The Hindu goddess Kali (in Sanskrit, “she who is black”), well known for her terrifying iconography and general association with death and destruction, is one of the most widely worshipped goddesses in all of India and also one of the most globally recognizable deities of Hinduism.

Kali is typically portrayed as a dark, half-naked, bloodthirsty goddess with a lolling tongue. She has long disheveled hair, multiple arms, a skirt of severed arms, and a necklace of severed heads.

Kali's early history indicates that she was likely a fierce tribal deity on the periphery of Sanskritic Hindu culture. Over time, however, Kali was appropriated by Hindu civilization and transformed, at least partially, to fit its moods and motivations, thus moving beyond her earlier marginal identity and attaining a ...

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