Pisces Goddesses — The Grail

“An awakened heart is full of compassion.”

Goddesses for Every Day

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Pisces is a Mutable Water sign and can be seen as the universal solvent, which both dissolves the boundaries of separation created by all the preceding signs, and creates the fluid environment in which the seeds of a new cycle can germinate. In Pisces the sorrows and joys of others are keenly felt and this is the sign where compassion is born. More than any other sign Pisces must lose a sense of the personal self in service to something higher. Pisces contains the knowledge of the underlying unity of all things, which is the reality behind the world of manifested forms.

The Goddess Sign for Pisces is the Grail, the chalice that contains the waters of collective consciousness. The Grail is a symbol of the quest toward immortality and conscious union with the Divine.  Pisces is traditionally symbolized by two fish swimming in opposite directions in the ocean of existence, but tethered at the tails. Pisces can represent illusion, not seeing clearly or refusing to see, or divine inspiration. This stage of the journey requires faith.  Pisces endows knowledge of the alchemical “Below,” the deep reservoir of collective existence, which engenders empathy. Pisces goddesses include mermaids, fish deities and mother-creators from the sea, as well as those who embody the principles of sacrifice and compassion.

Kwan Yin, who is called Mother of Mercy, is a Chinese bodhisattva and the embodiment of the principle of compassion.  She is usually depicted in a flowing white robe, holding an urn containing a substance called the “water of life” in one hand and a weeping willow branch in the other. In Japan she is called Kannon; in Bali, Kannin; in Korea, Gwan-eum; and in Thailand, Kuan-eim. One legend says Kwan Yin has a thousand arms with which to reach out and respond to the countless cries of humanity.

Ganga, whose name means “swift goer,” is the Hindu goddess whose body is the holy Ganges River in India. The origin of her waters is believed to be in heaven, where she circles the celestial Mount Meru three times.  In iconography she is depicted with a full vessel, which symbolizes her life-giving potential as well as her cleansing waters.  Britomartis is a goddess from ancient Crete who was addressed as “sweet maid,” and is thought to represent the maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess—Maiden, Mother and Crone.  Britomartis was also called Lady of Nets as she bestowed the gift of fishing nets to her people.

Oba is a great goddess of the Yoruba people of western Africa, who were savaged during the period of slave trading. The waters of the river that is named Oba represent her. Some stories say she has a difficult relationship with her sister Oshun, who lives in another river. As proof, the waters are turbulent and dangerous where the two rivers meet.  Ma Tsu is a Taoist goddess of the sea from ancient China.  Her name means “mother ancestor.” She is still revered by more than a hundred million people in the coastal areas of southeastern China where her devotees come from seafaring lineages.  Sedna is a goddess of the Inuit people of the frigid Artic north who were once called Eskimo.  Her myth is a story of a beautiful girl who was tricked by a potential mate and then betrayed by her father when she called for help. Her father cast her out of his boat to save himself, even cutting off her fingers as she clung to the side. Her appendages became seals, walruses and whales.  Sedna is now Queen of the Sea and is the guardian of all the food the Inuit hunt.

Maya is a Hindu and Buddhist goddess who is the universal creator of all forms in existence, and she is the divine power that allows the evolution of the world.  She is worshipped as Mother of Creation and Weaver of the Web of Life. She represents the continual exchange of matter and energy, and seems to be the embodiment of Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2.  Amphritite is a Greek goddess who ruled the sea long before Poseidon/Neptune. She is perhaps better understood as the ocean itself.  In art she is depicted in a chariot drawn by hippocampi, fishtailed horses.

Hina-Ika is a Hawaiian goddess known as Lady of the Fish.  She is regarded as the mother-creator of the island of Molokai.  In Polynesia she is known as Ina, and in New Zealand she is Hine-tu-a-manga, meaning “goddess of waters.” She is the guardian of the sea and all its creatures. The whales are her siblings and she retaliates when they are killed.  Ningyo is a Japanese mermaid goddess who is depicted with long black hair and the tail of a fish. Legend says that when Ningyo cries, her tears become precious pearls.

Lady Of The Lake, who is often called Viviane, is a Celtic goddess who appears in several guises.  She appeared in the Arthurian legend, and in some versions she was the foster mother of Lancelot.  She was also the guardian of the Hallows of Kingship, sacred objects related to the principle of sovereignty. Modjadji, which means “ruler of the day,” is a rain goddess of South Africa and an earthly manifestation of the goddess Mwari. She is called “transformer of clouds.” Modjadji is a rain queen who is thought to posses the secret of creating rain by interacting with cloud spirits.

As the wheel of the years turns toward light in the northern hemisphere, and winter snows become spring rains, we can call upon these water goddesses. Their healing waters can help prepare the fertile fields of our imagination to receive new seeds. Pisces goddesses can help us connect with these strong currents to bring rivers of healing and potential fertility into our lives.

