Shiva is a Hindu God, the God of the yogis. He is self-controlled and “celibate”, while at the same time he is a lover of his spouse Shakti. Lord Shiva is referred to as the destroyer of the world, following Brahma, (the creator) and Vishnu, (the preserver), after which of course Brahma once again creates our beautiful world and, and, and. Constant business here with Shiva destroying and Brahma following to create the world yes?
Shiva is responsible for change both in the form of death and destruction, and in a positive way of destroying the ego, the false person/identification of humans. This also includes the shedding of old habits and attachments that are no longer needed or wanted. In “destruction”, truly nothing is destroyed but the illusion of individuality. Thus, the power of destruction associated with Lord Shiva has great purifying power, both on a more personal level when problems make us see reality more clearly, as on a more universal level. Destruction opens the path for new creation of the universe, a new opportunity for the beauty and drama of universal illusion to unfold. Shiva represents the most essential goodness.
All that begins, must at some point, have an end as well. The power of destruction associated with Lord Shiva has great purifying power, both on a more personal level when problems make us see our reality more clearly for our personal growth. As you know as difficult as it may seem at times, destruction always opens a new path for our building a new future to aid us in our lives. We must shed that which no longer serves us. It can be very detrimental to hang onto things that are making us weak and sick, mentally, emotionally and physically.
There are many Hindu deities that are associated with different paths of yoga and meditation, in Shiva the art of meditation takes its most absolute form. Something I learned in one of my favourite books “Journey of Awakening” - Yogi Ram Das, he suggests that when we are meditating, when thoughts keep poking at you and you can't relax and settle – envision a beautiful stream. See the thoughts and annoyances as beautiful, delicate leaves that float down onto the sparkling stream, and let the stream just take them away.... It works for me, so try it if you have trouble concentrating for meditating or even to keep yourself “on track” with a project you are working on.
One form of Shiva is the Nataraj. Shiva Nataraj's dance represents both the destruction and the creation of the universe and reveals the cycles of death, birth and rebirth. His Dance of Bliss is for the welfare of the world. Another manifestation of Lord Shiva is said to be Hanuman, the ultimate karma yogi, in never-ending selfless service to Ram. A true karma yogi will never take the credit for his acts, as they would otherwise not be entirely selfless. The ego would still get the credit. So, in order to respect Shiva as a true karma yogi, we won't pay too much attention to this manifestation....
Attributes of Lord Shiva -
The trident that represents the three gunas. The namkes that show he is beyond the power of death and poison and also stand for the Kundalini energy. The sound of Shiva's two-sided drum maintains the rhythm of the heartbeat and creates the sound ALUM in the overtones. The vehicle of Shiva is the white bull called Nandi (the joyful) Shiva is often seated on a tiger skin or wears a tiger skin, with the tiger representing the min Shiva lives on Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas.
The power or energy of Shiva is Shakti, his spouse, of which Parvati is probably the most popular form. Shiva's first wife was Sati and his second wife was Parvati. They are also known by many other name, such as Uma, Gauri, Durga, Kali, Annapurna and Shakti. His sons are Ganesha and Kartikeya.
Shiva and Parvati are often shown as sitting in a happy, intimate embrace. They also like to discuss philosophy. Shiva taught Parvati on Vedanta (transcendent knowledge), while Parvati taught him Sankhya (cosmological knowledge). Both were perfected yogis.
After their marriage, they left for mount Kailash and immersed themselves completely in a sexual intercourse so strong that the deity of desire Kama was reborn when their sweat mingles with his ashes. Their love was so intense that it shook the cosmos and frightened even the Gods.
The balance between male and female can also be obtained in marriage, when both partners complement each other to form an ultimate oneness, which is the source of creation. When Shiva does his destructive Tandava dance, Parvati is said to complement him with a slow, creative step of her own, calming him with her soft glances. While Shiva shows a wilder nature that is both ascetic and erotic. Parvati stands for the middle path of the householder. As Shiva exulted in his romantic dalliance with her, the true mother in her longed for a child. Shiva resisted the life of a householder, but Parvati's desire for it was greater than his resistance. Hence first Ganesha was born, later also Kartikeya.
The Shiva Lingam -
Lord Shiva is conceived in his unborn, invisible form as the Shiva Lingam. The Lingam represents the male creative energy of Shiva. This main symbol of Shiva is worshipped in virtually every Hindu temple and home. The phallus is not worshipped as such, but through it Shiva is worshipped as the supreme consciousness. Embracing the base of the linga is the yoni, the female, as the universal energy, as Shakti, Shiva's spouse. Through profound understanding of this symbol, the mystery of creation can be understood as an act of love.
Shiva worshippers (Shaivites) are among India's most ascetic yogis, their body smeared with ashes, dressed in saffron colours and wearing a Rudraksha mala. The path of Shiva can thus be seen as the inward-going path, the great journey to find the self. This path is complementary to the path of Vishnu, which is the outgoing path, bringing of the self from within and letting it manifest in the universe and our lives.
I had a wonderful meditation meeting with Shiva some years ago, but I remember it clearly. I was working on the 1st or 2nd degree of lessons at Kitchen Witch School and we always did a God/Goddess study along with the regular lessons, as well a crystal studies and herbal studies as well. I was drawn to Shiva, I am not sure why except that he had something he must need to share with me. I remember I had lit an orange candle, anointed it with rosemary oil and at the very top of the 4” candle, after it was lit for a few moments and it had a little space of liquid wax, I had put in a very small piece of tiger eye. I went through and completed my meditation, and when I was done I looked for the tiger's eye stone to bring it out and save. I couldn't find it. It was nowhere to be found. My mentor at that time, said not to question it, that Shiva had taken my gift as a “thank you” for joining with him in meditation. To this day I can remember my shock and yet deep pleasure at having this amazing meet up with Shiva.
If you have not read or met up with Shiva, I encourage you to do so. He is an amazing Yogi that can continue to teach us many wonderful things!!