This is part of a collaborative piece at the Staff of Asclepius. There is more to come on Saturday and Sunday.
“The Moon is an accomplice in nocturnal secrets,” writes Maryam Sachs author of The Moon. She was born in Iran, raised in Europe, educated in America, and lives in London. So Maryam is at ease with many cultures. I haven’t experienced as many cultures as she has, but I am drawn to the different Gods and Goddesses among every culture and their religious lore. I am also drawn to the power and mystery of the moon. Today, on the Spring Equinox, there is a total solar eclipse. We’ll explore more eclipse and Spring Equinox mystery later in this post.
When it comes to Goddesses, I am especially drawn to Guanyin (Kuan-Yin) and Gaia. East Asian Buddhists venerate Guanyin (Kuan-Yin). She isn’t technically a goddess, since there are no Gods in Buddhism. Instead she is a bodhisattva, an enlightened being. Her name, Guanin is the shortened form of Kuan-shi Yin “Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the World.”
“This Water and Moon Kuan-Yin Bodhisattva statue is 95 inches high. It was created in the 11th or 12th century, during the Liao Dynasty, in the Shanxi Province of China, and carved from a single piece of wood. The entire sculpture is covered in gesso and painted with colors and gold. The figure is seated on an outcropping of craggy, moss-covered rock in the traditional posture of royal ease, with the right arm resting on an upraised knee and the left leg pendant. Kuan-Yin embodies both male and female characteristics. The body is that of a man, but its softer contours and facial features suggest feminine qualities. Those who sought Kaun-Yin’s intervention were encouraged to feel that this bodhisattva was easily accessible to them.” (Information from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.)– Duarte
Intuition, esoteric knowledge, dreams, and the female soul are personified by elemental Water and the Moon.
Suzanne Duarte writes that “All of these meanings—compassion, mercy, presence to the suffering of others, accessibility; intuition, esoteric knowledge, probing the hidden and illusory, bringing inner wisdom to consciousness—and the fact that she is sitting in a natural setting, make the Water and Moon Kuan-Yin Bodhisattva an appropriate archetype for the Dharmagaian spirit.” She explains that a Dharmagaian is someone who embraces Dharma, wholeness is nature and the universe, and Gaia, the Greek Mother Earth. “A ‘Gaian’ is anyone of any tradition who cherishes and respects this miraculous living planet.”
I consider myself to be a Neo-Pagan Gaian Mage. Mage in its archaic form meaning someone who knows magic. My office desk is covered in frog and turtle statuettes to remind me of a connection to my spirit animals. One way I know Spring is on its way is that the Spring Peepers start croaking. A small statue of Kuan-Yin also sits on my desk. A much larger statue of her is on my altar along with a replica of the Venus of Willendorf.
Gaia’s ecosystem is in a state of constant flux. Continents move, rivers change course, plants and animals are born and die. Gaia guides me through the changes in my life, all of the beginnings and ends. Like the fertile soil of the Earth, she nourishes my soul. I have challenges dealing with depression and anxiety. I try to turn to Kuan-Yin for compassion and Gaia for strength.
Today is a powerful day magically. The moon comes between the Sun and the Earth to cause a Solar Eclipse. Eclipses bring about important beginnings or endings.
“During a solar eclipse, we experience what might be called a “micro year”. The sun is whole, then partially or completely hidden, and then visible again. Within just a few minutes, an energy similar to a complete cycle of solstices and equinoxes can be felt.” –http://paganpath.com/library/spells/39-eclipse-magic
The Spring Equinox is also about new beginnings. And look, Solar Eclipses only occur during the new moon. New Moon magic is also about new beginnings. In Missouri, the Earth is receiving the blessings of Spring rain, the grass is greening, and birds are singing a lot more. I’ll be honoring Kuan-Yin and Gaia during the Solar Eclipse this year and working magic for a healthier me.