FOI Online Liturgy
Isis of Alchemy, Transformation through the Goddess
By: Olivia Robertson
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VIII. The Jade Pylon of Earth
ORACLE OF THE GODDESS TARA
INVOCATION. Rainbow Goddess Tara, Who brings Heaven and Earth into harmony through Your manifold beautiful forms, help us to live in Peace with each other and all that is.
ORACLE. Because you wish this, it is so! There is a fundamental longing within every creature, every element, to blend with all that crosses its path. In the evolving creatures of earth, this leads to the devouring of food, violence, rape and cruelty. But buried in the heart of even the most savage predator, animal or human, is the will to return to the Universal Mother, Who gives birth to all that is.
Yin and Yang - the cosmic feminine and masculine modes - are out of balance on earth. The Yang power of controlling Nature by force is threatening the continuance of earthly organic life. To save this, we need to bring balance by invoking Yin Power, Feminine Divinity.
Instead of making harsh laws that defy your own natures, grow your own souls as you cultivate plants! You do this by enjoying the company of others, living in harmony with nature and in practicing the creative arts. For you create your own hells and heavens. When you do wrong, openly face this and make reparation. Then forgive yourself - and others. It is cruel to invent hells for people you imagine to be "dark" or "evil" even if this is so. With your gift of creation, make heavens for evil doers, and they may choose to dwell there in new-found Peace.
Where is this buried treasure within the earth? Yes, there is a sun within, but there are many suns! But unique among the encircling Planets of the solar system, earth produces abundant living beings. The Goddess and God is within each one of you. You are united with a rainbow network with all that is.
On a green-draped altar let there be 8 lighted candles, a ceramic bowl of water, burning incense and a small mint plant in a clay pot. Women Alchemists wear jade coloured tiaras and hold hazel wands and wear green robes. Men Alchemists wear green mitres, hold oak staffs and wear russet robes. Women practitioners wear chrysanthemum head garlands and wear green robes: men, leafy headbands and russet robes. Music may be played throughout. Gong is struck twice.
1st Pr. Alchemist. Fellow students of the divine art of spiritual alchemy, we are assembled to discover the Buried Gold of the Sun hidden within our earth.
1st Prs. Alchemist. (makes sign of "6" with wand) With this sign of Yin, "6", I invoke the Goddess Nu Kua. Holy Nu Kua, Thou Who art the Creator of all creatures on earth, awaken the hidden Sun within our bodies of clay.
1st Pr. Alchemist. (makes sign of "9" with staff) With this sign of Yang, "9", I invoke the Rainbow Goddess Tara, Queen of Heaven. Shining Tara, may Your celestial Light draw our souls to Paradise.
2nd Pr. Alchemist. Let the Candidates be brought forward by their Sponsors.
Woman Candidate in black cloak with white hood and man Candidate in white cloak with black hood are introduced by 2 Sponsors.
2nd Prs. Alchemist. (to Cans.) Are you willing to face the ordeals of the Initiation of Earth in order to discover the Buried Sun?
1st Sponsor. Both have single-minded commitment.
2nd Sponsor. Each has determination and endurance.
1st Pr. Alchemist. They are accepted. (to Woman) You are to enact the role of Nu Kua in her quest for the gold of the sun, concealed in the core of earth by the Divine Mother Hsi Wang Mu.
1st Pr. Alchemist. (to Man) You are to undertake the role of Nu Kua's Teacher, Lao Tse.
2nd Pr. Alchemist. Your first ordeal takes place upon the summit of Tai Shan, of the 5 Holy Mountains. It is in the East, and it is the Abode of Death.
MYSTERY PLAY OF THE BURIED SUN.
SCENE 1. TAI SHAN, ABODE OF DEATH.
Gong stroke. Enter Lao Tse and Nu Kua in Chinese robes.
Lao Tse. (to Nu Kua) Know yourself not as a Goddess, but as a humble human, student of the Mysteries. I am the Philosopher Lao Tse, and shall be your Preceptor in your search for the Tao.
Nu Kua. On this dreadful mountain of death, I am surrounded by a canopy of stars. How can I survive these freezing snows?
Lao Tse. Why, it is simple. Throw away your cloak and bury yourself in the snow - even your head!
Enter Snow Spirits who in a mime surround Nu Kua with white veils, so she is concealed.
Lao Tse. Nu Kua, can you hear my voice calling you?
Nu Kua. From my snowy tomb I can just hear your call. I am stifled. I am dying for want of air.
Lao Tse. Make a hole above you and you will breathe again.
Nu Kua's hand appears through veils above her head. The Snow Spirits remove the veils.
Nu Kua. Oh rapture! A white star flashes above my head ... I was struck by Lightning. I have achieved Illumination.
