Maha Navaratri 2017 :: Nine Nights of the Goddess

Maha Navaratri 2017 :: Nine Nights of the Goddess

Maha Navaratri 2017 begins today! In this important Hindu holiday, we celebrate the Goddess through “the great nine nights” (nav = nine, ratri = night). This festival will run through September 30th, the first ten days of this new lunar cycle. Goddess, Devi, Shakti, Durga, Divine Mother—the many names and forms all represent the dynamic and fluid feminine power that enlivens all of existence.

She is the creatrix, the warrioress, the nurturer, the purifyer, the protector. While she’s in the innocent and fertile maiden so is she the wise and learned crone. Both the nurturing mother, and the one who gives “tough love.” The impassioned lover, the devoted bhakta, the disciplined yogini. We see Goddess appear through us in innumerable manifestations. Through her many forms she teaches us and offers us countless blessings–love, compassion, courage, learning, discipline, surrender, success, enlightenment, and bliss. This festival is a time for celebrating the supreme feminine power in all her glory, and the many blessings she bestows upon us.

As with most Hindu celebrations, this festival correlates with the lunar calendar, and thus begins on the first day of the waxing Moon after the New Moon of September 19th. The celebration is through the “nine nights” of 21st through 29th, and into the eleventh morning known as Vijayadashami, “the day of victory,” on September 30th in some places (because of the way the lunar phases correlate with the solar days… Check the Vedic panchanga for your city to see the exact dates for Navaratri where you are.). Worship during Navaratri is most generally dedicated to Goddess in the form of Durga, the demon-slayer, but there is much nuance and variation to practice and forms of celebration throughout India. Above all, Navaratri is a community celebration of the Divine Mother, and the love, abundance and protection she gives.

There are many Navaratri celebrations throughout the year, but the fall-time Navaratri is the most widely celebrated, and is thus called Maha Navaratri – “the great nine nights”. It correlates with the time of the harvest, a time to give thanks for the abundance of the year’s work. Grains and crops are often offered to Devi as part of the celebrations. Ritualistic worship (puja) typically occurs in homes and temples throughout the nine nights and into the tenth morning of celebration.

The Many Forms of Goddess

Durga-Lakshmi-SarasvatiMaha Navaratri 2016

In Kerala and other places in India, the first three nights of worship are dedicated to Durga (the invincible), the next three to Lakshmi (Goddess of prosperity), and the final three to Sarasvati (Goddess of learning). Durga, also celebrated as her incarnation of Kali, helps us to destroy and remove the negative tendencies in our minds and hearts, freeing us from the obstructions to our spiritual and material pursuits. Lakshmi helps us to cultivate positive qualities like compassion and devotion, and leads us towards both spiritual and material prosperity. Sarasvati assists us in attaining knowledge and wisdom, through the illumination of our consciousness. She aids in awakening sattva, the quality of purity, and the flow of prana, the vital breath. After removing inner and outer obstacles and cultivating prosperity through virtuous qualities, our devotion, service, and practice help us to attain a state of peace, bliss, and oneness.

Sarasvati-Lakshmi-Kali/Durga

In the Kali Kula (Kali school of worship) in northeastern India, Sarasvati is worshiped on the first three nights, followed by Lakshmi on the next and then Kali/Durga on the last three. Sarasvati, Lakshmi, and Kali/Durga (Kali emerged from Durga) are also known as the consorts of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The Goddesses, therefore, provide the shakti to the cosmic processes of creation, preservation, and death (transformation), similar to their male counterparts. Consequently, worship in this manner is dedicated to the cycles of life and Mother nature, through birth, then sustenance, then death. Death is not a complete stop, but allows for the regeneration of energy into a new cycle once again.

9 Forms of Durga

Throughout India, the nine nights of Navaratri are often dedicated to 9 different incarnations of Durga, allowing the worship of many different aspects of Shakti in a gradual evolution. You can read the stories and significance of these 9 goddesses here (or click on Goddess name below), or a more a brief introduction, here:

 

Navaratri 20161. Shailputri (September 20th)

“Daughter of the mountain”; creative energy, muladhara (root chakra), awakening; Awaken your connection with Goddess today or initiate a new venture, calling on Shailputri for new beginnings.

