Considering Online Magick Classes

In all my years practicing, learning and writing about the occult arts I have never paid for more than a book. For decades, teachers were willing to take me on without payment as I did the work they assigned me. I might have to consider myself lucky as it is only now, after 25 years, I am beginning to pay for classes, training and conferences in which to participate, in turn expanding my magickal skills. But what IS the cost of knowledge? Nothing in this world is free, even magick. When we cast a spell there is time, energy, knowledge, supplies and all the accouterments which have some sort of payment to be made. There are some who believe because lessons or lectures are given of a spiritual nature, there should be no price tag attached… somehow it taints what is being given. This is simply not true. If it is of real value, why should it be free? In some ways charging for services is a way of weeding out time wasters and dabblers… those not willing to do the necessary work who will often not pay as it means not just time wasted, but money as well for not being a participant. Either that or they drop out, giving up on the training altogether for lack of trying, being so far behind they can never truly keep up, or they go running out the gate so hard in an effort to impress they burn out fast.

My tour of online training began in realizing how far removed I am from anyone else who practices the Arte of Magick. I live in a very remote location, surrounded by wild and untamed desert, a desolate place beauty perfect for accessing Hekate. However, I had also become somewhat stagnant in my practice; no matter how much I kept it up there was not the same quality as before. My mind needs a challenge, as well my spirit; my progress often moves forward when faced with adversarial or fresh perspectives. Of course, I chose to only take courses offered by teachers I found to be with a reputed high quality history, relatively well known and a background similar to my own. It was only by coincidence that these teachers were all men...I have a history with that anyway, which I plan to explore at a later date.

I took the first step last fall by enrolling in the Golden Dawn Academy, sponsored and structured around the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn’s system of initiation. I was already familiar with much of the material, having studied with the class instructor Sam Webster for several years. Zoom allowed for everyone to have a live video stream, giving the feeling of a true interactive classroom without problems and complaints of bandwidth or echoed voice streams. Whilst we had access to an email forum, my only real interaction with classmates (around 20-30 of them) was on class dates, live-streaming. All sessions were recorded, with 2 dates a month; priced $40/month for 6 months with a break for the holidays...it was well worth the cost. I got a lot more insight into Qabbalah, a topic I have much averted and avoided over my magickal career. I do not feel it necessary to my practice, but as I delve into more grimoire traditional workings it will become a useful general subject for me to understand the background of. Learning about the rituals and meanings behind them was interesting, but not really necessary as I am solitary these days. And really, lodges are all about group work. Having experienced some of the rituals put forth by the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn I understand the potency of it, but not the practicality. This is just my personal opinion and how I am adjusting it for solitary magcik by circumstance.

Jack Grayle’s course with the Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary, “Hekatean Devotion and Magic in the Hellenic World” consisted of 7 weekly meetings, readings and assignments which heavily explored Hekate in Her most ancient and traditional forms. Having been only a guest for these classes, I did not have to fully participate…but found I had already done the majority of these during my personal Hekate praxis over the past 8 years; which in a way was very confirming. Creating a iynx wheel, or “whirly gig” as he called them, was one such project…I even wrote about the experience. Another was in the creation of focal points of worship, some call them altars or shrines. Much of the reading included excerpts from classical texts, well-known and beloved modern books about Hekate, and a sneak peek at the author’s upcoming title: “The Hekataeon” to be published by IXAXAAR this winter. While most of the subjects covered were well known to me already, including works from the Greek Magical Papyri and the Chaldean Oracles, it was refreshing to hear such support of modern practices based in ancient ones. So many people in the Hekatean community have cobbled together what little information there actually is available, with the lines between archaeology and UPG getting blurred. Grayle was very careful to give credit in a proper historical context and also modern adaptations. He even tackled the post-modern imagery of Hekate the Crone, a topic most books and teachers tend to steer clear of. If I had paid for the class, I would have felt the assignments were a great way of getting feedback on my progress, with a gentle approach to adjustments Grayle is a very laid back teacher who puts forward the data and allows the students to glean what is useful. The best part was the section on Yahweh and Hekate, from a Sethian Gnostic current. I was very unfamiliar with this, even having a degree in Religious Studies has kept me from further study of Christian thought in Pagan practices. I tend to stay far away from anything of this vein, but was highly interested in understanding the ‘doing’ just to intellectually satisfy this curious part of me. The only real complaint I have was the format from which it was offered. Not being a student of the Seminary school I had to go through many hurdles to get added to the class roster, install software that made it compatible with their custom forums (including some from Microsoft which might make it more difficult for Apple users), and using the antiquated Skype for Business application which made it so only the instructor could have a live video feed.

Feeling motivated I finally took the plunge and enrolled in Jason MIller’s “Sorcery of Hekate” class, at $100/month for 7 months. That is a hefty price given there are 2 lessons a month with a Q & A given between each. While I am sworn to secrecy regarding the non-public materials, I would like to comment on a few things thus far. I am only 3 weeks into the mantra work and am finding it very good; I enjoy the simplicity and the one Miller has assigned is VERY similar to one I received from Hekate Herself years ago. The imagery in his version of Hekate, because everyone seems to have a different one, is similar to what we visualize in my Priesthood; Hekate with six arms, each having a different item in hand with the exception of two torches. However, Miller’s Hekate has 6 legs, which I had never considered before. The work is clear, slowly being assigned in chunks for easy and slow digestion; which is essential for doing such an intense, long period of devotional work. That being said, I did have to leave the official Facebook group...mainly because I get irritated with other people filling up my newsfeed with repetitive statements/questions and bragging about the results they are receiving rather quickly. With 120 students participating this cycle, I anticipate half of them to either drop or burn out at this pace. Focused devotional work such as this is a marathon, not a race...sprinting and exerting so much energy in the very first weeks is not wise. Yes, I understand some people are excited because they have never really committed to something so intensely, never really connected with Hekate; although if you look at some Hekate FB groups it seems She is involved in every aspect of devotees’ lives, everything from doing their dishes to the dog barking during devotionals. My personal experience and devotion to Her has uprooted my family a few times to new locations, destroyed and remade me over and over, brought death and renewal in dramatic ways I never could have anticipated….nor bragged about. Spiritual progress is a very personal, vulnerable thing. It can be periods of sheer boredom and then suddenly paranormal activity and synchronicity at every turn so that even atheistic family members are like “WTF?”

