Green is a colour that is universally known as representing nature and the environment. It is also the color of growth, renewal and rebirth. However, green also forebode death. In Egyptian wall paintings, Osiris, the ruler of the underworld, was typically portrayed with a green face. In Ancient Greece, green is associated with Demeter, the goddess of the harvest. For the Romans, green was the color of Venus who, despite being the Roman counterpart of the Greek Aphrodite, also served as the goddess of the gardens, vegetables and vineyards. The Roman poet Lucretius ( c. 99 BC – c. 55 BC) opens his didactic poem De rerum natura (“On the Nature of Things”) by addressing Venus as a mother of nature and a personified symbol for nature’s generative aspect.
The feminine goddess archetype in Hindu Mythology as well as the most popular figure in the Tibetan pantheon of deities, the goddess Tara, is a female Bodhisattva who governs heaven, earth and the underworld, as well as birth, death and regeneration. She also governs life, love, war, the seasons and the moon cycles. She is said to have come into existence from a tear of Avalokitesvara, the embodiment of the compassion of all Buddhas, which fell to the ground and formed a lake. Out of its waters rose up a lotus which then opened and revealed the goddess. Like Avalokitesvara, Tara is a compassionate deity who also helps souls cross to the other side, protecting those travelling whether it is in the physical or the spiritual realm along the path to Enlightenment.
The name “Tara” is a generic name for a set of Bodhisattvas of similar aspect. As the Mahatara (“Great Tara”), she is the supreme creator and mother of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. In Tibetan Buddhism, om tare tuttare ture soha (““I prostrate to the Liberator, Mother of all the Victorious Ones.”) is an ancient mantra that is related to Tara as the “Mother of all Buddhas,” and especially to her manifestation as Green Tara. These days, Green Tara and White Tara are probably the most popular representations of Tara. Khadiravani (Green Tara) is usually associated with protection from fear and the following eight obscurations: lions (pride), wild elephants (ignorance), fires (hatred), snakes (jealousy), bandits and thieves (fanatical views), bondage (miserliness), floods (attachment), and evil spirits and demons (deluded doubts). She is associated with enlightenment and abundance. As one of the three deities of long life, Sarasvati (White Tara) is associated with longevity. White Tara counteracts illness and thereby helps to bring about a long life.
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