2. Brahmacharini (September 21st)

The ascetic; tapas, discipline, devotion, strength, wisdom, creative abundance; Good day for fasting and meditation, connection with svadhistana (sacral chakra).

3. Chandraghanta (September 22nd)

Warrioress; protection, courage, grace, manipura (solar plexus); Destroy your internal obstacles by offering them to Chandraghanta.

4. Kushmanda (September 23rd)

Creatrix of the “cosmic egg”; strength, health, happiness, success, relationships; Connect with the vital Sun energy and the anahata (heart chakra) today.

5. Skandamata (September 24th)

“Mother of Skanda/Kartikeya”; motherly love, nourishment, protection, purity; Call on divine truth through the vishuddha (throat chakra), invoking Skandamata to lead you towards victory.

6. Katyayani (September 25th)

Warrioress who destroyed Mahishasura (the buffalo demon); victory, devotion, strength, removing obstacles; Meditate on these qualities of Goddess through the ajna chakra (third-eye) today.

7. Kalaratri (September 26th)

“Dark/black night,” representing a fierce form of Durga/Kali; darkness, death, surrender, dissolution of pain; Connecting with the sahasrara (crown chakra), remember that Divine Mother offers love, compassion, and many blessings even in hard times. Even in the midst of apparent darkness, and helps us to go beyond the boundaries of the material body-mind and connect with spirit.

 

8. Mahagauri (September 27th-28th)

“Great white goddess”; detachment, purification, renewal, protection, virtue; Through detachment and devotion, we emerge purified, shining and radiant after surrendering in the dark night. Rejuvenative herbs and foods are good today.

9. Siddhidatri (September 29th)

Goddess of “siddhis”; magical, spiritual or mystic powers and blessings, fulfillment of desires, devotion, divine union; Invite Goddess to reveal her presence to you everywhere and in every moment.

Personal Practice Ideas for Navaratri

If possible, it is great to reduce our workload and gather with community at local temples or places of worship. We can also create a little time and space at home and conduct some personal practices to celebrate Goddess energy. Dive into your own heart to connect with the inner Goddess in the ways that resonate most with you! Here are some ideas to do at home or with a group throughout the nine nights of Navaratri:

Altar

Create a sacred space, a Durga altar, or a Goddess altar. Even if you already have one, you can refresh it in some way or rearrange it specifically for Navaratri. Include images or statues of the Goddess(es) you have a relationship with. This could be according to one of the groups of forms above.

Invocation

Even if you don’t have much time, dedicate at least a few minutes each day to connecting with the Divine Mother in front of your altar, calling her energy into your life and being.

Journal

Write in your journal about what qualities of Goddess you perceive and connect with. What aspects would you like to strengthen or to cultivate more deeply? Write any and all prayers and offer them to the form of Goddess that appeals to you.

Light

Offer light to illuminate Goddess’s power, helping her to shine more brightly into the world and your life. You can light a candle by the altar and keep it burning when you’re at home. You can even keep an electronic tealight on symbolically when you are away.

Flowers/Grains

Offer flowers or grains (even a small dish of dried rice) to celebrate Devi in the form of mother nature, fertility, the abundance of the harvest, and the cycle of life.

Offerings

Offer incense, bells, water, or food if you feel called, by placing it on the altar, or mentally offering it to Goddess throughout the day. You can also offer something symbolic of your own work or practice, whatever you have been cultivating for harvest through the year. In offering this you surrender the fruits of your efforts to the Divine Mother.

Fasting

Some people choose to fast in some variation, if this is something you have practiced before. This might include fasting during the day, fasting with only milk or fruit, or abstaining from alcohol and non-vegetarian foods during Navaratri.

Chanting

Chanting the Devi Mahatmyam, a verse to the Goddess, is a common practice during the nine-night festival. You can also chant another Goddess mantra or songs that are special to you and your relationship with Devi.