 

Based on and excerpts from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar.   Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA

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Shambhala Prophecy – Return of the Spiritual Warriors

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Kalki, the last incarnation of Vishnu —  Image credit — Jose-Patricio Aguirre (Chile)

The Shambhala Prophecy

as told by Joanna Macy

“I often tell this story in workshops, for it describes the work we aim to do, and the training we engage in. It is about the coming of the Kingdom of Shambhala, and it is about you, and me.”      Joanna Macy

(Joanna Rogers Macy, is an environmental activist, author, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. She is the author of eight books). I share this piece of her writing with the greatest of respect. It a Buddhist prophecy that calls us to “war.”

“Coming to us across twelve centuries, the Shambhala prophecy comes from ancient Tibetan Buddhism. The prophecy foretells of a time when all life on Earth is in danger. Great barbarian powers have arisen. Although these powers spend much of their wealth in preparations to annihilate each other, they have much in common: weapons of unfathomable destructive power, and technologies that lay waste our world. In this era, when the future of sentient life hangs by the frailest of threads, the kingdom of Shambhala emerges.

You cannot go there, for it is not a place; it is not a geopolitical entity. It exists in the hearts and minds of the Shambhala warriors. That is the term the prophecy used – “warriors.” You cannot recognize the Shambhala warrior when you see him or her, for they wear no uniforms or insignia, and they carry no specific banners. They have no barricades on which to climb or threaten the enemy, or behind which they can hide to rest or regroup. They do not even have any home turf. Always they must move on the terrain of the barbarians themselves.

Now the time comes when great courage – moral and physical courage – is required of the Shambhala warriors, for they must go into the very heart of the barbarian power, into the pits and pockets and citadels where the weapons are kept, to dismantle them. To dismantle weapons, in every sense of the word, they must go into the corridors of power where decisions are made.

The Shambhala warriors have the courage to do this because they know that these weapons are “manomaya.” They are mind made. Made by the human mind, they can be unmade by the human mind. The Shambhala warriors know that the dangers threatening life on Earth are not visited on us by any extraterrestrial power, satanic deities, or pre-ordained evil fate. They arise from our own decisions, our own lifestyles, and our own relationships.

So in this time, the Shambhala warriors go into training in the use of two weapons. The weapons are compassion and insight. Both are necessary, the prophecy foretells. The Shambhalla warriors must have compassion because it gives the juice, the power, the passion to move. It means not to be afraid of the pain of the world. Then you can open to it, step forward, act.

But that weapon by itself is not enough. It can burn you out, so you need the other – you need insight into the radical interdependence of all phenomena. With that wisdom you know that it is not a battle between “good guys” and “bad guys,” because the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart. With insight into our profound inter-relatedness, you know that actions undertaken with pure intent have repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what you can measure or discern. By itself, that insight may appear too cool, conceptual, to sustain you and keep you moving, so you need the heat of compassion.

Together these two can sustain us as agents of wholesome change. They are gifts for us to claim now in the healing of our world. Many in the Tibetan lineage believe that this is the time of this ancient prophecy. If so, perhaps we are among the Shambhala warriors.”

These are powerful words and a call to action, reaching across time. We must find the strength and courage to arise and be the best we can be at this time of challenge. I stand with you, brave warriors of the heart. May we have courage. 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering Harriet

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“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”    Anatole France

It’s taken a few months to feel ready to write this post about my kitty Harriet. On my January birthday in 2004 I went to the Humane Society thrift store to make a donation that resulted from a post-holiday clothes evaluation. I had a single-minded focus and adopting a cat was the last thing on my mind, but close to the entrance was a large wire cage, and inside was a charming grey-brown tabby cat. It hadn’t been too long since I’d lost my beloved dog Baron, and I had resolved not to have any more pets. I had convinced myself that I just couldn’t go through the loss and grief again, but it seems that Harriet and destiny had other plans.

She stood up inside the cage, came to the front, and spoke to me very clearly, “Take me home. I have chosen you.” I was stunned and promptly went into fierce denial. I handled my donation and went straight home. But of course, I couldn’t get her out of my mind, so I went back the next day to see if she was still there. Destiny has a mind of its own in such matters, and Harriett became my beloved animal companion until April of 2018.

Harriet was named by the Humane Society when she had been rescued, having been abandoned. I looked up the meaning of the name, which is “ruler of the house,” and laughed; what a perfect name for a cat. Harriet’s sweet nature and companionship helped me through some very difficult times that included a divorce, a move, and essentially starting my life over in 2007. The picture of her in front of the Christmas tree celebrated our first holiday season alone after a painful separation and a wrenching loss of my home. Her presence gave me strength, and caring for her helped me focus on moving forward. It’s impossible to adequately express the gifts and blessings our animal friends bring to our lives. We love them deeply, and the loss is hard to bear when their short lives end.

