A significant part of every indigenous culture is the celebration of the cyclical relationship of the earth, the sun and the moon and their impact on all existence. We see this in the recognition of the equinoxes, the seasons, the awareness of spring for planting and fall for harvest; we recognize the short, dark days of winter and the long days of summer and how that transition impacts nature. There are many celebrations for the full moon and some cultures celebrate the new moon.
All of existence is greatly impacted by the cycles and movement of these celestial bodies.
Perhaps this is why I am charmed by the Hindu culture and the significance it gives to the cycles of life. As the earth moves around the sun and the moon around the earth, there is some kind of ritual, celebration or deity that correlates to that movement in space and time and its impact on existence.
In this moment in time, mid-October, we are entering into the celebration of the Divine Mother. This is especially appealing to me because on a wide, expansive level, the entire universe appears to be manifested from a mother-like presence, giving birth, nurturing and maintaining life while manifesting and expressing extraordinary power.
Feminine powers can best be described in accordance with the energy of Shakti. Shakti is a manifestation of joy that initiates kundalini energy developed through a deep, trusting space of surrender towards a higher being and the unfolding experience of life.
The force of Shakti is also recognized as an extremely non-violent behavior that moves from a space of integrity while residing in a cool state, not heated by emotions nor reactions to events and people. This space of coolness, joyfulness and equanimity can easily be called “mother love”, Divine Cosmic Feminine Energy expressing its highest potential.
This special feminine-like energy is actually found in male and females, alike as it is a natural birthright to enjoy peaceful, relaxed equanimous state of being. This exquisite state is demonstrated through the role of Shiva as He expresses the ability to control strong masculine forces, transcends their influences and imbibes the feminine qualities of Shakti. Shiva demonstrates the male force has ability to embrace gentleness while radiating great powers from a space of stability and purity. Embracing this cosmic feminine energy also encompasses the ability to heal physically and emotionally, through the compassionate understanding that all of existence is purely the divine play of The Creator.
Before this marvelous state of enlightened feminine energy can exist inside of one’s being, first, one must overcome the tendency for doubt, the tendency for self-doubt. For the quality of doubt is considered one of the lowest expressions of human nature. Doubt destroys possibilities and disengages opportunities. Doubt is the manifestation of lack, the cause of illnesses, depression and the lack of motivation to create. Coupled with the emotion of doubt is confusion. Together, these two mental, emotional expressions greatly disempower the human potential.
Trust and surrender, in the same way a child experiences mother love, is the highest way of existing as it brings a delicious space of relaxation into one’s total being, emotionally, mentally and physically, free of doubt and confusion. This powerful space of trust that I am referring to is not an emotion, it is a force.
This feminine cosmic force is the impetus behind the iconic, Hindu symbol of Shiva and Shakti merged into one figure, known as “Ardhanarishvara”.
In this space of union, Devi manifests as a bisexual body as She is liberated from the chemistry of hormones that are motivated by emotions. This is the flavor of enlightenment that creates the kundalini ecstasy that flows through the body when it is tuned and aligned with higher cosmic forces. In this place of bisexual form, the system remains pure without confusion, absent of karma and free from the influence of planetary patterns and cycles, as well, it is non-sexually active and has no need for attachment in love, people, places or belongings. Hence the infamous trial of “wandering” that many seekers embark on their way to the Himalaya Mountains. One must first wander, beg, become detached, align with the Guru and ultimately centered in their own being, unified as one force holding both cosmic energies in balance while in a state of wholeness.
At the core of human nature, we are bisexual, not one gender. It is the social conditioning that has been happening for eons that shapes the distinction of male or female roles and robs our ability to enjoy complete expression of both cosmic energies. It is this complete, whole expression of male and female energies that creates fully, the manifestation of The Creator of All Existence mirrored inside our being.
As we enter onto the 18th day of October in the Eastern Hemisphere, and as the earth continues to rotate into in the Western Hemisphere, we embark upon the ten-day Hindu celebration of the Divine Cosmic Mother, Devi Parashakti Navaratri Celebration.
