Monday, January 24, 2011

Spirits Blog 2~ Working with the Spirit Ma Zu

This is my 2nd installment on my Spirit based blog. Working with spirits can have such an amazing impact on your life. I do think that you should be informed about spirit contact and spirits themselves before beginning any spirit workings. Spirits are powerful, independent entities that have their own unique and distinctive personalities, they have likes and dislikes, before calling on a particular spirit you should learn all you can about them.
Many people dont realize that anyone can have direct contact with spirits, you do not need someone to mediate for you. Spirits are assessable and as I stated in my previous entry, there are many benefits to working with them.
A common synonym for spirits or deities is mysteries. Spirits are among the universe's true mysteries. Spirits are alive in their own way. They are animated, capable of communication,  react to stimuli, and demonstrate individual personalities and emotion. Spirits are generally invisible, although they can choose to make themselves visable.  Look around you, see all that open empty space, many claim that it is actually filled with all kinds of spirits. The Talmud suggests that it's a good thing that spirits are invisible, if we could actually see all the different spirits constantly surrounding us we'd drop dead from shock, awe, or fright.
Spirits most often show themselves to us in dreams, but some are able to see them while they are awake. There are some who possess the power to see spirits all the time, with or without a spirit's permission. Sometimes people welcome or actively seek this power, which may be the conscious result of intensive spell and rituals. (some spirits also bestow this ability) Others just see spirits, whether they want to or not.
Some cultures and traditions perceive this power as a sacred gift. They are taught to use and control their abilities for their own benefit as well as for the community at large. Other cultures and traditions perceive this ability as dangerous, scary, a mark of Satan, or a sign of mental illness.
It can be very traumatic to see what others cannot, especially if living among those who fear, despise, or disparage this talent, and especially if the person lacks the knowledge on how to control this ability.
Now I will open to a random page in my Encyclopedia of Spirits book and write about the spirit that calls to us today....
Today we will learn about:
 Ma Zu
The Sea Angel, Lady of Heaven, Princess of Supernatural Favor, Heavenly Mother, Grandmother Ruby, Princess of Tides
Also known as: A-Ma, Matsu, Ma Zhu, Mazu, Tien Hau, Tin Hau
Origin: China
Ma Zu (960-987CE) currently claims over one hundred million devotees. There are over fifteen hunderd Ma Zu temples worldwide with over four hundred in Taiwan alone.
Before she was a Goddess, Ma Zu was a girl named Lin Mo from a fishing village on Meizhou Island in Fujian. Her spiritual gifts manifested early. Local people called her the Dragon Girl because of her psychic ability to predict changes in the weather. Sailors sought her advice before going to sea. At age thirteen she began training with a Taoist Monk who gave her charms and taught her secret lore. (She is also described as a devout Buddhist who began praying and lighting incense twice a day when she was ten, but this may be a later attempt to bring a Taoist Goddess into the Buddhist fold.)
When Lin Mo was around sixteen she and her girlfriend were gazing at their reflections in a well and saw a fairy looking back. The friend panicked and ran away but Ma Zu knelt in reverence. The Fairy emerged and gave her a copper scroll inscribed with mystic symbols and taught her the magickal art of life saving.
At age sixteen, Lin Mo was praying for her father and six brothers who were caught in a typhoon at sea when she fell into a trance. Her soul traveled out to sea where she manifested to them and helped them stay afloat. Meanwhile, her body lay at home in a trance so deep her Mother thought she was dead. Grief stricken, she shook Lin Mo, rousing her. ( An alternating legend is that Lin Mo's soul could not bear her Mothers grief and flew back to comfort her.) Lin Mo had time to rescue her brothers who later desribed their experiences, but the trance did not last long enough for her to save her Father.
In 987, people saw Ma Zu ascend to Heaven from Mount Meifing on Meizhou Island accompanied by an escort of Fairies. Ma Zu may have become an immortal without dying, or her ascension may have followed her death. There are different versions of her possible death:
~She committed suicide at twenty-seven rather then submit to an arranged marriage. (she may have taken a vow of chastity)
~She drowned at age sixteen while searching for her Father's drowned corpse.
Rather then resting in peace or dallying in Heaven, having departed the mortal plane Ma Zu became even more active. Over the years an ever increasing number of eye witnesses have claimed to see her apparition appear in the middle of the sea to perform emergency rescues. By the twelfth century, she was incorporated into the Chinese Pantheon.
Considered an exceptionally active and responsive Goddess, Ma Zu protects travelers on the seven seas as well as on the turbulent seas of love and life. Riding clouds or traveling over oceans at high speed on a kind of magic flying carpet, Ma Zu can save people anywhere.
If you are caught in a violent storm call out Ma Zu's name, ideally with incense in your hand.
If she rescues you throw a feast in her honor. Invite guests and tell your story, don't forget to set a place of honor for Ma Zu.
Although she began as a goddess of sea safety, she has evolved into an all-purpose goddess, fulfilling all her devotees needs. She performs miracles of healing and fertility and has domain over commerce. Ma Zu will banish ghosts and evil spirits. She spiritually cleanses areas where tragedies have occurred.

Favored People: Sailors, maritime merchants, those who fish, travelers at sea

Manifestation: Those rescued by Ma Zu constantly describe her as dressed in red. During storms she sometimes manifests as a fire ball traveling up or down the mast.