Although her last months saw a continual decline, she jumped up on the couch on our last night together, and we snuggled. I didn’t know it would be our last night, but I told her she was free to go, and tried to express what she had meant to me. The next day she left her body on her own terms when I ran out for a short errand. She spared us both the trauma of “putting her down,” and when I came home and found her she looked peaceful. I am so grateful for that miracle. Her ashes now rest in my flower garden, and I planted a purple Clematis in her honor.

This brief memorial honors not only Harriett but all of the wonderful animals who have blessed my life, the pets and wild creatures alike. I will be forever grateful for the joy they gave so unselfishly and the richness they added–they teach us so much about unconditional love and letting go. I’m not ready for a new animal companion, but if it’s meant I guess another precious creature will find and choose me.

 

 

Perspective – Inner and Outer Change

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 “I see myself by the light of my becoming.”      
                       Egyptian Book of Coming Forth into Day

I’m just back from my twelfth trip to Egypt since 1995. As always the experience was profound and heart opening. I took this picture of the Full Moon as our group was about to enter the Great Pyramid for two hours of private time.

Once this monumental structure was covered with white Tura limestone casing stones and crowned with a golden capstone. Even in historical times we are told it shone like a brilliant beacon in the distance. Today the exterior of the Great Pyramid is a skeleton of its former grandeur, but this last remaining wonder of the ancient world still vibrates with power and has the capacity to transform.

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I have been called back to Egypt many times, seeking answers to a lifelong pull this ancient land has tugged on my heart. The visions and memories that haunt me from former lives are in stark contrast to the Egypt of today. I have visions of glorious temples where ritual and ceremony connected with the deepest parts of my soul. I sense that my life had meaning and purpose then and that I have been searching for that kind of fulfillment ever since.

This time my transforming experience was completely unexpected. I’ve seen changes in twenty-three years–more women are working and technology has changed lives. On my early trips all the flight attendants on Egypt Air were men; likewise those who cleaned the rooms in hotels and acted as servers in restaurants were men. That has changed dramatically. This time the person who cleaned our room at the Mena House was a beautiful young Egyptian woman.

It happened that one afternoon I returned to the room and discovered her as she was working. I was transfixed as I realized she had just finished and was looking around the room inspecting her work. Her sense of pride was palpable. She turned, saw me, and her face blossomed with a radiant smile. We connected in that moment in a silent accord as she had the chance to silently share what she had done. I nearly wept. Her satisfaction at a job well done hit me like a bolt of lightening. I felt a kinship with this woman that she had found the freedom to work and a measure of independence. Our connection was silent, but it was a bond between women that is timeless–our struggle to learn who we are and what we are capable of. I won’t forget her or the brilliance of her smile and what that brief link meant to both of us.

I’ll close with a poem written by Bob Ransome, a member of our group, as it captures the spirit of our time in the pyramid.

STARING AT STONE
Staring at Stone
          Shaped by unknown hands
brings to mind possibilities
          Of what began
in ages past
           Creating a story
of lost civilizations
            Bathed in the glory
of a universe bigger
            than the mind can conceive
are we more than dust
            Created to believe
that mysteries exist
             So answers can be found?
above, below and within
              Eternal, sacred ground

 

Timeless blessings,

Julie

http://www.JulieLoar.com

 

Trusting

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   “Trust in dreams, for in them is the hidden gate to eternity.”  

Khalil Gibran

An intrinsic wisdom lives inside a seed. The small miracle trusts that if planted in rich soil, watered by rain, and warmed by sunlight, the seed will break out of its shell, sprout, and grow according to its template of hidden potential. Perhaps that potential will yield a fragrant lily or a mighty oak. The seed doesn’t doubt its future, and it unfolds and grows according to an inherent destiny.

Perhaps it is only humans who fear what is contained within our potential. For many reasons we lack the will or heart to follow the path of our own becoming. We hold back, doubting our gifts and our deep longings. Maybe we define success in the wrong way, believing we need fame and fortune, rather than joy and fulfillment, as indicators that we’ve “made it.”

I have come to believe the key to the dilemma lies in our inability to perceive the nature of our unique and individual templates. Because we don’t really know ourselves, we don’t know the nature of our “seed self.”  Therefore, we can’t comprehend the vision of our expanded expression, and we remain blind to what is possible. Or, we try very hard to become a pine tree when we are meant to be a lilac.

