MAHAKALI MAYA - An Invocation of Kali
By Julian Vayne
Originally published at Samhain 2002
It's odd the things one learns. 'Kali Temples have a nasty habit of catching fire' - that's one that I now know to be a fact. The friend who sent me that advisory email quoted examples of two temples, build by various friends, dedicated to the bloody goddess of time and death. The first was a bender structure that had gone up in smoke, the second a tent that, during one particularly dramatic ritual, had been entirely destroyed by a conflagration.
In accordance with this the wise wizard always packs a trusty fire extinguisher!
The space for the rituals was fabulous. Brother rhino had helped take a squat on Viaduct Road, the building had been a workshop premises, build in that apparently timeless mid-twentieth-century-brick-but-featureless style. The narrow staircase led down to the bottom two floors which we were going to use. The only permanent inhabitant of the squat - Snoop, seemed unconcerned about our antics in a kind of off-hand sort of a way.
The rooms themselves were behind boarded up shop fronts, bone shatteringly cold concrete floors and featuring a strangely institutional looking sink in the corner. Here we would create a potent temporal autonomous zone. Here we could build and install our own art, our own creations. Brother rhino and Sister mill mill led the project, they focused the form of the space and, aided and abetted by myself, Brother Kondwani, Sister Artemis, and a loose network of others, this outlaw chamber was transformed into a place of power and of magick.
The chamber walls were covered with white drapes from floor to ceiling. On the floor was painted the muladhara lotus. The base chakra, that place from which all our basic drives spring - the drive to feed, to flee, to fight and form territory. This is the material realm. The red four petaled lotus, some 3 metres wide. The flower sat upon a mountain of skulls. Photocopied grinning white bone faces, thousands of them painstakingly stuck to the floor and varnished. Thus the lotus sits upon the charnel ground of the earth, just as our lives build upon and are supported by the bones of our dead ancestors...
Brother rhino strikes the singing bowl and begins...
The beginning of the ritual is for us to be consciousness of the reality and meaning of this installation. Sri Parameshvari puja is our first working.
Now we come to the Muladhara Lotus. Deep at the base of your spine. Placed below your genitals and above your anus: Its head hangs downwards. It has 4 petals of deep crimson, on which shine the letters Va, Sh, S, & Sa, of brilliant gold. Root support of the sound mandala universe.
Here is the bottom of creation!
The Dominant Para- Sri Parameshvari!
Listen, whilst you have this rare chance of liberty and opportunity!
Here, we die before death and become the twice born!
These are your 4 aims!
Dharma-Right thinking Artha- Acquisition of wealth Kama- Sexuality Moksha-Liberation
Conquering 4 Asuras respectively:
May Sri MahaMaya Kali Kalaratrisvarupini extinguish what is left!
Here! Listen! In this endless cycle of Death and Rebirth, which is entirely without gates; is the four-fold Dhara-Mandala, shining yellow, Tattva of Earth Beautiful like lighting.
A blue circle rests upon the lotus, without gates because in this place, the world, all things are linked to the cycle of birth, sex, death and rebirth.
Cohesive principle of solidity.
Matter is at its densest here,
This is the seat of the fat one, being all categories that exist.
Here we are nourished by the smell of food, the release of sleep, we wash, we clean, we fuck, and we fight. Here, resistance is at its highest.
This is the part of your myth you can touch! Here nobly born! Not anywhere else! Here where our everyday lives are situated, where your beauty unfolds from sleep everyday!
We sit not being asked to imagine these things for here it is! In actuality, we are seated upon the lotus, in the World of the world. Our circle (there are some 10 participants) sits upon the earth as on a raft.
Brother rhino leads us through the mantras and meaning of this space. His movements are wild and intoxicated like the sadus I've seen raving in Tamil Nadu. We are isolated from the world, cut off the everyday and yet we are profoundly aware of the reality of all this, the cold of the concrete floor, the sounds from the road outside. This is hyperreality.
Nuclear seed bija of this Tattva is LAM - of the nature of diamonds.
