In the playground with Kali

Fri, 10/28/2011

Gruesome Director Deborah Block tells us about the Goddess of Gruesome.


For many years I have had a small fascination with Kali.  In my limited understanding of her, Kali is a Hindu goddess with many descriptions.  Kālī in Sanskirt, means "the black one" and also "time" or "beyond time."  She is often considered both a universal mother and a goddess of destruction. 

Why mother and destruction?  How are creation and destruction linked? Is it just the acceptance of the continuum of life to death?  No. 

In my understanding of Kali destruction comes first.  Tear away the bad, the painful, and the cruel violence of the past.  And once it is in rubble around me, there will be space for creation. 

Kali is never alone and also considered an aspect of other goddesses such as Durga.  Durga being more ancient and Kali more modern (relatively speaking); Durga is depicted more beautifully while Kali is represented in paintings holding severed heads; dismembered arms make a skirt for her.  She dances a dance of jubilation with death and blood around her.  Pretty gruesome stuff.  But what she destroys are the demons that surround her.  And what’s even scarier is that she destroys the ego.  She destroys the illusion of the power of self. 

OK.  Let’s think about this for a second.  What’s so wrong with the self?  I think humans are pretty cool creatures.  I married one.  And we made another one.  So what’s so wrong with that?

People have the means to experience love and beauty but we ourselves provide the greatest obstacles to our lives.  There will always be external challenges in life - but it’s the internal ones that can cause the greatest harm. 

I feel that one of the biggest lessons that I needed to learn in my life was how not to make fear-based decisions.  It’s easy to start a sentence with “I’m afraid that…” and that sentence continues and leads you to decide what major you choose in college; which job you take; which boy you date.    Going down a road which I select based on my fears can only lead me to finding a safe place to hide from the world. 

If we individually face the goddess of darkness, if we look deep into what frightens us the most, then we can come out the other side and find the beauty of the world.  Face Kali and she will allow us to be reborn.  

It is perhaps that dichotomy that attracted me to Gruesome Playground Injuries.  We follow Kayleen and Doug as they travel back and forth in time.  Seminal moments are marked by the scars in their lives – literal and figurative.  The biggest challenge in their lives is to face their fears, see their mistakes and stay in one place and time long enough learn from them.   It’s a beautiful, gruesome, playful love story – of sorts.

Deborah Block