Springingtiger's Blog


Goddess

“I can stand upon a hill at dawn
Look all around me
Feel her surround me”
(Buffy Sainte-Marie.  Soldier Blue)

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There is something about being alone on a hillside that calls the song “Soldier Blue” to my mind. It is a beautiful song about the people’s relationship with the land, and her support for the people who live and depend upon her. Although Buffy Sainte-Marie was singing about North America before the whites raped the land for minerals,  the words make me think of Scotland. “Her spirit walks the high country giving free wild samples” as I walked the brambles were still upon the vine, but becoming fewer. There is something deeply spiritual about being alone on a hillside,  and nature does somehow present herself as a goddess.

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I was listening to Buffy Sainte-Marie this afternoon. Neelam had been involved in presenting the service at the Unitarian Church for the Day of Prayer for World Peace, she used quotations from various traditions including the original people’s of America and also played “Peace is a River” a track from Julie Felix’s  album, “I Walk With Beauty”. When I returned home I played both Julie Felix and, because her native American songs reminded me,  Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Up Where We Belong”.
Around this time of the year the Goddess tends to impinge upon my thoughts, Dushera was last week concluding nine days dedicated to the Goddess in her various forms. There are rather a lot of people who worship a safe and fruitful goddess, these folk tend to believe in unicorns,  sweet fluffy angels, and fairies with wings. I am a Celt, our fairies have teeth,  I know angels well enough to know they are steeped in blood, my unicorn is a rhinoceros and above all,  I know that there is nothing safe about the goddess.

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By my bed hangs Kali Ma, the dark goddess, a representation of pure elemental power. Nature is frequently benign,  she rewards labour with harvests, she gives us fruit,  flowers and fertility.  What we should not forget is that she is also death.  Woe betide whoever takes her for  granted.  She spills avalanches on the foolhardy and pours fire on vineyards beneath the volcano. She does not sleep, she is generous to those she loves,  and terrible to those who take her for granted;  she rewards diligence and punishes carelessness,  but sometimes it is the other way around. She is capricious and unpredictable, beautiful and terrifying.  She is not fluffy. For every story of her maternal blessings there are more of her violence against the enemies of her will. She may be the generous Laxmi, the beautiful Saraswati,  but she is also the blood drinking Kali and the warrior Durga. It is easy to love the sweet and beautiful,  but the Mother has to be embraced fully in all her aspects,  it is perilous to do less. Madness to love her,  insanity not to.

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