In working with the goddesses of other cultures, I believe it’s important to understand who are they now. I think the goddesses of myth, legend, and story evolve just as we evolve. The Athena of now is different than the goddess of ancient Athens. She has experienced change and growth just as humans do. In addition, I think when a Wiccan or Pagan works with them, we share with them a special interaction and energy. For me the experience is a combination of manifestation, meditation or prayer, and journeying. No disrespect is meant when working with a god or goddess of another culture. The gods tend to choose me rather than the other way around.
I have been working with Durga for quite awhile and she keeps manifesting. A statue of her astride a tiger sits on my altar and I see it every morning and every night to remind me to treat myself with fierce compassion, something I do not always do. She has become very persistent lately, manifesting in different ways. At a Full Moon Meditation on Valentine’s Day, I pulled a stone with the word, “Decide” on it. I’m still not sure what that means to me other than Durga appeared in the meditation and told me to explore the gifts held in each hand. I looked them up immediately but have not yet explored them.
Today, I decided to pull a card from the Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince. The card I pulled — surprise, surprise — was Durga, the Seven of Fire. I usually read the Seven of Fire (Wands) as being judicious about fighting. You have options, the ability to run from the fight or the ability to engage. The key is that you must decide. The affirmation for the Durga card is “Rise up or the demons will win.” I realized that my particular demons at this time in my life is my interior self-talk. At a time when most things in my life are good, my interior voice has become very harsh towards me. Compassion, it seems, is reserved for others. The card was a reminder that I associate Durga with that fierce compassion, accepting nothing but the best for myself as well as others. I was reminded of a charge I wrote for my circle when Durga first came into my life.
Hear now the charge of Durga
I who am known by many names.
Many are my names and many are my gifts.
Beauty, courage, merriment, compassion,
Fearlessness, and power are all who I am.
Seek all of them with all your heart and soul.
Find companions in human and animals,
Treat them well and demand that they treat you well.
Be strong, brave, and powerful.
Love fiercely and live in compassion.
You have been given weapons
For your defense, and for your greater good.
Defend yourself with passion,
And give yourself with joy.
Love yourself with all your being.
Fight what seeks to harm you
And seize the power to be strong.
Love others fiercely
And love your true self without doubt.
Turn and swirl in the energy of power and love.
Remember the companions of hoof, feather, and fin.
Be at one with All That Is
And live in the fire of your own divine flame.
Burn bright and burn long.
May your day be filled with many gifts including compassion and ferocity!