Tag Archive: owl


Goddess Lakshmi

“Lakshmi’s themes are devotion, luck, wealth, relationships, prosperity, love, the harvest and autumn. Her symbols are a lotus, rice, coins and basil.  A favorite Goddess in the Hindu pantheon, Lakshmi brings devoted love into our lives, along with a little luck and extra pocket change to help things along. When called upon, Lakshmi opens the floodgates of heaven to meet our heart’s or budget’s needs.

The annual Lakshmi Puja festival celebrates Lakshmi and honors Her ongoing goodness, which manifests in an abundant autumn harvest.

If you are a merchant or store owner, it’s customary to appeal to Lakshmi today for the ongoing success of your business. You can do this by placing a few grains of rice, some basil, or a coin in your daily tally sheets. This neatly tucks Lakshmi’s fortunate nature into your finances.

For those wishing luck in love, gather a handful of rice cooked in basil water (the cooking process adds energy and emotional warmth). Sprinkle this on the walkway leading up to your home and your preferred vehicle, saying:

‘Lakshmi, let true love find its way to my home;
Let me carry luck with me wherever I roam.’

Keep a pinch of this in an airtight container and carry it with you into social situations. It will act as a charm to improve your chances of meeting potential mates.”

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

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “ancient India did not erect temples to this Goddess, for why try to contain the one who embodies Herself in all forms of wealth? Lakshmi is everywhere: in jewels, in coins, in rare shells, in every child born to welcoming parents, and particularly in cows. The well-known reverence for cows in Hindu India is based on the worship of this Goddess, called the Shakti of life-preserving Vishnu. Hindu philosophy defined male godhead as passive and abstract, distant and powerless, unless activated by the Goddess. In Vishnu’s case, his power to maintain and enrich life only functions when Lakshmi inspires it. Therefore it is thought good policy to bestow reverence on those embodiments of wealth-the cows who in some parts of India are simply called ‘lakshmi’ after their owner.

“Laksmi” by Hrana Janto

Some myths say that Lakshmi existed from all time, floating before creation on a lotus; for this She is called Padma (‘lotus-Goddess’), whose symbol became the sign for spiritual enlightenment throughout Asia. Some stories say that Lakshmi sprang up from the ocean when it was churned by the gods, emerging like a jewel in all Her beauty and power, covered with necklaces and pearls, crowned and braceleted, Her body fat and golden [Hhmm, kind of reminds me of someone else I know – Aphrodite or Venus perhaps?]. Many interpreters see the variant legends as recording Lakshmi’s preeminence in pre-Aryan India, where She was Goddess of the earth and its fructifying moisture, and Her later incorporation into Vedic theology when Her worshipers would not abandon their devotion to the lotus Goddess. Once established in the religious amalgam called Hinduism, Lakshmi grew to symbolize not only the wealth of the earth but of the soul as well, becoming a magnificent symbol of the delights of spiritual prosperity” (p. 190).

“Also called Mahalakshmi, She is said to bring good luck and is believed to protect Her devotees from all kinds of misery and money-related sorrows.  Representations of Lakshmi are also found in Jain monuments.

Lakshmi is called Shri or Thirumagal because She is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities, or Gunas, and also because She is the source of strength even to Vishnu. When Vishnu incarnated on earth as avatars Rama and Krishna, Lakshmi incarnated as his consort. Sita (Rama’s wife), Radha (Krishna’s lover) and Rukmini and the other wives of Krishna are considered forms of Lakshmi.

Lakshmi is worshipped daily in Hindu homes and commercial establishments as the Goddess of wealth. She also enjoys worship as the consort of Vishnu in many temples. The festivals of Diwali and Kojagiri Purnima are celebrated in Her honor.” [1]

Gyan Rajhans breaks down and explains Her iconography and their symbolism:

“The Four Arms & Four Hands

In Goddess Lakshmi’s case upper left back hand represents Dharma (duty). The lower left frontal hand represents Artha (material wealth). The right lower frontal hand represents Kama (desire) and the upper back right hand representsMoksha (salvation).

