Banded with a tinkling girdle
Heavy with breasts like the frontal lobes of young elephants.
Slender of waist,
with face like the full moon of autumn…
— Hymn of Praise to Parvati
As we approach the Great Sabbat of Beltane, we not only celebrate the dancing of the phallic Maypole, but also the rejoicing of the glorious bride, like Parvati.
The Goddess Parvati is often considered the Maiden aspect of Kali. Also worshipped as the powerful Durga, She is Shiva’s beautiful, joyful bride. She is the Daughter of the Mountains, indeed, the Daughter of Heaven. She is dark and colorful, ornate and mysterious.
The rich beauty of Her clothing and jewelry symbolize Her power. When She lifts Her veil, Her radiance is said to shine like the sun rising over the Himalayan mountain of Anapurna. The cocoon, butterfly, lion and the karmic golden wheel are Her symbols, reflecting Her deep connection with life and death, cause and effect, and transformation.
In addition to being the wife of Lord Shiva, She is the divine mother of Ganesh and Kartikeya. Some communities also believe her to be the divine sister of Lord Vishnu who is married to Lakshmi. Many believers consider Her the ultimate Divine.
Like Aphrodite, She is an active, adventurous lover. But unlike the unhappily married Greek Goddess, Parvati adores Her husband Shiva, and in fact represents marital fidelity to Her devotees.
But, alas… like many mortals, the course of Her courtship did not run smoothly.
After the death of Sati, who was His first love, Shiva had isolated Himself in a dark cave buried amongst the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas. He rejected the world outside, so distraught was He by the loss. Shiva, immersed in meditation, was oblivious to the problems in the worlds. This was unfortunate, since a demon was creating havoc, and only a son by Shiva would be able to defeat it. Shiva, however, had no interest in fathering anyone, as He was busy performing tapas, intense meditations that produce great heat and energy.
With trouble increasing in the worlds, the Gods decided that they would create a beautiful Maiden Goddess to be His new love, lure Him out of His seclusion, and bear Him the son that was to be the champion for good.
So it was that Parvati, daughter of the Himavan, Lord of the mountains, was born. Every day, the beautiful Maiden Parvati visited Shiva’s cave, swept the floor, decorated it with flowers and offered Him fruits, hoping to win His love.
But Shiva never opened His eyes to look upon Her charming face. His mind was filled with great knowledge and His body became resplendent with energy. But all this knowledge and energy, bottled within His being, was of no help to man or Gods.
Will Parvati prevail? What will happen if Shiva does not return from His withdrawal? Will He father the great warrior? Will love conquer or fail?
Tune in tomorrow!