 

Jai Ma Durga!

 

Personal Vedic Astrology readings and forecasts are available Here.

 

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Healing Eclipse on the New Moon + Maha Shivaratri

Healing Eclipse on the New Moon + Maha Shivaratri

Healing Eclipse on the New Moon + Maha Shivaratri

Sunday begins the New Moon cycle and brings with it a powerful eclipse whose alignment offers some deep healing opportunities. The annular solar eclipse will be visible from much of Africa, South America, and Antarctica, and will coincide with the exact time of the darkest Moon phase at 6:58 a.m PST (14:58 UTC) on Sunday, February 26th. This eclipse occurs with the Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Ketu all in sidereal Aquarius within the Vedic nakshatra of Shatabisha.

Healing Eclipse February 2017 Maha Shivaratri

Aquarius

Aquarius is a sign ruled by Saturn, and it is where we remember something greater than ourselves. It is where we become inspired towards universal service, and to offering effort into society and for the greater good. Saturn, the planet of pressure and time, is aspecting the planets of this eclipse from his recent seat in sidereal Sagittarius, compelling us even more deeply to stand up for our principles and beliefs, and commit ourselves to these through hard work.

Shatabisha

Shatabisha is the Vedic nakshatra that most elicits the concept of healing. It is the star of the “100 physicians” or the “100 medicines,” and is ruled by Varuna, the deity of the cosmic waters. With many planets under the influence of this star, we are strongly called towards our journey of self-healing, trying many different medicines and healing techniques to get there. Having Ketu here, eclipsing the Sun and the Moon, presents the opportunity to go deeply into our subconscious blockages and find release from past karma and trauma.

The Greater Eclipse Cycle

This is the third solar eclipse that has occurred since Rahu and Ketu transited into the Leo-Aquarius axis in January of 2016 (download the Free E-Book and Forecast by Sign for this transit if you haven’t yet!). Throughout this time, we have experienced shadows and blockages coming up around the themes of the Leo-Aquarius axis. On a broad scale, this relates to the balance of personal power and universal service that we play out through society. On an individual level, it has raised questions around the house-themes of Leo and Aquarius in the personal Vedic birth chart.

We have been uncovering layers of our own karma through this time, and discovering where change is needed in our lives–either through a change in our actions or a change in our thoughts. Our personal challenges become most apparent during the eclipse windows, which have occurred this month, as well as during August and March of 2016. Though these windows can be difficult times, the power of the lunar nodes helps us to see where we are stuck. With self-awareness and observation it becomes less difficult, but when we are not paying attention or are clinging to our own attachments, the eclipses can feel like they are wreaking havoc on our lives.

Since this is the third and final pair of eclipses during this transit of Rahu and Ketu, it is a time for really reaching some clarity around the lessons being brought up over the last year-and-a-half. Eclipses do cause confusion and are inauspicious in general, but as we do the work of self-inquiry and practice astute awareness, we can gain insight and more light after going into the darkness of their shadows. The healing power behind Shatabisha nakshatra may present us with some different medicines, or practices, to assist in our evolutionary process, assisting us in learning how to flow better with the cosmic waters.

Shivaratri

In addition to the healing energy of this nakshatra, we are receiving the powerful gift of deep meditation offered by the Shivaratri holiday. Maha Shivaratri (or Sivaratri) is “the great night of Lord Shiva,” celebrated in India and around the world each year on the 14th night of the waning Moon this month. This year it falls on the night of Friday, February 24th into Saturday the 25th, around the world (except for mid-Australia/Japan and Eastward, where it falls on the 25th/26th).

On Shivaratri, it is a common practice to stay up the whole night in meditation, fasting and praying. This commemorates the sacrifice made by Lord Shiva when he kept the poison that arose from the milk ocean in his throat in order to protect the entire creation. In this story, his wife Parvati held his throat to keep him from consuming the poison, and thus this holiday also commemorates the union of masculine and feminine forces, Shakti and Shiva, yin and yang. In many places this is represented by a celebration of Shiva and Parvati’s wedding, and one may see large statues of the two paraded about town and worshiped.

