Stretching our minds beyond our own religious concepts, I find the Vedic traditions fascinating. Shiva is the oldest of the Vedic trinity which also includes Brahma and Vishnu (sort of Father, Son and Holy Spirit here too). Shiva is called the god of yoga, death, cattle, dance, the moon, and all the abstract forces like beneficence and destruction. Shiva, for me, the lord of yoga is meaningful, being a yoga practitioner, and Shiva, the lord of the dance, as he is usually depicted in bronze statues shows multiple talents (and multiple arm-age!). Dancing in this circle, Shiva is said to have performed in the place called the “Center of the Universe”, shown in bronze by the circle of flames which represents the cosmos, and that the location of this place is within the human heart. The heartbeat, the basic rhythm of soul pleasing human music, is never forgotten but what is more is that this center of the universe is regarded in each of us, where god is located, within our core, within our own self. A connection to Shiva brings on a state of actualization and union with our own higher self.
Shiva’s ultimate universal energy could only be expressed, of course, with his female counterpart, Shakti.
Shakti, herself, the Great Goddess (Kali Ma), is realized as both the sexual partner and the innermost animating soul of man or god. Jung has called her My Lady Soul: “Every mother and every beloved is forced to become the carrier and embodiment of this omnipresent and ageless image, which corresponds to the deepest reality in man.”
Shakti means “Cosmic Energy.” She implies “power, ability, capacity, faculty, strength, prowess; regal power, the power of composition, poetic power, genius; the power or signification of a word or term; the power inherent in cause to produce it necessary effect…”
Shakti was also a spirit-wife, or female guardian angel, who could incarnate in human female form or remain wholly supernatural at will. She is the epitome of the thought that “behind every successful man is a great woman”. “An important division of the ‘mythology of woman’ is devoted to showing that it is always a feminine being who helps the hero to conquer immortality or to emerge victorious from his initiatory ordeals…”
So with Shiva we have Shakti. It is said that all things rose from the union of the two, and that to “become” the powers of both, the body and soul absorb together, bringing one into “possession of her, the cosmic Shakti, the living embodiment of the principle beauty and youth eternal, the ultimate quest”, and with Shiva, lord of yoga, or union, bringing one into contact with his own universal energy, actualization of body, and eternal bliss.