Tara, The Goddess, and Personal Renewal

April 4, 2010

It is April 4th, 2011. The majority of the U.S. and indeed a great many elsewhere in the world are celebrating this day as Easter, the day Christ arose from death.  I have just finished reading “Longing for the Dark,” by China Galland, for the second time.  It is Galland’s chronicle of a ten year journey searching for Tara and the Black Madonna, and finding the illuminated truth: She of 10,000 names who is nameless is everywhere.   

I believe The Goddess took the form of Mary, the mother of Jesus as a means of surviving in human consciousness during the long reign of patriarchy—a secret right in our faces for those who have eyes to see and a searching heart which looks for Her.

 Galland says, “No matter where I look, Mary has an earlier, non-Christian source giving her depth and richness beyond any of the jeweled adornments she wears in the Church. It is deeply satisfying to find all these streams in her, like the sweetness of water after great thirst.” (p. 338)

“The Sacred is a part of every day life—not something separate from it.” (p. 340)

For those who are not familiar with the Bodhisattva Tara—she is considered by some as the female form of Buddha, the Mother of Liberation. She has at least 21 distinct aspects—each a different color, representing the energies of a particular aspect. Green Tara is one most comforting to me. In this aspect She is the Buddha of enlightened activity. She assumes whatever form a person needs in order to help—whatever form best suits the needs o f the person seeking her help.

Galland goes on to say, in relation to TrÖma, Tara’s black aspect:

“Black may also be understood to represent emptiness, the complete overcoming of ignorance: the false perception of reality, the illusion of dualisms, of anything existing separately.

Emptiness, the true nature of Tara, the womb of enlightenment, can be understood symbolically as darkness or the color black. Emptiness is not nothing…emptiness refers to the radical insight of the Buddha twenty five hundred years ago…there is no individually existing, independently arising, separate self. All that is, is in constant flux, rising and falling in relationship to and with something else.

This is darkness to the thinking mind, to the ego that grasps and holds that there is such a thing as “mine.”  This (Emptiness) goes beyond thinking mind, beyond the world of appearances, into the vast, direct experience of being. This is not ordinary reality. This is the black of starless midnight, imminence that comes before the pre-dawn of enlightenment, the “clear light”, a state of translucence or transparency that is beyond dark and light. This is a radiant black.   

This emptiness can be said to be dark or black to us. This is the womb of enlightenment.  This is wisdom. This is the Mother of All the Buddhas, this is Tara.” (pp. 341-342)

According to scholar Marija Gimbutas, “The Black Madonna is a goddess of Old Europe, the Earth Mother. Black meant fertility, and white meant death in this pre-Indoeuropean culture.” (p. 337)  

I am relishing this spring and the renewal of long dormant things in me. My nine and a half years in Pullman, Washington have been my personal epic wandering in the desert.  Before I moved here, I was living in a small apartment in Spokane, WA.  Floundering through the most devastating personal year o my adult life, as I felt betrayed by both of my children, the man I had fallen in love with, and my elder in the Craft, with whom I had been apprenticed to for nine years. I felt utterly abandoned and drowning in emotional pain.  I prayed to the Goddess to take away my ability to feel.  She warned me not to ask for this, but I did so anyway.  I felt it would be better not to feel ever again, rather than hurt myself or someone else while trapped in a pit of anger and depression.  

As a survivor of childhood abuse, my immediate response to feeling attacked or abandoned, rejected or belittled, is to withdraw as far away from everything and everyone as I can as means of protection.  IN choosing this path nearly ten years ago, I withdrew from the Goddess and cut myself off from eternal compassion and love, and a daily ritual of practice with Her.

The wheel of the year and the Wheel of Life turns once more and we either learn our lessons or we are doomed to repeat them.  She never left me, even when I walked away from Her.  Finally, my heart is healed enough to ask forgiveness and seek reunion.  

The Christian holiday of Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full after the Vernal equinox. So toady I will give thanks and praise to The Goddess in Her aspect as Eostara-the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the Dawn; also Ostara the Germanic maiden goddess of fertility and renewal.

May my renewed connection to the Goddess in all Her forms grow into a practice of such depth it is never again broken, with profound wisdom concerning my place in this life.  May this wisdom inform my thoughts, feelings, and actions towards myself and others. May I ALWAYS be mindful of this renewal and the depth of my connection of Her living Self within me.  

Blessed Be.