Updated: Sep 14, 2019
Durga - Goddess of boundaries
Durga was a Devi who slew an evil demon whom she took the name after. There was a battle between the Gods and Demons, and none of the Gods could destroy Durga demon, so the Gods went to Devi for help. Devi is what the Goddess is called in India - to the Hindu all Goddesses are one Goddess, a different aspect of Devi or the Divine Feminine. Devi mounted a tiger and she attached the demon with all of her fearsome weapons. The Demon kept changing from one terrifying form to another, until he changed into a buffalo. It is only then when Devi was able to defeat him. In honor of this great battle she took the demons name - Durga.
Kali - Goddess of Fear and Liberation
Kali is a Hindu triple Goddess of creation, preservation and destruction. She brings revolution and liberation through destruction. She is the animating force of Shiva, the destroyer, otherwise known as Lord of Dance. Symbols of Kali are often skulls, cemeteries and blood. Her energy is uncontrollable. She is portrayed both as a warrior and a mother of universe. She was a force who sprang from Durga's forehead when she fought demons, Kali was a manifestation of Durga's anger. Kali was also a form who drank demons blood before they hit the ground. Once, after killing two demons, she indulged in their blood and began dancing on their dead flesh so wildly that she almost danced Shiva to death.
Lakshmi - Goddess of Fortune and Abundance
Lakshmi is a Hindu Goddess who brings luck and prosperity. Her worship began prior to Aryan invasion of India. When gods and demons searched for the nectar of immortality, Lakshmi rose to the surface with the it. Beautiful and radiant, she is often portrayed covered in gold and silver, with a lotus flower as symbol of fertility and power. She is often accompanied with Alakshmi, goddess of quarrels, but Lakshmi doesn't represent conflict or greed. She married god Vishnu, and he as a thank you gave the nectar of immortality to the gods. Lakshmi sacred animal is a cow, symbol of abundance and plenty. Another symbol is an elephant pouring water, another powerful symbol of abundance. Lakshmi is celebrated throughout the year, especially during festival of lights - Diwali.
Maya - Goddess of Illusion
Maya is a multicultural Goddess worshiped by Hindu and Buddhists in India. She is also worshiped in Nepal, Asia and Himalaya. Her name means "Weaver of the Web of Life", and an illusion. She is the virgin part of Goddess Kali (triple goddess virgin, mother and crone). In Buddhism she is a virgin mother of Buddha. Cross culturally her attributes connected to a human perception of material world which we experience through our five senses. Her other attributes are intelligence, creativity, water and magic. She is reminding us that our sense of separation is an illusion. What we perceive might not be true. She is often portrayed in mists, or covered by veils of universe, trying to lift them up for humanity.
Parvati - Goddess of Devotion
Parvati is a benevolent Hindi Goddess of Devotion. Her name means "Daughter of the Mountain". Her father is a God of Himalayan mountain, and her brother is Vishnu. She become a wife of Shiva, through her religious devotion.Shiva lived as a hermit in a cave. Other gods tried to persuade him to come out of hiding by sending god of love and pleasure, Kama, but with no success. Parvati proved that she had faith in him, by refusing to eat, drink or move until Shiva agreed to marry her. He was reluctant to have children, so Parvati created two sons - Skanda a God of War offering protection and Ganesha, the elephant headed god, who removes obstacles.
Saraswati - Goddess of Mastery, Education and Wisdom
Saraswati is another Hindu Goddess, goddess of wisdom, knowledge and the arts. She is often shown holding vina - a stringed instrument similar to a lute. She has dazzling white skin with four arms symbolizing extension of her influence and she wore often brilliant colored clothing. She shares her name with a river, which bears her name. She is honored especially by scholars and musicians, she is credited by creating the first alphabet, the arts, mathematics and music. She assists with mastery of speech, communication, language and meaning. With her help, thoughts and words flow freely. Saraswati is often paired with god Brahma, as his daughter but also as his partner - creating a union of knowledge and creation. Sometimes she is together with Lakshmi portrayed as two wives of Vishnu. In India, students evoke her when they need help with their studies, and she is also honored during spring festivals.
Shakti - Goddess of Transformation and Energy
Shakti is the essence of the Devi or the Great Goddess. Her name means "power", but she may take another names or forms. She represents the divine energy, that gives and takes away all life. She is active, powerful and vital force of the universe. She may have a form of Kali or Durga - transforming herself into a warrior. Other times when she is in a form of Parvati or Lakshmi, she transform herself into a loving wife. Shakti is a feminine aspect of the divine, where god Shiva represents the masculine part. Each Shakti has her God which whom she creates an union in sexual rite. Without this union neither can do anything. She is often portrayed with a serpent representing kundalini divine energy.