Off with Her Head

I must admit that I’m in a bit over my head when it comes to the concept of aspects of gods. Apparently deities tend to suffer from multiple personality disorder, and nowhere is this more evident than in Hinduism. When I took a Religions of India class in college, I wrote a paper about how Hinduism tended to be monotheistic and polytheistic at the same time. I bring this up because today’s deity is generally seen as an aspect of some other goddess. This is none other than Chinnamasta (sometimes spelled with a double H), whose fascinatingly gruesome image I came across on Tumblr recently.

She’s the sixth of the ten Mahavidyas, or manifestations of the Mother Goddess, sometimes identified as Kali or Parvati. She’s primarily a part of Tantric Hinduism, but is apparently also worshipped by some Buddhists. The story behind her imagery is that she cut off her own head to feed her companions with streams of blood, and she’s usually shown with her severed head drinking some of the blood as well. In fact, her name actually means “severed head.” When it comes to gods telling people to drink their blood, Jesus has nothing on her. Chinnamasta is considered a goddess of self-sacrifice, but is also sometimes associated with the force of the thunderbolt and with sexual energy.

This entry was posted in Buddhism, Hinduism, Mythology, Religion and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Off with Her Head

  1. Darrell says:

    Are they using chopsticks?
    Are those baby heads on her necklace?
    And why are they dancing on…well, people doing that?!
    Never mind, I’ll go read about it myself ;D
    This is a goddess I’ve actually never heard about. Thanks for bringing her to my attention. (I think!) :)

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