The Ashta-Matrika as described in Devi-Mahatmya is given below.
Brahmi or Brhmani is the Shakti (power) of the creator god Brhma. She is depicted yellow in colour and with four heads. She may be depicted with four or six arms. Like Brahma, she holds a rosary or noose and Kamandalu (water pot) or lotus stalk or a book or bell and is seated on a Hamsa (identified with a swan or goose) as her vahana (mount or vehicle). She is also shown seated on a lotus with the hamsa on her banner. She wears various ornaments and is distinguished by
her basket-shaped crown called a mukuta.
Vaishnavi is the power of the preserver-god Vishnu, is described as seated on the Garuda (eagle-man) and having four or six arms. She holds Shankh (conch), Chakra (Discus), mace and lotus and bow and sword or her two arms are in varada mudra (Blessing hand gesture) and abhaya mudra ("No-fear" hand gesture). Like Vishnu, she is heavily adorned with ornaments like necklaces, anklets, earrings, bangles etc. and a cylindrical crown called a mukuta.
Maheshwari is the power of god Shiva, also known as Maheshvara. Maheshvari is also known by the names Raudri, Rudrani and Maheshi, derived from Shiva's names Rudra and Mahesh. Maheshvari is depicted seated on Nandi (the bull) and has four or six hands. The white complexioned,Trinetra (three eyed) goddess holds a Trishul (trident), damaru (drum), Akshmala (a garland of beads),Panapatra (drinking vessel) or axe or an antelope or a Kapala (skull-bowl) or a serpent and is adorned with serpent bracelets, the crescent moon and the ja?a muku?a (A headdress formed of piled, matted hair).
Indrani, Mahendri, Shakri and Vajri, is the power of the Indra, the Lord of the heaven. Seated on a charging elephant, Aindri, is depicted dark-skinned, with two or four or six arms. She is depicted as having two or three or like Indra, a thousand eyes. She is armed with the Vajra (thunderbolt), goad, noose and lotus stalk. Adorned with variety of ornaments,
Kaumari is also known as Kumari, Karttikeyani and Ambika is the power ofKumara Kartikeya or Skanda Kumara, the god of war. Kaumari rides a peacock and has four or twelve arms. She holds a spear, axe, a Shakti (power) or Tanka (silver coins) and bow. She is sometimes depicted six-headed like Kumara and wears the cylindrical crown.
Varahi is described as the power of Varah - the boar-headed form of Vishnu or Yama - the god of death, has a boar head on a human body and rides a ram or a buffalo. She holds a Danda (rod of punishment) or plough, goad, a Vajra or a sword, and a Panapatra. Sometimes, she carries a bell, chakra, chamara and a bow. She wears a crown called a mukuta with other ornaments.
Chamunda is also known as Chamundi and Chandika is the power of Devi Chandi. She is very often identified with Kali and is similar in her appearance and habit. The identification with Kali is explicit in Devi Mahatmya.The black coloured Chamunda is described as wearing a garland of severed heads or skulls (Mundamala) and holding a Damaru, trishula, sword and panapatra. Riding a jackal or standing on a corpse of a man (shava or preta), she is described as having three eyes, a terrifying face and a sunken belly.
Narsimhi is power of Narsimha (lion-man form of Vishnu), is a woman-lion and throws the stars into disarray by shaking her lion mane.
Edited by mnx12 - 21 December 2012 at 1:22am