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.

Two pigeons, a caduceus of healing, and a hand lifted in prayer – Sign of Tanit Votive stele from Carthage.

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.

Statuary of Tanit – Elat found in Phoenician shipwreck. Hecht Museum, Haifa, Israel.

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’.

Love’s Messenger (1885), by Marie Spartali Stillman

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.

Ste. Marie Madaleine (Mary Magdalene), by Ludovico Brea. St.-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, France.

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:

Out of Fear-Spin and Into the Heart, Illuminated

Grief is Alive, Wild and Untamed Life-Force

and for a bit of music medicine,

Nahko Bear – Ahola Ke Akua

Big Love,


Image Credit:

Phoenician Ta’Nit statue from

the Hecht Museum in Haifa, Israel.