The Symbolic Meaning of Lord Shiva and Parvati

Shiva is the most powerful of the three Gods in the Hindu Trimurti and also the most complex. He is typically found in peaceful meditation, yet is known as “the destroyer.”

Shiva and Parvati statue
Shiva and Parvati represent personal transformation

Because of his destructive nature, other names that have been given to Shiva are God of War, the wrathful avenger and the herdsman of souls.

But what Shiva dissolves can be recreated with the help of his consort Parvati, the goddess of love, fertility and devotion. Together they make a formidable couple that when invoked lead to personal transformation.

Lord Shiva is an unpredictable God. Although he can appear tranquil, he easily flies into fits of rage, impulsive acts and at times can be callous.

Yet he is considered the most powerful of the Gods in the Hindu Pantheon. Brahma and Vishnu came to realise this in the story of the shiva linga – the Universal energy of life that has no beginning and no end.

The principle power of Shiva comes from helping us realise our true selves and destroying the aspects of our character and belief systems that no longer serve us.

Shiva may be known as the destroyer in ancient symbolism, but he is also associated with fertility, thus represents death and rebirth, the process of personal transformation.

When you meditate upon the innate powers that are represented by Shiva, you can dissolve your weaknesses and create the strengths of character you need to better yourself in life.

And by applying the magical essence of his consort Parvati in your every day life, you have the ability to grow and improve your life for the better.

The ability to invoke the powers of Shiva and Parvati are particularly relevant for destroying bad habits and addictions.

Shiva and Parvati in Hindu mythology

There are many lessons we can learn from the personifications of Shiva and Parvati in Hindu myth. But as I will explain, the most important is to recognise your faults and resolve yourself to change.

Shiva is essentially an ascetic, a devote worshipper that sacrifices worldly pleasures in search of divine knowledge. Because of this we often see Shiva in deep meditation.

Shiva and Parvati dissolve ignorance and recreate wisdom

In one ancient myth, the Universe is being consumed by demons and the only person that could save the Gods is Shiva. But the God of War refused to help. An oracle told the Gods that only a son of Shiva could expel the demons.

Shakti, Shiva’s first consort who killed herself in the Yagna fire, reincarnated herself as Parvati. After years of patience and devotion she won the heart of Shiva.

However, before Shiva accepted Parvati as his bride, she spent years serving him and learning to possess the same powers as Shiva.

Parvati is eventually transformed from a dark-skinned servant that sweeps the floor of Shiva’s cave, into an exotic golden-skinned beauty.

Ancient symbolism of Shiva

Shiva is mostly associated with a serpent, a necklace of skulls, a trident and a third eye he uses for enveloping his enemies into a ball of flame.

The symbol of the serpent appears in all cultures around the world and has done for thousands of years – sometimes in the form of snakes and dragons.

Scholars say the serpent essentially represents wisdom, but on a deeper level, mythological serpents represent the sub-conscious mind and the higher-self.

There is wisdom in both, only one is true wisdom that serves us well and the other is bad advice which typically brings misery.

Shiva’s infamous eye in the centre of his forehead represents the ajna chakra, the third eye chakra, or as we know it the mind’s eye in which it is possible to visualise.

Shiva with his 3rd eye destroyer

Our mind’s eye is more powerful than it is often given credit for. Knowing how to utilise its power in meditation can make a significant impact on your life.

When I am meditating on the essence of Shiva and Parvati to dissolve weaknesses or ignorance, I visualise what I want to abandon in word form and imagine setting it on fire.

If you do this whilst meditating on the solar plexus chakra which is a bright orange ball of fire (you can also combine this visualisation with the sacral chakra) for three days, you should notice a difference in your attitude and outlook.

Mythological Gods are aspects of ourselves and we have the powers they possess in our own minds. Why not try and invoke the power of Shiva and Parvati to destroy old values and recreate yourself.

You can use this solar plexus meditation I devised to help you. Let me know how you get on.

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