Healthy skepticism is needed at every step on our paths through magick. Researching instructors, talking to past students and being sure the money is right for the value you expect of a class’ support/information given should all be examined carefully. I have been given the chance for making enough money to which I can easily afford to spend on classes, travel to conferences from time to time, and buying supplies I cannot source myself. This is the culmination of years spent in devotional practice and witching blessings into my life. The opportunity has presented itself, and so I take it.

Prayers at the Hekate Tree

 
Performed in May, 2013 after my last Rite of Her Sacred Fires. This was filmed in Tehama County, California by myself. I lived not far from here as a young girl and was always afraid of these hills. As a teenager I encountered wrathful spirits here and was forever changed. The stone walls, built by Chinese railroad workers and  immigrants were all that separated these ranches. The natural springs nearby was an old resort that burned down during the late 19th century. The West is wild indeed and in these places Hekate can be seen......but I dare not stay after dark.
 

 

 

PBP: “Y” is for Yod He Vau He(יהוה)

The first mantra I recognized as 'not prayer' was given to me at 18. A budding Buddhist playing with the feminized witchcrafts of Starhawk, Ffiona Morgan, Zsusanna Budapest, and even Scott Cunningham; all I had read were warm fuzzies of magick and meditations. My teacher/mentor/father-figure 'A' challenged me to meditate with him after a meeting with our journalism department. I had no clue he was a meditation teacher and master of invocation, but thought the strange little German man was putting me on at first. So I tread carefully forward. We went for a walk in the woods behind the junior college campus. The jogging trails were full of the late summer's poison oak and the large oaks were just starting to turn brown. My cynical, youthful mind thought it was boring, but might be a good place for a meditation teaching he promised. I look back and think how young, naïve and stupid it was to go into the woods with a man in his 50's I barely knew except as an editor of the college paper I wrote for. Being very good at investigative reporting, I had checked with our professor at first to make sure A was legit... and I was assured, even encouraged, to learn what I could from the man.

As we walked along the trail, A and I came to what at first appeared to be a man-made pond, but turned out to be a cesspool. The early, clean morning air immediately was swallowed by the stench of excrement and urine and whatever else was floating around out there. I suggested we turn around and go another way, but A insisted we go forward. I was so grossed out... I was going to vomit, but needed to be confident more. In his thick German accent, A asked me “What are these theengs there? Flouting in the vater?” I looked closer at what he was talking about. “They are tampons A. Used, nasty tampons floating on ponds of shit. Can't you see?” He turned to me and asked “So, how do you meditate?” I was stunned... no clue what to say. We went from talking about the toxic sludge that surrounded us to sitting on the ground and staring out at the ponds.

“Show me what you do”. So I sat... and he stopped me. “No, no... not here. Over there!” and A's finger pointed to a 'deck' of sorts built off from a narrow pier,  jutted out into the middle of the pond. I looked at him and asked “Are you serious? You want me to go sit out there, in the middle of all this shit, and meditate?” I really thought the red, hairy, almost Santa looking man was joking... A always had laughter in his eyes, a smile on his lips, and a loud booming voice to match the belly. At this moment, he was not smiling. He was not laughing as he looked me seriously in the eye and told me “Go show me how you meditate”.

I humored the old man and walked out there. . The planks leading to the deck did not feel sturdy and all I could imagine was slipping, falling into the pools of waste. The poo smell was stronger out there... the sun was shining on my back and glistening off the melting frost. I sat with my legs crossed in full lotus on the cold concrete slab. I took a few deep breaths and thought vomiting might be better; an acidic burp mixed with my morning chai was all I could muster. I closed my eyes only the find my sense of smell more heightened. I tried breathing through my mouth and could taste the acrid air. “What are you trying to prove here old man?” I asked aloud, with my fingers still numbing and breath hanging in the mists of dung. I tried to concentrate but no matter what I did the place was toxic and invading my every thought.

Frustrated and nauseated, I stood up, walked back to the bank and sat next to A. He was in meditation and just gazing at the black waters with the strange fuzzy fish. We sat there in silence for what seemed like hours. After fighting the smells, the boredom, and finally the cold...it became suddenly still. I didn't notice the smell, or my breath, or the damp grasses under my behind making my corduroy jeans wet. Nothing was heard within or without, except my breath. And in that silence was the peace I never thought possible: my mind went completely empty. I didn't have to try, just be.

Some time had passed before A roused me, asked how I felt and if I could see the difference between trying to meditate and actually doing it. I told him yes, but didn't understand the purpose of meditating in front of a pit of bio-hazardous waste. He asked me to contemplate and meditate on it... which I did. I understood the purpose of this first lesson: Meditation is mutually exclusive of everything else. It doesn't matter where you are, what kind of conditions you are in, the state of your physicality...there is no limit to what the spirit is capable of experiencing.

It was this answer my mentor wanted from me... and also the focus. I made the pilgrimage up to the mountain Shasta (where he lived) and spent an intensive weekend learning the art of mantra. I woke each morning early to chai tea and sitting meditation. We'd walk and talk, then more meditation and invocation, dinner and evening meditation. It was on the second night I received the thunderbolt...and my perspective of Deity was changed forever. But this is not what I wanted to share about this week... it was the mantra assignment A gave to me that shook me up in a more lasting way.

Narcissus by Caravaggio (1573–1610)

 

So when A gave to me a mantra for my own practice to go home with, I was ecstatic, on fire and ready for whatever challenge he deemed good for my soul. Being of the magickal persuasion, he knew I'd want some thing uber powerful and impressive. And I was surprised with Yod He Vau He. I had no clue it was the Hebrew name of God, and much more. It is a magickal formulae, just as Sanskrit mantras or barbarous words. 'Yod' is the Father of creation, who comes together with 'He', the cosmic Mother. The union producing their offspring, the 'Vau' Son and a Daughter obviously named after her mother, another 'He'. For me, this was the most sexist formulae I could have received...why is the feminine energy of the universe, no matter how many daughters She produces, always just named the same? Why does the patriarchal line continue to evolve and change in it's essence, but the matriarchal remain the same? It is only years later, when I come back to this formulae for greater workings (LBRP) that re-examining it with mature, educated eyes can I see the secret lying within.

