THE BLACK MADONNA: Our Lady of the Hermits: For millennia the body, the earth, all forms of matter have been devalued and misunderstood. The dark has been so vilified, yet all life emerges from the pitch-black womb. The darkness is potential; it’s the crucial and elemental stage we must all go through to create new or more life. The Black Madonna is the emblem of deep wisdom, the profound consciousness that is inherent in all things. All living and created things are energy. The body has wisdom. The earth has wisdom. And the pain we experience as humans contains deep wisdom.
When we are in the fires of suffering, it can be difficult to trust that gold is being forged. It can be hard to trust when we are in terrific pain that there is a process at work that will make us more authentic, more alive, and infinitely freer. It can be almost impossible to accept or notice the presence of the divine when we are at our most human.
The Black Madonna is the cauldron that holds us steadfastly as we endure the alchemy of integrating more soul into our existence. She is the promise that what doesn’t survive the fires of suffering was never meant for us. And she is the presence that is there with us even when we might feel the most alone, reminding us that there is no darkness we can enter without being met by love.
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GREEN TARA: The Buddha of Enlightened Action: Green Tara is that sacred nudge to get moving, to do what it is that your soul compels you to do. Don’t sit with an idea or a project any longer; take action on it. Don’t think about a friend who keeps coming into your heart; go bring her dark chocolate or send her a love letter. Don’t wait to express your love to someone you’ve needed to, go now – tell the truth. Let your feet be moved by what has been caged within you. Let your wisdom shift into inspired action.
Tara is the message that the time for action is now. There’s nothing to wait for, and no person you need to become before doing what you’ve come here to do. Start small. Let the soul lead, not the ego. It’s not the grandeur of the gesture or effort, it’s the amount of love something is done with that ever matters.
There are so many injustices in the world, so much suffering, that it’s easy to get stuck in the molasses of helplessness. The brilliant Burmese diplomat Aung San Suu Kyi says, “If you’re feeling helpless, help someone.” Green Tara is about aligning what move us to tears with compassionate action. She’s the push to do something, anything that might alleviate the suffering of others. In the process of taking action with love and from love, we also liberate ourselves.
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PARVATI: The Goddess of Devotion: What is soft, gentle, and nurturing like water can be far more powerful than what is inflexible and fierce. The energy of this mountain goddess is about the strength we can give and receive when we devote ourselves to the healthy bonds of love. Parvati is about the divine feminine potency of being a calm, benevolent presence, especially when some-thing seems to threaten a deeply meaningful relationship.
Transformation with this goddess calls for a softening. When a situation is hard, even painful, Parvati is suggesting that you allow your fist to unfold. Open and release what is clenched in fear or stress. Remember that your love is a mountain that cannot be moved. And that this bond between you is holy; no human hands or words can ever break it. The answer of what’s next or highest for you can be found through the subtler act of simply abiding. Not reacting, not running, not hiding: a deep reservoir of power can surge up from within us when we choose to remain present. Letting devotion inhabit us in moments when our ego has typically fled infuses us with the capacity to transform all of our relationships.
Devotion is not attachment. It’s letting go of the illusion that you and this lover, this friend, child or family member, this soul within you can ever really be separate from you. Devotion brings us home to the point and purpose of every relationship: love. A love that can never leave, and that like a mountain can never move. A love that evolves the soul.