Chant of the Snow Spirits. Salute the White Tara Who is the saviour, Who shines as a star upon the Buddhas. Salute the swift One without fear, Whose eyes are like sheet lightening. Salute the White Tara Who gleams with the revealing Light of a thousand stars. She is One with Nu Kua.
Lao Tse. (to Nu Kua) It seems you are an Enlightened One! So are all those who have been struck by Li Ku, the Holy Life Spirit. Do you continue your quest as a student, or do you remain here as a Buddha?
Nu Kua. I am an ordinary student. I continue on my Pilgrimage.
Lao Tse. Your next ordeal is to restore earth in chaos. Come with me to the great plain at the foot of the central mountain.
SCENE 2. THE EARTH IN CHAOS.
Nu Kua. What a scene of devastation is here! There are fires blazing and enveloping floods - but no sign of life.
Lao Tse. There is no life left. The harmony between Heaven and Earth is shattered. The five celestial elements are at war, causing earthquakes and tidal waves. The very Poles have reversed.
Wild mime by elemental Spirits wearing 5 colours at war with each other.
Nu Kua. I am helpless. What can I do?
Lao Tse. The elements of earth are created by love and mind.
Nu Kua sits in Tara pose, left leg under her, right leg extended. Music. As she speaks the elemental spirits begin to be still.
Nu Kua. Harken to the words of the Goddess. "With the 5 Sacred Rays I repair the torn atmosphere of earth. Thus is the sky restored to beauty. I bring order to each of the 5 Elements by discrimination, assigning each element to its correct position. I set the poles at their true declination.”
Chant of Elemental Spirits. With folded hands we salute the noble and exalted Dolma, the Red Tara. Salute Her Who alone has power to command the Guardians of the Universe. We obey the wrathful countenance of Dolma, Whose benign mantra HUM liberates us from disorder.
Lao Tse. So, Nu Kua, you are now Supreme Ruler of the earth! Will you remain here to administer order and justice?
Nu Kua. I am a humble worker. I continue my Quest.
Lao Tse. So be it. Your third ordeal will seem impossible. A new earth is created from the chaos of the old - but still no living creatures inhabit it. You need to create new beings!
Nu Kua. This is beyond my ability. What do you advise?
Lao Tse. I am glad you still listen to me! Come to the shore of the Yellow River, at the foot of the Mountain of the South.
SCENE 3. THE BANK OF THE YELLOW RIVER.
Nu Kua. No fish - no animals - no reptiles - no humans. What shall I do?
Lao Tse. Meditate.
Nu Kua meditates in Tara pose. Music.
Nu Kua. Hear the words of the Goddess. "Behold, I create through using both mind and heart. Use what is around you, however humble. Look beneath your feet!"
Nu Kua. Why, yellow mud is beneath me - I shall create forms of birds and reptiles and animals and men and women from this mud!
Mime. Men and women and figures in animal and bird masks enter as Nu Kua draws them in. They lie down inanimate.
Nu Kua. Oh wretched trick played on me by the Goddess! These figures remain prone, useless, just smiling. What can I do?
Lao Tse. Do you never work with others, Nu Kua? Call for help from your husband!
Nu Kua. Must I? I must. Come, my husband, Fu Hsi!
Enter Fu Hsi. (He roars with laughter.) What a bungled attempt at creation this is, my dear wife. Look at these feeble layabouts with their vacuous smiles! What they need is a good kick.
As he threatens them the creatures get up and flee.
Lao Tse. Some are furious - some terrified - many hopeful! They are all mortal - but at least they are alive for the time being!
Figures. (return and chant) Salute the Yellow Tara Whose crest jewel is the moon ablaze! Salute Her Who sits surrounded by a radiant garland of fierce flames like the fire of a vanished aeon. Salute Her Who strikes the surface of the Universe with the palm of Her hand.
Lao Tse. Does your quest end here, Nu Kua? You are now creator of all living things. Do you propose to rest here, superintending their progress, correcting faults, rewarding virtues?
Nu Kua. I have created form, not life, through the Goddess. I continue my Quest for that which is eternal.
Lao Tse. Then with courage face your most terrible ordeal. The Heavenly Deities bless the virtuous. The earthly Deities rescue the wicked. You need to descend through the 9 Hells, far beneath the Mountain of the North.
SCENE 4. THE NINTH HELL.
Gong stroke. Enter lost souls who mime despair. Nu Kua is amongst them. She is in rags and limps. Enter Lao Tse in dark cloak.
Nu Kua. Old man, who are you? You have a kindly face.
Lao Tse. I am a friend to all here. What do you want of me?
Nu Kua. Like the others here, I am lost. I have no name, no home, and no friends. Many here are in torment.
1st Spirit. (haughtily) You are a wretched person, not to know who you are! I am Empress of China in temporary exile. I do not receive the veneration due to me.
2nd Spirit. I am an honoured scholar. I have been entrapped into a lurid nightmare by the evil God of the Moon, Soma. I am even forgetting the aphorisms of Kung Fu.
