[designate] GF Shiva
[summoning] Diamond Dust
[classification] Guardian Force - Ice elemental
[magic stats] Ice magic | Pretty damn useful in the Fire Cavern
[aquired from] Go to Squall's study panel when the game starts, and when you log in, voila! You've got Shiva ^_^
[game wise] Shiva is an ice demoness/elemental spirit. She has pale blue skin with darker blue markings, and a sort of 'elfin' headdress with yellow hightlights. She looks a little on the short side, but has a perfect figure &_& Summoned in a huge spire of ice that shatters before she powers up and blasts the enemy -- it's pretty nifty ^_^ Definitely one of my favourite GFs in FFVIII. Oh, and did I mention she's pretty?
[real world] One of the most important gods in Hindu religion, Shiva's sexuality is rather ambiguous. Shiva is generally regarded as male, although sometimes he's protrayed as a hermaphrodite when identified as a single god with Sati (also known as Kali, the Black Mother) his wife (the dual form being called Ardhanarisvara).
In Hindu religion, Shiva is the Destroyer and Restorer, and completes the first sort of 'heavenly' triumvirate between himself, Vishnu (the Protector), and Brahma (the Creator). Shiva is also known as the Lord of the Dance, and is a warrior/battle god... I don't know why Square named an Ice Elemental after such a complex god. If it was only because his skin colour is blue... oh well.
[special abilities] In the very beginning of the game, learn her I Mag-RF ability, and try and get some Water Crystals or Fish Fins from the Fastitocolons on the beach. Not only can you learn Quistis' Aqualung ability, but you also get 50 Waters for every crystal, and I think 5 Waters for every Fish Fin. At this point in the game, Water is the strongest magic available to you (they're even stronger than Elvoret's Doubles), and this is the only way to get it.
[final fantasy legacy] As far as I know, Shiva's been in all the Final Fantasy epics since FF3. Of course, my first-hand knowledge of Final Fantasy only ranges from FF7-FF9, so that's not saying much... In Final Fantasy VII, she had blue skin and aqua hair pulled back in a high ponytail, and wasn't nearly as powerful as in FF8. In FF9, K-chan reckons she was hot ^_^ and I hear she's even better looking in FF10.