Within the bindu of the mantra, seated in abundant opulence on a gigantic red lotus, in pure bliss, Mighty Maha Ganesha chuckles and eats sweets. Filling all dimensions with his incomprehensible bulk. He is the Seer-poet of the crossroads. Beloved boy of beginnings. Lord of the Gana Spirit horde. Namah! Namah!
Oh Destroyer, you are so fat and we love you so much!
You are the body of material pleasure,
You are the sense lord,
You are the feeder,
The food & the fed.
Hear us oh Pork chop champion of the oppressed, you carry in your arms the Child Creator Brahma, Glowing rainbow hued Supercontext.
The perfect lover who's MahaMantra-
HARE KRSNA HARE KRSNA
KRSNA KRSNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA
RAMA RAMA HARE HARE-
Is resplendent like the young sun dispelling the shear terror of the aroused Kundalini.
Lord of desire, the self-born supreme divinity of lust, impeller of creation.
Proud adolescent, riding a parrot, bow of sugarcane, the bowstring a line of bees, your 5 arrows of heavenly fragrance incite wild passion for the joy of union.In fields, by a lake, in cities, towns and villages, love is the pivot on which we turn!
Brother rhino's hands sweep across the mandala on the floor, indicating the elements of the yantra, building the space-text of the puja with movements and words.
Here near the mouth of the Nadi called Vajra, in the pericarp there constantly shines the beautifully luminous and soft lightning triangle Tripura. There is always and everywhere the seat of Shakti. The Yoni. Of the nature of the 3 worlds, the 3 times, the 3 gunas; Sattva, Rajas & Tamas.
Here in Tamas. Inertia. Decay. Where all forms return is Sakti Dakini Kali Kalaratrisvarupini. Burning like 10 million suns. Seated on an unfolding red lotus, smashing the pride of this degenerate age, the presided of the yuga of blood, corruption and hypocrisy.
Her name is the last breath, she who strikes terror into the hearts of the uninitiated; uncontrollable, holding in her right hands the spear and lotus, and in her left the sword and skull cup filled with wine. She is fierce in temper and shows her teeth. Addicted to the spilling of blood. Primary Adya Shakti you crush the whole host of enemies. You are plump of body and fond of rice pudding. As all colours disappear into black, so all beings return into you. Darkness within Darkness the gateway to all understanding.
Inside is Svayambu in his Linga form, beautiful like precious gems, he is revealed by Knowledge and Meditation, and is of the nature of a fresh new leaf. As the cool rays of lighting and the full moon charm desire, so does his beauty. Diamond point of consciousness. The Deva who resides here happily is in created forms like an irresistible whirlpool. You are mighty Shushumna Self-contained reality manifestation vajra technology of the nature of our own central nervous system. Inert, like a corpse. The senses are dead. All you perceive is dreaming Kundalini. MahaMaya, fine as a lotus stalk, she is the world-bewilderer, gently covering the mouth of Supercontext comprehension with her own.
Now you perceive the Gayatri of the Kali-Yuga. Listen and be liberated.
The twilight language washes over us. Some of our company know these symbols and can plainly see the linga in the lotus. For others this evocative text is suggestive, exotic, a relentless barrage of images, a rich word feast with the occasional jarring description to prevent complacency. For all the truth is overwhelming. Here we are in the world, on the lotus. The text of the puja is only a pretty statement of the strangeness of the real world. The effect is like those first few moments when you are waiting for the acid to kick in. You know that somehow you will soon be tripping and that you can watch, expectantly, for the very first inkling of the drug effect. The psychedelic state always sneaks up on one; from the corner of your eye, from the edges of awareness and from an unexpected direction - like the universe saying 'boo!' and catching itself sleeping...
The temple is dedicated to Kali - this is her place. She is the goddess in the muladhara chakra, she liberates us when death comes. She teaches the tantras and creates the world of form, she is time.
The squat contains her symbols. Upstairs there is a small devotional shrine that each of us knelt at on our entry to the building. On it the yantra of the goddess, her triangles and four gates. Red candles and incense, a bowl of water and red flowers are her offerings.
