Kālī, also known as Kālikā', is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, or shakti. She is the fierce aspect of the goddess Durga (Parvati). The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death: Shiva. Since Shiva is called Kāla— the eternal time — the name of Kālī, his consort, also means "Time" or "Death" (as in "time has come"). Hence, Kāli is the Goddess of Time, Change, Power and Destruction. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation of evil forces still has some influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess. She is often portrayed standing or dancing on her husband, the god Shiva, who lies prostrate beneath her. Worshipped throughout India but particularly in Kashmir, South India, Bengal, and Assam, Kali is both geographically and culturally marginal.
- Encyclopedia International, by Grolier Incorporated Copyright in Canada 1974. AE5.E447 1974 031 73-11206 ISBN 0-7172-0705-6 page 95