Tag Archive: bön


Goddess Inari

“Inari, Goddes of Prosperity” by ArdiRa

“Inari’s themes are death, kinship, ghosts, fertility and love. Her symbols are foxes, rice and the color red.  Among the Japanese, Inari is invoked to bring a long life, blood-red being Her sacred hue. In death, She guides and protects faithful spirits. Portrayed as a vixen, Inari also has strong correlations with love, an emotion that survives even the grave. Rice is a common offering for Inari, as it is a crop to which She brings fertility.

The Obon is a festival for the dead in Japan, where people hold family reunions and religious rituals to honor their departed ancestors and dance to comfort the spirits. Thse observances are fairly easy to duplicate. Gather with friends or family and include rice cakes and fruit as part of your menu planning. Leave out an extra plater of food both for the spirits of the departed and to please Inari.

To increase Inari’s love in any relationship or to draw a lover to you, make this charm: Find a red-colored stone (agate is a good choice), or any red-colored piece of clothing. Put this under the light of a full moon to charge it with emotional fulfillment. Then bless the item saying,

‘Inari be, ever with me.
By this stone [cloth] of red, let love be fed.
When at [on] my side, let love there abide.’

Put the stone in your pocket (so it’s at your side) and carry it when meeting with that special someone.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Fox Maiden” by Susan Seddon Boulet

“The Japanese rice Goddess liked to wrap herself in a fox’s body.  Sometimes, too, She took the shape of a human woman in order to sleep with men, who had excellent crops as a result.  One of these men, it was said, realized he was sleeping with the Goddess when he saw a long, furry red tail sticking out from beneath the blankets.  He said nothing of it, and She rewarded his discretion by causing all his rice to grow upside down, thus bearing a full harvest that was exempt from the rice tax.

The legendary woman Tamamono-Maye, possibly an incarnation of Inari, lived at court and could change at will into a flying fox.  An enemy, however, ended her power of transformation (and her life, some say) by confronting her with a mirror, which was powerful medicine against her magic” (Monaghan, p. 162).

“Inari” by Matthew Meyer

As stated in a previous entry (see June 9th Wakasaname-no-Kami), Inari is a very complex deity.  “Inari has been depicted both as male and as female. The most popular representations of Inari, according to scholar Karen Ann Smyers, are a young female food Goddess, an old man carrying rice, and an androgynous bodhisattva…Inari is sometimes identified with other mythological figures. Some scholars suggest that Inari is the figure known in classical Japanese mythology as Ukanomitama or the Kojiki‘s Ōgetsu-Hime; others suggest Inari is the same figure as Toyouke. Some take Inari to be identical to any grain kami.

Inari’s female aspect is often identified or conflated with Dakiniten, a Buddhist deity who is a Japanese transformation of the Indian dakini or with Benzaiten of the Seven Lucky Gods.

  

Inari is often venerated as a collective of three deities (Inari sanza); since the Kamakura period, this number has sometimes increased to five kami (Inari goza). However, the identification of these kami has varied over time. According to records of Fushimi Inari, the oldest and perhaps most prominent Inari shrine, these kami have included IzanagiIzanamiNinigi, and Wakumusubi, in addition to the food deities previously mentioned. The five kami today identified with Inari at Fushimi Inari are Ukanomitama, Sarutahiko, Omiyanome, Tanaka, and Shi. However, at Takekoma Inari, the second-oldest Inari shrine in Japan, the three enshrined deities are Ukanomitama, Ukemochi, and Wakumusubi.  According to the Nijūni shaki, the three kami are Ōmiyame no mikoto (water,) Ukanomitama no mikoto (grain,) and Sarutahiko no mikami (land.)” [1]

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Inari”.

Wikipedia, “Inari Ōkami“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Kitsune, Akasha. Goddessschool.com, “Inari and Her Kitsune“.

Lysianassa. Bukisa.com, “The History and Significance of the goddess Inari“.

Moon, Eidolon. Fox-moon.com, “Watashi no O-Inari-sama“.

OnMark Productions, “INARI / Oinari / Oinari-sama Shinto God/Goddess of Rice & Food“.

Yoose, Becky. University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, “INARI = Shinto Rice Kami“.

Goddess Sipe Gyalmo

“Sipe Gyalmo’s themes are cleansing, luck, playfulness and water.  Her symbols are water and bowls.  A pre-Lamist mother figure, Sipe Gyalmo rules with a gentle, nurturing heart. Art traditionally depicts Her as having three eyes to keep track of thing (as any good mother does) and bearing a sword to protect Her children and a bowl of water for refreshing them.

Around this time, people is Burma celebrate New Years and hold a three-day festival of water during which all sacred statues are cleansed, as are all participants, often with a playful flair. I see no reason not to follow suit. Gather any God of Goddess images (or other symbolic items) you have in your home and polish, clean, scrub and pamper them. Indirectly, this pampers the divine persona represented and pleases Sipe Gyalmo (all good children remember to clean up after themselves!).

