Monday, October 12, 2015
Navaratri, Celebrating the Goddess
October 13th-22nd marks yet another of my favorite ‘holy’ days. This particular one is from India & Nepal. It is called Navratri also known as Navarartri. It is celebrated 4 times a year, more traditionally, two. Once in the spring and the most significant one, is in the fall, and is simply called Maha Navaratri, meaning the Great Navaratri. It coincides with the lunar calendar, so it falls on different days each year.
The word Navaratri means 'nine nights' in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. It is the celebration of the goddess in all of her forms. During these nine nights, it is believed that the Divine Feminine, descends to the Earth plane and the Mother Goddess manifests herself in warrior form to destroy the dark forces that harm humans and threaten the existence of goodness and righteousness on this planet.
In many traditions, she is not simply a vibration or frequency. She is a mega-divine female, the Mother Divine. The counterpart of God the Father, creatress of the phenomenal world. In order to access her you must remain alert, tune in, be aware.
The ancient seers/rishis of India identified Navratri as the time for the destruction of evil forces. Each year during Navratri, the Goddess descends to awaken the Earth from a deep slumber and to destroy all types of evil. These ‘evil forces’ are known as: sickness, negativity, laziness, poverty and ignorance. This could all sound like some cute mythological Hindu fairy-tale to us simple Westerners. Or—
What if it were a time, to be conscious and awaken yourself to your own negativity, self-sabotage, and small playing ways? What if you could use the love and compassion of the Divine Feminine aspect to shine the Light on all of your dark places and activate the Warrior Goddess, Kali, to wield her sword of truth, to show you that which is toxic in your life? To flesh out that which is no longer serving you and simply let go of some of your own darkness?
It appears that the goddess has long been forgotten in our modern, industrial, patriarchal society and is no longer a living presence for people as it once was in ancient cultures. The Goddess is the invisible Divine power and energy that sustains life and exists in both men and women of receptivity, nurturing, vulnerability, beauty, fertility, prosperity, joy, intuition, community. The Goddess Archetypes bring everything that is enjoyable into this world. Hindu’s believe, and I concur, that when our connection to Her is weak, we suffer financially, physically, mentally and emotionally. Makes sense to me. When we are lacking that Feminine aspect of ourSelves, life becomes all work and doing and no play. It is harsh, opposed to the softness, made available by the feminine. We definitely ‘suffer’ and our lives are lacking depth without it.
I share to simply bring awareness. To create a discussion. To cause you to question, where have you abandoned the goddess in your life? And where have you or would you, like to embrace the goddess more? How could embracing more of the feminine aspect in your life, wether you are male or female, benefit you and make your life richer?
There are three primordial forms of the goddess that are embraced and embodied during Navaratri. They are each celebrated for three nights of the nine, beginning with:
Durga/Kali (Goddess of Protection & Strength) protection from enemies and dark forces; warrior goddess extraordinaire, complete with belt of dismembered heads.
Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth), giver of spiritual and material wealth, as well as good fortune, beauty and health.
Saraswati (Goddess of Intelligence & Learning) for wisdom and right knowledge. She is the goddess of the arts, intelligence, education, music and memory.
In order to have all-round success in life, believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine feminine, hence the nine nights of worship.
I like to think about what it looks like, in our modern world to embrace each of those aspects.
I’ve written a blog on the warrior goddess. That’s an aspect I am probably all too familiar with, and that I also wouldn’t trade for anything. As a woman, to be able to stand up for mySelf, my loved ones and those I work with, that may not be able to do so for themselves, is an invaluable trait. It shows up in fierce loyalty to those I love, not allowing myself to be walked on, taking charge of and accountability for my life, confidence to meet whatever life brings me and competence to manage it all.
Saraswati is another favorite. In my life-long pursuit of wisdom, learning, and education, I have often called upon her to quickly learn and retain all that I study. Along with countless chantings of the Gayatri Mantra. Being a great appreciator of art and music, and being a writer myself, (which I consider to fall under ‘the arts’) is also embodying Saraswati.
Lakshmi, I’ve called her my home-girl for years. I once had an experience while meditating of her coming to me. Another time, while in San Diego, a woman of a friend I was staying with, just randomly shared that Lakshmi was one of my ‘guides’. Anyway, I’ve always felt a particular affinity to this goddess. Still searching for the perfect statue of her. She is the bestower of fortune and wealth. Not just material wealth, but spiritual wealth, which is something I have always valued. She is often attributed as the goddess of health and beauty, as well. I’ve been blessed with amazing health and well, as far as the beauty part, I do my best to be that inside and out.
I believe true beauty is a result of who you are ‘being” and radiates out from within. Outer beauty does not necessarily relate to inner beauty, however, inner beauty always finds its way out.
I think it’s great to study whatever goddesses appeal to you. What are their different aspects and characteristics that you most identify with and which qualities could you use more of in your life?
Use this time of Navaratri to do your own research on any goddesses that appeal to you or take at look at some of your Divine feminine qualities and see where you could improve, where you are doing well, and what do you want to embody moving forward.
Here is a list, my friend Merrill Chandler, came up with for high-vibration feminine traits to get you thinking: Vulnerable, Intuitive, Creative, Inspiring, Receptive, Nurturing, Interdependent, Trusting, Collaborative, Accountable.
Some of the low-vibe feminine traits would be: Wishy-Washy, Weak, Pushover, Dreamer, Smothering, Follower, Gullible, Compromising, Victim.
So go get your Goddess on!! Now is the time!! Feel free to share some of your favorite goddesses, and their traits that speak to you. Post some pics of your fave goddess or better yet, as yourSelf embodying something that speaks to you.
Shine on, shine on, beautiful peeps!!