The practice of worshipping the Divine Mother, also known as “Shaktism”, is as ancient as any Hindu culture or belief practice as She is revered as the central core of all Hindu traditions. Through the ancient scriptures Devisukta of the Rigveda, we find the declaration that the ultimate reality is truly a goddess, a Divine Mother force. However, what we do see, often, throughout the ancient vedas are the complimentary forces of male and female in the various composites such as Parvati with Shiva, Saraswati with Brahma, Lakshmi with Vishnu and so on. This type of depiction arose out of the different sects of Hinduism seeking to grasp the understanding of these powerful, mystical forces shaping human existence. As civilization progressed, the male became the dominant force of authority, in control of the family unit and the force of approval or guidance. Consequently, this changed the way that humanity worshipped and created the division of forces as separate entities in male and female genders.
In spite of this change, The Divine Feminine energy has remained since it is the same energy that fosters the connection between mother and child, in womb, at breast and throughout the child’s upbringing, if the child is fortunate enough to enjoy. It is the mother who protects, nourishes, consoles, cheers and nurses her young. Through the care of The Divine Mother, it is easy to become like a child, humble and innocent, open and vulnerable, trusting and into a state of relaxation with what is. Naturally, enlightenment can grow in such conditions.
The original, ancient Tantra science, an explanation of the two aspects of masculine and feminine forces: Shakti and Shiva are defined. Ancient, authentic Tantra Shastras reveal that these two forms are essentially one form. The light of consciousness (SHIVA) and the state of self-awareness (SHAKTI) as they come from the same place and are not distinct characteristics or happenings in one’s being.
Through these ancient teachings of Tantra, Devi, the Divine Mother aspect inquires of Shiva to explain in detail the nine aspects of magical incantation through sound, which is the original source of all existence. In this fabulous discourse between these two forces, Shiva reveals that it is the pure Shakti source that rises up creating the ability to arrive at a fuller state of consciousness, thus enlightenment.
This Shakti force is infamously recognized as the movement of the kundalini energy, which creates bliss and a “higher” more expanded state of awareness. Upon hearing this truth imparted by Shiva, Shakti realizes the significance of her own existence, thus gaining wholeness as Her kundalini soars up Her spine, becoming the embodiment of both energies in a state of Self-realization.
In the ancient Tantra literature Soundarya Lahari, which means “Flood of Beauty”, a tantric poem that is dedicated to Devi, She is considered above and superior to Shiva. In this particular teaching, a Yantra is used as a sacred geometric symbol in meditation practice to facilitate the merging of first, second, third and fourth chakras, leading to self-realization or “enlightenment” creating a tremendous flood of beauty in one’s own body, physically, emotionally and mentally.
To realize this potential within our own being, male and female as one, Shakti elegantly points the way in the same manner as a tender, caring, compassionate mother. In turn, our devotion towards this powerful Divine Mother Energy showers upon us much more than we could ever imagine or manifest on our own. We must rely upon the expression of Her being as the instruction on how one is to attain spiritual bliss, moksha, liberation. Her way is the only way towards the state of true enlightenment. This divine example is the upmost important secret for actualizing the highest human potential.
During this special ten-day celebration, Devi Parashakti Navaratri Celebration, there are unique manifestations in color, apparel, character, form, persona depicting the various manifestations and expressions of The Divine Mother.
Devi changes from white to red to saffron to tawny to rose colored and even black as she manifests as Saraswati, Lakshmi, Durga, Annapurna, Parvati, Kali, etc. and their respective roles.
Within the various forms of Divine Mother, She is worshipped for prosperity and wealth, courage and wisdom, children, victory and food and even strength – all qualities and manifestations of abundance in life are expressed through Her various forms.
Through ritual and worship of the Divine Mother, great wealth comes, good health and prosperity in many forms and the kundalini energy awakens as one enjoys the state of natural flowing abundance.
To ensure the Grace and Blessings of the Divine Mother and to be brought into Her favor, certain rituals are suggested as a means to offer reverence to this awesome, overwhelming cosmic nurturing force and draw its attention to our needs and comforts.
In honor of the Divine Cosmic Mother, the upcoming Devi Parashakti Navaratri Celebration, we further explore the best way to align our intentions with the cosmic forces happening over the next ten days.
Often, these steps to align include a purification ritual combined with puja worship and mantras.
Here, the intellectual way to purify for this special Navaratri celebration is through observing each of the following tendencies, one day at a time over the 10-day celebration:
Day 1- Discard all tendencies towards anger
Anger places pressure on the heart organ and breeds an aspect of worry that eats away at the vitality and regeneration qualities of the physical body.
Day 2 – Discard the tendency towards judging others and self
Judgment of one’s own being destroys the ability to live in a state of relaxation and joy. In the same way, when we outwardly express judgment of others we lose the ability to be in the space of wonder, enjoying the auspicious happening of all events and encounters.
