Kali is one of the many gods in the pantheon of Hindu religion. Now, I have always found it difficult to research Hindu gods.There are many stories, told in a number of different ways, and it is so hard to find a credible source that just explains it simply. But in my first semester of university, I took an anthropology class that focused on the Indian culture, and it ended up being one of my favorite classes of the year. So now, I will do my best to share what I learned about Kali.
Kali is portrayed, usually, as a young woman with skin so dark it is black in color. She is typically shown naked wearing a garland of human heads and a skirt made of human arms. She has three blood-shot eyes and a long lolling tongue hanging from her widely opened mouth. Sometimes, in artwork, she has four arms (most common) and sometimes ten (less common). In her hands she holds a severed head, a bowl to catch the blood dripping from said head, a sword, and a trident.
She is a beloved goddess, and even though she is shown as a scary, violent goddess, she is considered very just and gentle. There are multiple stories of Kali’s birth, but most connect her to another goddess named Durga (like she is a form of Durga or a reincarnation of some sorts).
In the first story, there is a horrible demon named Mahishasure. He could not be killed by man, and so he waged a war with the gods in heaven with a demon army by his side. Their was a cosmic crisis, and in angry desperation, the gods shot blaring beams of light, together creating Durga. Mahishasure witnessed the destruction of his army and took the form of giant bull so as to battle Durga.
She fought him and his entire army with many other fierce goddess by her side (all of which were different forms of herself) including Kali. Kali is considered the forceful form of Durga. She is kind of the hands on one that takes action before asking questions. After a horrible battle of Mahishasure vs The Goddesses, Durga tore him from the bull body and killed him with a spear.
After all demons had been killed, Kali, intoxicated with a blood-lust, continued her stampede and bloodshed. The Gods did not know what to do. Shiva the Great God, the male counterpart/husband of Durga/Kali laid down between the corpses. When Kali found herself standing on top of Shiva, touching her holy husband with her feet (turns out this considered rude and unthinkable), she calmed down and stoped her destruction.
In a second story, Kali was born by the combination of all the Gods’s light energies. They created her in an attempt to destroy another demon who for every drop of his blood that spilled a clone would appear. To destroy him, she drank all of the demon’s blood, corresponding with her image as a bloodthirsty, demon killing goddess.
If you wish to know more about Kali and stories of her adventures, or if you wish to have more detail of the stories told above I recommend this website: http://www.ancient.eu.com/Kali/