Half open Lotus (Upper left hand)

In the upper left hand Goddess Lakshmi holds a half-blossomed lotus, which has a hundred petals. In philosophical terms, the number 100 represents the state of Sadhana. Notice that this lotus is basically red. It is not in full blossom. It has streaks of whiteness. The red in it represents Rajoguna, the functional aspect, and the white represents Satoguna, the purity aspect. In other words this symbolizes progress in both mundane and spiritual walks of life side by side.

Gold Coins (Lower left hand)

Invariably this hand of the Goddess is shown dropping gold coins on the ground, where we find an owl sitting. The dropping of coins represents prosperity in all directions, or total prosperity. The gold coins do not only represent money; they also symbolize prosperity at all levels.

Abhaya Mudra (Right lower hand)

Now we come across the right lower hand, which is held in Abhaya Mudra (the pose signifying assurance of freedom from fear). The Gita says fear is caused by unfulfilled desires. The ultimate gift of the Goddess is the blessing of deliverance from fears.

Lotus in The Right Upper Hand

This hand is holding a lotus, which is fully opened; a lotus with one thousand petals (in contrast to the upper left hand holding half open lotus having a hundred petals), which is synonymous with sahasra-ra-chakra (the highest point in the evolution of the Kundalini Shakti). This lotus has a red base, with a blue tinge. The red in it represents ‘Rajas‘ and the blue represents ‘Akasha‘ (space). They signify total evolution.

The Red Sari (dress)

Lakshmi is shown wearing a red sari. It is again the colour of Rajas, which means creative activity. The golden embroidery indicates plenty. This re-affirms the idea of prosperity in general. This is in keeping with Her being the Goddess of prosperity.

Sitting on Lotus

The Goddess is shown sitting on a lotus. This posture means ‘Live in the world, but do not be possessed by the world’. The lotus keeps smiling on surface of water. Its origin is in mud, deep under water but its flowering is above the water-surface. Detachment and evolution is the message of this poetic symbol.

The Owl

The owl sitting on the left side of Lakshmi, where gold coins are falling, represents darkness.

An owl, generally speaking, is a night bird. It is very clever. It can’t see clearly in the daytime.

It represents perversion of attitudes in material prosperity. Undue attachment to wealth shows ignorance (darkness) and disturbs the economic balance in society. If man does not keep his balance when he gets a lot of material resources, he is bound to become a nuisance to himself and to others around him.

Four Fair Elephants Pouring Water (From Golden Vessels)

In common pictures of Lakshmi, we see four whitish elephants pouring water drawn from the ocean on the Goddess. This water is contained in golden vessels. Those four elephants represent the four directions—North, South, East, and West. The white hue here means purity. Wisdom has been occasionally represented in Hindu mythology by the form of an elephant.
The symbol of four elephants pouring water from golden vessels on the Goddess suggests that the chain of Purushartha (endeavour), dharma, artha, kama and moksha has to be continuously strengthened with wisdom, purity and charity.

Thus, we see that the idol or picture of Goddess Lakshmi represents prosperity and activity for achievement of liberation and attainment of self-realization.” [2]

“Lakshmi has many names. She is known to be very closely associated with the lotus, and Her many epithets are connected to the flower, such as:

  • Padma: lotus dweller
  • Kamala: lotus dweller
  • Padmapriya: One who likes lotuses
  • Padmamaladhara devi: One who wears a garland of lotuses
  • Padmamukhi: One whose face is as beautiful as a lotus
  • Padmakshi: One whose eyes are as beautiful as a lotus
  • Padmahasta: One who holds a lotus
  • Padmasundari: One who is as beautiful as a lotus

Her other names include:

  • Vishnupriya: One who is the beloved of Vishnu
  • Ulkavahini: One who rides an owl

Her other names include: Manushri, Chakrika, Kamalika, Lalima, Kalyani, Nandika, Rujula, Vaishnavi, Samruddhi, Narayani, Bhargavi, Sridevi, Chanchala, Jalaja, Madhavi, Sujata, Shreya and Aiswarya. She is also referred to as Jaganmaatha (‘Mother of the Universe’) in Shri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam. Rama and Indira are popular.” [3]

 

Lakshmi Chalisa is a forty verse prayer dedicated to Maha Lakshmi. Verses are usually dedicated to praise the goddess. The acts and deeds of Goddess Lakshmi are recalled in these verses to aid the devotee to meditate on virtuous and noble qualities.

