Kali is the Hindu goddess of death, time, and destruction. She is also a mother-figure, and a profound representation of love. Contradictory? No. She is an early deity. In antiquity, female divinity was often associated with ambivalence and multiplicity, while male gods were usually singly-noted, monotoned.
Early goddesses, Kali included, were a reflection of nature, of which they embody both the destructive power and the ability to create, which is intrinsic to feminine power. While she can be a destroyer, there is no malice or dark intention behind her action. Like a powerful storm, a typhoon, or a fire, she justly fulfils destiny’s command.
Kali exists as a symbol of Shakti, a divine feminine power, centre of Shaktism, a tradition of Hinduism that sees the highest divine power as feminine. Still, many of the meanings that are attributed to her rôle—the idea that she is bloodthirsty, for instance, or angry—depends on who gazes upon her. In the context of a patriarchal society, that translates into a common belief that she is vindictive and wrathful, when really she is but a force of nature, in her most recondite personification.