Iconography: Ma Zu is often depicted with a black face like a Black Madonna

Spirit Allies: Ma Zu and Kwan Yin are compatible and will share altar space. Among those spirits traveling in Ma Zu entourage is Me Sanh, Chinese Goddess of Childbirth.

Numbers: 9

Dates: Her birthday on the twenty-third day of the third month of the Chinese lunar calendar.
Her ascension to heaven on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month.

Sacred Sites: There are many shrines to Ma Zu, this is just a sample.
Heavenly Empress Palace on Meizhou Island, a temple complex built where she ascended to heaven.

Tien Hou Temple in San Francisco's Chinatown, established in 1852, is the oldest Chinese temple in the U.S.

Chua Thien Hau Temple in Los Angeles' Chinatown was established in September 2005.

Offerings: Incense, fresh fruit, objects expressing marine or nautical themes. To invoke her powers as a fertility Goddess, offer images of animals playing with their babies.

That completes todays blog. I hope you have enjoyed reading about Ma Zu and I would love to hear your thoughts. I thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my blog.
Bright Blessings,

Note~ Information from this blog was taken from The Encyclopedia of Spirits. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the Spirit world or if you are looking to establish a relationship with spirits and their world then this book is for you.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Spirit World

I recently purchased a book called the Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes. This book is fabulous! I have a great love for the written word and because of this I have a large collection of Pagan, Spiritual, and Mythological books.
I have read so many books that it is often hard to find something different then what has already been written. Well this book is it! It is quickly becoming one of my favorites.
Have you ever considered how spirits permeate our very existence? Well they do, from our language to modern marketing.
For example, if you want to give a woman the ultimate compliment, call her a Goddess. If you find her inspiring she is your muse.
Do you have an enemy? Then they are your nemesis, named for the Greek Goddess of justice and vengeance. Have you ever described a certain event like work as being in Hell? You just invoked Hel, the Norse guardian of the realm of death.
Wait, there is more! Think about some of the name brands and companies out there like Nike, Mercury, and Saturn. Perfumes, lipsticks and other cosmetics are frequently named after Goddesses.
Poems are full of spirits like Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen or various works by Yeats. Did you know that the 1st official ballet was inspired by the Witch Goddess Circe? I did not until I read this amazing book.
Images of spirits also surround us. Cemeteries are filled with assorted spirit images as well as your average run of the mill garden shop. Do people realize that the lovely lady in the shell that they have on their front lawns is the Goddess Aphrodite?
Pokemon characters are based on ancient Japanese spirits.
Spirits have traveled with humans from our earliest days and probably from day one.  Try to come up with one creation myth that doesn't involve a Supreme Creator, spirits of creation, or at the very least, some assistance from spirits.
What about death? What happens to us when we pass? Where do we go? Virtually every heaven, hell, or other realm of death is controlled by spirits of some form.
Spirits are involved with creation, birth, and death. Pretty much every aspect of life.
Spirits can also aid us as we travel on our life path. We should not fear them.  Working with spirits instills independence and personal responsibility. Anyone can have direct contact with deity, you do not need a mediator to aid you with this.  Working with spirits offers each individual direct access to the higher powers.
There are many benefits to working with spirits.
Spirits and the process of working with them bring joy.
To be in the presence of spirits is to be in the presence of the sacred.
Spirits help us fulfill our dreams, save us when we're in trouble, and provide healing when conventional medicine throws in the towel.
With all that said I would like to talk about some different spirits that you may or may not have heard of. I will also be adding some new ones weekly. Perhaps you would like to do your own research on certain spirits and try to initiate contact yourself.  You should definitely invest in this book, I can't say that enough.
I am going to open the book randomly and tell you about whatever spirit is on the page. There are so many spirits covered in this book that I think this would be the easiest way.
So today we will talk about.....
Also known as Cyane
Origin: Greek; Sicilian
Classification: Nymph; naiad
Persephone was not the only victim of Hades. Her childhood friend, the Water Nymph Kyane was also utterly transformed by Persephone's abduction. Abbreviated versions of Persephone's myth usually indicate that no one came to her aid but that is not exactly true. In some variations the kidnapping of Persephone was witnessed by her friend Kyane who loudly protested but to no avail. Hades opened a path to his realm right at the freshwater spring over which Kyane presided and disappeared with Persephone.
Kyane was either so grief-stricken that she literally dissolved into tears becoming one with the water or Hades struck her mute so that she was unable to reveal what she had seen.  She may also have been rendered unable to leave her Sicilian spring, ever after dedicated to Persephone as well as to it's resident Nymph.
Kyane is closely associated with the color blue. Her hair may be blue. She may manifest as a mermaid and if so, her tail may be blue. Kyane is a melancholy spirit; she is the forgotten victim of Hade's attack and has never entirely recovered. She is the Goddess of the blues and blue moods as well as the literal color. She may or may not be among the Sirens. (There is a Siren bearing her name but it is not clear if they are the same spirit.)
Manifestation: As a beautiful girl, as a mermaid or as water. Kyane does not speak but can be very expressive.
Spirit Allies: Kyane may be venerated alongside Demeter and/or Persephone.
Color: Blue, cyan refers to the watery colors between blue and green.
Element: Water
Time: L'heure bleu or "the blue hour": the hour between daytime and darkness, just before nightfall and dawn, often characterized by vividly blue skies.
Messengers: Blue Birds
Offerings: Spring Water; blue flowers or any blue drink

That concludes todays post on the spirit world. As always I would love to hear your thoughts. Also, if there is a particular spirit that you would like me to include in future writings please let me know.
Brightest Blessings,