Man is the mutant and Woman is the more perfect of the species. Their extra chromosome turned the womb and vaginal cave inside-out, forgetting to erase nipples. The spirit works similarly.... there can be no evolution without the base remaining, the Terra Firma which churns and turns and burns the refuse in Her cauldron. She is the chaos, which in it's ever-changing is never-changing. 'He' is from a very primal place... it come from the womb, sounding deep within “hay”. It is the breath, warm and melting; moist condensation and sweat of tears. She is the buffer between 'Yod' and 'Vau', as Mothers are the eternal peacemakers. The interjection of 'He' assures me that Yahweh is even effected by the instability and ecstatic energies of a chaotic, and sometimes uncaring, Multiverse.

PBP: “V” is for Voice

I have a loud voice. And not just in a spiritual sense... more on that later. I mean physically it 'carries', is slightly raspy and has been this way since I was a young kid. They thought at first I was hard of hearing, when that was shown to not be the issue I was sent to a throat specialist. I remember the feeling of a hot, extended mirror going down the back of my neck and them seeing the effects of my talkative nature: calluses on vocal chords. I saw a speech therapist after that and went back for regular follow-ups to keep an eye on the per-cancerous nodules. Didn't help in the long run and I never got cancer; but I learned how to say all kinds of wonderful tongue twisters, diaphragm-controlled breathing and beautiful diction. I participated in choir at both my elementary school and church (seasonally) and for a number of years, harmonizing my bass tone to the otherwise cherubic sounds coming from other children. I had private singing lessons, drama, jazz dance, various wind instruments all to learn control over my growing body and feed my nerdy love of the humanities. As I got older, so did the power of my voice become more noticeable. I could talk over other people, get a room's attention...and this all spilled over into my spiritual life. Whilst parents, boyfriends, teachers and everyone else who thought they could control my voice kept trying to do so, it was mutating and becoming something so much more than I ever realized. When I performed my first invocation, spirits, Gods, elementals... all came. It's like, they couldn't resist. Even ones I didn't know were showing up as my intonations and cosmic vibrations refined into skill. It was a perfect match when I found mantra yoga, Tibetan Buddhism and practiced chanting every day. My vernacular speech became much more intentional, I found power in the words I spoke. Freudian slips and slurred words of accidental repetition. Coven mates feared an occasional teasing which might otherwise ensue a period of chaos in all communications, especially when Mercury would go retrograde.

It was somewhere during my undergraduate years I wanted to challenge this on a new level. I was in a relationship with an older man for several years and we were having the normal couple issues. The biggest one I felt was that my boyfriend did not see me as an equal... so I set out to find an example I could emulate as the perfect consort. It was in the Hindu story of Siva and Shakti was the potentiality for what a good relationship could be. And so I began the work with Siva, although not necessarily in the way I had planned.

Lord Shiva from the Mahabharata

I started with buying a golden dancing Siva statue, some plain Nag Champa and a simple candle in blue. The mantra was chosen and I began to intone it 108 times or more daily, over a 40 day discipline. At first everything was going well: om namah shivaya in my head, day and night. I would hear it when walking around campus, shelving books in the library, it was everywhere I went. This was, in my experience, a good sign. Until one morning I sat down in front of Siva and began my chant: om namah shivaya. By the time I got to the 30th bead on my mala, my voice creaked and choked. It almost felt like my throat was dry, so I drank some water, gargled and swallowed. Taking a few breaths, I picked up on the last mala and started where I left off. About three more of om namah shivaya and it happened again. I repeated the gargle and tried again, but this time I could only get as far as om namah. So, counting the remaining mantras in my head I finished my daily ritual and set about getting ready for the rest of the day, which was uneventful. The same thing happened the next day, and the next day... with the effects of my voicelessness being drawn out for longer periods of time.

I finished my 40 day discipline, with most of the prayers coming from within a still throat. I could not say this prayer no matter how hard I tried. Then one night, my boyfriend and I were making love. The room was candlelit and a great image of Ram with Sita hung over my bed... the divine couple I hoped to emulate. Whilst I looked up to see Ram, my eyes turned down to my lover and was shocked to see my lover had blue skin also! He was a complete Atheist, cynic, developing prestidigitator and sometimes even made fun of my spiritual practices. But he had turned into Siva!

I didn't know what to do. being mid-coitus and having a God appear between my thighs. I wasn't some experienced Tantrika and did the only thing I found to be natural, I kept going. He smiled as the body He rode in stiffened up like a corpse. I could see a frightened look trying to express through the mask of Siva. But I climbed higher in ecstasy and as the energy pulsated and rose through, my body arched and my mouth opened up, and the mantra came out...loudly, quickly and without waver. It flowed out of my essence like honey, drowning my Self, my lover, and all else in the room. The pressure built up and His energy flowed up into me, exploding out the top of my head. I collapsed, sweating and shaking but with a huge smile on my face. When I came too, I noticed my boyfriend was trembling a little and seemed disoriented. This was very out of character and worried him. I consoled him, but never told what REALLY happened.

That was when I knew this was not an ordinary skill, talent, or otherwise mystical gift. This was a powerful weapon which has spilled over into the manifestation of words on paper, in print and online. Facebook statuses manifest easily, spoken spells hardly need much else except a candle and word. I have yet to evoke or invoke a Deity who will not appear. Yes, I am a special snowflake and my voice will not be stifled from saying so.

PBP: “M” is for Mantras

Most Westerners understand somewhat how to use mantras... often it is a repeated affirmation, word of encouragement, or prayer. Whilst this is a powerful tool of empowerment and self transformation, Mantras can actually change the world too. In Eastern traditions, mantras are often in Sanskrit or Pali as a simple word (sometimes referred to as a 'bija' or a seed syllable), a series of adorations, or sounds of intonement (such as 'Om'). The very sound of a mantra vibrates throughout the cosmic web of the multiverse, sending out energy with purpose. It is a very simple devotional act, one which benefits not only the chanter but any Be-ings within listening distance of the mantra said. Usually mantras are repeated 108 times (traditionally), counted on a beaded necklace with one extra seed called the bija or seed bead... Christians brought these wonderful spiritual tools back with them from the first Crusades. Catholics all over the world still use these 'rosaries', which only contain 54 beads to count the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” repetitions prescribed by a priest as an act of contrition. Although I never really was repenting, I did LOVE saying the prayers, learning them in my catechism classes and repeating over and over at night when I couldn't sleep. I loved listening to the little old ladies who, with their heads covered, lit candles at the feet of the blessed virgin Mary and mumbled these prayers for hours. No other Christian denomination can pray as quickly as a Catholic... dare to compare.

