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Shiva

Shiva

The Wild God of Power and Ecstasy

An extensive look at all the aspects of multi-natured Shiva

• Explores the shamanic roots of world spirituality as exemplified by this Hindu god who shares many of the attributes of the Norse Odin and the Celtic Cernunnos

• Looks at Shiva’s relation to contemporary culture, Tantra, and the dualistic religions of the West

To his devotees Shiva is the entire universe and the core of all beings. Hindu myth shows him appearing at the beginning of creation as a giant pillar of fire from which this world sprang forth. Yet he is also the most approachable of gods, for he is the lover of lovers and the devotee of his devotees. Of the 1,008 names of Shiva, Pashupati, Lord of Animals, is one of the most common. His special relation to animals along with his trickster nature reveal the deep connection of Shiva to shamanism and other gods such as the Norse Odin and the Celtic Cernunnos that came out of the Paleolithic traditions.

Ethnologist Wolf-Dieter Storl was first captivated by Shiva when he was in India as a visiting scholar at Benares Hindu University. In this book he invites readers to join in the lively and mythical world of Shiva, or Mahadev, God of All Gods. Shiva is a study in contrasts: As the lord of dance he looses himself in ecstatic abandon; with his consort Parvati he can make love for 10,000 years. Both men and women worship him for his ability to unite and balance masculine and feminine energies. But as the ascetic Shankar he sits in deep meditation, shunning women, and none dare disturb him lest he open his third eye and immolate the entire universe. Lord of intoxicants and poisons, he is the keeper of secret occult knowledge and powers, for which he is worshipped by yogis and demons alike. Shiva dances both the joy of being and the dance of doom--but in every aspect he breaks through the false ego to reveal the true self lying within. This is his true power.
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  • Inner Traditions | 
  • 312 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781594770142 | 
  • September 2004
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 6
The Dancer in the Flames


This is my greatest desire: without fail,
one day you’ll show yourself to us,
My father with locks twisted like the flames
of a lighted fire
the place where you dance, in full night,
over the high flames . . .

     Arputa Tiruvantati, fourteenth century Tamil poetess

Let us visit once again the hidden pine forest, where honorable hermits and their chaste wives are meditating and practicing asceticism, and see how Shiva makes fools of them. In this version of the story, there are not just seven rishis but tens of thousands. They have shaven... see more

About the Author

Wolf-Dieter Storl

Wolf-Dieter Storl, Ph.D., is a cultural anthropologist and ethnobotanist who has taught at Kent State University as well as in Vienna, Berne, and Benares. He is coauthor of Witchcraft Medicine and has written a number of books on indigenous culture and ethnobotany. He lives in Allgäu, Germany.

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