I saw an amazing expression of female archetypal strength at Prescott College during a graduation celebration for a handful of my friends receiving their PhDs. The whole-school graduation (all degrees) took place at the end of Prescott College’s annual sustainability symposium. Throughout the symposium a duo from Ireland, two brothers, Owen and Moley O Súilleabháin (Size2shoes) performed and sang around campus, sometimes a cappella and sometimes with instruments. They sang a variety of traditional Irish songs, sacred and secular. At the graduation party for my friends, the PhD graduates, while Owen and Moley were singing, several of the women present began a casual line dance. Interestingly, they were all dressed in black, very striking, presenting an archetypal impression of women of strength dancing down all harm and negativity. What came to mind for me, perhaps because I have been studying and reading about images of Tara throughout Tibet, is the image of the so-called wrathful dancing Tara. These women were not wrathful in the least, yet the imagery coincided with that wrathful aspect of Tara. The wrathfulness is more of a no-nonsense, “there’s been enough foolishness and craziness in the world, let’s restore a balance of truth, compassion, and wisdom.” These woman danced spontaneously and evoked a powerful female energy like dancing Tara stomping her feet, subduing all that would damage the Earth and the inhabitants of the Earth. Knowing these women, I know they danced with deep compassion and love of the earth, of each other, of all, with joy — yet that powerful Tara-presence was there. With their bare feet they stood with the Earth to stamp down all that would cause harm, all that would be toxic on whatever level, all that would despoil. This was, in my mind, a powerful victory dance and a dance of love.
As I reflected on this late at night, two days later, back home in the quiet of the Mojave Desert night, it came clear to me what I’d been honored to experience. In the glow of the orange Mojave Desert moonset I realized that power had gone out to all of us there at that celebration. I suspect many of us brought this power home in order to work with it within our own families and communities.