Tag Archive: kites


Goddess Makar Sankranti

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“Makar Sankranti’s themes are blessings, offering, mediation, earth, sun, thankfulness, love, passion and abundance. Her symbols are water, light, soil and caves.  This is Makar Sankranti’s festival day, Pongol [actually from my research, it currently falls on January 14 – * see note below]. After many months of slumber, this mother Goddess awakens from the earth womb to restore love, abundance, and passion in our lives through sacred rituals, over which She presides.

Pongol is the Hindu word for Winter Solstice. It is a three-day harvest celebration with several ‘borrowable’ traditions that venerate both Makar Sankranti and the holiday. Begin with a ritual cleansing and blessing for your home in any manner suited to your tradition. This keeps relationships strong and banishes sickness. Bathing sacred cows today also brings prosperity. This might translate into washing the image of a cow, your images of the Goddess, or even a special coin to improve financial stability.

In terms of an offering for the Goddess, sweet rice is customary, followed by an afternoon of kite flying so that the burdens in your life will become as light as the wind! For people in four-season climates, it might be too cold for kite flying today, so just release a little of the Goddess’s soil to the wind and ask Her to take your problems away, replacing them with solid relationships and success.”

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

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Makar Sankranti is a very popular festival in India and is celebrated in almost all parts of the country in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion, fervour and gaiety.  According to Hindu calendar, Makar Sankranti occurs when sun changes its direction northwards from Dhanu Rashi (Sagittarius) to enter the Makar Rashi (Capricorn) in the month of Poush. Makar Sankranti is considered very auspicious day and it is believed any sacred ritual or task can be started or performed on this day and it will be fruitful.  It marks the beginning of harvesting season and end of chilly winter season. [1]

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Sankranti is also considered a Goddess. According to Ramona Taylor, “there are several legends associated with this very special holiday.  One such legend relates to Sankranti, the deity who is linked to the motion of the Sun and the energy derived from the orb. As the tale goes, Sankranti slayed a demon, Sankarasur, on this specific day which is now celebrated as Makar Sankranti. [The next day She slayed the demon Kinkarasur, hence the day is called Kinkrant or Karidin].

Another legend regarding this harvest season holiday relates to Bhishma, the revered demigod born of the River Goddess, Ganga and a king. A gifted archer and devoted soul, Bhishma lived for more than three centuries. In the battlefield of Kurukshetra, the great warrior Bhishma was mortally wounded, but he held onto life until the start of Uttarayana. Once the sun had entered Makar, the great warrior died. It is believed that if a person dies on this day, their soul is released from the birth/rebirth cycle and joins with the Almighty.” [2]

 

 

 

 

* Note ~  “It is scientifically said that around December 21 – 22 is the shortest day of the year. After that the day span usually gets longer.  Hence, Winter Solstice actually begins around this date when the tropical sun moves into the Makar rashi or Capricorn zodiac sign.  Thus, the real Uttarayana is on December 21st.   Initially, it was considered as the actual date of Makar Sankranti too.  However, the earth’s lean of 23.45 degrees caused Makar Sankranti to slither further over the years.  History of Makar Sankranti says that almost 1000 years ago it was celebrated on 31st of December.  Presently, according to the Hindu Solar calendar, January 14th is the celebration date of Maker Sankranti.” [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

Dhingra, Mamta. Ezinearticles.com, “Makar Sankranti Significance“.

Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. Hindujagruti.org, “Makar Sankranti Festival“.

Jupiter Infomedia Ltd. Indianetzone.com, “History of Makar Sankranti“.

Taylor, Ramona. Voices.yahoo.com, “The Festival of Makar Sankranti“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. Hindujagruti.org, “Makar Sankranti Festival” (HIGHLY RECOMMEND! Includes Methods of celebration and Culture & Festivities).

Of-india.com, “Makar Sankranthi – The Winter Festival“.

“Sunset Kwan Yin” by Christal

Bixia Yuanjin’s themes are air, protection, luck, freedom, birth and movement. Her symbols are wind, clouds, kites and chrysanthemum petals.  A weather Goddess who lives in cloudy high places, Bixia Yuanjin attends each person’s birth to bestow good health and luck upon the child. She is also a wind deity, helping to liberate and motivate us with fall’s gently nudging winds.

During mid-autumn, the Chinese take to nearby hills and fly kites to commemorate a sage, Huan Ching, who saved villagers from disaster by instructing them to take to high places, thereby protecting them from a mysterious plaque.  So, consider doing likewise today, even if it means just climbing a ladder! Move up off the ground, breath deeply of Bixia Yuanjin’s fresh air, and discover renewed wellness.

