Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 21,822,522

February 1st. 2019 ...

Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media

September 25th. 2018 ...

Understanding the Unseen

August 25th. 2018 ...

A Little Magickal History

Men and the Goddess

Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces

Kitchen Magic and Memories

Why the Faeries?

Magic in Daily Life

An Open Fire: Healing from Within

Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light

On Preconceived Pagan/Wiccan Political Affiliations

Gudrun of the Victory Gods

Ares and Athena

La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength

The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives

The Lady on the Stairs

July 26th. 2018 ...

The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity

May 29th. 2018 ...

Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess

April 20th. 2018 ...

Nazis Made Us Change Our Name

January 25th. 2018 ...

Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion

November 15th. 2017 ...


September 30th. 2017 ...


August 31st. 2017 ...

The White Goddess: A Seminal Work in the Neo-Wiccan Movement.

July 31st. 2017 ...

Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers

July 2nd. 2017 ...

On Cursing: Politics and Ethos

A Distant Thunder: Should You Care?

June 1st. 2017 ...

Herbal Astrology

The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions

April 30th. 2017 ...

Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles

March 30th. 2017 ...

Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords

January 10th. 2017 ...

The Gray of 'Tween

Becoming a Sacred Dancer

Little Dog, Big Love

December 9th. 2016 ...

A Child's First Yule

November 10th. 2016 ...

A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities

What Exactly Is Witchcraft?

What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)

On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans

September 11th. 2016 ...

The Shadow of Disgust

September 3rd. 2016 ...

Nature’s Reward

August 12th. 2016 ...

Hungarian Belief in Fairies

When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch

Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament

Past Midnight

July 13th. 2016 ...

What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses

Magic With A Flick of my Finger

An Open Mind and Heart

Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum

June 13th. 2016 ...

Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia

My Father, My First God

Life is Awesome... and the Flu

May 15th. 2016 ...

Faery Guided Journey

Working with the Elements

Magical Household Cleaning

April 2nd. 2016 ...

The Fear of Witchcraft

Magic in Sentences

March 28th. 2016 ...

Revisiting The Spiral

Still Practicing

Spring Has Sprung!

January 22nd. 2016 ...

Coming Out of the Broom Closet

Community and Perception

December 20th. 2015 ...

Magia y Wicca

October 24th. 2015 ...

Feeling the Pulse of Autumn

October 16th. 2015 ...

Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts

September 30th. 2015 ...

The Other-Side

September 16th. 2015 ...

Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate

August 6th. 2015 ...

Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale

July 9th. 2015 ...

Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Magic of Weather

June 7th. 2015 ...

A Pagan Altar

A Minority of a Minority of a Minority

The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?

May 6th. 2015 ...

13 Keys: The Crown of Kether

March 29th. 2015 ...

A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft

March 28th. 2015 ...

On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations

March 1st. 2015 ...

Choosing to Write a Shadow Book

February 1st. 2015 ...

Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader

January 1st. 2015 ...

Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft

Pagans All Around Us

Broomstick to the Emerald City

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 3638

VoxAcct: 151881

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 6,626

Times Read: 20,448

Kuan Yin And The Year Of The Snake

Author: Sia@FullCircle [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: September 23rd. 2001
Times Viewed: 20,448

Some Pagans may have seen this coming. Not me. This was already one of the most difficult years of my life; it can't, I thought, get any worse then this. And then, horribly, and for all of us, it did.

For me this troubled year began with a bad economy and worsened with the serious illness of a dear friend and the failing health of both parents. The year hit it's most painful peak back in spring with the death of my beloved sister. When I could stand again, I looked around and realized that I was not the only one in pain. For some reason I didn't quite understand many of my friends were also having a terrible year. I thought about that and decided to address it. And so I wrote this for the July issue of our Full Circle Newsletter.

"What is it about this year? Almost every person I know (me included) is having a very rough time of it. We're barely halfway through and already I've seen talented, hard working people lose jobs and have trouble finding another one. Many of my friends have become ill, had accidents, or are experiencing trouble with housing or money. Some are working on issues in their relationships while others have had to cope with a serious illness or a death in their families. Many others have worked for years to make a particular dream come true only to be told "not now" or "not this." This year feel volatile, unsafe and strangely troubling."Why all the trouble, grief and pain and why now?" I wondered. Then I ran into my friend Sean. We chatted a bit about some friends and shared a trouble or two of our own. Then I said, "Sean, what is it about this year?". And he looked at me, smiled gently and said, "Well, you know, it is the Year of the Snake."

I realized then that the Chinese calendar might have the right image to explain the difficult changes I'd gone through this year. Towards the end of that essay I wrote this:

"I feel like a snake this year - much of what I've worn emotionally has been scraped away. I don't know what's coming to renew me - I haven't seen that far ahead. But I am trusting that I will be better and stronger then I was before. I can say this because I have learned over the years to trust my friends, my partner and most of all myself. Learning to trust was a hell of a left turn - and it was worth it."

