One of ‘thinking’ that I know what an archetype is all about and what is about to unfold before me and then realising – not so much. I should probably have known my ego was tripping me up given that the path of the priestess is all about feeling and not about thinking. Clearly I still have lessons to learn. So it was with the Great Mother and now with the second archetype in
my priestess path in the Goddess of Compassion.
I believed that the Goddess of Compassion who is often embodied as Quan Yin, Mother Mary or Tara, in the frequency of violet, would teach me to have more compassion for myself and others. And given her name I was correct, but only in so I could recognise that I was looking at a gift, but not what was inside the beautifully wrapped box.
To be a true Goddess of Compassion means to go way beyond feeling empathy and connection and love and compassion for those whom it comes easy to us. The sick, the dying, the misplaced, the grieving. Very few people, including myself, could not have compassion for fellow human beings experiencing such things.
The deepest level of compassion involves mercy, forgiveness and non-judgement for those who challenge us, push us, shake us, rattle us and even horrify us. This does not involve condoning behaviour or attitudes with things such as violence, racism, intolerance, arrogance or the belittling of others whether by their gender, race or religion. (All things which make me feel at times anger, bitterness and resentment.)
The Goddess of Compassion has helped me to see that I am all I push away and all I try to emulate and yet…none of it. This Goddess’ love is an impersonal one where she has love for all people – regardless of who they are, what they do, how they live. All people. Not just those who are somehow seen as good or worthy or kind. All people. Yes. Even the people that we all may presume are not deserving of mercy, forgiveness, non-judgement and love. All people.
And this learning has helped me to realise that while I have learned to live with self-compassion for myself, my compassion for others is conditional. I have no issue at all with feeling empathy and compassion for those who are weaker, sicker, poorer, grieving or more displaced than me. For many others though who may have contributed to such people being in those positions my compassion does not exist. I judge. I withhold. I anger. And it is in this space of non-compassion, deep in my shadow that I need to work to let go of my judgement and let my compassion deepen to a place of forgiveness, mercy, and release. I am that which I judge. I am that which I push away. I am the seed of all things light and shadow.
The light quality with the Goddess of Compassion I have been working on therefore is one of non-attachment. Clearly my judgement of certain people means I have an attachment to anger and resentment towards others which is alighting a quality within me that is calling to be loved and released. This is by no means an overnight, weekly, monthly or even yearly undertaking. This is self directed work for life and I don’t expect there will ever be a time when I can raise my hand and say ‘I’ve got this now.’ I feel it is something that I will feel in my body when I am confronted with people and situations that may have once seen my compassion shut down. And I already know it is something I am going to need to gently (and self-compassionately) work on.
The shadow quality I am working on with the Goddess of Compassion is misconception about what compassion actually is. What a beautiful learning and gentle schooling this temple has been to help me understand that true compassion goes deeply beyond what comes to us with love and ease and what we may ‘believe’ on the surface is compassion worthy.
What role does compassion play in your life? Do you feel and experience it more easily for some than others?