead, meat and blood for sacrifice. If a warrior carved the rune Tîwaz on his weapon he would be dedicating it to Týr and strengthen the outcome of a battle to be in his favor. After a warrior has dedicated his weapon to Týr he should not lose it or break it. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is in fact “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis.

Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz. The Latinised name is Tius or Tio.

In the late Icelandic Eddas, Týr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda), while the origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion.

According to Tacitus’s Germania (98 CE), “In their ancient songs, their only form of recorded history, the Germans celebrate the earth-born god, Tuisto. They assign to him a son, Mannus, the author of their race, and to Mannus three sons…”

The figure remains the subject of some scholarly discussion, largely focused upon etymological connections and comparisons to figures in later (particularly Norse) Germanic mythology. In the larger Indo-European pantheon, Tuisto is equated to the Vedic Tvastar.

The Germania manuscript corpus contains two primary variant readings of the name. The most frequently occurring, Tuisto, is commonly connected to the Proto-Germanic root tvai (“two”) and its derivative tvis (“twice”; “doubled”).

Allusions to intersex are entirely conjectural, as the tvia/tvis roots are also the roots of any number of other concepts/words in the Germanic languages. Take for instance the Germanic “twist”, which, in all but the English has the primary meaning of “dispute/conflict”.

The second variant of the name, occurring originally in manuscript E, is Tuisco (sometimes rendered Tuiscon). One proposed etymology for this variant reconstructs a Proto-Germanic tiwisko, and connects this with Proto-Germanic Tiwaz, yielded the meaning “son of Tiu”. This interpretation implies that Tuisco is the son of the sky god (Proto-Indo-European Dyeus) and the earth-goddess.

Connections have been proposed between the 1st century figure of Tuisto and the hermaphroditic primeval being Ymir in later Norse mythology, attested in 13th century sources, based upon etymological and functional similarity. Meyer (1907) sees the connection as so strong, that he considers the two to be identical.

Lindow (2001), while mindful of the possible semantic connection between Tuisto and Ymir, notes an essential functional difference: while Ymir is portrayed as an “essentially … negative figure” – Tuisto is described as being “celebrated” (celebrant) by the early Germanic peoples in song, with Tacitus reporting nothing negative about Tuisto.

Jacob (2005) attempts to establish a genealogical relationship between Tuisto and Ymir based on etymology and a comparison with (post-)Vedic Indian mythology: as Tvastr, through his daughter Saranyū and her husband Vivaswān, is said to have been the grandfather of the twins Yama and Yami, so Jacob argues that the Germanic Tuisto (assuming a connection with Tvastr) must originally have been the grandfather of Ymir (cognate to Yama).

Incidentally, Indian mythology also places Manu (cognate to Germanic Mannus), the Vedic progenitor of mankind, as a son of Vivaswān, thus making him the brother of Yama/Ymir.

It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.

Istanu

Istanu (Ištanu; from Hattic Estan, “Sun-god”) was the Hittite and Hattic god of the sun. In Luwian he was known as Tiwaz or Tijaz. He was a god of judgement, and was depicted bearing a winged sun on his crown or head-dress, and a crooked staff.

Aramazd

Aramazd was the chief and creator god in pre-Christian Armenian mythology. The deity and his name were derived from the Zoroastrian deity Ahura Mazda after the Median conquest of Armenia in the 6th century BCE.

Aramazd was regarded as a generous god of fertility, rain, and abundance, as well as the father of the other gods, including Anahit, Mihr, and Nane. Like Ahura Mazda, Aramazd was seen as the father of the other gods, rarely with a wife, though sometimes husband to Anahit or Spandaramet. Aramazd was the Parthian form of Ahura Mazda.

Aramazd was readily identified with Zeus through interpretatio Graeca, the two often sharing specific titles regarding greatness, bravery, or strength. There was some disagreement in scholarship as to the relationship between Aramazd, Amanor, and Vanatur, but the evidence most strongly indicates that Vanatur (“Lord of the Van”) was a title for the chief deity (be it Ḫaldi or Ahura Mazda/Aramazd, though recorded uses are only as a title for Aramazd), and that Amanor was both a common noun referring the new year and a title for the deity whose celebration was held on the new year (Vanatur, whether Ḫaldi or Aramazd).

