Goddess of Dawn and Light Marichi

marichi Thangka

Goddess of Dawn and Light Marichi

The Goddess of the Dawn is depicted in many different . Sometimes Marichi rides a white horse through the sky, banishing the darkness and driving back the night with the orb of the in the outstretched right hand.

More commonly Marichi is yellow or red in color, with one, three or more faces and six to twelve arms, seated on a chariot drawn by seven pigs, or horses, removing all obstacles to and well-being.

Marichi’s mood can be either or wrathful. The metaphor for and is light, light overcoming darkness. The compendium of practices known as the Bari Gyatsa contains five different descriptions of Marichi.

marichi Thangka Art

marichi

The Drub Tab Gyatso has six descriptions. The Narang Gyatsa and Rinjung of Taranata describe a single form of Marichi. Both the  and Mitra Gyatsa describe a single of Marichi with twenty-five surrounding figures.

Origin of Marichi

The origins of Marichi are obscure.  However, she appears to be an amalgamation of Brahmanical, Iranian, and non-Aryan antecedents spanning 1500 years.

Her name in is Oser Chenma, which means “Goddess of the Great Light.”

Marichi protects human beings from physical dangers and harm, sudden death, thieves, wildlife, snakes, poisons, , and other forces. She also removes doubts about faith in those who have lost their way and illuminates the of those who are searching for a spiritual .

The dawn and the light associated with the goddess symbolize the radiance of spiritual illumination and . The protective power of the goddess is invoked mostly by travelers, who repeat her or carry an with her image.

Marichi in India

In , Marichi is associated with , the Vedic goddess of the dawn that appears in the  and , the of the Sun. Later, as her aspects became more closely related to the war, she was associated with ’s martial incarnation, . Various forms of the goddess were transmitted to , where her image gained more characteristics.

In both India and Tibet, Marichi appears in two roles: as an independent goddess and as part of ’s retinue. As an embodiment of one of the twenty-one Taras, she is called “Marichi, who provides and to the sick.”

Marichi in China

Marici in is worshiped as both a and Taoist deity where she is known as Dipper Mother or Mariachi Deva.  Most often she depicted with three eyes in each of her four faces; with four arms on each side of her . Two of her hands are held together, and the other six hold a sun, moon, , goldenseal, bow, and halberd.

Marichi is either standing or sitting on top of a or pig, or on a Lotus on top of seven pigs. Marichi is celebrated on the 9th day of the 9th . In Chinese , especially in the south where hardly penetrated.

Marichi is often confused with . Among Chinese Buddhists, she is worshiped as the goddess of light and as the guardian of all nations, whom she protects from the fury of war.

In , Marichi remains a popular deity and is often referred to as Queen of Heaven and is widely worshiped as the Goddess of Beidou.

She is also revered as the mother of the Nine Emperor who is represented by the nine stars in the Beidou constellation. Legend has it that one spring day a queen went to bath in a pond. Upon entering she suddenly felt moved and nine lotus buds rose from the pond.

Each of these lotus buds opened to reveal a star which then became the Beidou constellation. She is still worshiped today in Taoist like the White Cloud Temple and the Tou Mu Kung Temple which has both Taoist and Buddhist influences.

Marichi in Japan

An important deity in the and Tendai schools. Marici was adopted by the Bujin or Samurai in the 8th century CE as a protector and patron. While devotions to Marici predate , they appear to be geared towards a similar meditative mode in order to enable the warrior to achieve a more heightened spiritual level.

Marichi lost interest in the issues of victory or defeat thus transcending to a level where he became so empowered that he was freed from his own grasp on mortality.

The end result was that he became a better warrior. The of Marici was to provide a way to achieve selflessness and through Buddhist training by incorporating a passion for the mastery of the self.

Samurai would invoke Marici at sunrise to achieve victory. Since Marici means light or mirage. Marichi was invoked to escape the notice of one’s enemies. She was also later worshipped in the Edo period as a goddess of and by the merchant class, alongside Daikokuten and Benzaiten as part of a trio of three .