Mantras caved into rock in Tibet, Photo by Nathan Freitas.
Mantras caved into rock in Tibet, photo by Nathan Freitas.

The most powerful tool I have in my witchy bag of tricks is my voice. I don't have some amazing singing voice, nor is it necessarily unusually pleasant sounding. Since I was a kid, it has been a bit 'rough' sounding... raspy, deep, and very, very LOUD. It carries even with a simple whisper. So when a meditation teacher introduced to me the concept of Mantras, I was immediately interested. The repetition made for an easy transition to altered states of consciousness... I could go into a trance brought on by the sound of my voice, like a beating drum, the slow steady breaths between, and the clinking of beads as they shifted through my fingers. Although there are healthy benefits to repeating mantras in the vernacular language of English, I choose to use foreign or dead languages ideally because it gives my body something to do... allowing the sounds to vibrate my whole Be-ing without thinking about the words. I EXPERIENCE the mantra instead of intellectualizing it. For example, try the most widely known mantra: OM MANI PADME HUM. It's translation into English is best described by the Dali Lama:

“the six syllables, OM MANI PADME HUM, mean that in dependence on the practice which is in indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. It is said that you should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself; the substances for the achievement of Buddhahood are within" (From a lecture given by His Holiness The Dalai Lama of Tibet at the Kalmuck Mongolian Buddhist Center, New Jersey).

Many spiritual concepts are difficult to make tangible through spoken or written language. But going beyond form, beyond meaning lies the heart of mantra practice which for me anyway, is the experiential gnosis of divinity. I reconnect with what is already within me through a physical means, expressing and satisfying the longing my soul has. Seeking out union is not enough... transformation and evolution through building up these spiritual muscles, honing and perfecting my natural talents are the benefits. The results are infinite and I am a spiritual beefcake.

Longevity and Passive Defense

Blazing Light of Tara

If ever there was a shortcut to enlightenment, it will be through the grace of the final Tara, Lhamo Ozer Chenma. Her light blasts away any lingering negative energies which may come in the form of the walking dead (rolangs or those who have misused mantras) or as yakshas (“harm givers”) which are a lot like what some call psychic vampires who leech onto the vitality of living beings. Ozer Chenma grants longevity and a 'pacifying' peace...one which no longer requires the fierceness of Tara in Her wrathfulness, but totally encompassing the passiveness which comes without taking. In Her lotus is a golden fish, a beautiful jewel in the pond of serenity. Like this fish we are encouraged to glide around the waterways, allowing the current to wash over us without fighting for dominance. Little effort is needed as the traveling becomes more natural, there is no second guessing or attention to distractions for eradication...at this point we can simply slide over any rocks which may create rough waters. To be mutable and free flowing is the message of this Tara whose light is blazing and offering an opportunity to escape the hard work of spiritual life in favor of one enriched in peaceful passivity. It is not weakness...it is the balance for all our efforts through the journey of Tara. We have finally reached the state of true peace and fearlessness in our magickal and spiritual core.

ozer chenma

With peaceful intentions, I call for the the power and presence of Od.zer.chen.ma. In the light of your blazing stillness, I give to you my body, heart, and soul. May I be a shining example of your peace, leading to the awakening possibility in myself and all those who come before me. Destroy any harmful energies which may try to hinder my progress or pursuit of enlightenment; may it come swiftly and quietly.

praise21

A Balancing Act

Mountain-Dwelling Mendicant

In saffron colors, dressed in scented leaves and bringing the fresh winds from mountains, the Tara Rito Loma Jonma comes to our side for healing of illness in several capacities. Her right eye is like the sun, left is the moon...contrasting energies of fire and coolness; one destroys, the other creates, in a harmony of the cosmos. Her mystery is restorative, clearing our bodies of dis-ease to allow for healing to commence. Rito Loma Jonma carries with Her a jar of healing herbs and supernatural medicines. This Tara has the ability to also heal sickness in our environment; closing old wounds and restoring the balance in nature as well. When we think of illness we tend to only consider the bodies of breathing, moving things like people and animals when really the plants and Earth are just as alive. Blowing the tops off mountains for fracking out coal, which is detrimental to the environment and living things in general, is one way in which we do this Bodhisattva a great disservice. She offers up compassion and comfort, we strip-mine and deforest. The power of Rito Loma Jonma comes from the breathe of trees, the old spirits of nature are Her children. She is the mists hanging on the mountains crawling down through the valleys. Her energy is much needed now and as a Tara, She travels and works swiftly.

The warm, dry season of summer is conducive to the fires which are burning in both forests and oil refineries here in the Northern California. Southern California is a geographical area ripe for thermal inversion, a trap for the smog caused by vehicles and factories. The air quality in the whole state is not as it should be...and the balance will be restored either through great effort by us humans, or the chaos Mother Nature will ensue eventually. Many illnesses and dis-eases are the results of environmental issues; increased cancer rates, behavioral and mental health problems...we are trapped and sinking in the muck of our own making. It takes a Savioress like Rito Loma Jonma to reach in and pull us out, clean the yuck off, and help us in restoring our otherwise harmonious nature. We reset back to 'default': our already perfect selves.

Rito Loma Jonma

With humility I call forth the power and presence of Ri.to.ma, the divine mendicant. I give to you my body, heart and soul to do with as you will, a vehicle for healing. Bless and empower all the actions of those who care for the sick, nurture and offer healing to all sentient beings in this realm. May the forests, oceans, and air we breathe be cleansed and cured with your most restoring breath.

praise20

Magickal Armor

The Umbrella of Tara Many of us in the pagan community also practice magick; which I spell with the infamous 'k' so as to differentiate between the stage magic of a prestidigitator and the enchantments/sorcery involved with witchcraft, including other mystical workings. Whilst most of the work done tends to be in alignment with healing and not harming others, there are some who would psychically attack or curse for whatever reason. Just in case, it is always good to know how to protect ourselves and those we love. Even if we do not know how to do this, we can be protected from malignant magicks sent by others who might be trying to hinder our development. Either through jealousy or other ill intentions, we cannot always just throw back what others are sending at us; there is still a cosmic balance to be kept and retaliating is almost the same as instigating a situation. Passive resistance is much more effective and a nonviolent means of justifying an end; and without taking on others karmic debt.

