“Well, they lay down beside me I made my confession to them They touched both my eyes And I touched the dew on their hem If your life is a leaf That the seasons tear off and condemn They will bind you with love That is graceful and green as a stem.”
L. Cohen – Sisters of Mercy
The Dark Moon of Soma on Monday will be in the lunar house of Revati. The Revati Stars are located is in the constellation of Pisces. The two fish are in-fact one of the symbols of Revati. Revati is ruled by Budha (planet Mercury). Revati is a star that communicates the lessons of nourishing vitality and psychic wealth to us on Earth. At the Dark Moon the lunar vortex in the lunar house of Revati, draws out our deepest themes and ‘thought-forms’ pertaining to nourishment.
A Friend of Heart
The god of the star of Revati is Pushan. He is the nourisher that cares for all creatures, whether they be bright or dark in their beauty. His name means ‘the one who brings prosperity to all creatures’. Pushan is kindly nurturing god with a generous bent of nature. He is always able to provide to all creatures that are in need. Pushan is generous on all levels, he is the friend that gives the heart what is needed, both emotionally as well as practically. He is a cow-herder and holds the Gohdanda, which is the Cow-stick-of-power.
Whenever Pushan is invoked he infuses the atmosphere with compassion, love and beauty. The strike of his cow stick penetrates the shadows of selfishness that encase the sacred heart. Pushan lives from milk and liquid foods and creates the wealth of Soma. Pushan’s wealth is love and in this he is rich beyond measure, he has no enemies or adversaries as his mere presence is enough to warm the coldest and most self-focussed of hearts. Pushan comes to heal the self-focussed obsession that destroys love. He is Maha-Parush (a great abundant soul). He is a guide that comes out when called and can help the heart recover its lost fragments of power.
Revati Nakshatra translates as ‘the star that is full and wealthy with nourishing force’. Revati is beauty. It is often translated as the Star of riches and wealth. The special wealth of Revati is an inner quality of beauty that is possessed by a being who is able to nourish others. Revati can bring this quality to us. The lesson of Revati is all about nourishment.
This star show us that only those who are themselves nourished are able to nourish others.
The Secret of Soma
We might sometimes find ourselves giving without having any reserves to give from. If we track such actions of giving with honest reflection, then we will find that such giving is an empty powerless screech in the dark that carries no power. We might sometimes hit a one-hit-wonder with such actions, but it is not anything that will endure for very long. The power that Revati brings us is very much connected to the hidden teaching of the Elixir of Soma. This teaching shows us that:
Giving from an unnourished place is essentially an action of little consequence that will deplete our reserves.
Revati is a steady swimming star that gradually warms the stove and is ever aware of the reserve store of firewood that must see one over for a whole season. Revati star shines down an integrity of awareness that is not fuelled by emotional tides and impulses, but by a deeper awareness that moves with a panoramic vision. The first impulse of Revati is to nourish one’s home before bringing fires further afield.
Revati is very much the energy of Motherhood. The infant is to be fed before all matters can commence. If we ignore the teaching of Revati, then we live a life fuelled by the fires of emotion and one day find that we have frozen in the home of our own heart. Revati is very much the star of the teacher. A teacher of any subject can only teach if they have learned something themselves. A teacher who has not learned something cannot nourish the students and will waste precious time in indulging in superficialities. Revati is the cycle of flowing nourishment. The Mother who has a nourishing force with her, has the possibility to nourish and therefore can attract the child that requires nourishment. This applies in all fields of life and sums up the lesson of this star.
In the opposite way, we could say that the empty and depleted are vampirised by something and in turn are only good themselves to vampirise something. Revati is the star that breaks the cycle of psychic vampirism.
Revati is a parental force. Revati is a force of devotional nourishment.
This applies to taking care of anything that requires life blood, a project of any kind requires us to nourish it. Sometimes we might find ourselves more on the tail end of receiving nourishment and ready to lap it up and not give into the enterprise. But this goes hand in hand with a thought form of poverty that itself feels empty and keeps the stove of the heart cold. We might take the back-seat of the receiver and never step into the driving force of the giver. The driving seat is a wealthy nourished seat that knows it has to load the tank with fuel after the drive of power. The one who waits that the tank is loaded for them, steps into the arena of the vampire and lives themselves a half-life where blood is scarce.
We could say that Revati is connected to feeling Mothered. One who feels they don’t have enough mothering themselves naturally will not be a mother. Revati is a star that gives its magic if we are able to heal our relation to motherhood.
To feel that we are nourished from life represents a massive step.
