~❀The Mother of Mercy❀~
contributed by our manager, Rachel Wurz
image courtesy of Google Images
There are many variations and spellings of her name; all of them originate from the Chinese name Guanshiyin, meaning “one who perceives the sounds (or ‘cries’) of the world”. She is revered as a being that escaped the cycle of reincarnation by attaining true enlightenment; freeing her spirit to reach Nirvana. However, the story goes that she ultimately gave up the eternal bliss of heaven in order to stay behind and help lost souls ascend.
Glimpsing the Goddess
The likeness of this goddess was introduced to China around 1st century AD; but her depictions before this time were often rather masculine in nature, as it was generally accepted that she originated as the Sanskrit creator god Avalokitesvara, which is her male form. Later depictions portrayed her with both male and female attributes. As the Lotus Sutra reveals, Kuan Yin is capable of achieving any physical likeness to relieve the suffering of all; and thus her true spirit is neither male nor female. This little known fact about the incredible “goddess” of mercy reveals the flexibility and seemingly irrelevant nature of gender expression in terms of enlightenment and spiritual usefulness.
In new age culture, Kuan Yin is depicted almost exclusively as female, and is regarded as the holy mother of mercy, compassion, grace, and selflessness. There are many stories detailing Kuan Yin’s travels and compassionate acts in her journey to free all sentient souls from the cycle of reincarnation and guide them to Nirvana.
Working with Kuan Yin
Kuan Yin is a goddess of the moon, and in addition to calling upon her when you need forgiveness, mercy, peace, and retribution, you may incorporate her into any rituals centered around the lunar cycle. Full moon rituals in particular are powerful times to work with this goddess. You can use the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra to invoke Kuan Yin’s spirit and request her aid. Adorning your altar space with items bearing the likeness of a lotus or rainbow, as well as leaving her offerings of black tea and rice, can also help to call her in.