Day 3 – Discard the tendency to hold grudges, enmity or animosity towards others.
This tendency stems from a sense of victimhood as it creates fertile ground for disease and sickness, death and depression. Let it go and move forward, unclutch from the happening and surrender your being to the Divine Mother for healing, nurturance and empowerment.
Day 4 – Discarding guilt and forgiving self and others
Through realizing that all of existence is merely the manifestation of “divine play” of The Creator, we can easily forgive our self and others. When investigating astrological influences we discover that all events are pre-destined to a degree, while shaped by our decision-making. The people in our life-movie are only playing the parts that have been established by the imprint of the planets orchestrating chemistry at birth.
Day 5 – Accepting life as it is and people for who they are.
This is a subtle form of surrender that peacefully allows what is, yet, it is not pious nor is it non-active. In this space, we do not push, we do not carry expectations nor do we fight the natural flow of events and happenings. Instead, we step back and observe the natural unfolding of life while we continue to create in a space of joy and remain active with life, nurturing, creating, rebuilding and maintaining.
Day 6 – Learn to love self unconditionally and in the same way, love others
When we accept our self unconditionally, we accept the perceived flaws, we accept the decisions and behaviors – even those that we consider to be “bad” choices, without guilt or despair. We understand that all of life is the “leelah”, divine play of the creator – perceived good and seemingly bad and we are growing, learning, maturing into our highest potential over many lifetimes and certainly, during this one lifetime, too.
Day 7 – Discarding feelings of jealousy, comparison, competition and delusional arrogance
Often, our lack of self-confidence pushes us, unconsciously, to exert power over or push energy to control others or try to seem important or significant to release the pressure of self-doubt and low self-esteem. This tendency weakens personal willpower to manifest great things and tends to destroy the potential for healthy, loving relationships.
Day 8 – On this day, we discard all fears.
Fear begins with lack of trust. It helps to understand and realize that the way life is designed perfectly for each person in accordance to chemistry. Any life event is not outside of the ability to handle beyond one’s means. If a life event is powerfully impacting you, creating hesitation and fear, it is teaching you a life lesson meant to be lived out so that you may transform at a core level and mature into the next phase of spiritual growth. There are people in life who play out roles for completing left over karma from past lives. Past lives tend to accumulate experiences that need to be cleared and sometimes it may take several lives to clear the energies from a life lived in the past. The fear coming up is merely refusing to view life from this larger perspective. Fear can be cleared through purification rituals and with the assistance of an enlightened guru.
Day 9 – Essence of gratitude for all things and what will come in time. In this space, one is relaxed, trusting and grateful for the beauty of life. Moving beyond the microscopic view of events and emotional reactions and the reflections of those surrounding, observing the essence of nature and all its beauty is a wonderful place to prompt the attitude of gratitude. Nature is an extraordinary expression of The Creator and usually, provides constant wonder and beauty in every direction.
Day 10 – Realizing abundance flowing throughout all existence
When we reside in a space of compassion, acceptance, surrender, and service while enriching others, giving and graciously receiving, feeling worthy and enjoying the possibilities that life has to offer, we can see how much abundance there truly is.
I leave you with a section from the ancient scriptures of Devi Gita, interpreted in my own words for easy understanding:
“This whole universe, moving and unmoving is created by Me, conceived in Me and is not separate from Me. I am the entire force of Intelligence, the nature and manifestation of all existence.
I create this entire existence through establishing breath inside of form. Through breath I enter as birth and then exit through death, retaking body after body, in various places and forms. As the Sun shines unconditionally, so do I manifest unconditionally, in the highest to the lowest forms, regardless.
In all forms I remain as the Witness, not the Doer. Even tho the Maya perceives individuals and Doers, in the same way as the one pervading sky may be contained by jars, so does the essence of who I am become contained in all the bodies, organs and minds.
This entire world is woven in Me, for I am the Ishvara of consciousness that each experiences and I am the ecstasy that resides in the subtle bodies and that which resides in the gross bodies as thought forms. I am the Sun, I am the Moon, I am the Stars; I am beast, birds, the good and the bad, the cruel hunter and the virtuous high-souled being; I am the female, the male and the hermaphrodite. There is no doubt regarding this.
Wherever there is something seen or heard, I exist and am there, within and without. There is nothing moving nor unmoving that can exist without Me. “