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Posts Tagged ‘Tara’

MAHARATRI – Great Night

Continuing my exploration of the Mahavidyas, this piece tracks and picks out words, phrases and ideas from Danielou’s work. I don’t know how it will stand by itself for those not familiar with any of the imagery or symbolism, but for me it is acting as a trigger and an introduction to how both visuals and text might develop in the future.

Object of transcendence. Maha Ratri 1

1
Eternity, ten nights long
Five for the god,
Five for the goddess.
The power of Siva –
To know it, one word,
No other word were needed.

Ten objects:
The divine night, destiny mapped,
Destruction mirrored,
Fear revealed.
The power of time,
The last manacle of sky iron,
Melted, irrelevant in the bliss
Of our supreme nonexistence.

2
The state of deep sleep,
Our little dream, ocean’s drop
Of perfect quiescence,
Nothing remaining,
Not time acting on,
But time itself:
Absolute night.

Beyond the beyond,
Sleeper withdrawing
Into the power of time,
Itself.
Immensity,
A diadem of illusion:
Licks of lightning
Flickering
At the corners of the sea,
Surface, iridescent, unmoved.

This absolute night,
The night of destruction,
When things
That are not things,
When the objects
Of our philosophies,
When even the bare bones
Of is and now,
Slide and smudge
Decorating no longer
The resounding passageways
Of thought,
The geometries
Of measured edge.

For there is now one thing
That is the only thing,
A no thing,
A perfect surface
Curving to infinity,
Our lady
Of the spheres,
Resplendent emptiness.
The little light
That does nothing but divide,
Distend, distort,
And shatter into matter
Finally engulfed,
By the Giver.

Returning in the evening
All the birds nest in happiness,
All nestle to the welcome night,
Enfolded by calm.
All, all come to rest
Upon her lap-
Mother of Happiness,
Mother of Night.

( I shall step into the still,
mild darkness,
the rush of silent air,
fragrant after a day of rain.
Feel my purpose dissolve,
my need and reasons waver,
words and names becoming uncertain,
then soon submerged.
Passing clouds,
passing clouds).

3
Time
That tears asunder
All things,
Destroyer of worlds,
She herself
Is your dance.

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Moonlight through glass

Beginning of the New Year, according to some counts. Woken, as fairly normal, by roving,climbing, cats and whilst in the velvet struggle to regain sleep, caught a tumble of words on constellated subjects. An attempt to recover the drift hours later is usually unsatisfactory – but then dreams themselves are always so much more coherent before the linearity of recall.

The first unrolled from the title of a collection of poems I am getting ready to e-publish ( “won’t take long, start with something easy”…). The title, “Moonlight through glass” is itself taken from a small relief sculpture I made about thirty years ago : just words carved in relief upon reclaimed hardwood floor tiles from an old dance hall. The image is one that satisfies, redolent with silence, serenity, emptiness, peace. An ambiguity of completion and loss. Its partner is the image of “Moonlight on rooftops”. Somehow the epitome of melancholy to me.

Yesterday evening I was playing around with images for the cover of said, slim volume. Getting into the flow, I was revisiting a couple of colour prints, modifying them for a dramatic black and white. Happily, it turned into a potential project all of its own ( or at least so it seemed in the fever of creation). A sort of abstracted yantra meets medieval woodcut, chats with Blake on angels and ghosts, then nods at the engravings of Gustave Dore ( he with the appropriate accent), with a reminiscence of Book of Lambspring and alchemical doings. Possibly a way of illustrating words on the Mahavidya goddesses. Hence the circling of subjects, the orbit of words, that follows:

MOONLIGHT THROUGH GLASS

Moonlight through glass:

Solve et coagula

Dissolve and solidify.

Resting in silence

A vapour of thought

A mist of emotion

Twin mystery

( two of too many):

Light and orbit.

Something fast as infinity

Slows through a lens

Of liquid sand;

Something as unconcerned

And chaste, a satellite

Held gazing face to face,

A waltz of gravity.

Taking form, giving name, chasing thought.

Dance of equations, conjuration of stillness.

Simulation of solidity, (vibrating nothingness).

To give meaning,

To build a path in a pathless wasteland

(suddenly goals, suddenly distinctions)

Mirroring, reflecting, perhaps, the definition of our purpose.

Narcissus has become our jealous god

(echo lost, echo found).

Dancing round the fire,

Oh, we know that one’s name

That will spin gold for us

(though he will still trick us in the end).

And why, why, do we honour Prometheus,

That medler who ruined more than his own prospects,

Who brought down much more than fire upon us?

Too smart for your own good,

Answers too shiny-

Clear-cut, obvious, too self-serving,

Too monstrously elegant.

Ferment.

Closed system

Athanor.

One strong enough to withold,

To withstand all turmoil,

A roiling of opposites.

Not designed for madness

But madness is where we all must go.

The madness of too much,

The madness of not enough.

An incontinent ejaculation,

White noise, staining silence,

An endless slurry of love songs,

A loop of imprisonment.

Ferment.

The numbness of moonlight –

Passion stilled within the heart.

Whitened. Blackened. Consummated.

Brought forth.

Soot-faced puffers

Strainng to wriggle free.

Moonlight through glass:

The achievement,

The surrender,

The transcendence.

—–

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And not too dissimilar ( the metaphysics of stellar cosmogenesis, of electromagnetic emotions), words orbiting the bright imagery, the dark, powerful, inhumanly human goddesses, Ten Nights of Transcendent Darkness, Objects of Transcendent Wisdom, Mahavidya Goddesses. This one the aspect known as Tara ( Second Night of Hunger).

TARA: SECOND NIGHT OF HUNGER

Tara, Tara,

Hungry star,

Unquenchable yearning.

Infinite distance

Is the path to return by.

Light from the farthest edge

Wishing to return to your comforting blackness.

Consumed, conjoined, united,

Undifferentiated,

Possession of belonging,

Lines of gravitational force.

That which separates,

That which holds together,

And beyond all these,

The desire for so much more,

The desire for so much less.

——

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For the clearest, and certainly the most poetical and image-rich words, concerning the Mahavidyas I would recommend Alain Danielou’s great work “Hindu Polytheism” ( that majestic title now sadly pedestrianised to “The Myths and Gods of India” ).

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