As we have explored in an array of previous articles, the Indo-European Mother Goddess is closely correlate with Cosmic Law (Rta, Orlog, etc.), and is a truly formidable force in War.
The ‘Black Avenging Form’ Aspect brings these two competencies together – and sees the Mother Goddess obscure Her beautiful, radiant visage with a darkened, terrifying and Shadowy countenance.
She is not merely ‘Wrathful’ – but Furious, and represented as an inescapable quite literal ‘force of nature’ , with all the swiftness and the pity of a tidal wave or tornado.
We shall not delve deeply into the mutually interrelating mythic presentations of this Aspect in the various Indo-European descendant cultures here; however, it is intriguing to note that in each of the cases of Skaði and Demeter Erinyes, there is a linkage with the division of time – half spent with the Sky Father, half in more comforting environs. [And I should note here that I have long observed Persephone & Demeter to be fundamentally mythically coterminous]
As applies Demeter in particular, this correlates the Furious, Destroyer form with the saliency of Death in the natural world – and the barrenness of the land amidst the depths of Winter an famine.
The close connexion of these Dark Destroyer Aspects with the mythic explications for the barrenness of Winter logically sets up a duality – with the other ‘facing’ to the Mother Goddess that is Restored at the end of the Furor’s necessity therefore being correlate with Life and Light.
We see this expressed in each of the Hellenic & Hindu expressions of the myth: Demeter Erinyes goes to wash off the patina of Shade by bathing in a sacred river, and is revealed once more to be bright and beauteous.
Parvati, having assumed the Kali War-Form, when this is no longer required goes to bathe in a sacred river of the Himalayas, where the Darkness is washed off, revealing the MahaGauri [‘Great White/Beautiful’] Form.
Not to say that there is no scope for Kali to be beautiful or depicted as such (indeed, quite the contrary) – but there is more going on with that iconography than meets the eye.
This ‘Shade’ conceptry is linguistically expressed in the context of Skadi – although due to the seriously fragmentary and convolutedly interpolated state of the Nordic corpus, it is perhaps unsurprising that we lack various salient details to this figure and Her occurrence therein. We are, therefore, engaging in an exercise in reconstructive theology to situate Her within this broader typology – which logically links to the other correlate elements also found in both the Nordic and underlying Indo-European schemas … even though, in the case of the former, those direct linkages to Skadi may now no longer be so overtly in evidence.
These include utilizing Her marital status and surrounding mythic context to link this deific to the broader Mother Goddess as a Wrathful and Shade form of Same; and Her serpentine association in the context of the upholding of Cosmic Order, when it comes to the punishment of Loki.
Nevertheless – this is only something we can do precisely because the various parallels were already so strongly in evidence to begin with.
Some might suggest that it is rather remarkable just how strongly the mythic-theological perceptions of different peoples scattered thousands of kilometers apart all the way from Iceland to India are.
We take the different view – that as these myths, these mythic perspectives are remembrances and perceptions of Real Beings, Real Gods, and Real Elements … that it would be almost rather surprising if these weren’t so closely commensurate.
Jai Mata DI !