Parvati is Tara Dhatu’s treasured
International Central Coordinator and
Assistant Director of our StudentTeacher Program.
This November 8-10th marks the 5th year I have led the Phoenix Area Tara Sangha in a Mandala of the 21 Praises of Tara weekend retreat, culminating in a public offering. I am stunned with gratitude as I reflect on how the community has matured and the elegance and beauty of the offering has increased.
Every Mandala has its own flavor, beauty and in my community I have also been blessed to have a lovely balance between experienced dancers and new dancers. Just as is the case all around the world, each dancer comes offering the gem of her heart to the Great Mother’s Altar. I am always touched to witness the personal dance each one does, moving through joy and frustration, curiosity and fear, sisterhood and claustrophobia, revelation and relaxation, exasperation and gratitude, anger and love! I know this dance so well myself and I honor their commitment and courage. I always feel it is a miracle that the new dancers come back on Sunday morning! All jokes aside, I am grateful to each and feel so much admiration for their strength of body and spirit.
The 2013 Phoenix Mandala Offering also marks the third year that we have had the great joy of LIVE MUSIC. What a rare and precious gift to all! My beloved husband Shivadam and dear friends John Hinton and Debra Podjed dive full long into the waters of Tara’s Pureland and having been so baptized, transport us all each time they play for us. For two months before the Nov 10th Offering we gathered weekly for practice and I found each time my personal visualizations of Tara Dhatu were made potent with the inspiration of their heartfelt song. This year it felt as though the investment of the years past had come to a sort of maturity, as it was easeful and held a particularly special air right from the start.
An extra special treat this year was the debut of Shivadam’s new Invoking Mother Tara song that led the program and cast the space as the Tara dancers processed into the room.
With the support of the Phoenix Tara Ensemble I have also enjoyed turning the obligatory telling of Tara’s birth story into a bit of a show in its own right. The Lord of Light gazing at Earth across the distance of space and time… The arrival of his emissary and heart son the Lord of Compassion on Earth in answer to the call of those in turmoil… The rising of Mother Tara on her Lotus Rainbow throne from his pool of tears… All are illustrated so perfectly by the bells, cymbal, synthesizer, guitar, and sung mantra!
This also marks the third year we have been gifted by Carey dancing the Eight Precious Offerings for us all. Her devotion and grace of body and spirit are inspiring to us and never fail to captivate!
Another special aspect of the Phoenix Mandala Offering is that for many years now we have had the support of protectors thanks to the stellar leadership of Amina, who also facilitates a Tara Dance Women’s Empowerment Group monthly. These meetings are held at the same venue in which we hold our annual retreats and offerings, the Disability Empowerment Center (DEC). Amina is a Community Outreach Manager and Independent Living Advocate at Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, just one of 12 organizations housed at this 62,000 square-foot universally designed, accessible and transit-oriented non-profit resource center serving the disability community in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area. The center is a national model for accessible design and collaborative programming. The DEC is located in the heart of Phoenix and, in addition to ensuring that our retreat and offering are accessible to all, their mission is clearly a perfect complement to our own as Tara Dancers!
With standing room only, the audience itself was a blessing! In past years we have sometimes only had a handful of dear ones there with us. We were tickled to find that the magnetism of the offering had called so many out to receive and celebrate with us. When it came time for Shivadam and John to lead us all together in the Dances of Universal Peace, we found that even making two circles left us all cozy. It was delicious!
May All Beings be well and know peace.
May all beings be nourished and inspired.
Eh Ma Ho!
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