follow the tradition of long forgotten tribes to whom Shiva, wearing the, gar lands of
skulls and the ornaments of serpents and with the body besmeared with ashes, was the
tutelary deity. Even today, among the Shaivites of the purest hue, there is the
traditional ritual of the application of ashes to the forehead and the hands.
Shiva's spouse Uma, Parvati, or Shakti, known to all early
human civilizations as the Mother Goddess, is the goddess who protects, blesses and saves.
Though in His one aspect as Ardhanarishvara, half god, half woman, Shiva is
considered indissoluble from his spouse, the yogis who worshipped them both, true to human
nature, separated the worship into cults of entirely different character.