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Understanding Kali: Destroyer or nurturer?

Kali Blog Series

I absolutely loved creating the Kali Oracle for you, beloveds, and it led to a deeply enriching Q&A session. This blog series encapsulates and expands on those discussions.

In the first instalment of our Kali Blog Series, we discussed ways in which you can connect – or deepen your connection – with the goddess. This article will discuss some misconceptions around her nature, particularly that she can be wrathful and destructive.

Kali’s nature – destroyer or nurturer

The recent Q&A with my community highlighted the many misconceptions that exist around Kali and her true nature. People wonder – is Kali the destroyer or the nurturer? Some even mentioned they felt afraid of her, and I felt sorry to hear this. Such fear comes from a misunderstanding of this goddess.

  • These were some of the questions I received via social media:
  • Is she really wrathful and mad or [is] she just superior protective?
  • Was she only Kali the destroyer? Or was she a nurturer too?
  • I used to pray to Mother Kali but someone told me she destroys and so I got scared of her. I would like to know what ritual is gentle when it comes to praying to Kali, especially for her protection.
  • I am more scared of her because she is Kali the destroyer. How do I find any comfort in her? I tend to gravitate towards goddesses like Kuan Yin and Green Tara. I feel like life is jarring and difficult enough without inviting a dark energy or chaotic energy like Kali into it.

While there is plenty of fear around Kali being aggressive, violent and wrathful, and confusion around whether she is a destroyer or a protector, many of these are misconceptions. Kali’s true essence – even as a destroyer – is as a nurturer and protector as well.

Why Kali is sometimes misunderstood

Kali the destroyer is often misunderstood – because many hold the fear that she destroys those things that are light and good. While one facet of Kali is as a destroyer, that fear is unfounded because what she destroys is what cannot nurture the soul. She nurtures by clearing away that which would cause harm.

Letting go of negative attachments

Of course, transformation may sometimes be painful. When we feel that we’re being pushed to let go of something that we would rather hold on to (known as attachment), then we might not feel it as protection at that moment in time. Later, once we’ve moved through the process, we realise how much better life is since we let go of what was causing us suffering. Eventually, we are grateful.

We need Kali the destroyer when we are poisoning rather than nourishing ourselves, particularly if we don’t realise what we are doing to ourselves. We need a strong spiritual hand to guide – or push – us out of harm’s way. Kali is that guide.

A helpful real-life example of this is the mother who snatches up her toddler as he runs towards something interesting, oblivious to the dangers of oncoming traffic. In that moment she has destroyed his sense of freedom and joy, and he may be angry with her, but she sees what he cannot.

In his perspective as a young soul, she is the destroyer, but as an older soul he recognises that his perception of destruction was incorrect, and that the reality was an act of much-needed protection.

I would be very cautious about misinterpreting this. We should never act aggressively towards another person and then try to justify it as for their higher good. It is not our job to decide what is good for someone else. It is our job to work towards being an increasingly kind, brave, wise and compassionate human being, radiating our presence for the benefit of all beings.

Conquering your inner struggles

Another reason why Kali can often be misinterpreted is because she arises when we need her wrathful appearance and activity to conquer our inner struggles. Some inner torment simply can’t dissolve with the guidance of our gentler deity. We need the fierce drive of Kali’s higher consciousness to roar louder than our anger, fear, hate or jealousy. Wrathful deities don’t arise unless necessary. Remember that the peaceful and wrathful Divine Mothers are one – they assume the different forms to meet our needs.

If you are fighting against Kali’s wisdom, then you may feel like she is angry with you. But perhaps you are just projecting your own inner experience onto the goddess. Perhaps you are angry at yourself, the situation or someone else.

Kali the destroyer or Kali the protector – Kali’s true nature


Kali is enlightened wisdom. She can appear as both angry and protective, but in truth she is always and only protective. She is there for us to still the chaos and absorb the darkness.

You can feel comforted that she will provide the spiritual strength needed to navigate the darkness within and around you when you need to do so to be spiritually protected and continue your soul’s journey, finding your way towards peace and joy. She will never usurp the place of the more peaceful divine ones in your heart as she is simply another facet of the Divine Mother. But she is having a wilder hair day! (I’m being playful here.)


The wrathful enlightened energy of Kali the destroyer contains no anger or aggression – wrathful enlightened beings possess an immense compassion. Such energy arises if needed to overcome difficulties when gentler means would not prevail.

In the case of Kali, the destruction is of the obstacle (not of a person) and is an act of compassion, not of aggression. We may call it ‘fierce compassion’. This is when we’re given what we need, which isn’t always what we think we want. Fierce compassion can show up as a revelation of truth that we probably don’t want to see. It asks us to evolve in a way that we’re not sure we’re ready for – though we probably know at a deeper level that we need to do it.