 

 

I also really liked this video too.  This is Lakshmi Ashtottara Satha Nama Stotram – 108 names of Goddess Lakshmi Devi and is a Hindu devotional mantra.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Rajhans, Gyan. Gyansrajhans.blogspot.com, “Ma Lakshmi’ Symbols explained“.

Wikipedia, “Lakshmi“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Andromeda. Order of the White Moon, “Lakshmi“.

Barkemeijer de Wit, Rhiannon. Pyramidcompany.com, “Who Is Goddess Lakshmi?

Blue, Nazarri. Order of the White Moon, “Lakshmi“.

Brockway, Laurie Sue. Goddessgift.com, “Lakshmi, Hindu Goddess of Good Fortune“.

Das, Subhamoy. Hinduism.about.com, “Lakshmi: Goddess of Wealth & Beauty!“.

Exotic India, “Lakshmi: The Lotus Goddess“.

Gil / Govinda. Myspace.com, “Symbolism of Lakshmi devi: Very Important!

Kumar, Nitin. Exoticindiaart.com, “Hindu Goddesses – Lakshmi and Saraswati“.

Omgan.com, “Goddess Lakshmi Worship“.

Pandit, Bansi. Koausa.org, “Goddess Lakshmi“.

Sai MahaLakshmi.com, “Goddess Lakshmi Maha Lakshmi“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Sri Lakshmi“.

 

Goddess Blodeuwedd

“Blodeuwedd” by Scarlettletters

“Blodeuwedd’s themes are beauty, relationships, charity, and hope.  Her symbols are flowers and owls.  This intensely beautiful Welsh Goddess’ name means ‘flower face’, because magicians fashioned Her visage from oak, meadowsweet, and broom flowers. Folktales say that Blodeuwedd was unfaithful to Her husband. As punishment for Her crime, the same magicians who gave Her a flower face chose to be merciful and transformed Blodeuwedd into an owl rather than inflicting some other punishment. She has forever remained in this form, mourning the loss of love and reminding people of two important lessons: relationships are fragile, and beauty is indeed only skin deep.

The English sell geraniums today to collect funds for charities, specifically those that support services for the blind, who cannot see Blodeuwedd’s radiance as we do. In the language of flowers, geraniums represent solace – which is what any act of charity stimulates today. It provides hope to those in need and inspires Blodeuwedd’s beauty within your soul. Even if your pocket is empty, extend assistance to someone or something in need. Offer to help an elderly friend with chores, give some returnable bottles to a homeless person, act as big brother or sister to orphans, give water to a stray cat. Benevolence had many forms, and it makes the world a much nicer place in which to live!”

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

“Blodeuwedd in Bloom” by Selina Fenech

“Blodeuwedd (pronunciation: bluh DIE weth [“th” as in “weather”]) is the Welsh Goddess of spring created from flowers, and the wife of Lleu Llaw Gyffes, son of Arianrhod and is a central figure in the fourth branch of the Mabinogi. In the late Christianized myth, She was created by the great magicians Math and Gwydion to be Lleu’s mate, in response to a curse pronounced by his Mother that he would never have a wife from any race then on the Earth. They fashioned Blodeuwedd from nine types of blossom–oak, meadowsweet, broom, cockle, bean, nettle, chestnut, primrose, and hawthorn–and breathed life into Her. She proved treacherous to Lleu, and She and Her lover Gronw Pebyr plotted against him, killing the invulnerable Lleu by tricking him into the only pose in which he could be harmed. Blodeuwedd was punished for this by being transformed into the night-bird, the owl, though She kept Her name–in Welsh, blodeuwedd, meaning “Flower-face”, is a name for the owl.

She is the white Goddess of Death and Life in Her May-aspect, and part of a triad consisting of Arianrhod (virgin), Blodeuwedd (lover), and Cerridwen (crone).

She represents temporary beauty and the bright blooming that must come full circle through death: She is the promise of autumn visible in spring.

