Skip to main content

Durga pierces the heart

Today I'm going to quote mostly from a book that I have just begun reading - but has already had an enormous impact on me. It's The Bond Between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion by China Galland. Here's a bit from the synopsis.

Around the world, women are working for healing, and the lives of these women reveal an unusual source of strength: the fierceness of compassion, symbolized in ancient icons, images, and archetypes of the divine feminine. Known to Buddhists in Nepal and Tibet as Tara, to Hindus in India as the goddess Durga, to Catholics in Europe and Latin America as the Black Madonna, and as Jemanja in the Afro-Brazilian tradition of Candomble, this fierce divine feminine arises when the world is on the brink of destruction, and saves us, the ancient stories say.


Galland begins this journey by telling the tale of the Hindu Goddess Durga.



The world stood posed on the brink of destruction once before.

Rivers dried up, plants refused to grow. People starved. There was war everywhere. Slaughter prevailed. Dancing stopped, even singing was forgotten. The demons, known as the asuras, were loose in the world, raging unchecked across heaven and earth, drunk with destruction. No one could stop them, not even the gods, who had been defeated, one by one.

Humiliated, the gods withdrew to the heights of the Himalayas and took counsel amongst themselves, to no avail. Their dilemma was insoluble. They had lost all power against these demons and could only leave the world to its inevitable destruction. Then it was remembered that this time had been foretold - a demon would come to destroy the world, and only a woman could defeat this demon - only a woman could save the world.


Durga is called forth and takes on many battles with the demons - defeating all. Until the final battle that Galland describes this way.

Time stopped as the Goddess and the Demon embraced in their fight, turning and pitching, rolling across the sky. The cosmos groaned with the enormity of their encounter. At the last moment, Durga pierced Sumbha's heart with her dagger and he fell tumbling out of the heavens. The world was safe at last.


Galland draws the following conclusions from this ancient story.

This is what gives this ancient story such a contemporary ring. It tells us that the demons can be defeated, that the world can be saved - but not by traditional solutions, and not until defeat has been acknowledged.

...

The solutions would come from unexpected quarters, from a place they had not thought to look - from the Goddess, from the power of the feminine. The stone that had been cast out had to become the foundation.

...

And in continuing this commentary, it is important to note that it is the final scene of the battle that is the most telling. Durga had killed the Demon Mahisasura many times in the earlier battles in this story, and though she cut off his head, he would come back to life in another form. He was not decisively defeated until his heart was pierced. This is the crucial element in what the story tells us. These human failings, these "demons" who threaten us can be defeated only when we go beyond reason, when we pierce the heart.


Galland writes about her own "heart piercing" in the opening prologue.

I want to begin with what is beautiful. I want this because what follows is hard for me to tell you. It is a small part of a much larger story, but it is the thread that drew me through the eye of the needle.

The waters were rising, flooding this constricted place inside myself. I had to swim for my life to get to where the way opened, to make my way to a broader shore. To safety. I could no longer stay in the narrows, handless, voiceless. But this is not what I want to write.

I want to write about what is beautiful, about how wisdom - the principle of enlightenment - is within each one of us, about how it is unavoidable.

I want to write about a passionately happy, blissful source of wisdom, a dynamic, fierce female divinity who awaits our discovery - awaits the sun and water of our attention - to transform our life.


Is this, in fact, the power that can defeat the demons and save the world? If so, she's there waiting...

Know the Mystery
that if that which thou seekest
thou findest not within thee,
thou will never find it without thee...

For behold

I Have Been With Thee From The Beginning

And I await thee now.
Blessed Be.

Traditional Wiccan prayer

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Soulless White House

A group called Dog Lovers for Joe put out one of my favorite ads of this election season.New favorite ad pic.twitter.com/qfNQTqQNIe— Santiago Mayer (@santiagomayer_) October 1, 2020But it isn't just dogs that have been missing from the White House for the last four years. Let's take a walk down memory lane and remember what used to happen there.










The Obama White House wasn't just a place where the president lived and conducted business. I remember noticing that things were going to be different in February 2009 when Michelle Obama hosted an event for middle school children to celebrate Black History Month, which featured a performance by Sweet Honey in the Rock. Here's what she said at the time:
As President and First Lady, Barack and I are just the caretakers of this house.  We're just borrowing it for a little bit.  But while we live here, we're your neighbors, okay?  And we want you to feel welcome here at the White House, which really is, as the Admiral said, …

What Obama Learned as a Community Organizer

I recently ran across this article that Barack Obama wrote back in 1988 while he was still a community organizer. The closing paragraph speaks not only to what he learned during those years, but it is a great example of why so many people talk about his amazing talent as a writer. Just imagine what it would be like if we had a President who wrote about urban Americans like this :-)
In return, organizing teaches as nothing else does the beauty and strength of everyday people. Through the songs of the church and the talk on the stoops, through the hundreds of individual stories of coming up from the South and finding any job that would pay, of raising families on threadbare budgets, of losing some children to drugs and watching others earn degrees and land jobs their parents could never aspire to — it is through these stories and songs of dashed hopes and powers of endurance, of ugliness and strife, subtlety and laughter, that organizers can shape a sense of community not only for othe…

A Tale of Two Ground Games

I recently ran across two stories about what things look like on the ground in Southwestern Ohio - a state where the RCP polling average gives Hillary Clinton a 2.6 lead over Donald Trump.

The first comes from a blogger at Daily Kos with the screen name mt41w. He attended the opening of a field office in "deeply red" Mason.
The fact that Hillary’s ground game is focused, extremely competent, hard-working and ready to GOTV was plain with the opening of the Mason, Ohio office on Wednesday evening August 10th. This was one of seven offices “opening for business” Wednesday in Ohio...

Anyhow, the house was literally standing-room-only. In the room where I stood and sweated — the A/C was overwhelmed — I counted 35 people, including the Channel 12 CBS Local News crew and cameraman. And I was in the smaller of six rooms in this converted house on Mason’s Main Street. I could see more people outside on the porch and sidewalk unwilling or unable to brave the crowded rooms, so I’d take…