Spirit Guides: The Cow
by Sarah Robinson
There is much about the cow to respect — it is a symbol of abundance and nourishment. The cow is steadfast; there is no moving a cow who is rooted, reminding us to stand strong in our place of power. In Celtic mythology, the cow is sacred to the Goddess Brigit. And both the cow and the goddess can be called upon to support connections to the earth, health, nurturing, and the divine feminine in all its forms.
The Cow in Yoga
My favourite myth/origin story around this pose is that when the goddess Ganga (who would become the river Ganges) fell to earth, she landed in the Himalayas and formed a glacier. The glaciers peaks resembled a cow’s head, and the source of the Ganges river flows from it. This glacier opening is called Gaumukh – ‘the cow’s mouth’ – combining perfectly the ideas of the cow, water and goddess as life-giving mothers.
From seated, bend your knees and put your soles on the earth. Bring your left foot under the right knee to the outer right hip. Cross your right leg over the left, stacking the right knee on top of the left; the right foot comes to the outside of the left hip.
The shape of your legs is intended to represent the cow, your stacked knees are the nose, and your feet are the ears! Sit evenly on the sitting bones.
From here you can bring in cow face arms (one elbow points to the sky, the other to the earth, hands clasped behind the back), or just work with sitting in this way for a few breaths.
The Cow as a Goddess
In Hindu mythology Kamadhenu is a divine bovine-goddess, the miraculous cow of plenty and the ‘mother of cows’ representing all cows, and the source of prosperity they signify in Hindu culture. She featured in the Vedas, and apparently is quite fond of granting wishes. The cow is also found in many tribes in Africa, representing all things life and vitality.
About the author
Sarah Robinson is a Yoga Witch from Bath, UK. Sarah’s book Yoga for Witches (Womancraft Publishing) inspired some of the ideas included in this article (there is a whole chapter on Animal Magic!) Her next magical book – title to be announced soon – will be published October 31st, available from Womancraft Publishing, Amazon and Waterstones.