Shiva and Parvati represent the path towards awakening consciousness through the ascetic side of yoga, and the practices of tapas and renunciation. By renouncing food and sleep for one night, particularly on the night of Shivaratri, we can gain some of the benefit of the austerities that these two performed for aeons. Tapas, or austerities, are yogic practices of undergoing difficult situations in order to gain more patience, as well as deeper understanding that we are in fact the eternal soul and not the body-mind with which we normally identify.

On this Shivaratri, as we approach the transformative energy of the eclipse in Shatabisha, the opportunity for overcoming the challenges and shadows of our minds is great. The power of group meditation occurring all over the world also contributes to this. With the energy of Aquarius behind us, let us offer the fruits of our practice towards the peace and happiness of all beings on earth, and spread the benefit for the greater good.

Mantras for Maha Shivaratri:

Om Namah Shivaya (the panchakshari mantra – “I bow down to infinite consciousness”)

Tyagenaike Amrtatvamanashuhu (by renunciation alone, immortality is gained)

Personal chart readings are available to delve deeper into the meaning of this eclipse cycle in your life.

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New Moon in Swati & Diwali Celebrations

New Moon in Swati & Diwali Celebrations

New Moon in Swati

Be careful not to become scattered this New Moon in Swati, on the dark night of Saturday, October 29th (*Times given for North America).

The Sun and Moon will coincide in this Vedic star-sign ruled by Vayu, the Lord of Wind, to kick off the next lunar cycle. The exact conjunction will be Sunday morning (at 10:38 a.m. PDT), with the darkest Moon phase on Saturday night. It will also coincide with a Venus-Saturn planetary war (exact conjunction), so we may feel a conflict between temporary pleasures and long-term goals (October 28-30). Thankfully, this dark Moon night also marks the time for celebrating Diwali (or Deepawali), the festival of light, wherein we celebrate prosperity and light prevailing over darkness! So it’s a great time to shine some light and turn our minds and hearts toward devotional practice.

Potential Depletion

There are a few factors creating the potential to feel scattered at this time, but there’s also a great opportunity to ground ourselves and steady our minds through focus and worship. In addition to Vayu’s influence, we in the Northern Hemisphere have been experiencing the cold winds increasing in the external atmosphere. As we go deeper into autumn, the vata dosha (comprised of air and ether elements) is increasing all around us. With the leaves falling and the weather changing, the process of decrease and sparsity in nature becomes evident. This results in an increase of vata energy, which can cause us to feel restless, anxious, spacey, dry, or depleted. It is extra important to do grounding and nourishing practices during this season, and to eat warm, moist, and heavier foods.***

What’s more, this lunar cycle begins with the Sun and Moon in Libra, where Sun is considered debilitated (not able to express strongly). Sun represents our vitality, energy, physical strength, and also our feeling of spiritual strength and connection with universal source. Not surprisingly, the time of year when he becomes “debilitated,” passing through Libra, is the same time we experience increased vata in the atmosphere and lessened immunity in our systems. It’s the time when we are most likely to catch a cold and begin to feel “spread thin” or “dried out.” While the Sun is in Libra, self-care is extra important. Take some time on this New Moon night to set intentions for how you will care for yourself during the coming cycle.

Another reason Sun is considered debilitated in Libra is because Libra is a sign that is very much about relationships. Sun represents our individual strength, so with Sun in Libra, we are more likely to put more of our attention on others, and on relationships, than towards our own physical health. We may be relating to our own personal power through our relationships during this time, rather than approaching it as individuals. While you are offering your love and compassion to others, don’t forget to nourish the divine within yourself as well, or you may end up feeling depleted. It is also easy to become drained when we try too hard to balance everything, another temptation of Sun in Libra.