If you feel adventurous, chrysanthemum wine and cakes are traditional feast fare for longevity and good fortune. An alternative is steeping chrysanthemum petals in water and then adding the strained water to any soups, or other water-based foods and beverages for a similar effect.

Should the winds be with you, fly a kite named after a burden and liberate yourself in the winds. Also, carefully observe the shapes in the clouds today. If you have a pressing question on your heart, Bixia Yuanjin can answer it through these, her messengers.”

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

“Bixia Yuanjin (pronounced BEE-cha you-on-JEEN) is the Chinese Taoist Goddess of the dawn, childbirth, and destiny. As Goddess of dawn, She attends the birth of each new day from her home high in the clouds. As Goddess of childbirth, She attends the birth of children, fixing their destiny and bringing good fortune. Bixia Yuanjin is venerated in the Temple of the Purple Dawn at the summit of the holy mountain, Tai Shan, where women wishing to conceive come to ask for Her help. Her father, Tai Shan Wang, is the god of the mountain and judge of the underworld. Her name is also seen as Bixia Yuanjun, Bixia Yuan Jun, Pi Hsia Yuan Chun, and T’ien Hsien Niang Niang, and epithets for her include Princess of the Rosy Clouds, Princess of the Azure Clouds, and the Jade Woman.” [1]

“Bixia Yuanjun (Sovereign of the clouds of dawn) is a Daoist Goddess connected with Mt. Tai in Shandong province.  As the easternmost of the five sacred peaks of China, Mt. Tai was considered the gateway to the afterlife throughout Chinese history.  Bixia and Her main temple located there attained prominence in the early Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644).  Centered in northern China, the Goddess’s popularity extened from the imperial family to common people.  Bixia was granted elevated titles, such as Tianxian shengmu (Heavenly immortal, saintly mother) and Tianxian yünu (Hevenly immortal, jade maiden), but She is commonly known as Taishan niangniang (Our Lady of Mt. Tai) or Lao nainai (Granny) in Chinese popular religion.  She was charged with setting human life spans and judging the dead, but Her ability to facilitate the birth of male children made Her a particularly popular Goddess among women.

Several disparate versions of Bixia’s hagiography outline Her origins.  Elite texts preserved in the Daoist canon declare Her to be the daughter of the god of Mt. Tai whose history as a judge in the courts of hell extends back to the seventh century.  Late Ming popular sectarian scriptures, or baojuan (precious volumes), assert that Bixia was the daughter of a commoner.  According to the accounts, Her prayers to an ancient Daoist Goddess Xiwangmu (Queen of the West), along with Her practice of self-cultivation, helped Her to achieve immortality.

Temples throughout northern China include images of Bixia.  She is most readily identified by Her headdress, which features three or more phoenixes, Bixia usually appears seated with legs pendant and sometimes hold a tablet inscribed with a representiation of the Big Dipper as a symbol of Her authority.  Two Goddesses who often attend Bixia are Zisu niangniang (Goddess of children) and Yanguang niangniang (Goddess of eyesight), but Bixia can also appear with in a group of Goddesses” (Jestice, p. 128 – 129). [2]

 

 

Sources:

Jestice, Phyllis G. Holy People of the World: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia, Volume 1, “Bixi Yuanjun (Pi-hsia yuan-chün)“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Bixia Yuanjin“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddess-guide.com, “Fertility Goddesses and Goddesses of Pregnancy and Childbirth“.

Javewu.multiply.com, “Pictures of Bi Xia Yuan Jun“.

Kohn, Livia. Daoism Handbook, “Women in Daoism” (p. 393).

Little, Stephen. Toaism and the Arts of China, “The Taoist Renaissance” (p. 278).

Naquin, Susan & Chün-Fang Yü. Pilgrims and Sacred Sites in China (Studies on China), “PI-HSIA YUAN-CHÜN” (p. 78).

Pomeranz, Kenneth. Saturn.ihp.sinica.edu.tw, “Up and Down on Mt. Tai: Bixia Yuanjun in the Politics of Chinese Popular Religion, ca. 1500 – 1949“.

Song, Eric. Ericsong.hubpages.com,Bixia Yuanjun’s Palace“.

Tour-beijing.com, “Miao Feng Shan Goddess Temple, Miao Feng Shan Niang Niang Temple“.

Westchinatours.com, “Taishan Attractions“.

Wikipedia, “Mount Tai“.

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