Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Compassion Has a Thousand Arms

One of my favorite names for the Divine is Kuan Yin, 'She who hears the cries of the world.' A number of Asian nations just had festivals in her honor.  They all have their own take on her name, their own stories, their own religion through which they know her. So many view her as their own special protector. They may all be right.

She is known for her compassion. Often depicted as gentle and mild, her face is an approachable one, reaching beyond Buddhism to various faiths. Women ask her for her aid in conception, in guiding a baby's soul to its mother, then guarding them in birth. She is also said to aid the dead, freeing newly departed souls from the judgment of the underworld.

Yet compassion has not only a gentle face but a thousand arms.

One story of Kuan Yin's origins tells of her willingness to give her eyes and arms to heal a king. When at last the royal family thanked her for her unthinkable sacrifice, the earth trembled, flowers rained down, and her eyes and arms reappeared to them a thousandfold in the clouds.

I like to think we all are those arms. We work our work. We do what is needed simply because it is needed. We reach out and hug, type, hammer, lobby, support, plant, paint, chop, carry, caress, heal, manifest, applaud, and wipe tears away.

And when we can't be there, we ask Kuan Yin to be there and hear those cries.

(I'll talk about her dragon some other time.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why Positively Pagan?

Pagan is not the opposite of Christian, or the opposite of anything really. It is who I am and what I am. It is me being, not desisting; acting, not reacting. It is nature, and we are all a part. (So why be apart?)

That's part of the 'positively.' Another part: most of us believe that like attracts like. Be positive as much you are able, and you attract the positive. It's not the only game in town, but it's the only one that I choose to spend most of my time dwelling on.

Do I have a dark side? Sure! Do I love and cherish it just like the rest of me? Yes. I compare it to swimming underwater. There are mysteries and treasures beneath the surface, as well as terrifying things. It's worth a look, certainly many looks, but if you stay down there, you drown in it. I have been in that drowning place many times over the years, longer than I would have liked to be, but I am still alive and I enjoy staying that way.

Some of Earth's creatures are nurtured by staying in darkness. They are nourished by consuming whatever detritus falls down to their level. So many others, myself included, require light in order to live and grow.

Sure, it's possible to get too much--as a lifelong resident of the Southern USA, I am all too familiar with the effects of the sun on my pale hide. Yet the truth remains: we need the light. We just need it gentle.

I strive for gentleness.