Supermodel and TV show hostess Heidi Klum dressed up as Kali for Halloween. Her costume looked like, well, a costume that a supermodel could arrange to have made. Klum, in fact, carried off Kali pretty well. Beautiful. Blue. Fierce.
Dressing up as Kali for Halloween was, for Klum, who has an interest in Indian culture, good scary fun. Until she saw some illustrations of Kali, Klum knew nothing about this goddess.
Some practicing Hindus, however, consider dressing up as a goddess like Kali irreverent.
I'm a Neo-Pagan devotee of Kali. I take my links with this goddess most seriously. Kali has played a central role in my practice for many, many years.
But I have witnessed a Kathakali dancer, costumed as Kali, dance this goddess, the reality of this goddess, for a transfixed audience. So I look at dressing up as Kali as something that may be more than reverent. It might work some magic.
Still, I'm mulling over things like cultural poaching and diversity and respect for others' beliefs. Devotees can differ, even among themselves, about non-devotees paying a Halloween homage to the goddess the devotees worship. Some might find it disrespectful of the wholeness of their tradition. Others might go along with the good scary fun. Still others might allow for the slim chance of magic working a surprising little change.
But what I'm mostly mulling over is play. Lila. Kali may be having some fun on Halloween. Real fun. Divine fun. Graveyard fun.
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