Alternate spellings: Blodeuedd, Blodewedd” [1]

“Many researchers and historians see Blodeuwedd as the symbol of betrayal (Amy Sophia Marashinsky in the “The Goddess Oracle”) or a representative of the May Queen, who was wedded ritually to the king who would be sacrificed to Her (Robert Graves in “The White Goddess”), but I believe that Her story can be interpreted in a different way.
Blodeuwedd was the Flower Maiden, made by men, for a man, in ‘the image of their own desires, feelings and ideas about what a Lover should be.’ Blodeuwedd married Llew and became the perfect wife and mate. When She meets Gronw, something deep within Blodeuwedd came alive. She embraces and declares Her feelings of love and makes a choice to be with Gronw. Blodeuwedd takes Her power back and in this act, becomes the Mother aspect of the Goddess– a woman who is strong in who She is and who embraces Her power; the power to nurture, to heal, and to love with abandon.

“Blodeuwedd” by Hrana Janto

After Llew is killed, She is pursued and as a punishment, turned into an owl. Owls are associated with wisdom. Blodeuwedd has become the Crone. She has learned what happens when She accepts Herself and turns against what others want Her to be. Blodeuwedd was ‘transformed into the diametrical opposite of her previous self. From a meek, gentle, smiling, benign, beautiful and perfect Mate, She became a solitary night predator, maw gaping in silent flight, screech cutting through the forest. In a positive sense, we may say that She became assertive, independent, self-realized – and wise.’ For me, the lesson of Blodeuwedd is that we must leave behind our youth and innocence and claim the Feminine Divine in order to transform and become wise.” [2]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic/Welsh

Element: Water

Sphere of Influence: Promotion and Wisdom

Preferred Colors: White, yellow

Associated Symbols: Owl, lilies

Animals Associated With: Owl

Best Day to Work with: Monday

Best Moon Phase: Full

Suitable Offerings: Lilies

Associated Planet: Moon  [3]

Festival Day: Beltane, 1st May

Associations: Nine flower blossoms of primrose, bean, broom, meadowsweet, cockle (burdock), nettle, oak, hawthorn and chestnut

Aspects: Goddess as Lover, Goddess as Sexual Love, Goddess as Virgin complete unto Herself

Names: Flower Goddess; Lady of Flowers; Lady of the Nine Buds of Plant and Tree; Lily Maid of Celtic initiation ceremonies.  Also known as the Ninefold Goddess of the Western Isles of Paradise.

Associations: Elen, Olwen of the White Tracks, Rhiannon.  [4]

 

 

A great 13 minute video discussing the Goddess Blodeuwedd

 

 

 

Sources:

Cross, Jamie.  Order of the White Moon, “Blodeuwedd“.

Goddess Within, “Goddess Invocations: Blodeuwedd“.

PaganNews.com, “Blodeuwedd“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Blodeuwedd“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Burning Snow. Order of the White Moon, “Blodeuwedd“.

DAlba, Mary, PaganPages.org, “Blodeuwedd“.

Elm. Tribe of the Sun, “Blodeuwedd“.

Kennelly, Patty. Daily Goddess, “Blodeuwedd: Betrayal“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore, Blodeuwedd.

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, excerpt on Blodeuwedd

Oak, Broom and Meadowsweet, “Legend of Blodeuwedd“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Blodeuwedd: wisdom, age (and vise versa)“.

Sisterhood of Avalon, “What We Believe: The Goddesses“.

Skye, Michelle. Goddess Afoot!: Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddesses, “Blodeuwedd“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “The Tale of Blodeuwedd“.

Venefica, Avia. Whats-Your-Sign.com, “Celtic Symbols of Blodeuwedd“.

Wikipedia, “Blodeuwedd“.

Goddess Tara

Painting in the Dunhuang Series by Zeng Hao

“Tara’s themes are Universal Unity, peace, cooperation, destiny, energy and spirituality.  Her symbol is a star.  In Hindu mythology, Tara is a star Goddess who encompasses all time and the spark of life. She extends this energy to us, fulfilling our spiritual hunger. In so doing, Tara strengthens our understanding of the Universe and its mysteries and gives us a glimpse of our destiny.

