Even though I have an interest in Hinduism, I’d never come across this particular diety before. Ardhanarishvara is a Hindu god that is both male and female. Half male body and half female body, vertically down the middle. This god is actually a composite of two Hindu gods, Shiva and Shakti. Still, the god is depicted literally as half female and half male and has been since the first century.
The name Ardhanarishvara means “the Lord who is half woman.” But Ardhanarishvara is also known by many other names; such as Ardhanaranari (“the half man-woman”), Ardhanarinateshvara (“the Lord of Dance who is half-woman”), Parangada, Naranari (“man-woman”), Ammiappan (a Tamil name meaning “Mother-Father”). Hey, that’s me! No? Well, sort of.
At any rate, I stared at the statue for quite some time. Aware that my mother in law was somewhere nearby. I wondered what others thought of this diety. I wondered what others saw while looking at me looking at the Ardhanarishvara likeness through the glass case just beyond my own trans reflection. Honestly, there was a moment when we seemed to be secretly smiling at one another, knowing, understanding, connecting, trancestors. While anyone can look Ardhanarishvara up on wiki, the general idea is that there is a totality beyond duality. The unity of and the inseparability of the energy that is deeper than a binary system of gender. Wow.