Swati Symbolism

Thankfully, the divine universe always seems to offer just the right opportunities for solving the same challenges it presents. We just need to be willing to do the work on ourselves. This new Moon is in the part of Libra known as Swati, “the independent one,” which reminds us of our independent nature, despite the strong emphasis we may be putting on relationships at the moment. This star-sign helps remind us to look for our own inherent power, shining forth like the inner Sun.

Vayu, the wind god, is the ruler of Swati, and can bring in a restless and scattered energy to this star. He is also the father of Lord Hanuman, who is known as the greatest devotee. One lesson we learn from Hanuman is that through loving devotion, even a restless monkey mind can be tamed. He had endless devotion for Lord Rama, which gave him invincible powers to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. Though we all have restless monkey minds at times, if we direct our attention toward love, light, or our chosen deity, we will be able to steady the mind and find immense strength within.

Practice Ideas

Some ways to still your mind through one-pointed focus include:

  • Mantra recitation
  • Asana practice
  • Scriptural study
  • Meditation on candlelight, a statue, or an image

Though a young sprout blowing in the wind (a symbol of Swati) may seem perilous, it is actually growing stronger so as to withstand the intense force of the outer circumstances. Eventually, it could grow into a tall redwood, cutting through the wind like a sword (another symbol of Swati). Swati is also related to the symbolism of a priest, which shows us the possibility for reclaiming both power and balance through devotional or spiritual practice.

kala-sarpa-swati-oct-2016Kala Saarpa Yoga

We may feel extra intensity seemingly out of nowhere, for the next two weeks during which the planets align in a Kala Saarpa yoga. This means that the seven major planets are all in between Rahu and Ketu, the two lunar nodes. This heavy alignment can bring up a lot of shadow work, so it is a good time to engage your toolbox for self-development. With Ketu in Shatabisha, the sign of the “hundred medicines,” alternative medicines and healing modalities can be useful towards this end.

Diwali

With all this energy in the atmosphere, enjoy the opportunity for worship offered by the advent of Diwali! This Hindu festival of light is celebrated for 6 or 7 days, with the main Diwali festival on the night of October 29th. Diwali, or Deepawali, comes from Deepa + avali, “a row of lights.”

Dhanvantari father of AyurvedaThursday (North America) is both Dhanvantari Tryodashi (or Dhanvantari Jayanti, the birth of Lord Dhanvantari), and Dhanteras (a part of the Diwali festival). It is the thirteenth day of the waning Moon in the Vedic month of Ashwayuja. Lord Dhanvantari is known as the “father of Ayurveda” and the “physician of the Gods.” (Ayurveda is the system of natural medicine from India that is a sister science to yoga and Jyotish.) If you practice any healing tradition, especially Ayurveda, this is a good day to give thanks and call in auspicious blessings to your healing path or practice.

Thursday also marks Dhanteras, the first day of the Diwali festival (the Hindu festival of light). It commemorates the day that Lakshmi emerged from the milk ocean. In India, it is customary to purchase metals on this day — anything from jewelry to new statues to kitchenware (excluding iron), as a part of celebrating Lakshmi and calling in more prosperity. The metals can then be offered to your altar and will absorb and amplify the benefits of worship performed over the few days of Diwali.

It is customary to perform a puja to Lakshmi on the third night of Diwali (this Saturday in North America). Goddess Lakshmi represents wealth and prosperity (spiritual and material), as well as devotion, love, beauty, and happiness. Celebrating her on Diwali is a way to call these qualities into our lives.

It is also traditional to light candles throughout Diwali, to remind us of the divine light within. Diwali is also related to the story from the Ramayana about Lord Rama’s return from exile after fourteen years. It thus symbolizes light and goodness emerging from times of darkness. Lord Rama represents dharma, or doing our duty, as well as devotion, compassion, courage, and righteous leadership. Diwali celebrations often commemorate his and Sita’s return to the kingdom of Ayodhya after their exile.

 

On Saturday night as we prepare to enter the next lunar cycle, light a candle! Turn your mind toward the divine so as to focus and ground, through the practices that work best for you. Set some intentions as to how you will practice self-care during this cycle (and be sure to find me on Facebook for a live chat with tips for how to do this!).