Tara as Dugkarmo holds an umbrella over us, protecting specifically from black magick attacks and hindrances in our practice. The shade She provides is cast by Her virtuous light, overwhelming to dark motivations. In all the realms, even the Gods and other higher beings cannot penetrate those under Her protection. It is an auspicious shelter, similar to the cobra who provided comfort for Buddha as He sat in meditation by spreading it's enormous hood. Whatever others throw at us simply slides away on the umbrella, like rain. Let others get wet, whilst we stay and focused in our progress.

Dugkarmo

I call forth the power and great presence of the Tara Dug.kar.mo. Under the shelter of your auspicious umbrella I give to you my body, heart, and soul. With your splendid light, cover my body as an shining armor of Dharma; reflecting your protective rays on everyone who comes before me.

praise19

She Who Holds the Moon

By the Light of Tara

There is something awesome and spellbinding about the moon, this is reflected in the multicultural mysteries and folklore as part of human experience. The lunar shine is somewhat watery in it's ebbing and flowing, pulling parts of us from within and without ourselves. It is said in the East the spirit of the moon is like a Hare, or Rabbit; a strange site is to see the bunnies out in the field standing straight up gazing at the moon. In the lotus, Maja Chenmo holds the moon with the rabbit looking out at all who gaze upon it.

Maja Chenmo is called the 'great one of the peacock', for like this strange bird She can take poisons and turn it into something beautiful. She counteracts toxicity in our bodies as a form of natural medicine, removing the latent chemicals and pharmaceuticals which we take into ourselves for 'healing'. The impure waters, unhealthy soil, and polluted air are all a reflection of what is happening within our selves; and vice versa. From within and without we are trying to solve problems in ways which cause more...when really the solution is simple; difficult yes, but simple. Living compassionately eliminates all conflicts and poisons in our lives; it is an effect from Maja Chenmo's blazing light which reaches down through Her lunar medium. Her blessings come down as ripples, waves on a still and stagnant pond. She is gentle and nurturing, having a special place in the lives of children and babies. The water curls are playful, splashing and spraying a cleansing mist over all Her children.

maja chenmo

 

By the light of the moon, I call forth the power and presence of the brilliantly lit Bar.wod.chen.ma. In your lunar rays, I give to you my body, heart and soul. Pledging completely to compassionate acts of kindness, I request you illuminate every atom of my body. May this light ripple and reach out to others who come before me; eradicate all poisons where I walk so the world can be a safe place for our children in the present and future.

 

praise18

The House of Tara

Protectress Against Robbers and Thieves

Nothing leaves us more vulnerable than being robbed; knowing someone has been through your things materially or if they were a friend who exploited your giving nature with a good ol' fashioned back-stab are a few ways this can happen. Either through physical or emotional violence, this Tara is Pagme Nonma, a fiery Lady who perpetuates nonviolence. She is the advocate for freedom fighters everywhere, keeping them safe during political actions or protests. Armed with dharma in the form of a golden stupa arising from the lotus in Her hand, the little small building is a reminder of the Buddha's life here on earth. Stupas are sacred mounds or specifically shaped buildings to hold various objects associated with the Buddha or housing the ashes of Buddhas. They're similar to what are referred to in Christianity as reliquaries; a place of pilgrimage for devotees who wish to seek out a connection with a holy person from this realm, hoping some of their attributes can be transferred through veneration. As holy places often are the depository for golden offerings or other things of value, they are also the target of thieves and robbers.

The stupa of Tara Pagme Nonma is a fortified reliquary of truth which cannot be taken; She also has the power to stop any who may have malign intent from approaching the treasure. She is better than any security system because She does not just sound the alarms, She actually prevents the theft from taking place. Her power can stop mountains of the mundane, Pagme Nonma is a vehicle of peace. The wheels of motivation simply cannot bear the force of Her mantra, She is a conduit for the winds of protection.

Pagme Nonma

Golden as the warmth of a sunset, I call forth the power and the presence of Tara Pag.me Non.ma. I give to you my body, heart, and soul. Please shine your protective light on any persons with malicious intent, who may otherwise steal from me or those who come before me. May all my deeds and actions be in accordance with the true path to enlightened being.

praise17

 

Tara the Spell Slinger

Mother of Intentions

Jealousies and ill will can come from outside ourselves. Often when we are on the right track to a profound knowledge or experience, there will be opposition in powerful force. Spells and curses do exist, both are a temptation into the easier route of awakening. Not that having the ability to use these tools is a BAD thing; in fact having an aptitude for the spiritual is almost certainly past life abilities becoming manifest in the present. But more often than not magick involves a bit of ego and that just doesn't mix well with pure spiritual intent...it's just prettier grasping again. Many have not yet understood the karmic repercussions of speaking against others, in either a spell or gossip. In any form so much as it causes pain or injury in an emotional, psychic, financial, or physical way to a person there is always a price. Whether it is the self defense or counter-attack, we are still acting in response to someone else and that is when we give them our power. It is better to let go of the anger and any hooks they may have embedded in us.

Severing any traces of malice brought upon by others is still a job for Tara, but this next aspect of the compassionate Mother smashes any ill intentions coming your way. Rigngag Tobjom uses Her double dorje to smatter anything that is thrown at you. Whether it is a mugger hiding in an alleyway or a gossiping friend, the motivations still touch us by tainting our karma in the form of desires and fear. But this home run hitter has two bats and She swings pretty hard. She is a spiritual bodyguard, nothing gets past Her, and keeping us sober on the path is Her biggest job. It is in Her speech and sound where the power lies...Her voice makes negative energies coming our way explode like terracotta pots, shards flying everywhere.