The splashing of water chases bas luck away and keeps people blissfully cool during one of the hottest months in Burma. While it’s not quite that hot in other areas today, splash a little water (ideally, from a bowl) wherever you go anyway to encourage Sipe Gialmo’s presence. Splash it at the work fountain to banish office politics. splash it on your doorway so only good fortune enters your home. Splash it on your car to keep luck with you when driving, and in your wallet for financial good fortune.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

I’m not exactly sure if there is anything gentle about Sipe Gyalmo.  From my research, She is horrific and wrathful in form, carrying a sword which symbolizes Her ability to ward off and defeat evil forces and a cup of blood which represents the lifeforce which She can give or take away while embodying the qualities of wisdom and compassion.  The above description (minus the sword) almost seems to describe Sherab Chamma, from which Sipe Gyalmo actually manifests from.

Sherab Chamma and the four companions of Her mandala

In the Bön religion, Sipe Gyalmo, the Queen of the World, is the most wrathful manifestation of the peaceful Goddess, Sherab Chamma – Loving Mother of Wisdom, who is the principal meditational form of Satrig Ersang of the Four Transcendent Lords.  Sherab Chamma, also called in Tibetan language “Thugje Chamma”, (the loving mother of compassion) is considered in the Bön tradition to be the Gyalyum (rgyal yum), the Mother of all Buddhas. She embodies the perfection of wisdom. In the Buddhist tradition of India Chamma is called Prajnaparamita or Tara, the ‘saviouress.'” [1]

Sidpai (also spelled Sipé) Gyalmo, Queen of Existence, is a yidam (meditation deity); a deity of exorcism and healing – using Her ferocious aspect to transmute all negative energies, thus assisting in the healing of all sentient beings; and a protector in the Bön tradition. “The Bön religion is an ancient, pre-Buddhist, shamanic belief system of Tibet that came under strong Buddhist influence from about the seventh century. Sidpa Gyalmo is a Bön guardian deity of the transmundane type (i.e. an emanation of the enlightened awareness and compassion of a great being, such as a Buddha). She has a complex iconography, and pantheon of manifestations, but is usefully summarized as a deep azure blue, wrathful deity who is pre-Buddhist in origin, and is a direct emanation of Shes-rab byams-ma, the Great Goddess. The latter is variously described as the Goddess of Wisdom and Love, or the Queen of the Waters. As a mythological study, Sidpa Gyalmo may represent a West to East transmission, along the Silk Route, of a most ancient Mesopotamian Goddess, possibly as old as 5,500 years, used by ashipus, or Mesopotamian medical exorcists. In this regard, She may well be Gula, the Mesopotamian Goddess of healing, known as the Great Physician, who flourished in the city of Isin. Equally, She may be the pre-Zoroastrian Iranian Goddess of the waters Ardvi Sura Anahita, and in such case of later vintage, probably received in around the second century BCE. In either event, Bön iconography depicts Her riding a mule, lending credence to the notion that She arrives in ancient Tibet from elsewhere.” [2]

“Sipe Gyalmo is indigo in color with three faces: the right face is white and represents the father, the left face is red and represents the mother, the center of the face is indigo and represents Her omnipresence. She is riding on a mule and has six arms holding:

– a victory banner indicating Her triumph over emotional afflictions
– a sword made of a thunderbolt symbolizing Her eradication of hostile forces and gaining control over life and death
– a phurba (glorious dagger), symbolizing the salvation of all sentient beings from illusion
– a mirror symbolizing the reflection clearly appearing of all cosmic truth in Her wisdom mind
– a hook, symbolizing the liberation of all sentient beings
– a scull cup filled with blood, symbolizing Her devouring of devils who have broken their pledge.

Her body is draped in skulls and fresh flayed human skin to indicate Her dominion over evil and death. Her indigo color represents Her control over boundless space; the flames surrounding Her represent Her ultimate power to burn away ignorance and all negativity.” [2]

“Sipe Gyalmo is one of the most frequently propitiated figures in the Bön religion, and extends Her protection to both religious practitioners and common people. Though horrific and wrathful in form She embodies the qualities of wisdom and compassion.” [3]

“Epithets for Her include Queen of the World, Queen of Existence, and Queen of the Universe, and Her name is also seen as Sidpa Gyalmo, Sipai Gyalmo, or Srid-pa’i Gyal-mo.” [4]

 

 

Sources:

BonPedia, “Sipe Gyalmo“.

Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar, “Poisons and Pathogens: Origins of Disease“.

Himalayan Art, “Sipai Gyalmo (Bon Protector)“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Sipe Gyalmo“.

 

Suggested Links:

Bon Children, “The Bonpo Tradition: The Founder of Bön Tradition and His Teachings“.

BonPedia, “Sherab Chamma“.

Himalayan Art, “Buddhist Protector: Shri Devi Main Page“.

mAnasa-taraMgiNI, “Some notes on the goddess Sipe Gyalmo“.

Yeru Bön Center, “Yeshe Walmo: Wisdom Protect“.

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