Kali Yantra Variations
I have spent a great deal of time recently learning how to use vector image editing software for geometric design. This is both fun and frustrating since I am used to doing it the old fashioned way––working at an art desk with a pencil, compass, and straightedge.
Looking up various yantra images (Sanskrit “instrument,” referring here to mystical diagrams) online, I noticed many floating around which are full of errors. Most of these blunders should be obvious to anyone who has casually read about the subject, but since many people are understandably unfamiliar with the typical yantra forms, these mistakes get propagated.
Without getting too deep into yantra symbolism here, I would like to briefly address the issue of the central bindu, or “dot.” Symbolically, the bindu point serves as the locus of the yantra’s presiding deity. The energy of the yantra is conceived of as evolving from and returning to this point. In this way, the yantra represents a particular divinity in two-dimensional (sometimes three) geometric form. This is quite literally a point of quite central importance! However in many versions of the Kali yantra I have seen online, this vital component is nonexistent.
So for this and other reasons, I have decided to offer a few variations of Kali’s yantra for download here. I am planning to paint one with acrylic and since I was already learning a vector program, it made sense to play with a few digital versions as I contemplated what I am going to create. I offer a few variations of the Kali yantra, resulting from my experimentation, for download here. Working with this design over the past week proved to be a wonderful contemplative exercise in itself and I am excited to begin painting my own Kali yantra on wood for ritual and meditation.
Yantras are a fascinating subject which I plan on writing about in the future. If you are interested in learning about yantras, I highly recommend two books: Yantra: Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity by Madhu Khanna and Harish Johari’s Tools for Tantra. These are both excellent English sources and readily available.
Note that I am sharing very large, high-quality .jpg versions of the Kali yantra here. Although they appear smaller on this page, you can click on a thumbnail to enlarge it and also download the bigger size image to your computer. If you are interested in having the original .psd or .ai file upon which an image is based, feel free to contact me and I will send it to you via email.
Victory to Mother Kali
Kali yantra in bold black and white.
The first image is a very minimal, but aesthetically pleasing two-color yantra design. It resulted from my initial efforts to create a black & white, clip art-style graphic which could be easily reproduced.
An outline of the Kali yantra shapes, ready to be colored in.
Next is the Kali yantra with all of the essential components outlined. This is a yantra that would be easy for anyone to color in.
Kali yantra rendered in three colors for easy separation.
For the third yantra, I utilized the least amount of colors to separate the shapes without them running together. I love the bold quality of this variation.
The tricolor Kali yantra, with some added effects
Here is the tricolor Kali yantra with added effects. Outlines, gradients, and drop shadows have been added to the shapes. I especially like this one will and it will be used as a graphic for the website in the future.
This Kali yantra is designed to emulate the look of manual printing methods.
Lastly, I decided to challenge myself by learning new effects. My goal with this variation was to emulate a printed design scanned from an old Bengali folk tantra book. Everything was created digitally from scratch–from the faded, slightly yellow paper to the two-color print which is off register.