Vahagn

Vahagn is cognate of the Iranian Verethragna (via Vahram -> Vram -> Vam + -agn). The neuter noun verethragna is an Avestan language neuter noun literally meaning “smiting of resistance”. It is related to Avestan verethra, ‘obstacle’ and verethragnan, ‘victorious’. Representing this concept is the divinity Verethragna, who is the hypostasis of “victory”, and “as a giver of victory Verethragna plainly enjoyed the greatest popularity.

While the figure of Verethragna is highly complex, parallels have also been drawn between it and (variously) Vedic Indra, Puranic Vishnu, Manichaean Adamas, Chaldean/ Babylonian Nergal, Egyptian Horus, Hellenic Ares and Heracles.

In the astronomical and calendrical reforms of the Sassanids (205-651 CE), the planet Mars was named Bahram. Zaehner attributes this to the syncretic influences of the Chaldean astral-theological system, where Babylonian Nergal is both the god of war and the name of the red planet.

The storm god and dragon slayer, identified with the Greek Hercules. Vahagn adopted some features of the Hurrian storm god Teshub, through the Urartian Teisheba and after. Christian folklore absorbed Vahang’s role as a storm or weather god into the archangel Gabriel.

Tir

Tir or Tiur is cognate to either the Iranian Tir (or Tishtrya) or (via Armenian dpir “scribe”) the Babylonian Nabu. In either case, the mercurial god of wisdom, culture, and science; messenger of the gods and psychopomp. Identified with the Greek Apollo. Tir’s role as psychopomp may have been absorbed from the Luwian thunder god Tarhunda, whose name had been used to translate that of the Mesopotamian underworld god Nergal. Tir’s temple was located near Artashat.

Tishtrya

Tishtrya is the Avestan language name of a Zoroastrian benevolent divinity associated with life-bringing rainfall and fertility. Tishtrya is Tir in Middle- and Modern Persian. In a hymn of the Avesta (incorporated by Ferdowsi, with due acknowledgement, in the Shahnameh), Tishtrya is involved in a cosmic struggle against the drought-bringing demon Apaosha.

According to the myth, in the form of a pure white horse the god did battle with the demon who, in contrast, had assumed the form of a terrifying black horse. Apaosa soon gained the upper hand over Tishtrya, who was weakened from the lack of sufficient prayers and sacrifices from humankind.

The yazata proceeded to call upon the Creator Ahura Mazda, who himself then intervened by offering a sacrifice to the overwhelmed god. Infused with the power brought by this sacrifice, Tishtrya was able to overcome Apaosa, and his rains were able to flow to the parched fields and pastures unabated by drought.

This story serves to underscore the importance of votive offerings and sacrifice in religious tradition. It has been interpreted to be a mythological conflation of a seasonal and astronomical event: The heliacal rising of Sirius (with which Tishtrya is associated) occurred in July, just before the hottest and driest time of the year. For the next few days, Sirius is visible at dawn as a flimmering star (doing battle with Apaosha).

In the torrid summer months, as Sirius becomes more directly visible, the light of the star appears to grow stronger (Tishtrya gathering strength) until it is steadily visible in the firmament (Apaosha vanquished). With the defeat of Apaosha, the rainy season begins (in late autumn).

A mythological explanation of the heliacal setting of Sirius is only alluded to in the Avesta: In Yasht 18.5-6, Apaosha is contrasted with the bringers of prosperity, that is, Tishtrya and his assistants Vata and Khwarrah. In these verses, the demon of drought is described as the “numbing frost.”

The description of the battle between Apaosha and Tishtrya is reproduced in the 9th-12th century texts of Zoroastrian tradition, where Apaosha now appears as Middle Persian Aposh (apōš), and Tishtrya is now Tishtar.

In the Bundahishn, a cosmological fable completed in the 12th century, the opposition is established during the creation: the second phase of the war between creation (with its guardians) and Angra Mainyu (MP→ Ahriman) is over control of the waters and of the rains.

In this war (Bundahishn 7.8-10, and Zadspram6.9-11), Apaosha is assisted by Spenjagr, who is however defeated by a bolt of lightning. On the opposing front, Tishtrya is supported by Verethragna (→ Vahman), Haoma (→ Hom), Apam Napat (→ Burz), the hordes of the fravashis and by the Vayu (→ Weh), a primary Hindu deity, the lord of the winds, the father of Bhima and the spiritual father of Hanuman.