Now in the temple all eyes are firmly fixed on her altar.
Red and green silks hang from the ceiling. They frame an image of Kali as the beautiful and terrible Mother, in one hand she holds a skull dripping blood, and in another an AK47 assault rifle. Round her head are love hearts in a rainbow of colours. Around her are other forms, Mahakali standing upon Shiva, her ten arms raised with weapons of war and liberation. Below her the sandalwood sculpture of Ganesha fat and gorgeous. Offerings are clustered around the big bellied elephant headed god; perfume, water, flowers, fruit. More images of Kali fill the altar; the goddess as an aged woman, the goddess as P.J.Harvey wearing her T-shirt urging 'lick my legs'.
On the floor, beneath the altar space resting on the mountain of skulls, is the fetish.
The fetish has been made from newspapers with sigils scrawled upon them, crushed into balls and stuck into a vague pyramidal shape using a quick drying builders foam. Over this red wax has been poured, creating a structure that resembles a bloody hunk of meat. Hair and nail clippings of the assembled company have also been incorporated. Into this, red candles have been stuck and upon and around it we have decorated the altar to befit the goddess.
There is a huge spear, a multitude of skulls and bones. Wine and fruit, sweets, incense and red flowers in great abundance.
Jai Mahakali! Praise Kali!
Like the twilight language of the puja the altar is at once simple and overwhelmingly opulent. It is baroque and gothic, cultures and ideas clash within its form. Signs of care and love and safety and images of war or violence and of sudden death.
Svayambu tames the multiplicity of Her form, which coils like the Conch shell KRSNA blew on the battlefield of the ancestors.
Her of the soft golden limbs, primal ratio, Self-Sentient reality patterning, here in forms concealed, having every single characteristic, hand removing fear.
Her neurosomatic response is that of a strong flash of young strong lightning. Her sweet biological murmur is like the hum of swarms of cellular algorithms resonating implicitly. Melodious nuclear seed syllable poetry of perceptual machinery - like immense clouds of love mad bees.
Here reigns the dominant Parameshvari.
We do this Puja as a dedication to Sri Parameshvari. The awakened of eternal knowledge. She is the Omnipotent Kala who is wonderfully skilful to create, and is subtler than the subtlest. She is the receptacle of that continuous stream of ambrosia which flows from the eternal bliss. By Her radiance it is that the universe and this cauldron is illumined. She is the Devi Dakini by name, Her four arms shine with beauty, and her eyes are brilliant red. She is like the lustre of a million suns rising at once and the same time. She is the carrier of the revelation of the ever-pure intelligence.
It is she who maintains all the beings of the world, by means of inspiration and exploration, poetry, verse, in sequence or otherwise. She shines in the cavity of the red lotus like a chain of brilliant handmade children's lanterns.
She who is of the nature of light and sound, shining in the forehead like the lustrous rainbow of Brahma. In the crown of the head united like the luminous white shine of the moon, and in the heart like the never-setting splendorous sun- May She, by the means of the 3 mighty syllables-
Speedily destroy all our impurities.
Repository of all manifestation in complexity and variety. Basis of all vibration, movement, form.
Starting point in the unfolding of space/time as well as the last point of its ultimate integration. Extensionless mathematical point of pervading consciousness. Zero dimensions.
The eight-fold yoga
The six regions of the body
The five states
They have left and gone
And in the open
We are left
There is but a red rounded moon
A fountain of white milk
The Unobtainable bliss
Has engulfed us
I Formally close this Puja
Brother rhino strikes the singing bowl and we listen to the sound dwindle, merging at last with the background vibration of the world. We are back, changed and yet nothing has changed. The mantra and the worship has served to place us directly in the muladhara. We know what we must do, the injunction is as clear as the four aims:
Acquisition of wealth
Though the first puja has closed we are still here, still seated in the muladhara chakra, sitting on the hard floor on the red lotus atop a mountain of skulls.
Through this puja the working space is opened, the sequence of what was to become four rituals in honour of Kali is begun..