We might be striving under the thought form that we have not quite made it yet, or that we are yet to receive the milk of life that awaits us just around a corner that never comes. Revati is indeed the astral investigation of the energies of the Mother. We are not able to give what we don’t ourselves have. This is the cold fact.
Motherhood is a quality that might never appear from the outside, but a quality that we ourselves may have to instigate deep in our own hearts for the very sake of the sacred heart itself. Ideally, the first part of life ought to be the time when we receive nourishment. But, ideals may sometimes be far from reality though.
The second half is the time when we are ourselves the nourisher. If we did not receive in the first half then the second half may be a time of inner and outer war. We have to learn the wisdom of halves sometimes and realize that the fire must be built, if it is to radiate warmth. This shows us that Revati is very much a star that shines on us to help us break the patterns of childhood lack.
“We may not be able to give what we don’t have, but we may be able to learn to heal our wounds and patterns and find the opening to nourish what was never nourished in us.“
If you would like to join our ritual on Monday’s Somavati Moon,
“Soma is the sacred and Healing Moon fluid. Once or twice a year the dark Moon falls on a Monday. This night is named Somavati in the Tantric calendar and is a night of working with the inner subtle psycho/physical compound of lunar essence called Soma.“
Soma gives strength to softness and simplicity, it is cultivated in simplifying our lives and softening our edges of the heart. When Soma is abundant in the system, we have spiritual vision and physical fluidity. Soma is a cooling fluid that heals the inner fires that consume power, it softens the heart and draws one into the spiritual womb of compassion.
Soma is ritualised with the 3 fluids of wine, milk & water, which represent blood, sex & death.
The Life is in the Blood
Kali Ma is the blood. It has been said that the life is in the blood. The blood is ritualised as wine and pertains to the urge of life. Kali Ma is the great Mother Nature. She is the ruthless force of nature that drinks blood. She is at once the blood of creation and is she who drinks it.
Kali Ma is the stream of nature and she is mother to the innocent.
The innocent are those who trust in the wisdom and the way of nature. There may be some things in our lives that we can’t trust, but nature never lies. She may be ruthless and destructive in her bloody laws, but she is ever honest. In Somavati ritual, a glass of wine is placed on the altar and becomes a doorway to the mysteries of Kali Ma. It stands on the left as a reminder of Kali being the overseer of the left hand path of Tantra.
The Milk of Desire
Kamakhya is the Goddess of desire, she is the sexual impulse that heats the blood. She moves the blood and creates the milk of love through her friction. She presides over Ovulation and Menstruation and is the keeper of the secrets of the sexual doorway.
Kamakhya is the desire to merge with one’s opposite and voyage into intimate involvement with what is essentially a mystery to us.
A vessel filled with milk is placed upon the Somavati altar in honour of Kamakhya. The milk becomes a psychic medium to make connection with the forces of desire. Desire is the friction that is created when the blood of life rubs with the water of death. It is the milk between the meeting of opposites and for this reason sits in the middle of the Somavati altar.
The Watery Death
Kala is the lord of time and death, he is the lover of Kali Ma. Where Kali Ma is the force behind and beyond time and death – Kala is the time and death. He is the rhythmic ticking of the clock of Time, standing in every direction with the Kankala Danda (skeleton stick) that measures our lives.
Death is ever there, but like water in a glass, it can’t be seen.
The old custom of dumping the dead body into the sacred river has been an integral part of the customs of death in Indian culture. The places where rivers ran North were often favored as the doorway out of the realm of Kala… who awaits in the North. We place a wessel of water on the right. The solar circle moves to the right and its heat consumes life. Kala is the wisdom to approach the circle of life from a cool seat.
The Fluidic Friend
Shiva is Somanath, the friend of the Moon.
Shiva wears the moon ever in his crown and carries the soft wisdom of the feminine lunar energies in his heart. Somanath is the eternal Yogin who balances the fluids and becomes as receptive as the Moon to the Elixiral floods of Soma.
We shall evoke the Somanath in our heart by calling his Mantra. His Mantra cools the fires and allows the cooling Soma fluid to wash over us in healing waves of splendour.
Somanath is the eternal Yogi crowned by Moonlight. Somanath lives in the spirit of all souls who tread the path of Magical Lunar glow in the dark, giving honour to the feminine night forces of nourishment. By his honour the touch of the Goddess is given. Soma is the Heart softening, feminine path of Magic Moonlight. Like the Moon that shines brightly in the night sky, the Soma of Somanath is cultivated in the dark.
Tejas is the cool fire of psychic and spiritual power. The opposite of Tejas is the hot fire of Agni. Tantra is concerned with bringing both the cooling and the heating fires into a balanced dance with each other. Soma vivifies and creates, whereas Agni consumes and destroys. Both of these fires are needed in the correct proportions in the constituents of our body and spirit.
