As usual, I’m writing my post a couple weeks before you’ll be able to read it. I bet we’re all wondering in mid-December if 2020 is really gonna happen. Will we still be living in a civilization? Will there still be wild animals (outside of zoos)? Will trees and other plants still be growing? Well, my friends, if we all woke up last Wednesday and opened our eyes and it’s all still here……hooray!
Way back in 1998 I wrote a book called Goddess Meditations. It was the first-ever book devoted to guided meditations centered only on goddesses. No gods. No empty minds or asanas. Goddesses, some well known, others obscure, from many pantheons. One chapter in the book is “Chakra Goddesses,” in which I assigned a goddess to each of the seven major chakras. The goddess of the throat chakra—which rules clear communication, self-expression, and creativity—is Sarasvati. Here (with comments that pop out of my mind and into my fingers as I type) is part of what I wrote about communication.
Communication is not talking to or at, which is what nearly everyone seems to be doing these days. The word comes from the Latin communis, “common.” Related English words are “common,” “community,” “communion,” and “commune.” The essential idea is to make public—as our posts on this website do—and make common among the people. To share equally. Communication is talking with. That is obviously—and especially during an election year—what we need lots more of.
Sarasvati, whose consort is Brahma, is the goddess of speech, wisdom, and music. Mother of the Vedas and inventor of the Sanskrit alphabet, she is usually depicted with four arms. She is often holding a book to show her love of learning and a drum or playing the vina, a stringed instrument. Sometimes a goose stands beside her. Although no one else seems to have made this connection, Sarasvati’s companion reminds me of Mother Goose, she who laid the golden egg of the sun and whose nursery rhymes have amused and instructed generations of children. Early on, Sarasvati may have been a river goddess and sister of Ganga, after whom the sacred Ganges River is named. It’s sometimes said that creativity pours forth like a river from Sarasvati’s vina.
Here are excerpts from the guided meditation. (You can actually do it if you want to.) After you find a place to sit and meditate, take two or three deep, easy breaths to center yourself. Close your eyes and get ready to travel. Soon you find yourself standing on a broad, flat, empty plain. This is bedrock, which underlies all the soil and loose material on the earth’s surface. Another definition of bedrock is “fundamental principles.” You are standing on the fundament of the earth, the bed from which our principles arise.
“The fundamental principle is creativity,” says a voice nearby. Who is speaking to you? Look around. There’s a four-armed lady! This is Sarasvati, with her goose standing beside her. They’re engaged in conversation, and both the goddess and the goose are carrying books that are glowing so beautifully they seem to be alive. You are sure these must be marvelous books written by world-famous feminist authors and filled with wisdom and humor. You ache to read these books.
“Let us speak together of fundamental principles,” Sarasvati says to you. “Creativity is your bedrock. It is your life energy in action. Creativity brings force into form, it bring the unmanifest into manifestation. As force yearns to become form, so does creativity yearn to be expressed, and your self-expression is your life force taking form. You can express yourself in beneficial ways or in nonbeneficial ways. We do not control you. What you choose determines how you live, and you surely know that the force—energy—you send out is the energy that returns to you.”
The goose nods, and you nod, and the goddess continues the lesson. “If knowledge is to be shared and made common,” she says, “it must be accessible. However you communicate, you must speak or write or act in a way people can grasp. These are the fundamental principles,” she adds, “and I repeat them only to remind you.” “Only to remind you,” says the goose.
“Now,” Sarasvati says, “these are your books. This one,” she offers it to you, “is the book of your heart.” “And this one,” says the goose, “is the book of your head.”
“In these books,” the goddess says, “you have already written much and displayed your innate creativity, just as you have in ‘real’ life spoken and listened and shared and done creative projects of all kinds. Are you aware of your own wisdom and creativity?”
As you begin to wonder just how aware you are, Sarasvati and Mother Goose lead you to a little fairy-tale sort of house in which you find a table, a chair, a stack of paper, a row of golden quill pens, and an inkwell. “What do you want to do?” the goddess asks you.
Sit at the table and select the most beautiful pen. Dip it into the inkwell, take a sheet of paper from the stack, and begin writing. Write about creativity and how you can use your life force most creatively. The ink is golden, pure energy, the life energy given to you by the goddess. Write for as long as you need to until you get your own basic principles and ideas on paper. Then think of all the other ways you can express your creativity: painting, dancing, singing, drumming, playing in a band, sewing, fiber art, cooking, woodworking, athletics, hands-on healing, teaching, gardening, feeding hungry children, working to protect endangered animals and plants. Whatever supplies you need for your projects, you can magically find them in the cabinets and cupboards in the little house.
When you return to ordinary consciousness and open your eyes, realize we’re all in a new year and this new year will benefit from our creative work. Write in your journal what you plan to do this year. Then begin to actually do something creative.
Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (www.barbaraardinger.com), is a published author and freelance editor. Her newest book is Secret Lives, a novel about grandmothers who do magic. Her earlier nonfiction books include the daybook Pagan Every Day, Finding New Goddesses (a pun-filled parody of goddess encyclopedias), and Goddess Meditations. When she can get away from the computer, she goes to the theater as often as possible—she loves musical theater and movies in which people sing and dance. She is also an active CERT (Community Emergency Rescue Team) volunteer and a member (and occasional secretary pro-tem) of a neighborhood organization that focuses on code enforcement and safety for citizens. She has been an AIDS emotional support volunteer and a literacy volunteer. She is an active member of the Neopagan community and is well known for the rituals she creates and leads.