Marichi as a Yaksha General

Marici has also sometimes included as one of the twelve Generals associated with , the of . An important deity in the Shingon and Tendai schools, Marici was adopted by the Bujin or Samurai in the 8th century as a protector and patron.

While devotions to Marici predate Zen, they appear to be geared towards a similar meditative mode in order to enable the warrior to achieve a more heightened spiritual level.

He lost interest in the issues of victory or defeat thus transcending to the level where he became so empowered that he was freed from his own grasp on mortality.

The end result was that he became a better warrior. She was also later worshipped in the Edo period as a goddess of wealth and prosperity by the merchant class, alongside Daikoku-ten and Benzaiten as part of a trio of three deities.

Eleven Types of Deities By Appearance of Marichi 

The eleven types of deities by the appearance of Marchi ara listed below:

  1. Peaceful Appearance
  2.  Semi-peaceful/semi-wrathful Appearance
  3. Wrathful Appearance
  4. Animal Featured Appearance
  5.  Warrior Appearance
  6.  Universal Appearance
  7.  Layered Appearance
  8.  Stacked Appearance
  9.  Ithyphallic Appearance
  10.  Androgynous & Gender Reversed Appearance
  11.  Weird Gods & Fantastical Appearance

The first five of the Eleven Types of Deities By Appearance are included in the list of Eleven Figurative Forms of . Those first five deities are the most important because they are the most general and the most commonly found forms.

The additional six types are important only because by knowing them it keeps confusion and incorrect identifications to a minimum.

Iconography of Marichi

Marici is usually depicted in one of the following ways:

  • As a beautiful woman on an open lotus, the lotus itself sometimes perched on the back of seven sows.
  • As a ferocious wrathful deity perched on the back of a boar.
  • Riding a fiery chariot pulled by seven savage boars or sows.
  • As a multi-armed woman with a different weapon in each hand standing or sitting on the back of a boar.

She has been depicted with one, three, five or six faces and two, six, eight, ten or twelve arms; three eyes; in her many-faced manifestations one of her faces is that of a sow.

She appears in a simple form, sitting in a (lotus pose), with two hands – the right hand in (the gesture of generosity), and the left holding a flower or branch of the Tree. The magical and properties of this tree, as well as its connection to female fertility and sexual and , are deeply embedded in early Buddhism, particularly in relation to the figures of . In the case with Marichi, this element of her implies her initial relationship with nature, and although in the later stages her prime role is as a celestial warrior, the Ashoka Tree remains as her distinctive feature.

he goddess is depicted in gold, yellow, white, or red colors, with one or three faces and three eyes. She is sitting in a padmasana or (pose of royal ease). Her hands may be two, six, eight, ten, twelve, or fourteen, holding different attributes, including a branch of the Ashoka tree, bow, arrow, , hook, lasso, sword, trident, , vase, the severed head of , as well as a needle and a thread, symbolizing the “suturing” of the eyes and ears of the people causing harm, and thus neutralizing them.

Marichi is usually depicted sitting on a lotus, a boar, or a chariot drawn by seven wild boars or horses. The boars symbolize the militant and defensive force of the goddess and can sometimes be seen as part of her ornamentation or as extra heads. The number of the seven boars is associated with the seven planets governing the days of the week in Indian . Thus the goddess is also assigned the role of managing the planets and supporting the Sun and Moon, which are often painted over her.

Marichi is depicted primarily as an independent deity, but some Buddhist texts mention that she is Buddha ’s spiritual wife, as well as his emanation. In cases, she appears as a partner of Hayagriva, a wrathful aspect of . In the tradition, images of the goddess in union with Hayagriva are occasionally seen.

Marichi plays an important role in the Buddhist tradition of India and Tibet and, like most of the Mahayana , she saves sentient beings from , illuminating their with the light of . The tradition of her worshiping is still today, especially in Tibetan practices, wherefrom a heavenly goddess she became a strong protector overcoming all kinds of obstacles.

 

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