Kwan Yin ("She Who Hears the Prayers of the World") was originally the mother Goddess of China, who proved so popular She was adopted into the Buddhist pantheon as a bodhisattva (much like the Goddess Bride was made a saint). A bodhisattva is a person who has attained enlightenment but chooses to forgo Nirvana and remain in the world to help others attain enlightenment. Kwan Yin's specialty is compassion, and She is known as the Goddess of Mercy. Before She became a bodhisattva, Kwan Yin was a princess named Miao Shan. As Miao Shan She endured many trials, especially from Her father, who wanted Her to marry. But She refused, and instead dedicated Her life to Buddhism.
As the still-popular mother Goddess of China, Kwan Yin is known as a great healer who can cure all ills. She is also a Goddess of fertility, and is often shown holding a child. In this aspect She is known as Sung-Tzu Niang-Niang, "The Lady Who Brings Children." She is shown holding a crystal vase, pouring out the waters of creation. Simply calling Her name in time of crisis is believed to grant deliverance.
Kwan Yin is sometimes also depicted as male, especially in Japan, where She is called Kwannon, and equated with the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, Lord of Compassion.
This card in a reading indicates compassion and mercy are needed in a situation.You can cultivate compassion by meditating on this card, or the other Goddesses of compassion, White Tara and Green Tara. Remember to first of all shine compassion on your own self.
Alternate names: Kwan Shih Yin, Kwannon, Kannon, Guan Yin, Kwanjin, Miao Shan (which would be an awesome name for a cat!)
Titles: Senjiu-Kwannon, "Thousand-handed Kwannon" and Jiu-ichi-men Kwannon, "Kwannon of the Eleven Faces," both of which are attributes of Avalokitesvara; Bato-Kwannon, "Kwannon With The Horse's Head" (from a figure of a horse's head in Her diadem)
This design is available on prints at Society 6.