When I read that again, I see now that I only grasped one part of the whole. The snake, as you know, was associated in ancient times with rebirth and with the Goddess. I thought about that this week while rescue crews risked their lives in both disaster areas and while ordinary citizens quietly stepped forward to help in any way they could. As I've watched the TV and listened to the news on NPR I have seen one particular Goddess appear in the aspect of the Firefighters and Police. I saw her in the heart of the gallant Mayor and she was reflected in the heroic actions of all those who attempted to save other lives, both in those planes and on the ground below. I still see her in all the grief, love and courage that boiled up and overflowed this week. Her influence seems to be everywhere. The Goddess I see at every vigil and at every Red Cross center and at every grave is Kuan Yin, the Great Triple Goddess of Mercy and Compassion.

This ancient Goddess is unique in that her worship has never ceased, has never been sent underground, lost or hidden. I guess we needed her too badly for that. She's adapted, of course, but she is the only Goddess who currently appears at the center of three modern world religions. In a book titled "The Heart of the Goddess", Hallie Inglehart Austin writes about this Goddess. She is Tara, Kannon, Kuan Yin; different aspects of the Great Goddess, known in ancient Asia as Guanyin.

As the Green Tara she often shown wearing a snake-like tiara as a crown and holding a lotus flower. Her name translates as "She Who Leads Across". Austin describes her in this way.

"As the Great Mother in India and Tibet, Tara is at once the fierce Goddess of the Underworld, the Earth Goddess of plants animals and human beings and the Heavenly Goddess of wisdom and spiritual transformation. When she was absorbed into the Buddhist pantheon, she became a bodhisattva, an enlightened being who, rather than entering nirvana, chooses to remain in the world until everyone is liberated. Unique among the bodhisattvas, she vowed to always reincarnate as a woman." (1)

As Kannon in Japan, the Goddess is often shown holding a two edged sword and riding a dragon. Austin quotes contemporary artist Mayumi Oda on the meaning of Kannon in this aspect:

"Kannon is the Goddess of Compassion, and we as women have been raised to be kind and loving. This is very important. It is also important that we cut through the bullshit. Sometimes we have to be ruthless in order to be compassionate, to have the wisdom to know what is right action.She is a Goddess who stands by herself, that is, on her own two feet, just as we must learn to do." (2)

If you go back far enough, you will find the Goddess before she became split. At that time, she was known as Guanyin. About Guanyin, "She who hears the cries of all beings", Austin writes:

"Guanyin brings souls to the newborn and rain to the Earth..she is a deity of the wild places, often appearing under a full moon, by ponds and willow trees. .By meditating on her attributes and her image we can begin to cultivate compassion and a deep sense of service. In doing this, we not only help others but also move more easily and peacefully in the world." (3)

Her merciful aspect is one of the attributes that make this Goddess so revered. You will sometimes see statues of Kuan Yin in her many-armed aspect, a trait she shares with Kali, another powerful Goddess from India. Kuan Yin is most often shown holding a jar which contains the water of life and compassion. This is how she usually appears in gardens, which are the places she most loves. Austin writes:

"Kuan Yin is the most universally beloved of Chinese deities..she is the very embodiment of compassionate loving kindness..In many images, she carries the pearls of illumination or pours a stream of healing waters from a vase, blessing her devotees with physical and spiritual peace. She is often shown with a dragon; the age old symbol of the highest spiritual essence, embodying wisdom, strength, and the divine powers of transformation." (4)

Sept. 11th reminded us all how quickly our lives could transform. Back in July I wrote what I knew about change:

"And every time I've needed to be shaken up, whether it be spiritually, emotionally or physically; that has happened. I moved forward in the direction that seems right to me and often, I hit a wall. I wailed at the wall. I resented the wall. I complained bitterly and at length about the wall."I never deserved this" I cried ! (Just between you and me, I sometimes did). Then a friend and teacher said this to me, "You'll always know which direction the universe wants you to take because it will stop you with a wall to get your attention. When you hit that wall, turn left." And so I do."

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not some Guru who sits in a cave and feels no attachment to the things of this world. I'm Pagan and I'm passionately connected to the earth and to the beauty I find here. While I'm glad of that, I also know that I will need to grieve many losses over the course of my life. No human being can escape grief and suffering. When I hit that wall of pain, anger and loss I do what others do; I look to my spiritual practice for comfort and support. And then I take action.

Fire and Air teach me about change, movement, loss and transformation. Water and Earth teach me lessons about healing, cleansing, growth, and rebirth. The wheel turns and turns again and none of us has control. We can only live in this moment and do the good that's in front of us.

I find as I get older that I can live passionately in this world, love it and still work to change it for the better. That's my left turn. You see, for me, achieving spiritual balance means that I need to cry, to let go and to bless that which changes. This includes places, things and people. For this reason I use the Serenity Prayer in my practice. It goes like this:

Grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
The courage the change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I'm still working on that last part. I suspect it's a life long process.

