Chinnamasta

Skt., cinnamasta: Headless One

"She of the Cut Neck" or the "Headless One" is a goddess concerned with life, death and the idea of blood as a life-force. She represents the Shakti in her destructive and creative aspects, signifying apparent dissolution and return to what is called "the first cause".

In paintings she is most often presented as a woman with a severed head, two streams of blood flowing from her neck, bestowing her own life-force unto Varnani and Dakini, the two female figures beside her. It is she who distributes "vital essence" or "life energy" to all beings. The whole scene described here is set inside a huge lotus which arises from the union of a male & female pair; Rati and Kama, the god of love & desire.

Sometimes Chinnamasta is identified with, or seen as, an aspect of either Durga or Kali, and there are clear connections as well to the Buddhist Vajrayogini.

Chinnamasta is also known as Viraratri.
See also chinnamundamala