Rigngag Tobjom

I call upon the Tara Da.pung.jom.ze.ma who is the destroyer of opposing forces. I give to you my body, heart and soul. Pledging completely to bringing compassion, joy, beauty, and abundance to all who come before me, I request that all influences which oppose my aspirations be nullified. May the motivations be shattered and scattered to the four winds never to return.

praise16

Tara of Deep Peace

Purity in Wisdom

When everything has finally become a puddle of sludge, there is only the nothingness of a blank canvas. We can break ourselves down with acceptance or fight it, but either way sometimes we have to hit 'rock bottom' before we bounce back up. Buddhism essentially teaches how through non-attachment we can keep from hitting that desperate point in our transformation...but that is easier said than done for most of us. We still get angry on the road when someone cuts us off, or when we see great injustices done. It is most difficult to walk around and be a complacently blissed out being, whilst still part of this world of emotional responses. Tara as Rabzhima has an offer we cannot refuse.

This Tara is white as the glowing moonlight which also appears to have a golden glow, but when you see it here on Earth it's more like silver. This is how Her purifying energy comes to use, Rabzhima pours it from an elegant vase; the lotus on which it stands is blue with the vessel radiating a golden glow. As the silvery nectar drizzles out onto our ethereal bodies, it pushes out the sludge of everyday emotional baggage, revealing a clean surface beneath to rebuild upon. She is white in Her peaceful way, not invasive or intense in the cleansing. Rabzhima's blessing is one of freedom, being liberated of our past clinging or emotional patterns. After the pummeling, destroying and general stripping down to the bare bones, we are generally sore and tender in our exposure. There might be a film of negatives left tarnishing our spirit, so as a soothing liquid balm Rabzhima's nectar flows over the wounds washing out any impurities which may still be lingering. She is gentle in Her purifying, removing anything that might be manifested into an infection later on, leaving behind a squeaky clean being with nothing left but spiritual potential.

Rabzhima

Tara who is Rab.she.ma, I give to you my body, heart and soul. Blessed Tara of deep purifying peace, shower me with your cleansing nectar. Anoint me with your refining touch so that I may share this bliss with all those who come before me.

praise15

 

Wrathful Cupcakes

Tara as Mover and Shaker

Often we think we're on the 'correct' path, when really it's just another supposed 'short cut' or easier means of achieving enlightenment. There are many ways in which we are misled; donating to a cause we believe to be just when secretly it is a laundering cover-up; supporting a candidate we think is genuine and turns out to be false, etc. Unless we know all the deep, dirty secrets of everyone, there is no way we can be entirely 'right'. When we make these mistakes unknowingly we also tend to learn from them, but there is sometimes still repercussions for those actions on both a mundane and sacred level. In really delusional situations, we might not even see our wrong attitudes due to stubbornness or wrong information given. Since it really isn't our intention to be misled or to advocate the wrong cause, how can we deal with what we cannot truly see? This is where the most wrathful aspect of Tara comes into play...She is Lady Thronyer Chen and has the ability to shake the entire cosmos free of any subtle obstacles which we cannot see for ourselves.

As another black Tara Thronyer Chen is a destroyer, but not in such a dramatic or big way as Zhengyi Migyalma or Kurukulle. In Her small actions She makes an ultimately big impact. In Her lotus is an unusual tool little used here in the West: a tung shing, used in a similar way as a mortar and pestle to pound seeds and make oils when ground. In Her stomping, grinding and slapping ways Thronyer Chen is like the electric mixer used by bakers, to get rid of small clumps and create a nice smooth batter for a fluffier, tasty cake. Intentional clumps of fudge in a chocolate cake are one thing, but bits of butter or clusters of flour can ruin the bite of an otherwise perfect cupcake. And that is what we are, cosmic cupcakes. Tara as Thronyer Chen refines the end process of our spiritual preparation for great things to come. She polishes out the frosting on the finished product, getting it ready for the embellishments and other decorations to come later.

Thronyer Chen

In the hopes of becoming refined and smooth as polished marble, I invoke the smattering presence of To.nyer.chen. My body, heart and soul are putty in your hands. Shake the last wrinkles of obstacles from the impeccable sheets of my spirit, so I may wrap myself in the pure peace that is left behind. May your wrathful presence slap out the disillusions of others so they approach enlightenment with eyes wide open.

praise14

 

Fiery Destruction for Peace

Tara Who Protects From War

War is an inevitability in our world; humans have been fighting each other for as long as we have existed it seems. Whether one group fights another for resources such was water or land, or the fights break out in families among siblings...battle is almost as inherent in our experience as the potentiality for peace. So the question is, can Tara as the wrathful Yulle Gyalma eradicate ALL wars on this planet? Well, that depends: is every person asking for Her graces? Because if they were, I can say with most certainty that we would be living in a more peaceful world. And why is this? Well, it is because Yulle Gyalma works through us, not for us. She can protect and prevent insofar as we are capable of. In other words, we can pray night and day for Her to prevent the acts of violence going on in the Middle East, but essentially it is up to the people there (and in charge) to stop it. We can only pray for the protection of ourselves and for the people who make the decisions to have an awareness of peace. It might seem a little disheartening, but small gestures add up quickly in the universal karmic bank...our line of credit is dependent on the score we receive during our lifetimes.

Yulle Gyalma is wrathful in Her extremity. She is a dancer in the fire of enlightenment; burning up obstacles which hinder the process of suffering for all sentient beings. With Her vajra of fire, each point produces another vajre, and another, and another, reproducing exponentially. As the flames grow they create a circle of protection. This powerful fire also catches any emotions which may rise out of us, causing battles within our own selves. Destructive attitudes and thoughts are engulfed in Her fiery energy, indestructible and swift in Her clarity.

yulle_gyalma

I offer up my anger and any destructive emotions or thoughts to the wrathful Tara, Yulle Gyalma. I surrender to you my body, heart and soul. May many sentient beings find the peace and protection needed from dangerous conflict in both the mundane and spiritual realms. Encircle my life with your protective fire.

praise13

Harmony Replenished with Auspiciousness

Tara as the Keeper of Balance Sometimes it is difficult to keep things in harmony; balancing both a spiritual life with the many roles we fulfill as parents, employees, students, etc. is one of the most difficult tasks many of us face. If we own a house we need to work to pay for it, but what is the TRUE price? Is our livelihood in alignment with our personal values? Do we secretly long for the life of an ascetic, living with complete non-attachment to material things? It might be a possibility for some folks, but not all of us. Many of us have families and other responsibilities which we cannot simply turn our backs on even the slightest, but this does not mean we cannot have a fulfilling spiritual practice. We need to only make the time for ourselves, and invoke the yellow Tara Tashi Donje.