Tara’s name literally means ‘star’. In works of art She is depicted as beautiful as the silver turret points of the night sky, young and playful. From Her celestial home Tara challenges us to live life fully no matter the day or season, looking to the stars and our hearts to guide us.

I cannot help but believe that Tara was standing by whispering in scientists’ ears as they launched Pioneer10 into space on this date in 1972, bearing a message of peace to anyone who might find it. In this spirit of exploration and hope, today is definitely a time to reach for the stars! Try something new or set some bold goals for yourself.

If you live in an area where you can observe the night sky, go out tonight and absorb Tara’s beauty firsthand. As you watch, let the starlight and Tara’s energy trickle into your soul.

Make a wish on the first star that appears, and then find concrete ways to help that wish come true. If you see a falling star, it is Tara coming to join you!”

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

“Goddess Tara is probably the oldest Goddess who is still worshipped extensively in modern times. Tara originated as a Hindu Gddess, a Great Goddess — the Mother Creator, representing the eternal life force that fuels all life.

There are 21 embodiments of Tara, but the best known are the White Tara and the Green Tara.

The peaceful, compassionate White Tara gently protects and brings long life and peace. The more dynamic Goddess, Green Tara is the ‘Mother Earth’, and a fierce Goddess who overcomes obstacles, and saves us from physical and spiritual danger.

In Sanskrit, the name Tara means ‘Star’, but She was also called ‘She Who Brings Forth Life’, The Great Compassionate Mother, and The Embodiment of Wisdom, and the Great Protectress.

Adopted by Buddhism, She become the most widely revered deity in the Tibetan pantheon. In Buddhist tradition, Tara is actually much greater than a Goddess — She is a female Buddha, an enlightened one was has attained the highest wisdom, capability and compassion. . . one who can take human form and who remains in oneness with the every living thing.

In the legends of Tibet where the worship of the Goddess Tara is still practiced in the Buddhist tradition, it is told that the Goddess Tara is the feminine counterpart of the Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva who is reincarnated as the Dalai Lama.

Bodhisattvas are beings who have reached enlightenment and are ‘eligible’ for Budda-hood but have postponed their own Nirvāṇa, choosing instead to be remain in the cycle of birth and rebirth in order to serve humanity and assist every being on Earth in achieving Nirvāṇa themselves.

It is told that Tara first appeared rising from a lotus blossom in the lake that had formed from Avalokitesvara’s tears of compassion, tears that fell when he first beheld the scope of suffering in the world.

“White Tara Thanka” by Penny Slinger

Because of Her essential goodness, She was granted the right to assume Her human form as a man. But Tara elected instead to remain in Her womanly form.

The Goddess Tara vowed:

‘There are many who wish to gain enlightenment
in a man’s form,
And there are few who wish to work
for the welfare of living beings
in a female form.
Therefore may I, in a female body,
work for the welfare of all beings,
until such time as all humanity has found its fullness.’

One of the myths of the Goddess Tara demonstrates Her compassionate and loving nature and tells how She got the name “Tara of the Turned Face”.

An elderly woman who was a sculptor worked in a city where there was a large Buddhist temple called the Mahabodhi (Great Wisdom). She sculpted a statue of the Goddess Tara and built a shrine to house it. Upon completing the project she was filled with regret when she realized that she had not considered the placement of the shrine. ‘Oh no,’ she thought, ‘Tara has Her back to the Mahabodhi and that isn’t right!’

Then she heard the sculpture speak to her, saying ‘If you are unhappy, I will look toward the Mahabodhi.’ As the woman watched in amazement, the door of the shrine and the image of the Goddess Tara both turned to face the Temple.

Such is the love and compassion of the Goddess Tara.

The ancient Goddess Tara in Her many incarnations has many gifts to share with contemporary women. Tara embodies the feminine strengths of great caring and compassion, the ability to endure stressful and even terrifying moments, the acts of creation, and the source of sustenance and protection.

Demonstrating the psychological flexibility that is granted to the female spirit, the Goddess Tara, in some of Her human forms, could be quite fierce and wild.

