Last Updated: October 15, 2018

Definition - What does Shaktism mean?

Shaktism is a branch of Hinduism that includes a diverse collection of traditions that worship the feminine as the supreme deity or Ultimate Reality. The goddess worshipped is often called Shakti or simply Devi, which means "goddess"

Some traditions believe that all of the goddesses are incarnations of Shakti and, therefore, worship the goddess in whatever form she may take – the fierceness of Durga, the gentle and nurturing Parvati, or the giving nature of Lakshmi, among others. Shaktism dates to about the fourth or fifth century.

Yogapedia explains Shaktism

Shaktas, as the followers of Shaktism are called, may use a variety of practices to call on the power of the goddess, including yoga, puja, mudra, mantra, yantra, tantra and some elements of Kundalini yoga.

Among the main sub-traditions of Shaktism are:

  • Devotional – Devotees practice puja rites to deepen their connection with Shakti.
  • Folk-shamanic – This tradition focuses on magic, psychic power, animal sacrifices and trances.
  • Yoga – Yogis attempt to awaken and control the shakti (kundalini) energy within the body in order to achieve enlightenment.
  • Universalist – The universalists believe that all religions provide a path to liberation, although Hindiusm is the ultimate universal path. This is known as reformed Vedanta or neo-Vedanta.
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