Child. I have terrible plans to revenge myself on a cruel man who hurt and then killed me. (To Nu Kua) I like you. You have a kind face like my mother. Will you take me from this terrible place?
Nu Kua. Your plea awakens my soul. I know Myself. I am the Goddess Nu Kua.
Child. As you are a Goddess, kill Soma and the wicked man and all the demons!
Enter Brihaspati. I hear you. I am the husband of Nu Kua and have descended here to rescue my wife. I shall kill Soma and his Demon hordes!
Nu Kua. Not by violence is the power of nightmares dissolved, but by dreaming truly. (Music. She assumes Tara pose.) Sit and close your eyes, all of you. Yes, you too, Soma! Hear the words of the Goddess: “You are not in the ninth Hell. It is a delusion which you have created yourselves. It begins to dissolve - it has vanished! In verity you are in the Azure Paradise of Unfolding Bliss!"
Dance of Liberation.
Chant of Joyful Spirits. Salute the Blue Tara, Who is Accomplisher of Infinite Victory. Salute Her Who is Peace and Bliss, in Whom the peace beyond sorrow of Nirvana is displayed. Salute the Blue Tara Who is Conqueror of overwhelming sins and delusions by her Mantra: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha.
Lao Tse. Nu Kua, are you willing to reign in the Azure Paradise of the Blue Tara, loved by all; or do you continue your Quest?
Nu Kua. My mind rejoices in Paradise. My heart bids me continue the quest.
Lao Tse. You face the final ordeal at which many fail. You need to face the Mighty Earth Mother, Hsi Wang Mu. She dwells below even the Ninth Hell, within the very core of the earth.
SCENE 5. CAVE OF THE EARTH MOTHER
WITHIN THE CORE OF THE EARTH.
Lao Tse. We travel to the Jade Mountain Kun Lung, for the grey and green jade of the Western Paradise, which is gateway to the Matrix of the Earth. Around us are 8 Spiritual Pillars of Power which unite the earth with the moon, sun and stars. Within the base of these pillars sits enthroned the Great Goddess, Hsi Wang Mu.
Enter Hsi Wang Mu with long hair flowing around Her, She sits on stool.
Nu Kua. (prostrates) Divine Mother of All, I see shining around You, illuminating this black cave, the Inner Sun which I seek! Grant me one of its sacred rays!
Hsi Wang Mu. Do not prostrate. You are my dear daughter, as are all to whom I have given birth. Look above! Do you see the aperture through which shines the Star of Li Ku, the Life Force? Now look by your feet, where the shaft of Light strikes. What do you see?
Nu Kua. (looks down) Where the Light strikes on the ground is a tiny weed, growing from water welling up from below.
Hsi Wang Mu. Do not despise this small plant. It is the Herb of Immortality! You can either share the Inner Sun which surrounds Me with ever lasting glory ... or you may pick leaves from this herb. With them you can bring Eternal Life to those beings whose forms you have created, but who have stunted souls.
Lao Tse. Nu Kua, this is your final choice. You can either achieve your goal and obtain the Inner Sun, or you can pick the leaves.
Nu Kua. How can I enjoy Immortality when there are those who suffer and mourn and die? I choose the leaves. (Bends and mimes picking leaves.)
Music. Enter spirits of love and joy who dance.
Nu Kua. Oh wonder! I am surrounded by golden Light because it shines within myself. Once more I am on the surface of the earth.
Lao Tse. We are surrounded by the immortal Spirits of all who dwell on earth.
Chant of Spirits. Salute the green-golden Bohhisattva, Whose hand is beautified by a water-born lotus. Salute the Green Tara Whom the Deities and every other being love, the joyful beauty of Whose forms are a defence of Peace. Salute Her Whose eyes are luminous and clear like sun and moon - salute Her Who is the perfect Peace-Bringer, Ture the Unexcelled.
Gong. End of play
Prs. Alchemist. (to Woman Candidate) What have you experienced?
Woman. The highest Spirit cannot satisfy the heart. The Buried Sun reveals itself in unexpected, even despised places!
1st Pr. Alchemist.(to Man) What have you learnt?
Man. At first I found it more peaceful to teach rather than to do! But I suffered with Nu Kua and found myself at one with the Scholar in Hell!
1st Prs. Alchemist. You have both passed the Initiation of Earth. Take this mint plant and together nurture it. Yin Yang balanced is restored. Let us meditate on the Mystery of the Buried Sun.
Meditation reports. Thanks are given to the Deities.
End of Rite.
Sources: "The Goddesses of India, Tibet, China and Japan", Durdin Robertson, Fellowship of Isis. "Larousse World Mythology", ed. Pierre Grimal. "Chinese Mythology", Birch, Oxford. "The Tibetan Book of the Dead". Evans Wentz, Oxford University Press.
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