Refugees fleeing the horrors of the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese armies recounted numerous stories of the Green Tara that protected them during their torture and guided their flight to freedom.

In other of Her forms, such as the White Tara, She embodied inner peace and spiritual acceptance. She symbolizes purity and is thought to be part of every good and virtuous woman.

Tara is an archetype of our own inner wisdom. She guides and protects us as we navigate the depths of our unconscious minds, helping us to transform consciousness, our own personal journeys of freedom.

It is the Goddess Tara who helps us to remain ‘centered’. The myths of the Goddess Tara remind us of our ‘oneness’ with all of creation and the importance of nurturing the spirit within.” [1]

 

“White Tara” by Marianna Rydvald

White Tara (Sveta Tara) is the incarnation of Bhrikuti Devi or Tritsun, princess of Nepal and wife of the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.  She is regarded as companion of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. She is closely related to the Dalai Lama who is also regarded as an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara.  She is generally portrayed as seated, dressed and crowned like a Bodhisattva with an extra eye on the forehead.  Her right hand is in Varada Mudra (Boon Granting Gesture) and sometimes in Abhaya Mudra (Protection Gesture) with a full blown lotus at one or both shoulders.  Her left hand is in Jnana Mudra (Teaching Gesture) or holding the stem of a lotus.  Her right leg is sometimes hanging down supported by a lotus, this is also known as lalita asana.  She is often depicted in a standing or half dancing pose.  White Tara has seven eyes.  An eye of knowledge is found on Her forehead while the remaining ones are the usual eyes on the face and on one on each of the palms of her hands and soles of Her feet.” [2]

“She is described in manuals as having ‘the youth of 16 years’ but is often depicted as more full-bodied than Green Tara.  White Tara is referred to as “Mother of all the Buddhas.”  This is because she embodies the motivation that is compassion.  Her whiteness “Radiant as the eternal snows in all their glory” is indicative of the selflessness — the purity — of this compassion but especially the undifferentiated Truth of the Dharma.

 

Chintamani Chakra Tara (The Jewelled Wheel) is a protector form of White Tara with a violet or rainbow aureole.” [3]

 

“Green Tara” by Zeng Hao

Green Tara (Harit Tara) also known as Arya Tara in Nepal is considered the consort of Amoghasiddhi.  In sculpture She is portrayed in the same form as White Tara but She has a water lily (utpala).  She is a Buddhashakti and is regarded as a protector.  She is often depicted as slender and graceful.  Green Tara is often represented with a mischievous or playful smile on Her face. Green Tara’s powers are focused on protection. However, She is also a powerful guide during meditation.  Her most common identifying symbols are the utpala (blue lotus) and vara and vitarka mudras. The utpala opens at sunset, blooms and releases its fragrance with the appearance of the moon, with which it is associated. Tara’s right hand is outstretched in boundless giving-the vara mudra. Her left hand is in vitarka mudra. All fingers extend upward, except the ring finger which bends to touch the tip of the thumb. Vitarka is usually translated as “reflection” and is known as the the Three Jewels Mudra, or the mudra of Giving Refuge. Green Tara is often depicted with one leg out of the lotus position, extended down and ready to rise indicating Her quick response when needed.” [4]

“Green Tara is typically pictured as a dark, green-skinned girl of 16. In Tibetan culture, and some others, green is considered to include all the other colors. Buddhaguyha says that Tara’s green color is the result of the mixing of white, yellow and blue standing for pacifying, increasing and destroying respectively.  That means that Green Tara practice incorporates that of White Tara and of all the others, including that of golden Goddess of wealth, Vasundhara (Tib. Norgyun, Norgyuma). ” [5]

 

Nila Saraswati (The Blue Tara)

