Daughter of the Mountain
Parvati is most famous as Shiva’s bride and Shakti, but she is a goddess in her own right. Because so many Hindu goddesses, including Durga and Kali, are now officially identified as avatars or paths of Parvati, they can be very difficult to disentangle.
Her central myth describes how Parvati as a little girl fell in love with Shiva and determined to marry him. It was what she was born to do: Parvati is the Reincarnation of Sati, Shiva’s first love, although he does not recognize her and still grieves for Sati. Parvati may or may not be the same deity as Uma.
She undergoes tremendous austerities to attract Shiva’s attention and win his love. They do not always live happily ever after. Shiva and Parvati have a passionate but sometimes contentious relationship. He is a difficult husband, often more committed to his spiritual path than to his relationships or domestic responsibilities. (“What domestic responsibilities?” he would ask.) Parvati is no wilting violet but a proud, powerful, defiant goddess of love and fertility. She is truly Shiva’s match and not afraid to stand up to him. Parvati works very hard to maintain Shiva’s erotic interest. She ornaments herself with henna, which allegedly creates irresistible sexual allure. Karttikeya is their son, but Parvati conceived Ganesha all by herself.
In her earliest incarnation, Parvati is a mountain goddess who presided over a court of Fairy spirits. She reputedly invented rice cultivation. She is now rarely venerated without Shiva but may originally have presided over women’s mysteries. Men are still not permitted into the inner sanctums of her shrines.
Parvati is a generous, benevolent goddess invoked for fertility, prosperity, and domestic happiness. She is petitioned to find and win true love and to maintain sexual interest. Parvati is kind but temperamental. She is known to hold a grudge. If angered, she can allegedly only be propitiated by women. Parvati may be invoked alongside Ganesha, who adores her. Ganesha may be requested to mediate with his mother.
She is extremely beautiful but can take many forms from the seductive to the terrible. She may appear as a dark-skinned or fair-skinned woman.
Red cloth, crescent moon, vulva (yoni), mirror, bell, rosary
Citron (Citrus medica)
Henna (Lawsonia inermis)
Mount Kailash, her home
Red lotus, blue lotus, yellow lotus
Lion, tiger, or white lioness
Rudraksha (Elaeocarpus ganitrus)
- Nang Kwak
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by :Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.