Each of these goddess is seen by some of her devotees as the supreme god-head, by others as a mere battle-born "aspect" of another female supreme god-head (e.g. Durga), and by a third group as the "true form" (or, contrariwise, a "mere aspect") of Parvati or Durga in her/their role as the Saki or Shanti (energy) or consort of the supreme god-head Shiva.
As i understand Sanskrit, strictly via secondary sources, Kali means "black" and is also the female form of the word "kala." which means "time" (hence, calendar). The Kali-kala pun gave rise to the idea that black Kali, the fierce cremation-ground goddess, is also the Mistress or the Progenetrix of Time.
Parvati is an ancient mountain goddess, assocated with the Himalayas. She is similar to, but not identical with, the mountain goddess Uma. In terms of her personality and relationship to the god Siva, she also shares some aspects with the fathful-wife goddess Sati. She is the mother of Siva's childen.
According to some synctretically-minded Parvati-centered puranas, Kali was not an "original" goddess but came into being when Siva teased his mate Parvati about her dark skin and called her "blackie" (Kali). In response, she shed the black skin and became effulgently light -- and was given the epithet Gauri ("shining"). Her black skin then took on life and became the goddess Kali. Obviously this is a Parvati-centered story and not acceptable to those for whom wrathful or fierce Kali is the primary goddess!)
Durga is an ancient grain-and-battle goddess who, in latter times (post 400 C.E.), was identified as a member of the Kali- Sati- Parvati- Durga- Gauri- Ambika- Uma- Candi class of goddess, all of whom are formerly regional "great" goddesses later syncretized as aspects of "the bride of Siva."
Hindu gods and goddesses appear or are described on the following Lucky W Amulet Archive web pages:
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