Blue or Ugra Tara (Ekajata Tara, Khadga Yogini or Vajrayogini*) is a dreadful manifestation of Tara and has a ferocious form and is associated with transmutation of anger.  She was overpowered by Padmasambhava.  She typically wears a five-skull crown.  These five skulls symbolize the first five perfections attainable on the Vajrayana path which are: generosity, discipline, patience, effort and meditative Concentration.  She has three eyes, symbolizing Her ability to see past, present and future simultaneously.  In Her left hand, She holds a skull cup filled with swirling brains and entails of the enemies of the Dharma and in Her right hand is the kartri, a curved flaying knife, the instrument used to annihilate these enemies.  She wears a garland of 50 human skulls.  She is adorned with six kinds of ornaments, as is usually the case with tantric divinities symbolizing their perfection in the six paramitas.  Vajrayogini helps those with strong passion to transform it into the realization of great bliss.  Vajrayogini, Vajravarahi or Bijeshvari Devi ranks first and most important among the dakini.  She is a Vajrayana Buddhist mediation deity and as such She is considered the female Buddha.  Vajrayogini is a key figure in the advanced Tibetan Buddhist practice of Chöd where She appears in her Kalika or Vajravarahi forms.” [6]

“According to the ‘Hindu’ Yogini Tantra: ‘Tara is the same as Kali, the embodiment of supreme love. So also is Kamakhya.  In thinking of them as different from Kali, one would go to hell.'” [7]

 

 

Vajrayogini

*Vajrayogini is not so terrifying and She is not blue but red, which is the proper color of Vajrayogini. Yet She has been called Ugratara-Vajrayoginiat least since 1775 when King Pratap Malla of Kathmandu put up that inscription after he built the present temple. Perhaps the most that can be said is the She is a peculiarly Nepalese form of the terrifying Blue Tara, possibly based on an iconographic source that has been lost.” [8]

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Golden Tara” by Marianna Rydvald

Bhrikuti Tara (Yellow Tara) is affiliated to the Dhyani Buddha, Amitabha.  She is typically either in a standing or sitting pose, one faced and three eyed.  In painting She is yellow in color.  She is associated with wealth and prosperity.  One of Her hands is usually in the boon granting gesture while the other holds a Buddhist rosary also known as malas, a vase and a triple staff.  She wears a crown on which a figure of Amitabha is carved.” [9]

“She is related to Hindu great Goddess Lakshmi, and Her Sanskrit name Vasundhara indicates She is the source of the eight ‘bountiful Vasus.’  Therefore, according to the epic Mahabharat, She is the bounty that is the waters of the river Ganges — the Goddess, Ganga whose origin is the snows of the Himalayas.

Ritro Loma Chen An emanation of Tara that is golden, with three faces and six arms.  Her power helps overcome plagues and epidemics, and illnesses new to the world.  Those who suffer from incurable conditions can still benefit from Her blessings.

Orange Tara As The Liberator, She is believed to be able to free prisoners and those confined in other ways.  This ‘freeing’ extends to Her efficacy in helping with childbirth.” [10]  She is also said to purifying all poverty. [11]

The Red Tara Kurukulla

Red Tara (Kurukulla) the passionate lotus dakini, originated from the country of Uddiyana.  She is said to have emanated from the Buddha Amitabha.  Among Amitabha’s three female emanations Kurukulla is the most important one.  Kurukulla is often called Red Tara (sgrol-ma dmar-po) or Tarodbhava Kurukulla, “the Kurukulla who arises from Tara.”  According to the texts, Kurukulla is a sixteen year old maiden because sixteen is an auspicious number which signifies perfection (four times four).  She is red in color because of Her magical function of enchantment and magnetism.

She has a single face because She embodies non-dual wisdom beyond conventional distinctions of good and evil.  She is naked because She is unconditioned by discursive thoughts.  She has four arms because of the four immeasurable states of mind, namely, love, compassion, joy, and equanimity.  She holds an arrow stretched on a bow entwined with flowers and leaves because she can give rise to thoughts of desire in the minds of others.  In Her other two hands She holds the hook that attracts and summons them into Her presence and the noose by which She binds them to Her will.  Both of these implements enable Her to catch those of us who have strayed from the path of the Dharma.