Burz is the middle Persian name for the Indo-Iranian divinity of waters. Burz is also known as Ahura Berezant in the texts of the Avesta, and also as Apam Napat in Avestan and Vedic Sanskrit. Burz is a Yazad (Avestan: Yazata) in Zoroastrianism and later Persian mythology.

Fravashi is the Avestan language term for the Zoroastrian concept of a personal spirit of an individual, whether dead, living, and yet-unborn. The fravashis of an individual sends out the urvan (often translated as ‘soul’) into the material world to fight the battle of good versus evil. On the morning of the fourth day after death, theurvan is imagined to return to its fravashi, where its experiences in the material world are collected to assist the next generation in their fight between good and evil. The winged-disc symbol of Zoroastrianism is traditionally interpreted as a depiction of a fravashi.

The word for air (vāyu) or wind (pavana) is one of the classical elements in Hinduism. The Sanskrit word ‘Vāta’ literally means “blown”, ‘Vāyu’ “blower”, and Prāna “breathing” (viz. the breath of life, cf. the *an- in ‘animate’). Hence, the primary referent of the word is the “deity of Life”, who is sometimes for clarity referred to as “Mukhya-Vāyu” (the chief Vāyu) or “Mukhya Prāna” (the chief of Life).

In the Bundahishn, Apaosha is identified with the planet Mercury, the astrological opposition to Sirius being a product of the contact with Chaldea, and which may be a lingering trace of the Zurvanite doctrine that places stars in opposition to planets.

Dadistan i denig 93 reiterates Apaosha’s attempt to prevent rain. Upon being defeated by Tishtrya, Apaosha then attempts to make the rains cause damage (93.12). Dadistan i denig 93 provides a folk etymology of Aposh as Middle Persian ab osh “(having) the destruction of water.”

In the Zoroastrian religious calendar, the 13th day of the month and the 4th month of the year are dedicated to Tishtrya/Tir, and hence named after the entity. In the Iranian civil calendar, which inherits its month names from the Zoroastrian calendar, the 4th month is likewise named Tir.

During the Achaemenid period, Tishtrya was conflated with Semitic Nabu-*Tiri, and thus came to be associated with the Dog Star, Sirius. As the god of wisdom and writing, Nabu was linked by the Greeks with Hermes, by the Romans with Mercury, and by the Egyptians with Thoth. In Babylonian astrology, Nabu was identified with the planet Mercury. Nabu’s name is derived from the Semitic root nb´, meaning “to prophesy”.

Nabu was originally a West Semitic deity from Ebla whose cult was introduced to Mesopotamia by the Amorites after 2000 BC. Nabu was assimilated into Marduk’s cult, where he became Marduk’s son with Sarpanitum, and as Ea’s grandson, Marduk’s minister, and co-regent of the Mesopotamian pantheon. Nabu became the god of wisdom and writing, taking over the role from the Sumerian goddess Nisaba. Nabu was also the keeper of the Tablets of Destiny, which recorded the fate of mankind. His symbols are the clay tablet and stylus.

Nabu’s consorts were the Akkadian goddess Tashmetum and the Assyrian Nissaba. He wore a horned cap, and stood with his hands clasped, in the ancient gesture of priesthood. He rode on a winged dragon known as Sirrush that originally belonged to his father Marduk. During the Babylonian New Year Festival, the cult statue of Nabu was transported from Borsippa to Babylon in order to commune with his father Marduk.

The Tiregan festival, previously associated with *Tiri (a reconstructed name), was likewise transferred to Tishtrya. During the Hellenic period, Tishtrya came to be associated with Pythian Apollo, patron of Delphi, and thus a divinity of oracles.

Ciza

The Excerptum ex Gallica Historia of Ursberg (ca. 1135) records a dea Ciza as the patron goddess of Augsburg. According to this account, Cisaria was founded by Swabian tribes as a defence against Roman incursions. This Zisa would be the female consort of Ziu, as Dione was of Zeus. The name Zisa could be derived from Ziu etymologically.

