What does one say
in the face of the unspeakable,
as Thomas Merton called it?
I know that I’m not the only one
who’s been deeply reflecting on this
in recent days and weeks, even
in the midst of the busy ‘daily work’.
So when I wondered what to
share here through Sophia’s Children,
a post from the deep archives
came into my awareness.
Here it is: Ta’Nit and ‘No Fear’.
Hundreds of statues of the Phoenician
Goddess Ta’Nit were discovered in 1973-74,
during a marine-archaeology expedition
of Phoenician shipwrecks. They date
from the 7 to 5th centuries B.C.E.
The Phoenicians were great mariners
and traders, visiting trading
cultures throughout the Mediterranean,
Europe, and even perhaps in the Americas.
They are said to have had a
bright and flourishing culture.
Ta’Nit was the Phoenician’s name for the
Great Mother, the Feminine aspect
of the Divine. Seafarers would carve
the symbol of Ta’Nit into the rock
in their gratitude for a safe arrival.
Ta’Nit is associated with the Great
Mother by her names Asherah, Nix,
Anat, and Elat — different words
representing different cultures and
languages. One Divine Mother,
appearing with different names & faces.
Though I had never heard of
Ta’Nit, I woke with her name
one morning in July of 2010,
with a message “Act for Ta’Nit
and it will benefit all beings.”
I’ve been curious about that message
and Ta’Nit ever since.
What I appreciate about this archaeological
find is that Ta’Nit is shown with her
left hand over her ‘higher heart’ and
her right hand in the Abhaya Mudra —
the mudra of ‘no fear’, used to
signify blessing, beneficence,
and protection – to cultivate ‘no fear’.
Where one is centered in
the Heart, fear is kept at bay.
Or said in another way, “perfect
Love casts out all fear.“
For most of us, me included,
this is deep and daily practice,
particularly in the face of
chaos and uncertainty.
You’ll notice this mudra, or its spirit,
in other spiritual traditions as well.
How does it feel when you
align with the energy hinted at
in this Ta’Nit image — and how does
it feel when you try this mudra with
your left hand on your heart and
your right in the Abhaya Mudra of
no fear, head slightly bowed
towards your heart, and a gentle
smile on your face?
For two related Sophia’s Children musings:
and for a bit of music medicine,
Phoenician Ta’Nit statue from
the Hecht Museum in Haifa, Israel.