I first met Kuan Yin years ago in a small California mountain town called Weaverville. This historic mining town contains the famous Joss House, one of the oldest active Chinese temples in the United States. It was built in 1874 by the Chinese merchants and miners who lived in the town. All of the artifacts, banners and icons for the temple came from China and it took many years to decorate and build. It is known by the lovely name of "The Temple of the Forest Beneath the Clouds" and it is dedicated to Kuan Yin.

The Chinese settlers who lived in California back then were surrounded on all sides by hostility, prejudice and mistrust. Their complex belief system was thought to be mere "primitive superstition". (5) This temple gave them a place where they could come together as a people, a place where they could share their experience, strength and hope with one another. It also gave them a place where they could seek out and speak to Kuan Yin.

Kuan Yin teaches that mercy and compassion are for everyone. I believe this is why her worship spans centuries, cultures, geography and religions. This Goddess dwells among us here on earth and she understands our grief, anger, fear and hopelessness. She does not preach, she listens. She does not demand our obedience rather she lets her own actions light the way for those that wish to follow her example. She is love, compassion and mercy personified and we need her now more then ever.

Kuan Yin does not pick and choose; her love is for all beings, including those of us who bring our troubles upon ourselves. One great example of this is the Joss House itself, which has been constructed not once, but twice. It was originally built in 1854 and it was destroyed in what is known as the Weaverville Tong War. The Tong War took place over the course of one terrible day in 1854. It involved many of the 2, 000 Chinese people living in and around the town. The war began at dawn. By the sunset, the original temple was burning, ten Chinese miners lay dead and over thirty were wounded. The ironic fact is that the Chinese war was instigated by the white settlers in the town who stood by and watched it all happen. They even took bets on the outcome. You may well ask, "Why would these people allow themselves to be used in this way?" No one knows for sure.

Whenever I am tempted to lash out in anger, I think of that Tong War. It reminds me that compassion is a dynamic force. My tradition teaches that this force must be directed outwardly, as well as inwardly, in order to be effective. For me, this means that I cannot fight intolerance or prejudice directed towards me with more of the same. I can defend myself and my loved ones, never you fear, but I can do so in a way that leaves my integrity intact. More then once the thought of Kuan Yin has kept me from playing the fool in someone else's game. This is what is meant by right action. It does not mean "no action" or "reaction", it means action that is taken from a position of wisdom, understanding and strength.

Human beings tend to react rather then act. They can also mistake kindness and compassion for weakness and gullibility. Kuan Yin teaches otherwise. This is why she is shown with the water of compassion, the sword that cuts through, the dragons of wisdom and the crown of empowerment. All these must all be used together for right action to occur. The fact that Kuan Yin is also portrayed with so many arms does not surprise me. It takes a Goddess of outstanding strength to hold all the grief and love of this world. On those days when I feel fearful, misjudged or under threat I use the various aspects of Kuan Yin to guide me. She stands for courage and the willingness to extend help to those in need, regardless of the cost to ourselves. When a community comes together as we have done, they embody Kuan Yin. Then the whole, as they say, exceeds the sum of all it's parts.

This world we live in is so unsafe and changeable and yet it is also so very beautiful, the beings in it unique and precious. We have good cause today to remember that.

"Snakes also travel into the underworld - they emerge from the dark place into the light and they are comfortable in both worlds - this gives them balance. ... This totem may mean that I have to look into some dark places I've been avoiding. It may be that I have to embrace the light and joy that's already in my life. I don't know, but I'm ready for the process. At this point in my life, not doing the work I have to do is a lot harder then doing it."

"Namaste" is the Sanskrit word which means, 'I bow to the divine in you". One says this holding the two hands together in a gesture of respect and unity. It is often used by Taoist-Pagans as a greeting that honors our connection to the divine, to one another and to all life. To you I say "Namaste". May the blessings of Kuan Yin be with you and yours, 00 size=3>Sia




Location: Portland, Oregon

Author's Profile: To learn more about Sia@FullCircle - Click HERE

Bio: Sia is the Council Leader for Full Circle Events. She lives in Northern California and practices in a Green Tradition.


(1) The Heart of the Goddess: Art, Myth and Meditations on the World's Sacred Feminine by Hallie Inglehart Austin. Windbow Press, Berkeley, 1991. Page 146
(2) Ibid, Page 46
(3) Ibid, Page 44
(4) Ibid, Page 44
(5) The experiences of the Chinese setters in the mining towns of California and in the city San Francisco are vividly portrayed by American writer Jo An Levy in her book of fiction titled "Daughter of Joy" and in her history titled "They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush" An interview with the author can be found here:

Author's Note: If you have enjoyed reading this piece, I would ask the you help support the Witches Voice in their efforts to celebrate and support the Pagan community by becoming a Witchvox Sponsor. They rely on our support to keep this non-profit website up and running, so please, do your part to help our community and send them a donation. With thanks, Sia

Other Articles: Sia@FullCircle has posted 23 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Sia@FullCircle... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to Sia@FullCircle ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2019 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections
(including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.)
are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc.
TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).