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Coloring the Sacred Feminine A Mini Mandala Coloring Book Susanne F. Fincher Shambhala Boulder 2016
Shambhala Publications, Inc. 4720 Walnut Street Boulder, Colorado 80301 www.shambhala.com ? 2006 by Susanne F. Fincher Introduction ? 2016 by Susanne F. Fincher This book is a slightly revised edition of Coloring Mandalas 3 (Shambhala, 2006). All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Printed in Canada oThis edition is printed on acid-free paper that meets the American National Standards Institute Z39.48 Standard. kShambhala Publications makes every effort to print on recycled paper. For more information please visit www.shambhala.com. Distributed in the United States by Penguin Random House LLC and in Canada by Random House of Canada Ltd ISBN 978-1-61180-423-2
Introduction C. G. Jung observed that at times of stress accompanying personal growth, adults instinctively return to making circular designs. He called these designs mandalas, from the Sanskrit word meaning 'sacred circle.' Jung recognized that creating mandalas supports the urge to 'nd a sense of balance, meaning, and wholeness. 'Susanne F. Fincher The sacred feminine refers to the divine symbolized as a female personage with qualities such as creativity, nurturing, and mystery. Goddess, and the Great Mother are some of the names for the sacred feminine. For ancient people, it was obvious that the Goddess held their lives in her hands. It was she who generated the rhythms of the seasons, she who held the power of the moon that makes plants grow. She ensured that plenty of healthy young deer, rabbits, and horses were born in the spring. It was she who ruled the ocean, and brought sea creatures into the 'shermen's nets, and kept the
sea gentle as they harvested their catch. Her springs of clear water offered cool refreshment and miraculous healing, while her rivers and seas were sacred crossing points from this world to the next. It was she who helped a woman hold the affection of a husband or a lover, and she who granted the wish for a child. She it was who presided over life, and the life-giving energies of nature. And it was she who welcomed the dead back into her embrace. The people buried their own in her earthen womb, tucking them in like children after a long, tiring day. The Goddess set all in order'the cosmos and the great round of human existence, birth and life and death. All were her creations. The sacred feminine is expressed in rhythmic patterns that convey energy, movement, and continuity. Examples include the steady heartbeat of a drum, the chanting of sacred syllables, the circling movements of dance, and the rhythmic visual forms of meanders, zigzags, crisscrosses, spirals, and circles. Reverence for the Great Mother was part of daily life, as revealed in ancient shards of pottery decorated with snakes, flowers, birds, and the Goddess herself, with her wavy hair, full breasts and owlish eyes, with her triangular pubis, and her round, oval, or 'sh-shaped vulva (see mandalas 1'11). J. D. Cooper describes the symbols of the Goddess: 'the crescent moon, crown of stars, blue robe, horns of the cow, the spiral, concentric circles, all waters, fountains, wells, all that is sheltering, protecting, and enclosing'the cave, wall, earth mound, gate, temple, church, house, city'all vessels of nour-
ishment, and breasts as nourishment, all containers of abundance, and all that is hollow and receptive'the cup, cauldron, basket, chalice, horn of plenty, vase, yoni (vulva)'all that comes from the waters'shells, 'shes, pearls.' Among birds, her companions are the dove, swan, goose, crow, and owl. Her creatures include the bear, cow, horse, sow, rabbit, snake, cat, and dog. Among her flowers are the lotus, lily, and rose. Trees and their fruits are associated with her, as are groves of trees, stones standing like trees, and pillars suggesting tree trunks. Circles have expressed the essence of the sacred feminine from very early times. They elegantly convey the mysteries of life, beginning with the wonder Figure 1. Labyrinth pattern used by women in India to focus concentration during childbirth. (After Khanna, p. 157)
of birth ('gure 1). Images of women with big hips and breasts full of life-giving nourishment date from 25,000 b.c.e. ('gure 2). Birth shrines with circular designs and images of women giving birth date from around 12,000 b.c.e. The circle functions to generate, yet safely contain and regulate, the life force associated with the sacred feminine. Prehistoric circles of standing stones? such as those at Stonehenge, Avebury, and Callanish in the British Isles'are sites where the natural cycles associated with the Goddess were observed and celebrated. Standing stones are often placed near water and constructed with reference to seasonal alignments of the sun, moon, and stars. The life-deathFigure 2. The Great Mother Goddess gives birth, supported by her animals. Turkey, c. 6000 b.c.e. (After Gimbutas, p. 107)