Dione is the name of four women in ancient Greek mythology, and one in the Phoenician mythology of Sanchuniathon. Dione is translated as “Goddess”, and given the same etymological derivation as the names Zeus, Diana, et al. Very little information exists about these nymphs or goddesses, although at least one is described as beautiful and is sometimes associated with water or the sea.

Károly Kerényi notes in this context that the name Dione resembles the Latin name Diana, and is a feminine form of the name Zeus (cf Latin deus, god), hence meaning “goddess of the bright sky”. This association does not prevent her, however, from being worshipped along with Zeus as a deity of springs, making her a water-goddess.

Perhaps this same one was worshiped as a mother goddess who presided over the oracle at Dodona, Greece and was called the mother of Aphrodite. One Dione is identified as the mother of the Roman goddess of love, Venus, or equivalently as the mother of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite; but Dione is also sometimes identified with Aphrodite.

In the Phoenician History, a literary work attributed to Sanchuniathon, a daughter of Ouranos (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth) is called Dione and also Baaltis. She is a sister of Kronos/Elus whom the latter made his wife after their father sent her, and her sisters, to kill Kronos/Elus. The latter gave the city Byblos to Dione.

The exact identity of this Dione is uncertain: Sanchuniathon may have meant to identify her with Dione the Titaness. From her name Baaltis and association with Byblos she is taken to be Ba`alat Gebal, the patron goddess of Byblos. However, some scholars identify her with Asherah, proposing that Sanchuniathon merely uses Dione as a translation of Asherah’s epithet Elat.

In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt, the moon and nature being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. She was equated with the Greek goddess Artemis. Diana was known to be the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses — along with Minerva and Vesta — who swore never to marry.

Oak groves were especially sacred to her. According to mythology (in common with the Greek religion and their deity Artemis), Diana was born with her twin brother Apollo on the island of Delos, daughter of Jupiter and Latona. Diana made up a triad with two other Roman deities: Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.

Diana (pronounced with long ‘ī’ and ‘ā’) is an adjectival form developed from an ancient *divios, corresponding to later ‘divus’, ‘dius’, as in Dius Fidius, Dea Dia and in the neuter form dium meaning the sky. It is rooted in Indoeuropean *d(e)y(e)w, meaning bright sky or daylight, from which also derived the name of Vedic god Dyaus and the Latin deus, (god), dies, (day, daylight), and ” diurnal”, (daytime).

On the Tablets of Pylos a theonym diwia is supposed as referring to a deity precursor of Artemis. Modern scholars mostly accept the identification. The ancient Latin writers Varro and Cicero considered the etymology of Dīāna as allied to that of dies and connected to the shine of the Moon.

Hel

In Norse mythology, Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim. In the same source, her appearance is described as half blue and half flesh-coloured and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance.

Scholarly theories have been proposed about Hel’s potential connections to figures appearing in the 11th century Old English Gospel of Nicodemus and Old Norse Bartholomeus saga postola, that she may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali or that Hel may have become a being only as a late personification of the location of the same name.

Bhavani

Bhavani is a ferocious aspect of the Hindu goddess Parvati. Bhavani means “giver of life”, the power of nature or the source of creative energy. In addition to her ferocious aspect, she is also known as Karunaswaroopini, “filled with mercy”.

A temple to Bhavani at Tuljapur in Maharashtra dates back to the 12th century. The temple contains a one metre-high granite icon of the goddess with eight arms, holding weapons. She also holds the head of the demon, Mahishasura, whom she slew in the region which is known in the present day as Mysore.

Mahakali

Mahakali (literally translated as Great Kali, is the Hindu Goddess of time and death, considered to be the consort of Shiva the God of consciousness, and the basis of Reality and existence. Mahakali in Sanskrit is etymologically the feminized variant of Mahakala or Great Time (which is interpreted also as Death), an epithet of the God Shiva in Hinduism.

According to the Markendeya Purana she is an aspect of the goddess Durga. Mahakali is the form of the Goddess Durga (Parvati) beyond time, Kali, who is the force of the anger of Durga and is an aspect of Durga or Adi parashakti, and therefore her color is black. She is believed to be the greatest aspect of Kali whom many Hindus hold as a Divine Mother.

