mahavidya goddess chinnamasta

Chinnamasta Mahavidya - She is the Shock Goddess

Chinnamasta (aka Cinnamunda / Mirita) conveys the idea of reality in the contrast of sex and death, creation and destruction, and giving and taking. She is probably the most stunning representation in the Hindu pantheon of the truth that life, sex, and death are part of an interdependent, unified system. (Kinsley)

The Mahavidya Grouping

The Mahavidya grouping arose in the psyche of the Anthropos sometime post 10th-century ce, and Chinnamasta, as with some of the others, may have appeared as early as the 5th century to the Buddhist followers in the Himalayas, whom they named Cinnamunda. Her origin story varies, with about five versions including the Buddhist rendition. There are similarities in each of these tellings. I will mainly focus on highlights of her unique qualities here. There are, in fact, many goddesses and spirits in Hindu tradition, who haunt battlefields, are nude, fierce, and bloodthirsty, or associated with fertility. Chinnamasta, however, seems to be the only goddess who decapitates herself to nourish her devotees.
mahavidya chinnamasta devi

One striking feature is how she chooses to feed them, not from her breasts, but through her blood. Instead of drinking her maternal milk, they drink her lifeblood.

There is an overall theme of self-sacrifice. They look to her for satisfaction, which they receive dramatically.

It is a gesture of primal sacrifice and renewal of creation, she renews and resuscitates the universe.

Chinnamasta is the Shock Goddess

Her icon is dominated by severed heads. But in Chinnamasta’s case, it is her head that is offered, a rare case indeed when examining the history of ritual blood sacrifice to the goddess, in one form or another, dating back many centuries.

Like Kali and Tara, she wears a garland of severed heads, and this can be translated in several ways, however, it is common to recognize these trophies as the slain heads of demons from battle.

The head as the chief of the body’s parts also houses the person’s essential being. Without the head, a person is without identity. The severed heads may also represent ‘the forbidden’ – out of bounds – and the destination for devotional adherents as they seek to be unhampered by social limits. This can also be interpreted as liberation into a fully realized and awakened state of consciousness.

She stands on the copulating couple Kama and Rati – this can be interpreted in one of two ways. Firstly as a form of self-control and discipline. A mastery of sexual and selfish desires.

Secondly, she is receiving sexual vitality from the lovers beneath her. She channels this kundalini fire from the base or root center and feeds this shakti current in the image of blood to herself and her devotees.

Worship of Chinnamasta is rare given her particularly fierce nature. Only those of heroic nature dare worship Chinnamasta. Hers is the left-hand path, and the only other goddess to be so worshiped is Bhairavi. Only those with the nature of the hero are qualified to undertake the left-handed path. (Kinsley)

“With each encounter with the Mahavidyas, we pick up more detail on their traits and powers. Each has her mantra (sound formula) and yantra (sacred symbol). It takes some time to get to know them, but not so long. As you do get to know them, you may find that you are attracted to a certain one more than others. You feel affinities here and there, catch a sharp resonance. You identify. The Mahavidyas have a way of attaching themselves to the psyche of those who will become their devotees. They will adhere selectively to your imagination of them.” JLL

References: Ten Mahavidias – Kinsley
Amazing Art Credits:

Lunar Cycle: Last crescent moon sighting in the RAM

Shakti Diagram Invocation: Use the Shakti Diagram – gaze at her position. Aim your attention on your heart center. Speak with reverence and respect. Repeat 3x as below. She will see you, and hear you.


Om Na Ma Mahavidya Chinnamasta
Om Na Ma Mahavidya Chinnamasta
Om Na Ma Mahavidya Chinnamasta

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