Kali’s essential nature is power and, as such, she teaches us how to own our power. Owning your power doesn’t require that you cultivate aggression, anger or hatred. In fact, I’d suggest that if we’re acting from such a place, then we’re not in touch with our power at all but are coming from fear. As we own our power, our inner state becomes more peaceful. Our discernment increases and we give ourselves permission to live by that discernment. We can be compassionate and kind towards others without collapsing into ‘people pleasing’.


Kali is 100% for our complete spiritual liberation. If there is pain in letting go, it isn’t from Kali, it’s from us holding on when we actually need to surrender. This is very different to destructive tendencies that are harmful. Self-destructive, sabotaging attitudes or negative intentions are actually what Kali protects us from, not what she encourages us to engage in. The grip of such negatives can be so powerful that only Kali’s fierce presence is sufficient to wrest our soul free from the attachments. And when we let go, we release not only the attachment, but the suffering it brought too. Kali the destroyer may look fierce, but she generates peace. The experience of wrathful wisdom is ultimately a kind and liberating one. The purpose is to bring relief.


We may feel as though the Universe has issued an ultimatum and we’re at a point where we’ll either evolve or degenerate – and there is simply no more wiggle room to avoid making the decision. We may feel backed into a corner or forced to look at something we would rather avoid, but this is wrathful wisdom. Such wisdom gives us what we need. Enlightened wisdom is always working to our benefit. We may not see that immediately, but gratitude will eventually follow.

At times destructive – but for our own good

Kali as the destroyer destroys obstacles and negativity, not people, blessings or goodness. She ensures that we continue to make progress on our path and that any interference is eradicated. This is how she provides boons and benefits – she removes the things in the way.

I think sometimes we subconsciously recognise that it is our own attachment or fear that is in the way and we’re reluctant to let that go. Yet Kali’s activities only ever serve the highest good and our best interests. Kali the destroyer is not destructive for the sake of it. To love Kali requires trust and understanding at a spiritual level.

How to transform your fear of Kali the destroyer

I have heard of people telling others to be afraid or to not pray to the Divine Mother in some of her forms, such as Kali, Mother Mary and the Goddess Isis. But the Divine Mother in all her forms is one. We are allowed to pray to whatever form resonates with our hearts – and I encourage you to do so because when your heart is engaged, your spiritual progress will be greatest and every sentient being benefits from that.

We don’t need to be afraid of Kali – even as the destroyer – though we should recognise that she is an expression of power and worthy of respect. Try transforming your fear into healthy awe – like you might have for the ocean when the swells are crashing on the beach. You can have reverence from that fear, recognising the greater power before you. Then you are using your fear creatively and constructively.

Kali Prayer

When you are ready to reach out to Kali for her wisdom, try using this prayer: “Beloved Kali, You Who are Gentle and Protective, My Beloved Mother of Grace, Please Comfort Me, Please Guide Me. I place my trust in your unconditional love and enlightened wisdom. You clear the way for me to return to my heart, to you, to my true self and my most beautiful life path, for the greater good of all beings.”

Then sense, feel or intend to connect with Kali as if you were a cub with a mama bear (if that resonates for you) or a child with her mother. Feel free to alter the words or imagery so it strikes a chord in your heart. Rest in that until you find a sense of peace and security within. This may be a process for you if that sort of bonding and trust is unfamiliar. Don’t give up until you find that deep bonding in your own heart with the divine being that resonates most for you at this time. It is worth the persistence.

If you can overcome your fear by understanding Kali’s true motivation, then you will have a powerful, protective ally close to you always.

Connect with Kali when you feel called to

To have a connection with Kali there ready for us when needed is a gift. While some souls will relish daily devotion with her, others will lean in other directions. You just need to figure out what that looks and feels like for you.

Remember that you are always encouraged to figure out what sits well with you during each phase of your journey. If Kali doesn’t feel right for you at this time, there are many other forms of the Divine Mother for you to connect with and feel safe and secure with.

My books, Crystal Goddesses 888 and The Kuan Yin Transmission™, both outline numerous goddesses and ways that you can understand and connect with them.

I personally love and have felt protected by Kali since I was a young girl, but there are also times when the quiet relief of a White Tara mantra is more aligned with my soul and I relish those experiences too. I feel enormous gratitude to have been exposed to such a variety of divine beings and to have the capacity to recognise their diversity and unity, and celebrate it in my life.

Read Next: Receiving wishes and blessings from Kali

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