In the Dasha-Mahavidya tradition, one comes across Dhumavati, one of the Dasha-Mahavidyas.
The moola-mantra of this deity is said to be the blessing of Pippalada, a rishi after whom a Atharva Shakha – the Pippalada is named.
Dhumavati is said to be traditionally represented as a widow, carrying a broom and/or a winnow.
While reading about Dhumavati, I was reminded of the stotra of Sitala – a deity associated with smallpox, and my own clan’s kula devata
VANDEHAM SEETHALAAM DEVIM RAASABHASTHAAM DIGAMBARAAM
MAARJANEEKALASOPETHAM SOORPAALANKRITHA MASTHAKAAM
This refers to Sheetala carrying a broom on the hand and a winnow on her forehead.
Our clan has a specific annual puja performed at home for the kula devata. The use of red rice flour, red flowers and neem leaves is one of the peculiar aspects of the puja.
Among the other specific practices of the puja are that the main gift after the puja is made to 2 women – a widow and the household help.
Both indicate some kind of relationship between the Dhumavati of Dasha Mahavidyas and the ‘folk’ deity – Seethala/Maariamman.