rebirth cycles of the seasons'and of human life'were venerated in these places, as nearby burial sites attest. A shrine more than ten thousand years old discovered in India is comprised of a circular platform of sandstone supporting pieces of striated rock. Nearby pieces, 'tted together with matching elements on the platform, form a triangle of stone in shades of red. The use of such abstract symbols to convey the living presence of the Great Mother continues even today in India in mandalas called yantras. Over time, the Great Mother became numerous goddesses symbolizing the qualities once gathered into one. In her benevolent, nourishing, creative aspect, she is Danu, Isis, Ceridwen, Inanna, Lakshmi, Parvati, Tara, Kuan Yin, Demeter, and Sophia. As the dark, mysterious and familiar with death, she is Erishkegal, Kali, Durga, Lilith, Hecate, Medusa, and the Black Madonna. With the introduction of male sky gods, the old goddess religion was discredited, yet it persists, with its lore of healing herbs, midwifery, and earth-centered rituals, even into modern times. Let us consider the Virgin of Guadelupe. Mexico's patroness, the Virgin of Guadelupe, is a popular icon of contemporary Latin American Christianity. She 'rst appeared in 1523 to Juan Diego, a simple Indian, on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City. The apparition of a dark Indian maiden wrapped in a blue mantle commanded him to build a church on that spot. When the bishop demanded a sign, Guadalupe directed Juan Diego
to gather roses from the garden that had miraculously sprung up at her feet and take them to the bishop. Juan Diego obeyed, and when he opened his serape to let the roses tumble out, the bishop was amazed to see the image of the Virgin on the cloth itself. The Catholic Church accepted the miracle, and a church was built on the spot. But there were those who questioned Guadalupe's sudden popularity only ten years after the Spanish conquest. The historian Frank Waters quotes Father Sahagun writing of his doubts: Near the mountains there are three or four places where they used to offer most solemn sacri'ces, and to which they came from distant lands. One of these is on a little hill they called Tepeyac, now named Our Lady of Guadalupe. In this place they had a temple dedicated to the mother of the gods whom they called Tonantzin, which means 'our mother.' Thither they came from far distant regions . . . men, women, boys, and girls, and brought many offerings. There were great assemblages and all said, 'Let's go to the festival of Tonantzin.' Now, the church built there is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe whom they also call Tonantzin, imitating the prelates who called Our Lady the Mother of God (in Aztec), Tonantzin. And so they still come to visit this Tonantzin from afar, as much as before; a devotion which is suspicious because everywhere there are many churches for Our Lady
and they do not go to them, but come from great distances here to their Tonantzin as before. (See mandala 13.) The Virgin Mary is an important symbol of the sacred feminine in Christianity. Like the Goddess, she is associated with white lilies, fragrant roses, white doves, and the moon. Although she is considered mortal in traditional church doctrine, Mary shares many attributes in common with the goddess as loving mother. Like Kuan Yin, the feminine Bodhisattva of Compassion in Buddhism, Mary is kind, patient, and caring. She hears the prayers of all the people, no matter how poor, and intercedes on their behalf with her son Jesus and God the Father. Like the Phrygian goddess Nana, she is a virgin who gives birth to a divine child. Like Demeter, her god-child rises from the place of the dead to live again. Mary is appreciated as a counterbalance to an exclusively masculine God in Christian tradition. David Kinsley explains that 'for millions of her devotees her power, influence, and grace have overflowed the categories that would restrict her to a subordinate, peripheral role.' Such devotion to the sacred feminine is found also in India, where the Goddess is described as 'lotus-born,' 'standing on a lotus,' 'lotus-colored,' 'lotus-thighed,' 'lotus-eyed,' 'decked with lotus garlands,' and 'abounding in lotuses.' Among her many names are Padma and Kamala, both meaning
10 'lotus.' The lotus signi'es the presence of the ancient Great Mother even when she is not named. Lotus petals adorn mandalas, alluding to the primordial Great Mother as the doorway of creation. As Heinrich Zimmer explains: When the divine life substance is about to put forth the universe, the cosmic waters grow a thousand-petaled lotus of pure gold, radiant as the sun. This is the door or gate, the opening or mouth, of the womb of the universe. The lotus also signi'es the aspiration to transcend mundane existence. As the lotus is rooted in the mud beneath still waters, and rises above the water to bestow its magni'cent flower, so spirituality is rooted in, yet transcends, the ordinary. This earthy aspect of the Goddess is especially important in rural areas where village women sculpt small mounds of cow dung to represent her during seasonal festivities. In both Hindu and Buddhist iconography, the enlightenment of gods and goddesses, buddhas and bodhisattvas, is shown by their being seated upon a lotus cushion. (See mandala 43.) With the coming of patriarchal religion to India, the Great Mother gains a consort. The pair represents the complementary forces symbolized by the female and male energies of nature. The goddess, Shakti, is primordial energy, envisioned as the creative force that quickens and sets in motion the rhythms
11 of life. The god, Shiva, is cosmic consciousness, the essential ground of all phenomena. In the tantric view, all that exists flows from the creative play between these two forces. Shakti easily transforms herself into many separate manifestations, each a goddess in her own right, yet tethered to the central goddess Shakti. These goddess manifestations split off from the central goddess Shakti, just as sparks shoot off from a 're. Shakti and her circle of sparked-off goddesses comprise a Shakti cluster. Figure 3. Yantras of the Ten Mahavidyas, goddesses who manifest aspects of Kali (center yantra). From the top clockwise: Kali, Tara, Shodashi, Bhuvaneshvari, Chinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi, Kamala. (After Khanna, p. 59)