Kurukulla wears a crown of five skulls signifying the five perfections, whereas She herself embodies the sixth perfection, that of wisdom.  She wears a necklace of fifty freshly severed human heads dripping blood because She vanquishes the fifty negative emotions.  She is dancing because She is active and energetic, Her compassionate activity manifesting in both Samsara and Nirvana.  She dances, treading upon a male human corpse because She enchants and subjugates the demon of ego and desire also known as Kamadeva.  She stands within a flaming aura because Her nature is hot and enflamed with passion and upon a lotus blossom because She is a pure vision of enlightened awareness.  In the practitioner’s meditation, such is the recollection of the purity (dag dran) of the vision of the Goddess.  Usually She is one faced but can have 2, 4, 6 or 8 arms.  In the 6 armed form She has six Dhyani Buddhas engraved on Her crown; in the 2 armed form She is known as Sukla Kurkulla; in the 4 armed form she is known as Oddiyana Kurkulla and by several other names.  Her mantra is ‘Om Kukulle Hum Hrih Svaha’.” [12]

“The Drikung Kagyu Four-Armed Red Arya Tara is less common. Her activity is described as ‘overpowering’ in the sense of overcoming obstacles.” [13]

“Black Tara” by Paul Heussenstamm

Black Tara is a wrathful manifestation, identical in form and, no doubt, source, to Hindu Kali and is associated with power. Like Kali, She has a headdress of grinning skulls, like Kali, she is black, like Kali She has three eyes. Like many Tibetan deities in the wrathful aspect, She has the fangs of a tiger, symbolizing ferocity, a ferocious appetite to devour the demons of the mind. Her aura or halo is fiery, energetic, full of smoke symbolizing the transformation of fire.” [14]  “The Black Tara has been compared to the perfect guardian of the void, the Divine Mother of compassion and a firm Goddess to ward off any forms of evil.” [15]

 

“There are several ‘Black’ Taras invoked by Buddhists:

The Terrifier (Jigjema, Skt. Bhairava): brownish-black with tinges of red. She is “Victorious Over the Three Worlds.” She subdues evil spirits and cures any illness caused by them.

The Invincible (Shen.gyi.mi.tub.ma) “Crushes the Forces of Others” is black.  She causes your acts, intentions and aspirations to be invincible.

The Conqueror of Opponents (Shen.le Nam.par Gyel.ma) is red/black.  “Pulverizer of the Maras,” She nullifies the influences of any who oppose one’s spiritual aspirations.” [16]

 

“Some have a vision of you (Tara) as red as the sun with rays more brilliant and red than lac and vermilion.  Others see you blue like the sapphire.  Some again see you whiter than the milk churned out of the milky ocean.  Still others see you golden.  Your vishva-rupa is like a crystal which changes its color with the change of the things around it.” ~ Arya Tara Shragdhara stotra [Nitin Kumar’s newsletter, Nov. 2000)

 

 

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Star, third eye (in the middle of the forehead), seven eyes (including eyes in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet), full moon, lakes, rainbows, the numbers 3, 7, and 11.

Animals: Owl, raven, sow and mare.

Plants: Lotus blossom, either open or closed and any orange flowers.

Perfumes/Scents: Incense, rose and musk, jonquils

Gems and Metals: Diamonds, rose quartz, pink tourmaline, emerald, (any pink or green stones)

Colors: All colors, but especially white and green. [17]

 

 

 

* On a personal note, Green Tara holds a very special place in my heart.  She helped me through some very tough times a few years ago.  These two songs are my absolute favorite renditions of the Green Tara Mantra and fill me with peace, love and joy every time I listen to them.  Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Amelia. Friendburst.com, “Tara: Goddess of Peace and Protection“.

Dharma Sculture, “Tara, the Mother of All Buddhas“.

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Tara“.

Khandro Net, “Tara

Locke, John Ph.D. Digital Library & Museum of Buddhist Studies, “Vajrayogini Temple of Samkhu

Threads of Spiderwoman, “Black Tara“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Devika. Order of the White Moon, “Tara, Goddess of Compassion“.

Exotic India Art,Tara and the Cult of the Female in Buddhism“.

Kagyu Samye Dzong Finland, “Green Tara: The Praise of 21 Taras

Religion Facts,Tara: Buddhist Goddess in Green and White“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Tara

Stolan, Mihai. Liveonlineyoga.com, “Yoga of the Ten Great Cosmic Powers“.

Vortex Distribution, “21Taras.HTM

Wikipedia, “Tara (Buddhism)“.



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