So, she was put aside, and basically forgotten. But when looking through some older work recently, I was inspired to try again. After considerable thought and experimentation, here is the new version of Dakini:
monotype with mixed media, 22.5 x 15 inches
ingredients: Rives BFK heavyweight printmaking paper, lithography inks, Caran d’Ache crayons, watercolor pencils, acrylic ink
The sky, as it turns out, is exactly the right place for her to come from, as the word ‘dakini’ means ‘sky dancer’ in Sanskrit. Here is the first definition I came across:
“Dakinis are energetic beings in female form, evocative of the movement of energy in space. In this context, the sky or space indicates śūnyatā, the insubstantiality of all phenomena, which is, at the same time, the pure potentiality for all possible manifestations.” (Wikipedia) I don’t know about you, but to me, that doesn’t clarify much of anything, so I kept researching.
What is a Dakini?
That’s a pretty succinct definition, compared to many other things I have read. If anything can be said about dakinis, it is that their exact nature is difficult to pin down:
“When seen clearly, she is described by those who witness her as beautiful, but this beauty does not necessarily follow established norms. She may be tall and comely, short and broad, fair or dark. She may be gentle and melodious in her communications, or sharp and harsh. She may be sixteen years old, in the full bloom of youth, or she may be gruesome and wrathful, initially inspiring terror. When she is seen clearly, her power is very definite, penetrating, and even threatening in its directness. This power comes not from conventional magic but from wisdom, and her fierceness is not emotional but is the sharp energy of wakefulness…”
~Judith Simmer-Brown, “Dakini’s Warm Breath”
Dakini, bronze, Tibet, 13th c.
I don’t try to explain these things when they happen; I just accept them as a gift from the universe, and consider myself blessed.
Dakini with Naga, Sera Monastery, Tibet
photo by Craig Lovell
Throma Nagpo, black dakini from Nepal
Red dakini, source unknown