Tara is the Great Goddess in Celtic lore, where her name is the root of *Tor*, a hillock of earth with a spiritual connection to other planes.
The name “Tara” is also connected to “Terra”, our Mother Earth.
However, the origins of the Tara most known today are in Hinduism, where she was seen as a manifestation of both Kali and Parvati. Her name means *star* and she was thought to have been a Boddhisattava, and a Goddess of Mystery and Mysticism.
Tara was adopted into Buddhism and became one of the most popular Goddesses in their pantheon. To them, her name comes from the root “tri”, which means “to cross”, which is why she is also the one who “ferries her people from delusion to knowledge”.
(Photo from goddessgift.net)
She has compassion for all living beings, desiring to save them from suffering, which connects her to the Boddhisattava/Goddess Kwan Yin, who also hears the cries of those who suffer and offers them mercy and compassion.
There are two main origin stories for Tara. One is that she was a spiritual and compassionate princess who prayed and gave offerings to the local monks and nuns. When one of the monks said that he would pray for her to be reborn as a man, she replied that there was no male/no female/no reality. She would stay in her female body to help others reach enlightenment. I adore the feminism in her ancient statement, which is still relevant now.
“There are many who wish to gain enlightenment
in a man’s form,
And there are few who wish to work
for the welfare of living beings
in a female form.
Therefore may I, in a female body,
work for the welfare of all beings,
until such time as all humanity has found its fullness.” **
The other origin story, which explains the existence of two Taras, is that She/They were born from the tears of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion. As he was crying from seeing the suffering in the world and of his people, two giant tears fell from his eyes, resulting in the birth of the peaceful White Tara and the ferocious Green Tara.
(Photo from exoticindiaart.com)
While they call Green Tara ferocious, She is mainly playful and full of mischief, always ready for call to action and activity. This is evidenced in Her posture upon Her lotus; Her right leg is extended ready to jump up, while her left leg is folded upon the lotus itself.
Green Tara symbolizes the night and holds a blue lotus in her left hand for purity and power; she is covered in bracelets, necklaces and jewels. With her right hand, she grants wishes and overcomes fears.
(Photo from exoticindiaart.com)
While Green Tara is mostly seen as a young woman, White Tara is seen as a mature, full breasted woman. She is the Mother of All Buddhas and symbolizes day.
She has seven eyes – – the two usual, one in the Ajna (third eye) chakra, one on each hand and foot – – to more closely see the suffering in the world.
In her left hand, in the mudra (hand yoga) of protection, she holds a white lotus for complete truth and purity. This lotus has three blooms. The first bloom, with seeds, represents the Past; the second bloom in full flower, represents the Present, and the third, which is ready to blossom, represents the unknown Future. She is the essence of all three.
Tara is also known as *She Who Brings Forth Life*, *The Great Compassionate Mother”, “Embodiment of Wisdom”, and The Great Protectress”.
Her influence is widely felt, as evidenced by these stamps from Mongolia:
(Photos from colnect.com)
Tara’s mantra is *Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha*; here it is chanted by the incomparable Deva Premal :
May the Goddess, by whatever name you call her, bless you and keep you safe.
Blessings, Peace & Namaste…
(Photo from wildmind.org)
The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines by Patricia Monaghan