In Hindu mythology, Ardhanarishvara embodies all that is both male and female into a single form. The supreme god of creation, Shiva combines with his lover, Parvati, the mother goddess of nurturing, to create an androgynous being that manifests both of their strengths. This form is particularly inspiring to the LGBTQ community – and especially those who identify as nonbinary -- because this implies the strengths of males and females should be mixed and inseparable. Neither can be isolated from the other because they are strongest together.
As Ardhanarishvara, there is no male or female. They simply exist as the supreme being of creation, power, and love. They combine the stereotypically male attributes of power and authority with the stereotypically female attributes of empathy and care to create the ultimate embodiment of balance. How can strength be used to the benefit of all without empathy for all? How can creative energy be put into an effective form without care and patience for the final outcome? How can a ruler be deemed good without love for their subjects? Wouldn’t the best leader be the one who acts as both mother and father, as both god and goddess?
The point of all this is to say: the older I get and the more I involve myself in the LGBTQ community, the more I hope we all reach a point when we are able to assimilate ourselves into the same form as Ardhanarishvara, as both male and female, as both creator and nurturer, and as both leader and lover, because what could be more powerful than that?