Wisdom from Folklore | Kali: The Story of Death

Thursday’s Talking Point | A myth or story from folklore

Stories are not just to entertain, if we really pay attention, any story can teach us something about ourselves and the world we live in.

Some of the most important concepts I have learned in regards to practising magic have come from the imaginations of Master Storytellers. Terry Pratchett with his witches of the Discworld showed me what sort of witch I want to be. And David Eddings in The Belgariad series taught me the truth of future telling: The future is not set in stone, and even if it was you can always break the stone.

Many years ago, I picked up a book called The Storytellers Goddess, written by Carolyn McVickar Edwards. The copy I have was published in 1991 but a second edition was brought out in 2000.

Within the stories, I found one of the Goddess Kali which has influenced my feelings towards death and dying ever since.

I would share it with you now with your indulgence.

Kali: The Story of Death

“There is not enough room!” the people were crying. “There is not enough room!”

It was true. Plants were so thick on the forest floors that the strongest knives could not cut paths through them. Corn and rice grow so high in the fields that they towered like trees over the people. People had not enough to eat in those times, because no one died. Babies came and grew bigger and bigger, but people did not get old and they never left the Earth.

That was when the Goddess Kali turned over in Her sleep. The peoples’ cry, “There is not enough room!” became part of Her dream. But She must have been ready to awake because the next cry, “There is not enough room!” woke Her and She sat up. “You disturb My sleep!” She bellowed, rubbing Her eyes with Her fists.

“There’s not enough room!” the people cried.

Kali drew on Her robes. She walked to Her window and threw it open to look out on the world. She put Her dark hands on the sill and leaned out. Her black hair ruffled in the wind. What She saw made Her draw back into Her room.

She saw crowds of people piled on top of each other, none of them old, all of them elbowing each other to get at vats

The statue of Hindu Goddess Kali inside the Te...

The statue of Hindu Goddess Kali inside the Temple of Joy Kali in Old Dhaka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

of food in buildings crammed together so tightly it was hard to see the sky. Animals swarmed through the throngs. The air was hot with sweat and perfume and soil.

Kali, inside, licked Her lips. Her hands went to Her hips. “Time!” She yelled.

Her servant, Time, came running. “Bring Me My red sari,” She ordered. Time brought the garment, dark as the colour of blood.

Kali threw off the gray robes of sleep and fastened the red about Her. “Clothe yourself,”She said to Her servant. “We are going out. And bring Me My jewels.”

Time did as bidden. He took up Her gray robes for himself and put on shoes the shape of fish. Then he brought Kali Her necklace, glinting with skulls.

“Take these,” Kali said, and She thrust gifts wrapped in golden paper into Time’s hands. “Now call My chariot!”

The chariot came, pulled by eight while stallions and eight black mares. Fire leapt from its wheels when Kali and Time climbed to its platform. With a loud cry, Kali raised Her hand and let loose the rein.

The horses streaked across the distance to Earth. Before each village Kali drew in the reins. Her servant stepped from the chariot and handed the gold-wrapped gifts to people who crowded at each stop.

In each package the people found Kali’s gifts. Spider webs. Dust. Decay.  Mold. Worms. Rust. Mushrooms. Crumbling. Rot. Mildew. The smell of rich earth. Aging.

It was on that day the crops knew more than just blooming and growing. They knew also withering that returned them to the soil.it was on that day that the plants of the forest floor began to add to the blackness of the soil so the trees could grow.

Animals had babies, but now the babies grew old. Humans too began to age. They also began to die, so there would be room for their children.

Kali and Her servant Time returned to Her palace. Exhausted She fell, still crimson-clothed, across Her bed. Time undressed Her gently and tucked Her under the covers.

Kali is the Goddess who dances at funerals and sometimes stops babies from being born. Kali still strides with Her servant, Time. Since that first trip, though, Time has carried his own presents. Time gives people the gift of white hairs, and he wraps them carefully in the gold paper of wisdom and acceptance.


3 thoughts on “Wisdom from Folklore | Kali: The Story of Death

  1. This story was awesome. Not only have you given me a new book to add to my wishlist, but I’ve never heard a tale of Kali in this way. It put her into a perspective that I’ve needed, but been unable to find. So, in that, thank you greatly.

  2. Pingback: How To Date A Goddess Wombman | Exploration of the Sacred & Conscious; including Sexuality

  3. Pingback: My Patron Gods | Writings of a Pagan Witch

I enjoy reading your responses, so please let me know what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s