A teacher of mine once shared a humorous anecdote to illustrate our reluctance. A caterpillar once gazed up at a butterfly and proclaimed, “You’ll never get me up in one of those things.”  And so, rejecting the metamorphosis of the cocoon, and the exquisite creature he could become, the caterpillar continued to crawl on the ground. Sadly, the caterpillar never tasted flight or grew glorious wings. That is a loss for all of us.

What does it take to reach out of our own element and sense of safety and trust? What can be gained by risking? Sometimes, after a risk, life is never the same. Maybe we experience a loss as a result, but we are deeper, wiser, and hopefully more compassionate. Maybe the risk brings great joy. Either way we learn what we’re made of by taking the leap and seeing where we land. It’s often been said to watch where we light up, know what excites us, and when we lose a sense of time when doing something we love. This knowledge is precious.

. . . take a chance today–it could change your life . . .

Julie

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Radiance

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“Even though my life may seem to lie in ruins at times, I know that I can rise from the ashes like the phoenix, as the scales of Karma balance all.”  

(from Goddesses for Every Day–August 1)

 

 

I begin each day reading the goddess for the day from my book , opening to how the goddess might speak to me. These archetypes of feminine power continue to inspire me as they did throughout the process of writing the book nearly a decade ago. Yesterday’s goddess (August 1) is a Hindu deity named Surya Bai–she is called “Daughter of the Sun.” She is said to ride across the sky in a chariot pulled by two Asvins, “wonder workers,” who are twin gods of day. Together Surya Bai and the Asvins represent morning, noon, and night.

Her story is similar to many that tell a tale of star-crossed lovers and their ultimate redemption. She was married to the king of the land, but she was pursued by a jealous sorceress, who wished to destroy her light and her love. To escape, Surya Bai turned herself into a shining golden lotus. The king loved the lotus, which further angered the sorceress. She burned the lotus to the ground, but the power of love triumphed, and a beautiful mango tree rose from the ashes. Surya Bai emerged from a ripe mango, and the lovers were reunited. It’s a lovely myth that assures us that light is a radiant power, love is always victorious, and darkness is the absence of light. In Hindu symbology the lotus is a symbol of divine wisdom.

It seems inevitable on the Earth plane that our lives have times when all seems in ruins and our hopes and dreams have been shattered. We are tempted to see only loss, feel only pain, and there is danger of sinking into darkness and despair.  At those times we must remember that we too possess the radiance of light that dwells in the fire of the sacred heart. Courage and will are required to rise from the ashes and fan the flickering flame into a blaze, reclaiming the reality that lies hidden in the smoldering ashes of illusion. Proving that truth is universal, in the Bible (1 John 4:18)  the Master Jesus says, “There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears has not been transformed by love.”

We live in perilous times, and our precious light is desperately needed. In the face of darkness that can seem overwhelming, and fear that feels crippling, the only answer is to shine, tilting the scales of Karma toward light and love.

Shine on . . .

 

Serenity

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“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  

Attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi

 

 

For several weeks I’ve been struggling mightily with a now-diagnosed sinus infection. I thought the problem arose from a dental issue, and I was waiting for an appointment with a specialist. However, my new physician (once I finally realized I needed a different kind of help) described the ongoing infection as “smoldering,” and I thought that was apt. The pain has been intense, bordering on intolerable, and I’m now taking antibiotics to fight the germs. Was it misplaced stoicism that caused me to suffer or preoccupation with turmoil in my life?

The iPhone picture above was taken yesterday afternoon from my deck–a freeze frame moment in time as I rested and recovered. The day was glorious; it’s one of the blessings of summer in my mountain town. It was a priceless expression of serenity, a blissful snapshot as the small sailboat glided across Lake Pagosa. The picture is like a post card for summer in the mountains, and I was transported to a state of grace and gratitude.

As I gazed at the image, the metaphor was not lost on me and reminded me of another famous quote from a Breton fisherman, “O God, thy ocean is so great and my boat is so small.” I wondered what the sailor on that small craft was thinking and feeling as he was drawn around the lake by sweet breezes. Was he caught up in the beauty of the moment? Could he imagine the potential canvas his journey created that was worthy of a Da Vinci? Or had he taken to the lake to escape some great sorrow in his life?

Life is at all times a blend of grief and joy, beauty and pain. Nothing lasts and everything is in a constant state of change, a shifting kaleidoscope of experiences. We can’t control what happens to us most of the time, but we have a choice how we respond. We can rage, or we can accept. We can deny, or we can change. I’ve always felt the Prayer of Saint Francis, as it’s usually called, is the perfect prayer. We are challenged to meet all of life with what Buddhists call equanimity. Serenity comes from the right blend of acceptance, courage, and wisdom. I aspire to these qualities and to the peace that can result. Sometimes it comes in a moment of bliss when we are offered a gift of such rare beauty and significance.

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