goddess myths

Goddess Gift E-Zine      

August 2009            

Visit Us at
Goddess Gift.com

And while you're there
be sure to check out the

Goddess Quiz








one friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry...'

Maya Angelou






The Goddess of Good

Ixcacao, Mayan Chocolate Goddess

Kuan Yin

Asian Goddess of Compassion

The goddess Kuan Yin, full of compassion, mercy and forgiveness-- is the most beloved and revered goddess on this planet.

But I'll be the first to admit it. I have issues with her.

That's why it's taken so long for me to get around to writing about her, even though so many of you have written to ask 'What's the deal? Why don't you have Kuan Yin at the site? She's my personal favorite. Please do her story.'

What's my hang-up? I'm still not totally sure, but it has to do with all that goodness and light that surrounds her. I struggled mightly with the issues of being an 'out-of-touch-with-my-anger, people-pleasin' goody-two-shoes' in my younger days. (Still struggle, but it's much easier these days thanks to the 'crone thingy', I suppose.)

So much of what I'd read of the goddess of Kuan Yin made her sound so perfect and yet so insipid. I like my goddesses to be both sugar and spice (or even piss and vinegar).  As my friend, storyteller Jo Carson is apt to say, it's the 'liars, thieves, and the others on the bench' that bring a story to life.

Where was the tension, the drama, the human-ness in Kuan Yin's story . . . the thing that would make her feel like a real person to me, someone I'd really like to invite into my life?

And here is what I found . . .

Will the real goddess Kuan Yin please stand up?

The goddess Kuan Yin knew all about suffering.

In her first life in India she was born as a male named Avalokitesvara, who sought to help poor lost souls be reborn to a better life on their journey to enlightenment. But he was overwhelmed and anguished when more lost souls kept coming in what seemed an endless cycle. In his despair he shattered into a thousand pieces.

Avalokitesvara as Kwan Yin


From his remains they shaped him as a woman, a goddess -- more  suitable for bringing compassion and mercy into the world, they thought. They gave her a thousand arms and eyes in the palms of each of her hands so that she would always see the people's distress and be able to reach out to them.

Then they sent her back to earth to do her work. So successful was she at comforting the people, that word of her began to spread to other lands and other religions. "We need her here," the people cried.

And so she went, reincarnating herself wherever she was needed. Known by many names and stories in many places, revered as a Buddhist deity and then a Taoist one. She is known as the goddess Tara in the Himalayas and Mazu in her incarnation as the goddess of the Southern Seas, but she is best known by her Chinese name, Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion.

And she knew suffering in that life too. Rejected at birth and abused by a father who had wanted a son, Kuan Yin wanted only to become a nun.

The stories of her rejection and punishments are timeless . . . we hear them echoing down the ages in the tales of Cinderella and Snow White. Eventually her father relented and she was allowed to pursue her dream of religious life. But her suffering did not end there.

Her vengeful father even hired a man to kill her, but she forgave him. In the end, her great love and mercy saved his life and reconciled her parent's to her divinity.

Depicted in statues and paintings, the Goddess Kuan Yin often appears as a calm, gentle woman of middle-age who radiates serenity. She is sometimes referred to as an Asian madonna.

She is a protector of women, especially those who yearn to have children.

Kuan Yin is also worshipped as a protectress of sailors, merchants, and those who are imprisoned.


In an effort to honor her many incarnations and many variations of her myths, I've attempted to weave parts of her story as they are told in the different sects who worship her.  Hope you read on and enjoy the myths of the beloved Goddess Kuan Yin.

Note: Doing the research for this piece did give me a new respect for the gentle, compassionate Kuan Yin and a calling to examine what issues in my life and personality I need to resolve. But it is still her incarnation as the feisty goddess Mazu that I likethe best. 


The goddess Mazu, the Kuan Yin of the Southern Sea,
is in the spotlights!

Our telling of the myths of the goddess Mazu was just published in Spotlights on Taiwan: Opening Taiwan to the World, a multi-media coursebook for those working (or hoping to) in the field of cultural tourism in Asia. . . those who will be shepherding English-speaking tourists around Taiwan and trying to impart a sense of its wondrous treasures. 

How cool is that!


that her childhood may not have been perfect . . . but
it's over.'

Maya Angelou



Be the Good You Wish to See

Be the change you wish to see in the world.
~ Gandhi

He may be late for his appointment, but the man turns back and scoops the suffering kitty into his arms.

A homeless mother receives a gift of much-needed food. Immediately she turns and shares it with another hungry family.

Is she a saint whose behavior normal people couldn’t hope to match?

Nope, she’s just an ordinary person doing an act of extraordinary importance.

Believe it. Compassionate people are not saints. They are not perfect people. And they come from all races, ages, genders, and spiritual beliefs. 


They are ordinary people doing acts of extraordinary importance.


Science may have found a cure for most evils but it has found no remedy for the worst
of them all -- the apathy of human beings.    ~ Helen Keller

Unlike news headlines that shout out bad news and horrible happenings, goodness often reveals itself quietly. The people doing the good work will most likely say, “Hey, it’s no big deal. I’m just living my life.”

~  ~  ~

Our young staffer (and family member), Ian Lee was given the task of coming up with the inspirational video for this month's issue. Though he's just 18, we've long suspected that he's an old soul on an important spiritual journey. Now we've got the proof of it!

We sleep better at night knowing that there are young people like Ian in the world.

 Here's Your Big Chance to Give a Helping Hand ~

Ian could use a little divine intervention this summer.

In just a few weeks Ian's off to college. We were distressed to learn that he's had to pare back his meal plan and forego breakfast (and a whole lot more) just to afford the books he needs.

Of course, it could be that he's planning to sleep in and skip breakfast, but we divined that finances are the real issue.

That's not gonna' happen. At least not on our shift!! So we're planning a secret Garage Sale.

Lend a Helping Hand
As You
Pay What You Want!



Here's your big chance to
Give Ian a Helping Hand
and pick up some good stuff at the
 Pay What You Want!
Sale and Do-Good Event

Sign his 'Taking Flight' e-card, offer some sage advice, buy him a cup of coffee (or even a textbook) and pick up some goodies from us.

But  most of all. . . let him know that there's a whole community out there of 'like-minded people' who wish him well.

And sssssh . . . it's gonna be a surprise!



And speaking of life-changing events . . .

Change your story, change your life.
It's that simple.

Chris Cade of Spiritual Stories fame (and the creator of the video you just watched) has just released an exciting new program designed to help you sculpt your life. If you're on a path of personal or spiritual growth you should take a few minutes to check it out.

Learn more about Inscribe Your Life

I'll be back next month. Don't know yet where the spirit will lead me. . . so stay tuned.

In closing,
   a reminder to..

Practice goodness and compassion.

Live. Learn. Love. Be.



Return to Goddess Gift         


Goddess Gift Copyright 2009 - The Goddess Path