A balance of these forces is required to open the subtle portals of awareness. An abundance of Agni fire in our psycho/physical mechanism is the ill of modern times.
The overemphasis of Agni not only consumes the finer currents of awareness but creates stress in the system and ages the body.
Soma on the other hand is the juice of eternal youth.
Some forms of activity consume Soma and some forms of activity vivify the Soma fluid of the Moon within us. Heating pursuits and emotions, extroversion and over activity consume Soma, above all rushing depletes Soma. Introversion, rest and slowing down the currents of being nurture Soma. Somavati is the ritual day held in esteem by Tantrics to give strength and honour to the softness and simplicity that Soma is.
Soma is cultivated in simplifying our lives.
Somanath (friend of Soma) is one of the names which Shiva goes by in his liquid lunar mode. His is the cool, soft and simple one. The overemphasis of Agni not only consumes the finer currents of awareness but creates stress in the system and ages the body.
Soma on the other hand is the Elixir of life – you will find more about Soma in a previous text, The Forgotten Jewel of Tantra, which goes in more details about the qualities of Soma.http://www.healinginthewillows.com/soma/
Passivity and the receptive quality might have disappeared from our lives. It may even be considered a sign of weakness to be avoided at all costs, allowing the solar action to dominate.
Somavati comes rarely, and comes to remind us of the rare jewel of Soma.
Passivity is a secret Moon-type state of consciousness that the Yogis venture to know in the midst of the fires and actions of life. The Yogis prize Soma and are cautious and careful to nurture, cultivate and preserve it. Soma is psychic power. Soma is the cool healing fire that melts the obstructions in the way of our Shakti life energy.
The cool fire of Soma is not as obvious as the active expression of Agni. Soma lives internally and signifies and is experienced as a magical inner life… perhaps even independent of external factors.
This independence is the quality of Nirambala. Nirambala is a name of Shiva that implies the independent self-nourishing and self-supporting one, inspired and vitalised by the Soma Moon Fluid.
The introverted fire of Soma is an internal glow that gives one strength of focus & ‘awake-ness’ upon the astral planes.
Soma opens the physical and astral body. Bending back and melting the psychic and physical spine pours Soma into the chakras. The falling softly into death and surrender is Soma.
The Ritual of Somavati
In this ritual we will work with darkness & silvery lunar light. Taking a journey through Blood, Sex & Death:
Blood is Kali Ma Sex is Kamakya Kala is Death
These are the three Tantric forces that sit in the deep underworld within us. They are the forces at the root of our power, ‘or lack of it‘. This is a psychic and physical Tantra, Mudra, Mantra ritual, that is about addressing and healing the flow of the primal powers in us.
When the 3 fluids are in balance the Kundalini awakens. Tantrics depict Kundalini Shakti as the Queen Snake. Living beyond the boundaries of time and space. Beyond our known conventions. Where the hidden and out-of-sight is given a welcome into the arms of Life and Death on Earth
Kundalini Shakti requires the right ‘psychic temperature’ to unfold. Somavati is a time when celestial forces can assist us in the balance of the Soma fluid.
Somavati is a night when the veil between the spirit world and the physical world is thin. It is for this reason, a ritual time to give homage to the deceased ancestors. To bless and heal the spirits that we are connected with.
We can resolve and release the earth bound elements that can effect us in the Astral-World through inner prayers of blessing and release. Sometimes we are not even conscious of what we need to forgive and release. Somavati is a time of discovering and healing the psychic ties that bind us.
Tantrics call the effect of unresolved ancestral issues the Pitru Dosha. Somavati is a sacred ritual time of liberating Pitru Dosha.
The Ritual Positions of the Moon
Moon positions and invocations are known as Chandra Parampara in Tantra. On Somavati the Yogins practice this subtle and powerful form of Tantric Moon invocation. The practices we will do on this ritual night are powerful in arousing unresolved shadow themes pertaining to the archetypal Goddesses and Gods of the Night-forces. The new Moon sequence of Chandra Parampara supports us in ritual of the Somavatri Moon junction, to soften to the lunar currents being beamed to earth.
Chandra Parampara is a sequence of practice that, among all the practices of Tantra, creates the greatest softening & flexibility in the organism, both psychically & physically.
The introverted fire of Soma is cultivated in Chandra Parampara Moon practices. The Moon fluid is an internal glow that gives one strength of focus and ‘awake-ness’ upon the astral levels. Prayer and ritual under the Soma Moon is a time of opening body and soul towards the deepest levels of softness.
