Happy Navaratri! Today begins the Hindu holiday of the “Nine Nights” that celebrate Devi, the Divine Mother Goddess, in her many forms. Two major Navaratri celebrations happen each year with the change of seasons, in March/April, bringing in the spring, and in September/October, celebrating the harvest and preparing for winter. This Navaratri begins on the first day of the lunar month Chaitra, the first month of the Vedic calendar year. The goddess represents the “Shakti” or divine energy that is the vehicle through which we experience life in order to know “Shiva,” representing the divine consciousness behind it all, and so we celebrate her. For three nights each we worship the goddess in the forms of Durga, Laxmi, and Sarasvati. These goddesses represent the stages we must go through on our spiritual journey to reach the state of pure consciousness bliss. Durga is often known as the “demon-slayer.” This symbolizes the demons or negative tendencies of our minds that we must destroy in order to move forward in life with peace in the heart and mind, as well as the external obstacles we must overcome. Laxmi is known as the goddess of wealth or prosperity. This represents not just material wealth, but a spiritual wealth we seek to acquire in the form of virtues, or positive qualities, like compassion and devotion. Sarasvati, riding a swan, the highest-flying bird and vehicle for prana (the breath and life force that sustains us), represents the higher knowledge that can be attained after we purify ourselves, as well as all kinds of knowledge that we study and practice in our service. The divine truth realized through these three (through different forms of spiritual practice) is indeed the peace and oneness of pure consciousness bliss. Navaratri is a good time to practice yoga, meditation, and rituals to bring about divine-mother qualities in ourselves and in the world. Especially with the chaotic energies that are accompanying the solar eclipse of today, focusing on spiritual practices and mindfulness is especially important in the coming days. Allow the demons to be destroyed, and call upon your higher qualities to attain peace and lightness within yourself, and then let it spread to others so all of creation can be uplifted in harmony.

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