Naga Kanya—also known as Nag Kanya or Naag Kanya—snake of the rainbow, daughter of the serpent, guardian of treasures, benevolent goddess of the three realms.
In Hindu mythology, Nagas are serpentine spirits who reside in the underworld, protecting and offering the teachings of the Mother Goddess. They are said to guard all esoteric and mystical teachings, offering them only to those who come humbly to receive. In turn, they offer protection and gifts to the seeker.
The Nagas are also known as apsaras, or elemental nymphs who preside over both the natural world as well as the unseen. They are petitioned for weather-related blessings, and it is considered highly disrespectful to pollute environments in which they are said to live. Washing soiled clothes in a naga- inhabited stream can result in illnesses or naga afflictions, such as cancer and skin disease.
Amongst these snake guardian elementals, Naga Kanya is Queen. She stands out as a well-loved spiritual ally in the Eastern traditions of India, Nepal, and parts of China. Naga Kanya is most often depicted as a woman with the lower body of a serpent, the torso of a human female, and bird wings, with hooded cobras presiding up above her crown and a conch shell in her hands. Some stories and images depict her with 5 cobras, others with 7 or 9. The number of snakes above Naga Kanya’s crown indicates one who has accessed a very high level of initiation; a fully activated Kundalini energy.
In some mythological traditions, Naga Kanya is a singular goddess. But in others, “Naga Kanya” are a full tribe of serpent faerie beings. Most stories connect Naga Kanya with Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of good fortune and abundance. Naga Kanya is also said to be a companion or ally of Vishnu—unlike the other nagas, who fear being eaten by Garuda, Vishnu’s mythical bird mount. In the Buddhist traditions, Naga Kanya is regarded as a Tantric goddess and protector of Dharma.
Painting by Painting by Tilly Campbell-Allen
Among devotees, Naga Kanya is said to bring enormous blessings–everything from prosperity, rain, friendship, romance, spiritual growth & enlightenment, good opportunities, generosity, protection, wisdom, and support. Their power is so great that no temple can house them—instead, they roam freely across the earth, giving their blessings wherever a humble home offering pleases them.