RETURN OF THE DIVINE FEMININE
As I venture forth into the testosterone-heavy land of Nepal and Tibet, I am contemplating the vow made to myself many years ago. I vowed that I would do everything in my power to assist the return of the Divine Feminine and anchor this Divine Feminine Frequency through my prayers, intentions and actions. Since making that vow, I have traveled to many foreign lands where female emancipation and empowerment is a long way off and patriarchy is still the primary power in the land. I have done my best to plant seeds in these places.
I have been to Africa, Southeast Asia, Mexico, South America, Greece, the Middle East and witnessed the sorry conditions of women and wept! I have sat in ceremony in Fiji in a building where the last woman allowed to sit there was the Queen of England. That in itself is a long story, but one I shall tell another time. Right now, I’m reflecting about the feminine in the Nepal/Tibetan locale.
There has been a very small representation of women in the vast pantheon of male Buddhas. Of course, most people know of serene Tara and Kuanyin. But who are the other female deities? I researched and discovered more: there is Vajrayogini, a powerful deity depicted bright red and feisty. “She carried her mystic lover around with her as a ritual implement slung over her shoulder, like a handbag, transforming it into a living man whenever the divine occasion demanded.” She resembles the eastern version of the fire goddess, Pele. There is also the Mother of All Buddhas, Prajnaparamita. These goddesses were archetypes. Were there females in the Buddhist tradition that are alive and embodying the Divine Feminine today I wondered?
Yes, I was happy to discover. The first book I read about such a role model is called “Cave in the Snow” by Vicki Mackenzie. This is the story of a remarkable Englishwoman now known as Tenzin Palmo who has become a Buddhist legend and champion for the rights of women to attain spiritual enlightenment. She moved alone into a remote cave high up in the Himalayas to retreat for twelve years of intense Buddhist meditation. During that period of solitary retreat, she faced amazing challenges: freezing weather, near-starvation, wild animals, and her own demons. Since coming from the cave, she has been speaking, counseling and teaching worldwide in order to raise money for her dream, a nunnery to be built in India to assist young women to become enlightened.
Another excellent book entitled “Women of Wisdom” shares the biographies of six remarkable Buddhist women that became enlightened beings. It is written by Tsultrim Allione, a very well known Western woman teacher of Buddhism. Having taught throughout the world for over thirty years, she has founded her own retreat center in southwest Colorado near Pagossa Springs. This book truly is a treasure, and I particularly loved the stories that Tsultrim told about her coming to terms with her power and womanhood. This is another must-read! I have always wondered about the Dakinis, and I have found no other book that explains the Dakinis as well as this one. Beginning on page 99 with the heading of “The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism” and continuing on with “The Dakini Principle” on page 103 and finishing with “The Language of the Dakini” beginning on page 119, I now understand something about the mysterious dakinis!
My last reading suggestion would be the book, “Buddhist Women On the Edge” with the subtitle Contemporary Perspectives from the Western Frontier, edited by Marianne Dresser. This is an anthology presenting many essays and viewpoints from American women who practice, study and teach Buddhism.
All three books are as far removed from James Hilton classic “Lost Horizon” as they are grounded in common sense and active dialogue with the current situation of women and All That Is. Such women as these are the ones anchoring the Divine Feminine Energy, thereby establishing a peaceful, global community. They serve unconditionally in this process as do also many of US LESSER KNOWN NAMES who have made it our vow to serve as well.
We realize that inner work needs to be achieved before the outer work can begin. The Divine Feminine Presence will re-balance the heavy dominance of the masculine energy which has manifested on this planet for the last eight thousand years or more. Once the feminine and masculine energies are integrated, then humankind will transform and open the page on an awesome new chapter for Mother Earth, or as I call her TERRA STAR!
I wrote the above article in 1998, and this year of 2006, I travelled to India
where I visited Ani Tenzin Palmo's nunnery in process of being built in a beautiful valley not far from Dharmasala. I purchased her new book which
I highly recommend: "Reflections On A Mountain Lake." It is published by Snow Lion. Ani Tenzin's Palmo's website is here.