Saturday, May 24, 2003

Saturday May 24, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 AM

Mental Health Month, Day 24:

The Sacred Day of
Kali, the Dark Lady

On this day, Gypsies from all over Europe gather in Provence for the sacred day of St. Sarah, also known as Kali.

Various representations of Kali exist; there is a novel about the ways men have pictured her:

From the prologue to
The Dark Lady,

 by Mike Resnick.

She was old when the earth was young.

She stood atop Cemetery Ridge when Pickett made his charge, and she was there when the six hundred rode into the Valley of Death.  She was at Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius blew, and she was in the forests of Siberia when the comet hit.  She hunted elephant with Selous and buffalo with Cody, and she was there the night the high wire broke beneath the Flying Wallendas.  She was at the fall of Troy and the Little Bighorn, and she watched Manolete and Dominguez face the brave bulls in the bloodstained arenas of Madrid….

She has no name, no past, no present, no future.  She wears only black, and though she has been seen by many men, she is known to only a handful of them.  You’ll see her — if you see her at all — just after you’ve taken your last breath.  Then, before you exhale for the final time, she’ll appear, silent and sad-eyed, and beckon to you.

She is the Dark Lady, and this is her story.

The above is one of the best descriptions of Kali I know of in literature; another is in a short story by Fritz Leiber, “Damnation Morning.”   It is not coincidental that one collection of Leiber’s writings is called “Dark Ladies.”

My journal note “Biblical Proportions” was in part inspired by Leiber.

Frank Sinatra may have pictured her as Ava Gardner.  I think I saw her the night Sinatra died… hence my entries of March 31 and April 2, 2003. 

It is perhaps not irrelevant that Kali is, among other things, a mother goddess, and that my entry “Raiders of the Lost Matrix” of May 20 deals with this concept and with the number 24.

The above religious symbol (see “Damnation Morning“) pictures both the axes of symmetry of the square¹ and a pattern with intriguing combinatorial properties².  It also is the basis of a puzzle³ I purchased on August 29, 1997 — Judgment Day in Terminator 2.  Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in that film is an excellent representation of the Dark Lady, both as mother figure and as Death Goddess.

Sarah Connor

Background music: “Bit by bit…” — Stephen Sondheim… See Sondheim and the Judgment Day puzzle in my entry of May 20. The Lottery Covenant.

¹ A. W. Joshi, Elements of Group Theory for Physicists, Third Edition, Wiley, 1982, p. 5

² V. K. Balakrishnan, Combinatorics, McGraw-Hill, 1995, p. 180

³ The Izzi Puzzle


  1. 456 ehh

    Comment by Suzukiboy14199 — Thursday, May 13, 2004 @ 1:30 PM

  2. If you’re interested in Roma (Gypsies), check out my xanga and also http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~hurssa

    Comment by Margita — Friday, May 21, 2004 @ 2:47 AM

  3. I like the flag at HURSSA.

    Comment by m759 — Friday, May 21, 2004 @ 8:54 AM

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