In light of the full moon, and also that it is Friday – Devotional (A)Art(I) posting of Devi as (Maha)Gauri.
Direct meaning of Gauri, is “fair”, “brilliant”, “white”, “radiant”, “beautiful”, and also, the Moon. MahaGauri, then, is the most brilliant, the great white one, the radiant splendour, the full moon.
I have written elsewhere, as part of our NavRatri/NavaDurgas series, in more detail upon MahaGauri and Her place within the relevant processional; but suffice to say, it is not at all coincidental that MahaGauri is placed between KaalRatri [‘Dark Night’ would be one .. partial translation] and SiddhiDhatri [various translational renderings are possible, including ‘bestower of boons/power/perfection’, and ‘radiating glory’/source of the ideal] in that order.
Partially, this is due to the symbolism inherent in the unfurling of that order – transcending from the ultimate wrathful form that is Kali (Herself the apex of another evolution, from SkandaMata as Mother/Birth of War, to Katyayani as Superior Warrior Goddess Form, to KaalRatri, the Destroyer), to the more beatific and peaceable form of Ma Devi; and en route back to the ultimate source that is Shakti Devi.
This mirrors the caelestial interplay – the Full Moon as when the Darkness that is the shroud, the veil [Proto-Indo-European “Kel” Particle, and the underlying meaning-theme of its descendant terms in several Indo-European mythoreligious languages] is no longer the ‘active facing’ upon it; and also, as the intermediary step before the solar light is ‘traced back’ to *its* source in the center of our system. [Observe also the bright spark in third eye above the Crescent-Moon adorning Her brow]
The Moon, too, is a granter of Illumination, especially in dark places [and amidst the dark grey cloud which wreaths same, tonight] – an implied Abhaya Mudra, also, if you like.
Iconographically, the four hands are depicted here wielding Trishula, Damaru, Mala of prayer(mantra)-beads, and a bowl. All four, are, in effect, symbols of piety; albeit the latter two, more directly [the mala an endless cyclic devotion, the bowl, both the (often material) ‘inputs’ of offering, as well as the ‘output’ that may include the Amrit); with the former two representing both (weaponized) power and the regulation of the universe – the Trishula is also the Axis Mundi, and the Damaru’s beat as It spins providing the beat that underpins the unfolding, unfurling dance of Reality.
It is important to note, as well, that the Vahana of MahaGauri is a white bull – a la Nandi – rather than the fearsome tiger of various other Aspects of Durga. Nandi means ‘Joy’, and in a closely related construction, is a form of prayer, particularly the inception of an exortive invocation to the Gods.
So, pretty excellent all up for tonight’s Friday Night devotional posting