Dhumavati, archived from May, 2014
My first encounter with the Goddess Dhumavati was in 2011 during a trip to Varanasi, India; where one of only two temples devoted to her exist. I never found it.
Dhumavati is considered to be one of the 10 Mahavidyas, a mysterious group of goddesses that may appear in their most radical form. Dhumavati is ugly, angry and always hungry. She is very old and has breasts that are long, dry and withered. She is a widow. She is fierce and is fond of blood, liquor and red meat. She loves smoke and to crush bones in her mouth and this sound is awful. (Kinsley, 180, Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine,1997)
Over the past years I have contemplated her on and off and felt conflicted about working with her directly as she is often associated with what is inauspicious, impure and unwanted from a collective standpoint.
Having decided to undertake this project, (Goddess, Speak), over the next 5 months through the platform and support of Fulgur Esoterica and in conjunction with the phases of the moon, I thought she might be a good place to begin.
She is the face of what has been rejected and left out to fend for itself without nourishment. In this way she is very strong. Through tending to and trying to feel her out face to face she comes out of the dark places and into the light a bit.
I had a dream during this undertaking of the ocean at night. I had a halo of lights surrounding my body and was able to enter the water and see all of the creatures inside the depths, and was unafraid and began to dance. In her thousand-named hymn she is said to be beautiful and to create dance and to be a leader of dancers. I understand her to invoke spiritual awakening through what has been abject and unknown and unconscious, whether due to extreme sensitivity or circumstance.
During the new moon on May 28th, 2014, I formally invoked her. (I talk about this more during the audio section below). The painting below was made on the day of the new moon, from the dream, in preparation for this event.
I invited the Brooklyn based artist Dawn Frasch to have a conversation with me on Dhumavati’s attributes and illuminate her further. Frasch’s paintings have a particular quality in line with the energy of the Goddess. “She uses the beautiful and grotesque to explore the power of the abject with a queer female perspective.” Statement, Frasch, 2013