Urthona - A Journal of Buddhism and the Arts

New Urthona, issue 32 Just Published

On Mon, 7 December, 2015 - 13:28
Ratnagarbha's picture

New Urthona, issue 32 Just Published

Subscribe at www.urthona.com

Issue Theme: Goddesses East and West. Including: Anne Baring on the awaking of the goddess, Sorita De Este – priestess of Hekate, Hollywood goddesses Cleo and Helen of Troy. Dhivan on Ted Hughes and the goddess. Plus reviews of the new Herbie Hancock and Philip Glass memoirs and poetry from Maitreyabandhu, Linda France and many others.  From the editorial by Ratnagarbha:

The symbol of ‘The Goddess‘, with many names and  forms, is one of the most active religious symbols of our age, and this is a fascination that many modern Buddhists share, especially as regards the liberated, intensely energised female figure of the Dakini. Indeed, the naked, blood drinking Dakini has some similarity to the wild and dangerous Valkyries, who collect the souls of the slain in Nordic mythology.

            But why is the goddess such a force to be reckoned with in these times? In seeking to throw some light on this question Urthona turned to two women who are well qualified to talk about the goddess image in our age.

            The first is Anne Baring author, with Jules Cashford, of The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image, an influential study of the history humanity’s relationship with the sacred feminine.  We present a major essay, The Sleeping Beauty, based on a chapter from her new book, The Dream of the Cosmos: a Quest for the Soul.

            Then we have an interview with priestess of Hekate, Sorita De Este. She is a lady who has been intensely involved in Western esoteric traditions for many years, and is well-placed to talk about the modern worship of goddesses.

              Thirdly Jan Osborne has written a fascinating introduction to Kuan Yin, Bodhisattva of compassion. Taking into account the latest scholarship she shows how Kuan Yin is the most approachable of Buddha figures and how her depiction was influenced by Western figures of the virgin Mary.

            Both Anne and Sorita have their own unique ideas, but having reflected on what they say, I believe that the modern goddess image is not primarily a figure to be worshipped, but a symbol that embodies a vision of the entire cosmos that is deeply, desperately needed in this age. In turning our hearts to the goddess, we are turning towards a sacred cosmos, in which each object and event is intimately connected to an interwoven Whole. This interwovenness, or interconnectedness, or ‘interbeing’ as Zen Master Tich Nat Hanh styles it, is a vision of life that in past ages was felt and known ‘in the blood’ without needing to be articulated. But it is a vision that, since the Renaissance, western culture has gradually, and disastrously, lost touch with.

Log in or register to take part in this conversation