The strongest aspect of a woman, uncontested, unwinnable for a man is motherhood. Kali is the eternal, divine mother. She represents the silent darkness of the time when nothing was there, and from there, from darkness, from nothingness, she shaped life. She is every woman, every mother, which stands in darkness, so much so that she herself becomes darkness (Kali~ Darkness) and creates life, beholds life, births life and nourishes life. The light emerges from the darkness, and the colors rise from the lack of colors. She is the dark womb from where the feeble light of human life takes first breath. She is the consort of Mahakaal (Kaal-Death), Shiva- The lord of death, Mahakali. She is death. Hinduism celebrates life as well as death. Death being the moment, where we clean our slates and start afresh. Therefore, both death as well as life are intermingled, interconnected and interchangeable in their meaning. Death can be looked at as the end of life; can also be looked at as the beginning of another.
Shiva is absolute, eternal and the truth impersonated. Truth without strength is tame, it is empty rhetoric. Shakti (Power, Energy) is what renders Shiva (stands for conscience) a meaning. Shakti is His consort, his complementing force. when He is happy, at peace, she is Parvati- a calm permanency in His nomadic existence, representing the home; when He is young, in search of love, Shakti is Shailputri- his answer to his yearning, his passion, his love; and when He is doing His duty as the Sanharak- The Divine destroyer- Mahakaal, Shakti is Mahakali. There He is the father, the one who is easily infuriated, the Restorative force, the meditating sage sitting at the pinnacle of entropical dis-balance, guiding the universe into its inevitable decline into disorder, from where new world would emerge. Mahakali is the divine mother, carrying all the fury of Her divine companion, including the Third Eye, which can see the hidden truth and which can destroy the falsehood at the same time. for the larger good of the world. Shiva and Shakti, Mahakaal and Mahakali together represent the violent force of retribution, the revenge of the meek, those who cannot fight for themselves. They reside in them, they reside in us. They are two but one. Kaal is also time and as master of the time, as time itself, they are eternal.
Shiva is the eternal man, the highest form of manhood and Shakti is the highest female form and at their best, they merge and both gender as well as individuality is irrelevant. Kali is not a woman, as much as Mahakal is not a man. They are both and They are neither. Kali is the primal force of womanhood. She kills to protect life. Kali, Durga, Pravati and Shailputri are different women and are the manifestations of same woman. They all, not one, breathe in all women. Worship of Kali is the worship of that eternal fountainhead of life, eternal woman form, which lives in all women today, which lived in all women always. Woman need to only search within to find the Devi she needs to become. She is not in conflict with man, she complements him. She takes his trident when she fights and He takes her Shakti or power, when He fights. MahaKali is invoked by Durga. Durga, is a great warrior, but she is bound by the social mores, she is still social, within the society. Faced with Rakthbeej, the hidden enemy, who creates as many identities as many drops of blood falls on the ground. They are hidden, but they rise as one head of Rakhtbeej is cut and blood spils on the ground. Mahakali is then invoked. Mahakali is Shakti, She is Durga, which is devoid of societal bondage . She will not dress up as a tradition woman. She is a woman with a purpose and Her purpose is to kill, in order to protect her children. She lives on the fringe of social norms, or rather she keeps the nuances of societal living at a distance from her inherent free and furious spirit. That is how she is depicted, she dresses up like Shiva, anger and violence has darkened her skin. And she doesn't care about it.
Hindu mythology is ripe with symbolism. Kali has four hands, one hand holds the sword and another a severed head. Head is old wisdom, pre-conceived notions, conventions, traditions, and ego in holding on to them. It is severed. It will come back in many forms, whenever you challenge the set order. Rakhtbeej will rise from unknown quarters. Wear a dark complexion, your attitude is your dress. You carry an empty skull-head which will hold the blood of Rakthbeej- representing the insults, the conspiracies so it does not touch the earth and takes a new life. (As per Legend, rakthbeej had a boon that every drop of his blood will create one more Rakhtbeej). Challenge the status-quo, challenge it all. What cannot be destroyed, cannot grow. In my opinion, this bias for change is the reason that Hinduism has survived thus far in face of all hostilities and not being expansionist political religion. Kali represents it. However, Kali is not a woman to full of herself to acknowledge the respect for order. She in the grip of the worst of her fury, which threatens to destroy the universe to a stage of no reversal, acknowledges love, acknowledges respect for her counter-part. She is not a woman, emancipated as She were, to cherish trampling over her man. She stops, She- the unstoppable, stops when she steps on Shiva. (Legend says, when having killed Raktbeej, she lost her track and went on destroying all that came along the way, Shiva was called on to stop her. Shiva, the Primal God, the God of the Gods- Mahadev, lied down in her path. And when she stepped on him, she realized how her own belief in herself, her emancipation, her violence rode on her head, and ashamed of herself, her tongue out of her mouth, she stopped). In today’s world of fanatic feminism, Mahakali, tells us the story of emancipated womanhood and of mutual respect. It depicts a world where Man and Woman compliments each other and are not at war with one another. Maa Kali is the way to Mahakal- The eternal Father, the One who was at the Beginning and The One who shall be the end. Only, there is no beginning, nor is there an end.