Snow blanketed the air beyond the porch, erasing the driveway and road. Wind howled, the temperature neared zero, and it was almost dark, but Vic wasn’t home. Was he in a ditch somewhere? If he left work at the usual time and drove our Subaru up the steep hills, he should have been home half an hour ago. It was before cell phones, so I couldn’t call or text.
My belly knotted with fear. My breath was shallow and tight. I paced around our little house on the hilltop near Hamilton, NY, five miles from Vic’s teaching job.
Frantic, I put a cushion in front of a large photo of Anandamayi Ma and lit a candle. I crossed my legs in meditation position and observed my shallow breath.
“Please protect him, Mother. Protect him, Mother.”
Inhale “Protect him.” Exhale “Mother.”
I gazed into her liquid brown eyes, those compassionate pools able to hold the suffering of the world. Even though I’d never met her and was looking at a photo, her eyes met mine and I felt seen and held. I felt her tender acceptance of my fear.
I learned about Anandamayi Ma after her death in 1982. She was a Bengali Saint, described by Swami Sivananda as “the most perfect flower the Indian soil has produced.” I only knew Divine Love poured from her eyes. A Hindu would call her gaze darshan or the blessing of divine emanation from the teacher. Her gaze gave me the support I needed. I trusted those saintly eyes, gentle and wise enough to hold any sorrow or fear–and to hold me.
She was my Divine Feminine, my Goddess Sophia, my Wise Crone. When I was scared or worried, I counted on her.
I sat before her image, looked into her eyes, and repeated my prayer, and as my breathing slowed, hope grew.
Half an hour later, Vic’s headlights pierced through the snow from the top of the driveway. When he got inside, he held me in his arms, his cold face pressing against my tear-dampened cheek. “I had to go the long way and wait for snowplows to clear our hill,” he said. “I knew you’d be scared. I’m sorry.”
Now, 30 years later, that photo of Anandamayi Ma is the central image on my bedroom altar. I pause, look into her eyes, light a candle, and thank my Divine Archetypal Mother.
Do you have an image that reassures you in hard times–or a sacred object or prayer? What helps you when you’re terrified? This prayer helps me in many situations. I change the prayer according to needs, but my usual is “Thank you, Mother” while following my breath.
For another article mentioning Anandamayi Ma and how I keep her close by carrying her photo in my wallet, see A Love Note from Beyond. For an article about my relationship with another wise women (devoted to Sophia and the Divine Feminine), see Let the Warm Love Flow: Messages from Marion Woodman.