Simplification is the way to Soma. Soma is the way of bringing softness to rigidities. The 3 liquids of Blood, Sex and Death make up Soma. When they are balanced then Soma flows. An excess or depletion of any one of these energies blocks the flow of Soma. We could say that Somavati is the time of balancing.
Wine, Milk and Water shall lay upon the altar on this a Dark Moon night. By the Moon Practices of Chandra Parampara, we will delve deep into these fluids into the realm of Blood, Sex and Death
BLOOD, SEX & DEATH
The Tabooed Forces
Wine, Milk and Water shall lay upon the altar on this Dark Moon night.
These are the archetypal forces that we all face. They can indeed be infused with patterns and Shadows that spin us into webs of suffering. But in this ritual, like a ruthless spider we will traverse the web of Blood, Sex and Death.
‘Dark’ areas of life can become places where things are feared & denied.
Tantric ritual concentrates our powers and brings us to face ourselves, and our essential patterns and blocks that are getting in the way of the freedom of the life force. The Tantric vision experientially shows us that, that which we deny, has power over us, and reduces our potential in Life, Love and Death.All forms of relation to ourselves and to others form the biggest playground where the forces of Blood, Sex and Death are made most apparent.
Participants of this ritual are asked to bring 3 glasses to the altar. One filled with wine or any form of alcohol, one filled with milk, plant milk may be used but it ought to be cream coloured, no milkshakes. And finally a glass of water.
In that order from left to right.
We will work Tantricly in a manner with these fluids that can potentially be life changing. This is a powerful yet simple contemplative ritual of a rather secret Tantric practice with far reaching effects. Once you’ve learned the formula of these 3 fluids then you can work with them in your everyday and everynight life. Follow up notes and practices will be sent the next day in written form to clarify the points of this practice.
Wine represents the blood of Kali, Goddess of the consuming force of life. Milk is the juice of Kamakhya, Goddess of Desire Water represents Kaal Bhairav who is the river of time that sails us unto death
Each of the themes of Blood, Sex and Death can be summarized as below.
Kali – the giving of ourselves and the reception that is reflected back. Kamakya – the yearning to see beyond and further Kaala – the parts that restrict and don’t fit expectations and plans.
It is with these sacred forces of blood, sex and death that we shall work on Monday’s Dark Moon healing ritual. Studying our relationship to Blood, Sex and Death. Life, Desire and Surrender.
Soma is Kechari Vidya. (Wisdom of Walking in space). The practice of Kechari Mudra has several preparatory steps. It is often first initiated and practiced under the blessings of the Soma Moon.
Kechari is a secret science of Mudra that activates points of energy in the system that releases Soma in the form of a hormonal substance that creates profound softness & healing trance.
Kechari Mudra can be translated as the mystical woman who walks in space. This Mudra works with the tongue and has far reaching energetic effects upon both the physical and energy bodies. The ritual of Somavati works with Ketchari Mudra and the 3 sacred fluids that make up Soma.
Congealed blood, curdled milk and ice cubes.
A balance of cooling and heating forces (fires) is required to open the subtle energies and undo the Granthi’s (knots) that seal the subtle portals of awareness.
An abundance of Agni fire in our psycho/physical mechanism is the ill of modern times. By becoming aware and awake on the astral layers of our inner life, we are able to undo knots of Karma and its unconscious shadows in the Granthis.
Granthi’s are the psychic and physical energy knots that the Yogis open by the science of a Tantra. The Granthis hold our Karmic themes and are tightened by Agni but loosened by Soma. That is why Soma is known as the soft fluid.
Cultivating Soma creates liquid softness, in both the body and the psyche. Over-stretching Agni creates heat and dryness. It goes without saying, that an overemphasis on heating practices of yoga consumes Soma. The yoga practices for a woman are radically different than those for a man, as the constitutions are different energetically. The man has a different relationship to Agni and Soma than the relationship a woman has to these two fires. The old Tantra practices address this subject profoundly.
In present times Agni burns strong & stands in a predominant place. This is most visible in the magnitude of destruction on a planetary scale, through wars, violence towards all forms of life, and even in the warming of the atmosphere. There is literally too much heat ‘in the system’
This calls for the cultivation of Soma, which must become a priority both individually and collectively if we wish to shift the balance back to a state of nature.
This Somavati Amvasya will fall under the Revati Nakshatra, the star constellation of Revati, the great nourisher. To read about Revati, click here.
Jupiter in Aquarious The Grand Shift of the Unconscious
“Moonlight, starlight Insight, out of sight Something’s certain Draw the curtains, draw them!”