Ram Ram, Namaste

***Be sure to Follow me on Facebook so you can tune in for my upcoming Facebook Live talks about the New Moon AND Ayurvedic tips for how to stay balanced during the high vata season!

**Limited requests for personal Vedic Astrology readings before the New Year are now available Here.

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Maha Navaratri 2016

Maha Navaratri 2016

Maha Navaratri 2016 will be from October 1st-10th, the first ten days of this new lunar cycle. In this important Hindu holiday, we celebrate the Goddess through “the great nine nights.” Goddess, Devi, Shakti, Durga, Divine Mother, the many names and forms all represent the dynamic and fluid feminine power that enlivens all of existence.

She is the creatrix, the warrioress, the nurturer, the purifyer, the protector. While she’s in the innocent and fertile maiden so is she the wise and learned crone. Both the nurturing mother, and the one who gives “tough love.” The impassioned lover, the devoted bhakta, the disciplined yogini. We see Goddess appear through us in innumerable manifestations. Through her many forms she teaches us and offers us countless blessings–love, compassion, courage, learning, discipline, surrender, success, enlightenment, and bliss. This festival is a time for celebrating the supreme feminine power in all her glory, and the many blessings she bestows upon us.

As with most Hindu celebrations, this festival correlates with the lunar calendar, and thus begins on the first day of the waxing Moon after the New Moon of September 30th. The celebration is through the “nine nights” of October 1-9, 2016, and into the tenth morning known as Vijayadashami, “the day of victory,” on October 10th. Worship during Navaratri is most generally dedicated to Goddess in the form of Durga, the demon-slayer, but there is much nuance and variation to practice and forms of celebration throughout India. Above all, Navaratri is a community celebration of the Divine Mother, and the love, abundance and protection she gives.

There are many Navaratri celebrations throughout the year, but the fall-time Navaratri is the most widely celebrated, and is thus called Maha Navaratri – “the great nine nights”. It correlates with the time of the harvest, a time to give thanks for the abundance of the year’s work. Grains and crops are often offered to Devi as part of the celebrations. Ritualistic worship (puja) typically occurs in homes and temples throughout the nine nights and into the tenth morning of celebration.

 

The Many Forms of Goddess

 

Durga-Lakshmi-SarasvatiMaha Navaratri 2016

In Kerala and other places in India, the first three nights of worship are dedicated to Durga (the invincible), the next three to Lakshmi (Goddess of prosperity), and the final three to Sarasvati (Goddess of learning). Durga helps us to destroy and remove the negative tendencies in our minds and hearts, freeing us from the obstructions to our spiritual and material pursuits. Lakshmi helps us to cultivate positive qualities like compassion and devotion, and leads us towards both spiritual and material prosperity. Sarasvati assists us in attaining knowledge and wisdom, through the illumination of our consciousness. She aids in awakening sattva, the quality of purity, and the flow of prana, the vital breath. After removing inner and outer obstacles and cultivating prosperity through virtuous qualities, our devotion, service, and practice help us to attain a state of peace, bliss, and oneness.

 

Sarasvati-Lakshmi-Kali/Durga

In the Kali Kula (Kali school of worship) in northeastern India, Sarasvati is worshiped on the first three nights, followed by Lakshmi and then Kali/Durga on the last three. Sarasvati, Lakshmi, and Kali/Durga (Kali emerged from Durga) are also known as the consorts of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The Goddesses, therefore, provide the shakti to the cosmic processes of creation, preservation, and death/transformation, similar to their male counterparts. Consequently, worship in this manner is dedicated to the cycles of life and Mother nature, through birth, then sustenance, then death. Death is not a complete stop, but allows for the regeneration of energy into a new cycle once again.

 

9 Forms of Goddess

Throughout India, the nine nights of Navaratri are often dedicated to 9 different incarnations of Durga, allowing the worship of many different aspects of Shakti in a gradual evolution. You can read the stories and significance of these 9 goddesses here, or a more a brief introduction, here:

 

Navaratri 20161. Shailputri

“Daughter of the mountain”; creative energy, muladhara (root chakra), awakening; Awaken your connection with Goddess today or initiate a new venture, calling on Shailputri for new beginnings.

2. Brahmacharini

The ascetic; tapas, discipline, devotion, strength, wisdom, creative abundance; Good day for fasting and meditation, connection with svadhistana (sacral chakra).

3. Chandraghanta

Warrioress; protection, courage, grace, manipura (solar plexus); Destroy your internal obstacles by offering them to Chandraghanta.

4. Kushmanda

Creatrix of the “cosmic egg”; strength, health, happiness, success, relationships; Connect with the vital Sun energy and the anahata (heart chakra) today.

5. Skandamata

“Mother of Skanda/Kartikeya”; motherly love, nourishment, protection, purity; Call on divine truth through the vishuddha (throat chakra), invoking Skandamata to lead you towards victory.

6. Katyayani

Warrioress who destroyed Mahishasura (the buffalo demon); victory, devotion, strength, removing obstacles; Meditate on these qualities of Goddess through the ajna chakra (third-eye) today.

7. Kalaratri

“Dark/black night,” representing a fierce form of Durga/Kali; darkness, death, surrender, dissolution of pain; Connecting with the sahasrara (crown chakra), remember that Divine Mother offers love, compassion, and many blessings even in hard times. Even in the midst of apparent darkness, and helps us to go beyond the boundaries of the material body-mind and connect with spirit.

8. Mahagauri

“Great white goddess”; detachment, purification, renewal, protection, virtue; Through detachment and devotion, we emerge purified, shining and radiant after surrendering in the dark night. Rejuvenative herbs and foods are good today.

9. Siddhidatri

Goddess of “siddhis”; magical, spiritual or mystic powers and blessings, fulfillment of desires, devotion, divine union; Invite Goddess to reveal her presence to you everywhere and in every moment.

 

Personal Practice Ideas for Navaratri

If possible, it is great to reduce our workload and gather with community at local temples or places of worship. We can also create a little time and space at home and conduct some personal practices to celebrate Goddess energy. Here are some ideas to do at home or with a group throughout the nine nights of Navaratri:

 

Altar

Create a sacred space, a Durga altar, or a Goddess altar. Even if you already have one, you can refresh it in some way or rearrange it specifically for Navaratri. Include images or statues of the Goddess(es) you have a relationship with. This could be according to one of the groups of forms above.

Invocation

Even if you don’t have much time, dedicate at least a few minutes each day to connecting with the Divine Mother in front of your altar.

Journal

Write in your journal about what qualities of Goddess you perceive and connect with. What aspects would you like to strengthen or to cultivate more deeply? Write any and all prayers and offer them to the form of Goddess that appeals to you.

Light

Offer light to illuminate Goddess’s power, helping her to shine more brightly into the world and your life. You can light a candle by the altar and keep it burning when you’re at home. You can even keep an electronic tealight on symbolically when you are away.

Flowers/Grains

Offer flowers or grains (even a small dish of dried rice) to celebrate Devi in the form of mother nature, fertility, the abundance of the harvest, and the cycle of life.

Offerings

Offer incense, bells, water, or food if you feel called, by placing it on the altar, or mentally offering it to Goddess throughout the day. You can also offer something symbolic of your own work or practice, whatever you have been cultivating for harvest through the year. In offering this you surrender the fruits of your efforts to the Divine Mother.

Fasting

Some people choose to fast in some variation, if this is something you have practiced before. This might include fasting during the day, fasting with only milk or fruit, or abstaining from alcohol and non-vegetarian foods during Navaratri.

Chanting

Chanting the Devi Mahatmyam, a verse to the Goddess, is a common practice during the nine-night festival. You can also chant another Goddess mantra or songs that are special to you and your relationship with Devi.

 

JAI MA DURGA!

 

Personal Vedic Astrology chart readings and forecasts are available Here.

