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The Ten Mahavidyas

The mahavidyas, or “great wisdoms”, “wisdom goddesses”, or “Ten objects of Transcendent Wisdom” is a medieval Indian system of metaphysical thought that brings together aspects of goddess energy in a powerful and evocative manner. In certain aspects it falls outside the more familiar Hindu orthodoxy, whilst deepening and adding commentary to the esoteric traditions of the Himalayan region.

I first came across the Mahavidyas in my fourth year at the University of Edinburgh and was drawn to the powerful imagery- especially as presented in Alain Danielou’s “Hindu Polytheism”- so that I incorporated elements of symbolism in my sculpture projects. At the time I was using the image of the bowl a lot in my work and it seemed an ideal form to express the numinous within the familiar. A container of space, requiring emptiness to define itself, the bowl has often been employed as a metaphor for the polarity of existence.
Much more recently I was asked to make images representing each Mahavidya in the same way that I found symbolic forms for tree energies. It took a while to consider. It is one thing tuning into a tree energy and seeing how to visually freeze that unique energy dance, it is a different matter of scale to do the same to a powerful universal energy presence. Resolution came when I acknowledged that the Mahavidya energy patterns are transgender, transhuman, transspatial, transtemporal, transcultural entities. In other words, it was not necessary to get “permission” or authentication to begin this work. They do not belong to any one species or gender or time or theology, though their symbolic references will be culturally specific. I am possessed wholly by these energies as I am with the frequencies of the electro-magnetic spectrum. I do not need to achieve knowledge or understanding outside of myself. In fact they have a more permanent existence than what I consider to be my own personal reality.

MAHAKALI

Great Time
Time accumulating,
Licking
Laughing.
Disintegrates
your considerate sciences,
Your careful measured certainty.

Unfettered
Definitions cease.
Knowing Her
There is nothing else to know.

Beyond subatomic passion,
Endless rest, but awake.

Scurrilous,
Untramelled Reality,
Radiant darkness
Embedded, entangled,
Woven into solidity

Solid time
Still time
Waiting time.
Ungraspable, unavoidable

Warm red tongue
Licking your soul.
Warm lips clasping.

Atrocious vastness,
Contigious unity,
Invisible light
Revealed.

Exploding souls
Supernovae.

The image above is one of a series of prints I made of the Mahavidyas and related energies. This one is Kali, the Great Night of Time, Deathless Silence, Perfect Bright Darkness. Kali means ‘time’.
Though these energies are personified and worshipped as deities, they transcend all human categorisation and all cultural niceties. They are raw reality, which is why they are so scary! Any image is Mahakali, every concept is Mahakali. This image I have made is therefore perfectly MahaKali, though not exclusively so!!

If you are interested inseeing the other images or purchasing a few(!!) please go to click here

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