Tashi Donje brings with Her the blessings of the harvest; the reaping and sowing of our efforts are revealed in perfect unity. In this one moment of meditation, we have the ability to restore any imbalances in our physical and spiritual bodies; sloughing off the extra baggage which keeps us from being wholly prosperous. In Her crown there sits a crescent moon, radiating an energetic yellow shower of glitter. The sparkly confetti is thrown from the knot She holds in the lotus, as a sprinkler in the summer grass; soaking up where needed and trickling away if not absorbed. It finds all the parched and dry places easily, replenishing like a sponge. This cooling energy is refreshing, giving the effects of compassion, love and the deep peace associated with a balanced practice. Removing negative mental and emotional patterns is one way in which this renewed outlook changes how we understand the world, leaving a positive attitude and attraction for an auspicious way of living.

Tashi donje

I ask for the light of Ta.shi.don.je.ma to radiate my being. I surrender my body, heart, and soul completely so that all I do be in the work of divine auspiciousness. May you be a shining light in the darkness of my mind, replenishing the fountain of my spirit so it may quench the thirst of all who come before me.

praise12

 

Tara's Wish-Fulfilling Jewels

Bestower of Riches, Liberator of Poverty

Everything is not all destruction and annihilation with Tara. She makes way for Her blessings by clearing out debris, composting that which is dead, and eventually fertilizing the soil of our soul's garden in preparation for a garden to bloom. With intensive energy and a frown of determination on Her face, the next Tara is Phagma Norter Drolma; the supreme one who gifts riches and wealth in both materials and wisdom. In Her wrathful energy She removes the suffering which is caused by poverty; with compassion She is the mother who removes Her own clothes to give for those in need. The riches of the universe are at Her disposal and gifted to those who seek Her refuge, for we are each offered opportunities of advancement in our physical and spiritual lives through Her.

As Norter Drolma, Tara is seated in Her usual position with a vase coming out of the lotus; it holds within it wish-fulfilling jewels She is ready to pour into the hands of those who seek Her aid. She appears to us in an orange shade of colour; it is a combination of yellow (representing Her golden rays of wealth) and red (for Her swift, active nature). Her love and compassion offers these treasures to us, but in Her wrathful gaze we must be conscious of what that entails. Wishes granted for ill gotten gains or that perpetuate the suffering of someone else will have karmic repercussions. Which is why it is best to only seek joyful bliss by alleviating the suffering of others, as well as ourselves. Receiving gifts of peaceful happiness and contentment, the need for luxurious extravagances are no longer necessary. As the old saying goes, the things you own end up owning you. So we ask for OUR happiness, love, and compassion in a way that makes it okay to share with others, without hurting ourselves in the process.

We are starved in this society, malnourished not only in love and compassion, but in the richness that is a spiritual connection. The self-help, religious and new age industries are all thriving as never before in this sad economic environment as people try to reach out and grasp at whatever materialism has to offer. It is something we can taste, touch and look at...if it has promises of happiness attached, there is nothing we won't buy for the right price. When in truth the richest people I know are miserable, and the humblest tend to be highly spiritual and authentic; wealth is again a matter of perspective. The point is, Norter Drolma may help you become rich and She may even save you from poverty, but spirituality is a state of prosperity that must be balanced with the physical world. How can we focus on the meditation when our bellies are hungry? How can we help alleviate the sufferings of others when we are trying to live from paycheck to paycheck? The universe wants us to be happy and there is enough for all.

norterdolma_tara

From a spiritually starving space, I call forth the power and presence of Nor.ter.drol.ma in my life. I give to you my body, heart, and soul. Empower me with your energy so I may be nourished. May these blessings overfill my life so to spill out over all those who come before me. May all who experience poverty find relief from their sufferings in a way which further advances their spiritual evolution.

praise11

 

The Red Banner-Bearer

Tara of Victory In a rich red, Tara as Jigten Sumle Gyalma is the banner holder leading the parade in our spiritual discipline. She is marching at the front, leading all the other Taras in formation around us as we walk the path, keeping us on course. Destroying the internal distractions is the easy part...it is the outside influences which keep us from our practice which are more difficult to combat; especially because these can often appear in a form out of our control. And how does She do it? With joyful laughter...She keeps the way light-hearted, showing us that any problem can be overcome with perseverance and a good sense of humor. Jigten Sumle teaches us to not take things so seriously, when we do it is a form of attachment by placing too much importance on something which will not benefit our spiritual pursuits.

A perfect example is some of the distractions I have recognized in my own practice. My daughter is someone I cannot ignore, and will not; but as a toddler She is always trying to vie for my attentions, especially during meditation time. I could get up earlier in the day to meditate, or stay up incredibly late for my practice, but I want to give my best time and attention possible. At first I was getting frustrated as my daughter didn't understand what I was doing and wanted to just play. It wasn't until I thought about the joy she brings me that I understood fully how I love watching her. So now when I am sitting on the cushion and my daughter comes in I keep praying and chanting, but with a smile. She sometimes just sits with me in lotus, watching or closing her eyes; or she might curl up on my lap and want hugs. Often she loses interest and goes to play quietly in another room. The point is, I didn't get irritated and tell her to get out, I quietly became aware of her whilst maintaining my meditation. This is when I realized I could meditate anywhere and do anything. Being mindful and aware of what is around me whilst staying in a spiritual state is the ultimate multi-tasking challenge.

