She is usually represented as a beautiful, light-skinned, elegant woman. Many symbols of her allude to her all-seeing attribute, showing eyes painted on her forehead, palms, and feet, implying that all her acts are performed with awareness and wisdom. She often holds a lotus flower, symbolising her miraculous birth. In her role as saviouress, she is shown with one hand facing out to offer peace, longevity, and good wishes.
There are many embodiments of Tara, though the best known are the White Tara and the Green Tara. The peaceful and compassionate White Tara protects, bringing long life and peace. The more dynamic Green Tara is ‘Mother Earth’- a fierce goddess who overcomes obstacles and saves us from spiritual and physical danger. Refugees fleeing the horrors of the occupation of Tibet by Chinese armies told many stories of the Green Tara protecting them during their torture and guiding them to freedom.
A version of Tara exists in nearly every culture. It is said that she will assume as many forms on Earth as people have need for. The Celts called their Great Goddess Tara. Her name is thought to the root of the word ‘Tor’, which is a mound of earth imbued with spiritual energy or connection to other worlds. In South America, she was known as the ancient mother goddess Tarahumara. The Cheyenne people revered a Star Woman who fell from the heavens, and whose body became the earth that provided them with food. The ancient Egyptian goddess Ishtar, who in her myths came to earth from the heavens and instructed her people to intermarry with humans so that they would share their learning and wisdom, seems to be yet another incarnation of the goddess Tara.
In Buddhist Tibet, there are twenty-one forms of Tara:
- Nyurma Palmo
'Swift lady of glory’. To pacify hindrances and develop Bodhicitta.
- Saraswati (Yangchanma)
Patron of arts, music and learning. She is the consort of the Bodhisattva of wisdom, Manjushri.
- Serdog Chen
To develop wealth and longevity.
- Namgyalma (Ushnisha)
This is an important deity for all schools. Ushnisha, she who dwells on the topknot of the Buddhas, develops longevity and wealth.
Also an important deity for all schools. Kurukulla is to develop one's capacity and to make one attractive to beings.
- Jigje Chenmo
This Tara is to tame elemental spirits (local beings which can give problems).
- Tummo Mit'hubma
Protects during storms; ordinary storms, and the storms of war and civil disorder.
- Zhan Migyelma
For when there are problems with beings and people being aggressive towards you. She protects.
- Khamsum Namgyelma
For when it is necessary to overcome something or have a victory
- Norgyun (Basudarini)
Removes poverty and brings wealth.
- Tashi Tamche Jinma (Tashi Donjedma)
Bring auspicious conditions, like good farming climate, many children, wealth, and luck to the area you live in.
Called upon when it is necessary for us to have to fight or overcome someone.
- Lhamo Drapungjom
To overcome negativity.
- T'hronyer Chandzadma
To overcome fears.
To purify obstacles resulting from negative actions and past karmas.
- Barwai od
To remove curses and ‘bad magics’, either from humans or from other beings.
- Pagmed Nonma
For protection while are traveling.
- Maja Chhenmo
To overcome poison.
- Mip'ham Gyalmo
To protect against illnesses.
- Rit'hrod Logyonma
To overcome illness.
- Maritse (Osel Chenma, Hodser Chenma)
Correlated with the goddess of the dawn. She is invoked at sunrise or at the start of a journey. She protects travelers and guards against thieves. If one’s energy has been stolen by any being, she can get retrieve and restore it.
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