 

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New Moon in Bharani Nakshatra, The Womb Star

New Moon in Bharani Nakshatra, The Womb Star

Friday, May 6th, 2016 brings the new Moon in Bharani nakshatra, the womb star, a portal of life and death. Bharani is one of the 27 divisions of the sky visited by the Moon each lunar cycle, and is known as “the bearer.” Its symbol is the yoni (the female reproductive organs), and its deity is Lord Yama, the god of death. This star brings the strong potential for death and rebirth this lunar cycle. (Side note… any Game of Thrones fans?) The dark Moon night is Thursday in most places, and is an excellent time to contemplate what in your life is ready for its death, or composting, and what seeds you are ready to nurture with your energetic womb medicine.

2016 may 6 astrology chart vedicThe new cycle begins at 12:29 P.D.T. on Friday, with Sun, Moon, and Venus all in Bharani nakshatra, which falls in the middle of sidereal Aries. This will bring out our creative and nurturing energy, as well as our sexuality and passion. Mars’ influence on Aries makes this is a very willful nakshatra, which will make us very headstrong this month. It also brings the courage and the will to purify ourselves and follow our hearts. Now is the time to birth your passions into being, and nurture what you want to see grow this season.

Bharani is also known as the “star of restraint,” due to Yama’s influence. “The bearer” is both the one who creates and nurtures, and the one who endures or bears hardships. Lord Yama relates to death as well as to spiritual discipline, which we often choose to undertake when the awareness of our ultimate death dawns in our consciousness. This is an excellent time to adopt and endure some self-discipline aimed at self-purification, as part of the process of nurturing your goals and creations.

You could synthesize these energies of Bharani by designing a new sadhana practice for yourself to support your goals, especially one that includes yogic regimens of self-restraint, such as a cleansing diet or a new exercise routine. With Sun exalted in Aries, we are compelled to purify ourselves, using Mars’ courageous energy to strengthen our health and our connection with source. It’s not too late for a spring cleanse (you may actually have more impetus to do one now than before). With Sun in Aries, we remember our inherent strength and connection, and our power to share that light by putting it into action. Aries gives us the courage to step into our power and shine our brightest.

sport-1087028_1920Since Jupiter and Rahu are both still in the Sun’s sign of Leo, this also adds potency to the heated ideological debates still happening in the U.S. political campaign. Jupiter directs his aspect onto Sun, Moon, Venus, and retrograde Mercury, all in Aries on this new Moon. Don’t be surprised if some of the passions being birthed right now are sprung from extremist philosophical convictions. Because Jupiter is retrograde, many people have recently had a change of heart around their belief systems, and because Rahu is joining him, many of the philosophies recently adopted are radical and revolutionary.

Saturn and Mars are also both in retrograde motion, joined in sidereal Scorpio. This has been causing more than a few disruptions, and has shaken us into awareness of our fragility and the sudden changes that seem to keep happening throughout life. Since this is the 8th house from this new Moon in Aries, this just adds to the transformative energy for death and rebirth offered in this cycle.

Mars and Saturn will be joined in Scorpio through most of the summer, which is an unusually long conjunction for these two planets. It could be challenging, as both Saturn and Mars help to teach us the hard lessons in life. This Saturn retrograde transit is showing us where in life are reevaluating our long-term goals, and Mars adds the explosive fire of transformation to this process.

Last but not least, Mercury is also in retrograde motion, and joins Sun, Moon and Venus in Aries on this new Moon. This means we have the chance to go back and finish some communication or correspondence that was not yet finalized. On the other hand, it can also mean that some of your Mercurial efforts get a bit jumbled or delayed (missed appointments or overlooked messages). If that’s the case, try to tap into the patience that retrograde Saturn is trying to teach (after all it’s only 3 more weeks). You can bring forward the best that these planets have to offer, by engaging in quiet meditation or service for Saturn, and self-discipline for #Mars. This can help you to replace fear, anxiety and anger with wisdom and courage.

 

To help you understand how this awesome lineup of planets is affecting your chart, I’m offering personal Vedic astrology chart readings with an extra emphasis on the retrograde planets’ effects in your life.

 

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