Lord Siva

1. Two general Features:

A. Unconventional
B. God of paradox (in later, developed forms)
 
2. History

A. Proto Siva: horns, lotus posture, lord of animals, ithyphallic.
B. Siva-Rudra: the howler.
C. Daksha’s sacrifice (Mahabharata)
D. Challenges heretical Brahmin sages in the forest
E. Unorthodox nature:  Ecstacy, dance. The Shaiva traditions originate in non-brahmanical traditions and then became assimilated (in some measure).
F. God of the ascetics.

3. God of paradox – the "erotic ascetic" Dharma & moksha.  Householder & ascetic

Transformation of the ascetic ideal: assimilated into the householder ideology (ashramas; Gita)
The emphasis in Shaivism is on asceticism, but it developes in ways that assert both asceticism and householding as two parts of a dynamic process that sustains the entire universe. A union of opposites. Cf. Cosmic Shiva: inclusive of all things.

3. Images: Visual Theologies

A. Lord of Yoga. Seated in meditation in the Himalayas, covered in ashes; third eye (burned kama, desire), matted locks, crecent moon in hair.
B. Shivling: phallus and yoni. 
C. Ardhanarishvara: The Lord who is half woman
D. Nataraja: A play of divine energy, dynamic process of creation and destruction.  (Cf. Visnu on celestial serpent).  Chola dynasty (10th century).