Jigten Sumle Gyulma blesses us with joyful wisdom not by showering it over us, but by magnifying the way already within. Joy and bliss does not need to come from outside influences; we are perfectly capable of manifesting happiness without becoming attached to worldly things. Her crown/diadem is the amplifier and director of Her blessings...the banner of victory is carried in the lotus. Her laughter causes outside influences to shake and tremble, Her mockery defeats any arrogance present in ourselves or those who try to distract us from the path.

jigtengyalma_tara

As Conqueror of the Three Worldly Realms, I invoke the power and presence of Jig.ten.sum.le.gyal.ma. I give to you my body, heart, and soul. Influence me with your graces, lead the way in my spiritual path, so that I may be a blessing to all who come before me. May all my enemies no longer hold my attentions as they shiver and run from the wind of your banner.

praise10

Savioress and Forested Protector

Emerald Tara We are approaching the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel of purging which has brought us to this very place. Sufferings are only the manifestation of fear and the next Tara battles them with grace and love. Green Tara is still a wrathful Mother, but Her ferocity is for protecting Her children. As Sengdeng Nagchi Drolma, Tara reaches out as a tree; wherever Her branches shelter they also create the darkness of shadow. It seems a lot, but Tara is just the gal to take on what is referred to as the 'Eight Great Fears'. In Her hand is the wheel of dharma, the eight spokes spinning out in all directions as a vehicle of wisdom. She can focus this illumination in Her mudra of protection.

Fear can be external as well as internal, faced over and over in spiritual life. It is as a hydra, with one fear finally being conquered it seems another three rear their heads. By having special knowledge and the persistence of seeking out Buddha nature, our efforts can be blessed with Sengdeng Nagchi Drolma. She is in our corner, standing as spiritual sentinel. She is the one who gets us pumped up, rolls up Her sleeves and helps to face the eight-headed fear manifested: demonic beings/spirits, poison/jealousy, fire/anger, elephants/ignorance, water and ocean/inner fear and desire, robbers/wrong beliefs, imprisonment/stubbornness and attachment. The potential is there, in each of us... we need only be ready to face these fears; name them, confront them, and with Tara's wheels rolling so quickly circumventing your entire being, traveling in and out of the chakras. Nothing can hurt us again.

sengdeng

As Mother of the Buddhas, I call forth the power and presence of the savioress Seng.deng Nag.chi Drol.ma. I give to you my body, heart, and soul with the courage to face my fears head on and deflect them into oblivion. May all sentient beings realize their own potential strength and Buddha nature in such a way they may never fear again. Send your green light onto this heart and protect it from all poisons, fears and demons.

praise09

 

Annihilator of Mara

Tara Who Brings Nothingness Cannot get much more gone than annihilate...there is no trace of it left. The only thing left to reveal is the fear manifested as distractions. Like a ninja, they are stealth engaging us in the illusions which fascinate and deter us from the path. We cannot simply ignore them...these are demons which can only wreck havoc is left to their own devices. Zhengyi Migyalma is the darkest red in color, again an action-oriented Tara. She who is invincible no longer squashes out the demon, pulverizing it into an abyss...She IS the nothingness which is not left, so to speak. There is hardly a memory of what was manifesting from within us, making sure there is nothing to cling to ever again as well; leaving no trail to follow in a moment of weakness.

As the practice has been moving through these darker aspects of Tara, I realize She is a necessary teacher in the exploration of the depths in which attachments are deeply rooted. Instead of spraying poisons on the weeds in my garden, the more difficult work of pulling and up-rooting is truly the best plan for attack to permanently change. And that is what I have been trying to do...attack the foundation of spiritual distractions; their tendrils and thorns finding their way and digging in, causing scratching and infection at my soul in the form of bitterness and jealousies. As the Buddha was tempted by the illusions of Mara with sex, power and false happiness, so am I taunted with short cuts and flashy, shiny pathways to ecstatic bliss. Real enlightenment and illumination requires real work; but once the space is emptied, there is room for the flowers to spread and thrive.

This dark red Tara, Zhengyi Migyalma, has a seriously powerful weapon to utterly destroy the maras without fear. It is the holy vajra: the thunderbolt of illumination combined with the diamond, sharp enough to cut anything and not be affected. It is an irreversible force... once we have tapped into this energy, there is no turning back. With the wrong intentions, there is no other self-defeating magic quite as strong. Exposing the rawness at the center of our fears is eventually rewarding. The nightmares are a Sunday walk for Her and She'll be waiting on the other side to pull us back together.

zhengyi_migyalmaFrom the depths of dark places, where I am afraid to go, I seek out the powerful presence of She,gyi.mi.gyal.ma. I give to you my body, heart and soul. Pledging completely to the process of alleviating suffering for myself and all other sentient beings I ask that you bless me with your abysmal love; help me to work through the distractions. Raise your flaming dorje to be the spark of sacred destruction against all influences which keep me from my path.

praise08

 

Invincible, Flaming One

Indestructible Tara Who Cuts In a blue-black hue surrounded by smoke and rain, Tara sits in the center of a blazing fire, gnashing Her teeth like a vampire. If black Tara is the equivalent of Kali, this one is most like Hekate with Her flaming blade that cuts loose any known, or unknown, inner demons from our spiritual lives. She is the karmic soldier who roots out any misuses of magic, mantras or powers we are afflicted with; either caused by ourselves or inflicted upon us by others. Any toxic influences are severed ties with, Zhengyi Mithubma will release us from them: ignorance, attachment, unnatural or unharmonious feelings and thoughts are quickly sliced away with Her flaming sword. These can sometimes manifest into the external world as misfortune not only in our own lives, but those of others as earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires. Although it may seem destructive and chaotic, it is within the realm of nature to 'clean house' every once in a while to restore balance; such is our spiritual nature as well.

Her fire is one of grace, the flame of knowledge that can become out of control and wild for the untrained. However, in the right hands this fire is the light of gnosis, inspiration from a deep dark place or the uncultured dreams waiting like pearls in the rocky beds of oysters. With Her left leg down She sends white energy down, with the right leg She pushes the red energy up; one being peaceful and the other more active elemental forces of the universe. With practice, a magician can learn to run these currents as well...dissipating any and all spells or curses thrown at them. Ordinary feelings are destroyed, our hands recoil from attachments of the material world as we reach inside ourselves for the mantra of Zhengyi Mithubma, inner Tara of the deep.

Sheghimitobma_Tara

Severed and surrendered, I call forth the power and presence of Shen.gi.tob.ma, Tara the invincible. I give you my body, heart and soul. Pledging completely to the process that brings the alleviation of suffering to all sentient beings, I request my life, plans, and magical aspirations catch fire with your divine flame.

praise07