Goddess Column: Kuan Yin
The light that allows us to move through this world and witness the light in others has many names. In yogic traditions, we hear this as “Namaste” or “Sat Nam.” And through the east Asian goddess Kuan Yin (also spelled Guan Yin, Guanyin, Kwan Yin and Quan Yin) we recognize this sacred light as compassion. The ability to hold love and space not only for others, but also ourselves, is a lesson many of us are being retaught right now. And if there was ever a goddess consciousness to tap into to witness the love of compassion and mercy, it’s that of Kuan Yin.
In Buddhist tradition, Kuan Yin had the opportunity to become an enlightened one but instead, she chose to remain on earth so she could hear and answer the prayers of mother and children, making her a bodhisattva. Her compassion is her gift, flowering like the lotus she is often represented by. Her loving kindness is a beacon for us to turn to, gaze on and bask in, whenever we need some love. She is the ultimate mother, holding space no matter what’s happened so we are allowed to see ourselves in the same way she sees us; as perfect, divine specimens who are always worthy of love and empathy and care. She is not one to punish, or worry about dogma. Instead, Kuan Yin holds us in loving consciousness, inviting us to evolve to our higher selves by seeing the possibility of all we are. She is often seen with mala beads or prayer beads, which turns to represent those she’s leading to nirvana, helping the wheels of karma turn as well. When we work with this goddess, we’re working with pure presence, love and light. She is here to hold space, to answer prayers, to have mercy and to be the divine mother in her fullest embodiment.
Sacred symbols and offerings
Working and honoring a goddess is more than anything, a relationship. A really beautiful way to start this connection is to create an altar in dedication of a deity. This will serve as an energetic focal point for your work with a goddess. Here you can pray, leave offerings, work magick and focus on your work and intention. Creating an altar is a deeply intentional and personal act and will hopefully help you create an intimate relationship with Kuan Yin. Ask yourself what you can do to foster your relationship with this goddess. For example, you can: buy a five day candle to light everyday while you say mantras or pray to her. You can leave an offering of flowers, sweet bread or black tea for her. You can have a journal in which you write in her honor, or channel messages from her. You can print out a photo of her or buy a statue of her and place it on your altar. You can work with stones like jade, amethyst and rose quartz to promote feelings of love and compassion. Your creativity and inspiration is always a guiding force in working with goddesses.
Colors: White, green, pink
Sacred Associations: The lotus which represents knowledge and eternity, black tea, rice, sweet cakes, the willow branch which she uses to sprinkle the nectar of life, rosary or mala beads, a vase to represent the sweet nectar of life, the dove.
Offerings: sweet cakes, lotus incense, fresh fruit, flowers
A LOVING KINDNESS MEDITATION FOR COMPASSION
Loving kindness meditations are the perfect way to find the compassion that Kuan Yin gives so freely. Find a comfortable seat and begin to find your breath. Allow yourself to feel supported by the earth beneath you. Imagine a white light cascading over you like a waterfall, eventually holding you in its embrace. Feel this loving white light and then bring to mind someone you love dearly. Imagine them sitting in front of you. Tell them that you wish that they are free from suffering, that you hope they are happy, and that you hope they find peace. Feel your heart send out love to them as you exhale, and fill with love as you inhale. Then imagine someone you have more difficulty feelings like pain or betrayal sitting in front of you. Say the same thing, telling them you wish that they are free from suffering, that you hope they are happy, and that you hope they find peace. Feel your heart send them love as you exhale and fill with love as you inhale. Now, imagine you sitting in front of yourself. Follow this same process, saying you hope you’re free from suffering, that you find happiness and that you find peace. Connect once again to your heart and imagine the white light of Kuan Yin vibrating around you. Release any worries into this light, allowing it to dissolve it all so only loving kindness remains. Stay here and meditate with this as long as you need.
Mantras: Repeating her name over and over again.
“Om Mani Padme Hum” (Om Mani Peme Hung) the “Buddha of compassion” mantra.
“I return to my heart, over and over again.”
A RITUAL TO CULTIVATE SELF-COMPASSION
This simple ritual will help you find some-self compassion and healing, while helping you return to your heart and love
You will need: a mirror, and somewhere quiet. Optional: any stones for love like rose quartz or jade, massage oil.
Cleanse and clear your space
First things first- time to get your space set up. Let any roomies or partners know you shouldn’t be disturbed, take care of pets, put some music on, turn off your phone and get your supplies together. Burn some sage and let the smoke clear the energy of your space. Make sure you have a safe space to burn some ish up and then find a comfortable seat in front of a mirror.
Ground and set your intention
Once you’re in a comfortable seat, start to find your breath. Feel the earth supporting you as you sit and relax. Breathe into this space, imagining a white light from above embracing you from every direction. Soon you are enveloped in this white light. Imagine any stress, heartache, jealousy, anger, sadness, or whatever else, melting away. All that’s left is this warm loving light. As you exhale, imagine any of these difficult feelings being released. As you inhale, imagine this white, loving light filling your lungs and your body. You can invite Kuan Yin in at this time, asking to connect with her consciousness and compassion, to be able to hold yourself in the loving light she holds you in.
Once you feel the energy of this loving presence, open your eyes and gaze at your non-dominant eye (so if you’re right handed, your left eye and vice versa) in the mirror. Breathe into this. Say something like “ I am a vessel for love and light. I give myself the gift of compassion whenever I need.” You can start giving yourself a massage if that feels right, infusing your body with the same white light you met in the step above. Hold your crystals in your hand, press them into your heart, use them however needed if it’s part of your practice. Speak to yourself, forgiving yourself for any pain or hurt you’ve caused. Speak this as you gaze into your own eye, holding eye contact even if it’s uncomfortable. Breathe into this. Connect to your heart. Allow all the walls to fall away as you speak truth to whatever comes up. Allow this process to take however long it needs.
Ground and center
Once you feel complete in the ritual, close your eyes and connect to the white light around you once again. Continue to breathe in this as you bask in Kuan Yin’s loving devotion and compassion. Thank her for whatever came up and learned. Stay here as long as you need, and then tell her the ritual is complete and that she is dismissed. When you feel ready imagine the white light moving from you back into the cosmos around you. Breathe through your mouth like you’re inhaling through a straw, exhale fully and and slowly open your eyes.
Chakrub: Indian Jade
This green aventurine crystal is perfect for releasing old habits and patterns that are no longer serving us. This “stone of opportunity” is perfect for helping us call in optimism, compassion and opportunities that are in alignment with our highest good. This Chakrub can help us cultivate self-compassion and self-worth by reminding us that we ARE worthy of it all. Use it as you meditate on Kuan Yin’s mantras to connect to your heart and the loving energy of compassion and mercy, to attract love and all that is in your highest good.