Mahakali’s history is contained in various Puranic and Tantric Hindu Scriptures (Shastra). In these She is variously portrayed as the Adi-Shakti-Goddess Durga, the Primeval Force of the Universe, identical with the Ultimate Reality or Brahman. Mahakali is most often depicted as blue in popular Indian art.

Her most common four armed iconographic image shows each hand carrying variously a sword, a trishul (trident), a severed head and a bowl or skull-cup (kapala) catching the blood of the severed head. Her eyes are described as red with intoxication and in absolute rage.

She is also known as the (female) Prakriti or World as opposed to the (male) Purusha or Consciousness, or as one of three manifestations of Mahadevi Durga (The Great Goddess) that represent the three Gunas or attributes in Samkhya philosophy. In this interpretation Mahakali represents Tamas or the force of inertia.

A common understanding of the Devi Mahatmya (“Greatness of the Goddess”) text, a later interpolation into the Markandeya Purana, considered a core text of Shaktism (the branch of Hinduism which considers Devi Durga to be the highest aspect of Godhead), assigns a different form of the Goddess (Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi, and Mahakali) to each of the three episodes therein.

Shiva – Kali

Shiva; Sanskrit: Śiva, meaning “The Auspicious One” is one of the three major deities of Hinduism. He is the chief deity within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta Tradition, and “the Transformer”.

At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya, and in fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and arts.

The Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the Vedic Indra. Doniger gives several reasons for her hypothesis. Both are associated with mountains, rivers, male fertility, fierceness, fearlessness, warfare, transgression of established mores, the Aum sound, the Supreme Self. Indra, like Shiva, is likened to a bull. In the Rig Veda the term śiva is used to refer to Indra.

Shiva as we know him today shares many features with the Vedic god Rudra, and both Shiva and Rudra are viewed as the same personality in Hindu scriptures. The two names are used synonymously. Rudra, the god of the roaring storm, is usually portrayed in accordance with the element he represents as a fierce, destructive deity.

In Hinduism, the Marutas, also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Prisni and attendants of Indra. They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e. lightning and thunderbolts, as having iron teeth and roaring like lions, as residing in the north, as riding in golden chariots drawn by ruddy horses.

Rudra and Agni, the Rigvedic deity of fire, have a close relationship. The identification between Agni and Rudra in the Vedic literature was an important factor in the process of Rudra’s gradual development into the later character as Rudra-Shiva. The identification of Agni with Rudra is explicitly noted in the Nirukta, an important early text on etymology, which says, “Agni is also called Rudra.”

In the Śatarudrīya, some epithets of Rudra, such as Sasipañjara (“Of golden red hue as of flame”) and Tivaṣīmati (“Flaming bright”), suggest a fusing of the two deities. Agni is said to be a bull, and Lord Shiva possesses a bull as his vehicle, Nandi. The horns of Agni, who is sometimes characterized as a bull, are mentioned. In medieval sculpture, both Agni and the form of Shiva known as Bhairava have flaming hair as a special feature.

Mangala

Some authors associate the name with the Tamil word śivappu meaning “red”, noting that Shiva is linked to the Sun (śivan, “the Red one”, in Tamil) and that Rudra is also called Babhru (brown, or red) in the Rigveda.

In the Skanda Purana, a Hindu religious text, Mars, the red planet, is known as the deity Mangala and was born from the sweat of Shiva. Once when Lord Shiva was engrossed in deep meditation (Sansrit: samādhi) upon his abode, Mount Kailash, three drops of perspiration originated from his forehead and fell down on the earth.

From those drops manifested a very beautiful infant, who was of reddish complexion and who had four arms. The child was handed over to the earth goddess, Bhumi, the Hindu goddess representing Mother Earth, for upbringing by Lord Shiva. The child was named Bhauma as he was nurtured and brought up by ‘Bhumi’ (earth).

When Bhauma grew up, he went to Kashi and did a tremendous penance to please lord Shiva. Lord Shiva blessed him by granting him ‘Mangala loka’ (the Abode of Mangala), which was superior even to the ‘Shukra loka’ (the Abode of the god of Venus – Shukra).

The same Bhauma is established in the solar system by the name of Mangala (planet Mars). The planet is called Angaraka in Sanskrit, after the celibate god of war who possesses the signs of Aries and Scorpio, and teaches the occult sciences.

