Tantra and the mahavidya
Tantra is a science, philosophy and art combined in a beautiful complex methodology giving the practitioner the necessary theory and exercises to take the steps to a higher understanding of himself and the universe, ultimately leading to an opening of the soul and a fusion with the divine.
Tantra is an exploration of the energies of the universe to thereby understand the essence behind these energies. These energies are embodied in the wide range of deities present in the Tantric universe, the 10 main ones being the Maha Vidya who represent 10 fundamental, archetypical energies in the universe (poetically called the 10 faces of God).
Each Goddess has her cosmic function in the universal harmony, and meditating upon her leads to a realization of the mysterious nature of God from a certain perspective, awakening different specific aspects in the practitioner who then starts to manifest her qualities in all areas of his/her life.
Mahavidya – Kali
She is often portrayed as dancing on the dead body of her consort Shiva. She has black skin, 4 arms, wide open glaring eyes, a necklace consisting of severed heads and her tongue lolls wildly out of her big wide open mouth, laughing at the attachments of us mortal humans. Indeed a terrible spectacle to behold!
Kali symbolizes death, time and destruction. She is the first Goddess as we have to transcend our fear of time, death and the temporary to truly start on our spiritual path.
We invoke Tara in times of need. She is the gentle saviouress who we pray to in times of need and distress. She will guide us safely across the oceans of Maya (the great illusion meaning existence). She is light blue, white and golden and will grant us the miracles we ask for.
Mahavidya -Tripura Sundari
Tripura Sundari is truth, beauty and harmony. She is the ecstatic beautiful face of God. She is the splendor of nature, the profound harmony and principle in all things (ie the golden number).
Bhuvaneswari is the goddess of space. She is invoked to increase our consciousness of the vastness of the universe. She also stands for the pursuing of knowledge.
Mahavidya -Tripura Bhairavi
Tripura Bhairavi is the goddess of tapas meaning spiritual practice. She gives the adept a huge power of focus and perseverance to reach any goal.
Mahavidya – Chinnamasta
Chinnamasta is the thunder goddess. With a flash of lightning and thunder she decapitates the adept freeing his consciousness so it no longer is bound to the physical body.
Meditation upon her gives immense courage.
Dhumavati is the power of the void. She is portrayed as an old crooked hag with rotten teeth. She symbolizes all which is sorrowful, despairing, forsaken and putrefied. She is death itself. She gives us the opportunity to find death in even the most despairing situation by going deeply inwards until we find the deepest truth in the depths of our being.
Bagalamukhi is the power of the sphinx which transfixes us and hypnotizes us. Bagalamukhi is used to stop ones enemies as she hypnotizes them completely.
She is portrayed as a woman of immense beauty who puts anyone who contemplates her into a deep state of trance.
Matangi is the Goddess of divine order. As above so below as an ancient quote says.
A great example of the order of the universe are the sciences of fractals or the holographic theory of the universe.
She is also used extensively by artists who use this universal order to channel works of great depth and beauty.
Kamalatmika is the Goddess of abundance and spiritual perfection. When the adept has been through all the other Goddesses he/she has understood the universe and is ready to receive all its gifts.