Shasthi

Shasthi Sixth

ALSO KNOWN AS:

Skandamata

ORIGIN:

India Shasthi is a goddess of fertility, childbirth, fate, and good fortune. She is the personification of the sixth day following childbirth. She enters the home on the sixth day and writes the baby’s fate on his or her forehead using invisible ink. Shasthi vows that since she is an auspicious goddess, nothing inauspicious can occur in homes where she resides. She protects babies from fever and danger in the manner of a fierce mother cat. Shasthi protects children against tetanus. She guards children in general and is petitioned by women for fertility, easy labor, and healthy babies. • When a child reaches its sixth day, its father makes offerings to Shasthi. • Women whose children have died venerate Shasthi monthly.

MANIFESTATION:

She is envisioned as a fair woman holding a child; she may be accompanied by, or riding a cat.

ICONOGRAPHY:

Various images are used to represent Shasthi, most popularly as a stylized woman attached to six babies. Among items traditionally used to represent Shasthi are millstones, bamboo churning sticks, and a cow skull. Creature: Cat Number: 6 Offering: Feed stray cats. Shasthi once resurrected seven stillborn infants when their grandmother vowed to feed all the cats in her village.

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