Mangala is painted red or flame colour, four-armed, carrying a trident (Sanskrit: trishūla), mace (Sanskrit: gadā), lotus (Sanskrit: Padma) and a spear (Sanskrit: shūla). His mount (Sanskrit: vahana) is a ram. He presides over (Tuesday).

Lingam – yoni

The main iconographical attributes of Shiva are the third eye on his forehead, the snake Vasuki around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru as his musical instrument. Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam.

The lingam, also linga, ling, Shiva linga, Shiv ling, meaning sign, or symbol, is an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu deity, Shiva, used for worship in temples, smaller shrines, or as self-manifested natural objects. In traditional Indian society, the lingam is seen as a symbol of the energy and potential of Shiva himself. It is the transcendental source of all that exists.

The lingam is often represented alongside the yoni (Sanskrit word, literally “origin”, “source”, “vagina” or “womb”), a symbol of the goddess (Shakti or Devi), the Hindu Divine Mother, the female creative energy of nature that moves through the entire universe.

In Hindu philosophy, according to Tantra, yoni is the origin of life. In Indian religions according to Vedas and Bhagavad Gita, Yoni is a form of life or a species. The births and rebirths (the cycle of life) of a human happen in various yonis. A human who achieves the enlightenment (Mokshya) breaks the cycle of reincarnation and adjoins Brahma.

The union of lingam and yoni represents the “indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates”. Their union represents the eternal process of creation and regeneration. Since the late 19th century, some have interpreted the yoni and the lingam as aniconic representations of the vulva and a phallus respectively.

In Sanskrit, Yoni means place of birth, source, origin. The lingam stone represents Shiva, and is usually placed on the yoni. As Shiva is represented as an endless fire, Lingam-yoni denotes origin of an endless fire which created the universe. The lingam united with the yoni represents the nonduality of immanent reality and transcendental potentiality.

Shiva forms a Tantric couple with Shakti (from Sanskrit shak, “to be able”), meaning “power” or “empowerment,” the primordial cosmic energy and the embodiment of energy, dynamism, and the motivating force behind all action and existence in the material universe.

Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as ‘The Great Divine Mother’ in Hinduism. On the earthly plane, Shakti most actively manifests through female embodiment and creativity/fertility, though it is also present in males in its potential, unmanifest form.

Shakti is his transcendent feminine aspect, providing the divine ground of all being. She represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe. As the mother she is known as Adi Parashakti or Adishakti. In her avatar as Akshara Mandhapati, her power is her uncontrollable energy.

Hindus believe that Shakti is both responsible for creation and the agent of all change. Shakti is cosmic existence as well as liberation, its most significant form being the Kundalini Shakti, a mysterious psychospiritual force. In Shaktism and Shaivism, Shakti is worshipped as the Supreme Being.

Shakti embodies the active feminine energy of Shiva and is identified as Tripura Sundari or Parvati. Shakti manifests in several female deities. Sati and Parvati are the main consorts of Shiva. She is also referred to as Uma, Durga (Parvati), Kali and Chandika.

Kali is the manifestation of Shakti in her dreadful aspect. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatārini (literally “redeemer of the universe”).

The name Kali is derived from the Sanskrit “Kālá”, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva – she therefore represents Time, Change, Power, Creation, Preservation, and Destruction. Since Shiva is called Kāla, the eternal time, Kālī, his consort, also means “Time” or “Death” (as in “time has come”). “Kali” also means “the black one”, the feminine noun of the Sanskrit adjective Kālá.

Her earliest appearance is that of a destroyer principally of evil forces. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman; devotional movements worship Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess.

Kālī is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing or dancing. Shiva is the masculine force, the power of peace, while Shakti translates to power, and is considered as the feminine force. In the Vaishnava tradition, these realities are portrayed as Vishnu and Laxmi, or Radha and Krishna. These are differences in formulation rather than a fundamental difference in the principles.

Both Shiva and Shakti have various forms. Shiva has forms like Yogi Raj (the common image of Himself meditating in the Himalayas), Rudra (a wrathful form) and Nataraj (Shiva’s dance are the Lasya – the gentle form of dance, associated with the creation of the world, and the Tandava – the violent and dangerous dance, associated with the destruction of weary world views – weary perspectives and lifestyles).

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