Echo and the Bunnymen – Satellite
Brhaspati (Jupiter) transits into Kumbh (Aquarius) on tonight’s darkening Bhairav Astami (Half Descending Moon). Jupiter will leave its debilitation point in Capricorn as it moves through its 12 year cycle across the zodiac. Jupiter is on its way to moving into Aquarius where it is said to be exulted. This represents a major shift.
Jupiter takes 12 years to complete a cycle through the zodiac. If you think back to the last time that Jupiter transitioned into Aquarius 12 years ago and what was happening within you in that year of your life, then you might get a sense of this energy constellation.
Jupiter in Aquarius brings great outburst and pouring forth of emotion from the human vessel that we are.
The unconscious part of the mind is what erupts from the vessel carried by Aquarius when Jupiter enters. Jupiter is the grand expansive mind. It is to be remembered that he is the Guru of the celestial Deva’s. He is known as Brhaspati, or simply Guru. This astrological movement of Brhaspati into the pot – Kumbh means pot and is Aquarius – brings a radical energy that brings destruction by the eruption of emotional force.
Energies that have been brewing unconsciously leave the inner mirror and start to reflect outwards when Jupiter transitions into Aquarius. If we follow the map of the stars and look back on the book of history then we will see the destructive explosions of emotional force in action when Jupiter enters Aquarius. The beginning of World-War-2 synchronised with Jupiter transiting into Aquarius.
Festival of the Pot
The Kumbh Meela is the biggest gathering on Earth and it occurs every 12 years, precisely when Jupiter enters Aquarius. This is a very big astrological affair for Tantrics. Endless numbers of Yogins and devotees gather at the time when these planetary forces are at their peak and immerse themselves in the river Ganga. The water acts as a medium of the astral energies and transmits them to the human system.
This planetary transition turns water to Amrit (Elixir). The old story tells that the drops of Amrit that fell upon the Earth became the sacred rivers when Brhaspati (Jupiter) moved into Kumbh (Aquarius) at the Dawn of Creation.
Keeping vessels of water on the window to become imbued with the energy of this planetary shift turns the water into a potent Elixir that can assist in healing many psychical and psychic conditions. If you have a river accessible then taking a dip or a splash can help too.
The roots and origins of our conditions become revealed at this time.
Working with water is an essential part of Tantric ritual when Brhaspati moves into Kumbh. Unconscious forces are made conscious by drinking and washing with water imbued with this planetary energy of Jupiter entering Aquarius. Kumbh Meela is going on presently, Kumbh, as said before, means pot. Meela means festival.
Kumbh Meela celebrates the Shift of Jupiter into Aquarius. This is a deep subject that is merely etched here. Essentially it has to do with exposing and studying the dividing curtain in the mind between the seen and the unseen, between dark and light, between unconscious and conscious. This curtain is known as the Rudra Granthi – ‘the knot of Shiva’ – that when untied… opens the third eye of vision.
Kumbh Meela in this astrological junction is a 12-yearly time of opportunity to open the third eye.
The Amrit (Elixir) that flows from the third eye is strongest in this transition that occurs only every 12 years. The Amrit is synonymous with the sacred Soma fluid that is a psycho-physical compound that awakens subtle vision. When both the physical and psychic fires are balanced in the system then Soma awakens.
The yogin is ever watchful of the supplies of Soma within themselves. Tantric practices certainly awaken Soma, but there are many actions that deplete it. Rushing is the great sickness to the Yogins that creates an over-abundance of Agni (fire) that consumes Soma.
Life may offer many opportunities to rush, but when we do so, we don’t live.
To say it plainly: Soma is spiritual power and the absence of Soma is the opposite of spiritual power. The time we are in now auspicious for slowing down and working with Soma. The flowers are erupting into colour, seemingly overnight, but it is to be remembered that they have been on a slow underground journey before being revealed.
We can work with Soma by collecting it in a pot. Water that has been left outside in a pot becomes infused with power at this once in a 12 yearly point. Rubbing it onto the third eye is a secret Tantric rite that will speak for itself, if done at this time.
India has celebrated this 12 yearly shift of Jupiter into Aquarius since the beginning of days. India is the Home of Tantric science; but what is Tantric science really? Nowadays the word Tantra is carelessly thrown around in the West. Tantra has been made cheap by the modern machine in the eye of the western mind that exploits the sacred art with no honour of its depth.
Tantra is the making of the unconscious conscious. Tantra is Jupiter moving into Aquarius. The unconscious can explode and express into consciousness in a way that possesses and wrecks sobriety. But the unconscious can also express itself in deepest sobriety and vision. It is a question of ