To dismiss something because it seems obvious has been the source of many grievous errors even in the most concrete disciplines.
Shall we move onto practice? Have I described the nature and character of Kali?
Well, besides serving as a model to understand the natural world, the gods can serve as a locus for one’s personal understanding.
Remember how earlier I said in order to be able to handle information people have to structure it into conceptual chunks? By meditating on one of the great ones (Kali is also called Mahakali. Maha-kali, great Kali), you can come to an understanding of everything in your whole world. We all ultimately process the world from a single point of view anyway. Discovering your feelings for Kali is just a way to recognize a dynamic in the world that you can naturally take part in.
Kali is change or chaos. For some there is a deep spiritual thread in their being that resonates with the process of change in the world. Embracing Kali in meditation is a way to grow in strength and clarity of your own Atman or soul/spirit even as scary as she may seem. Otherwise, everything else is just another way of interacting with Kali. Dance and offerings and prayer are just ways to focus on time/energy and open yourself to her. Even just thinking about Kali in the abstract, trying to understand the force that she represents, will have a spiritual impact on you like people making a point of philosophically considering their own death.
Can get me off my butt to do things before it’s too late. That’s Kali’s ferocity. She moves you to seize the day. Do it now for tomorrow you die. The reason Kali is typically shown carrying a mans head is the effect contemplating her has on people. They lose their head. Their ego weakens. She is shown as having a long tongue because of her blood thirst. She doesn’t care what you think your extenuating circumstances are. Do or die, live and let live lest you die, things like that.
She is all powerful. No one can escape her, like death with a robe and scythe. Well, all powerful but not all defining, and as much as she may take you out, you will likely come back. She doesn’t herself control the wheel of karma. In the end, one can join her instead of fall under her feet, by finding liberation. They say that with liberation comes understanding.
How? Things they call the siddhis, the powers or perfections. They’re typically considered a distraction, but as your understanding of Kali grows ever deeper, you can come to a point where you see many of the aspects of change as choices. Longevity would be one gift of understanding Kali. Foresight would be another, and there are others. Insight into anything that changes would be possible as far as change plays a role in it, and what doesn’t change?
Yes, understanding how things change can allow you to predict the changes, like weather forecasting. And change the process of change.
Kali has a role in the practice of the martial arts, specifically the aspect where you have to anticipate the unpredictable. Like her passionate outbursts, anyone at any time may give in to an impulse, often destructive.
Siddhi could be a good topic for a class. Ah yes, they have been codified even. The pali cannon makes mention of them.
My body changes whether I want it to or not, so I might as well try to guide it. Yes, she is known for having mastery of poison, among other things.
Namaste. I see the god in you. Your thoughts are welcome.