The rewriting of a Tantric tradition: from the Siddhayogeśvarīmata to the Timirodghāṭana and beyond
The earliest surviving scriptural sources that teach the Hindu tantric worship of goddesses and female spirits (yoginīs), the Siddhayogeśvarīmata and the Brahmayāmala (composed around the 7th century CE), belong to a corpus of texts called Bhairavatantras. The main rituals they prescribe have the same structure as those of the śaiva Siddhānta and Tantras teaching the cult of Bhairava; but their pantheon, their mantras and some of their additional rituals are different, all of them involving mantra goddesses as opposed to male deities. These texts also teach the worship of numerous female spirits, or yogeśvarīs, some of whom are goddess-like beings, others are rather human witch-like figures.
Subsequently, a new current, kaulism, developed from these yoginī cults, perhaps around the 8th or 9th century CE. It internalised the whole ritual system as well as the pantheon: the yoginīs became the goddesses of the senses in the body (kula) of the practitioner, and the rituals, such as pūjā or fire rituals, all came to be performed as internal worship in the body, based on yogic practices and meditation. Kaulism also lay much emphasis on possession (āveśa), although this phenomenon was already present in the early yoginī cults.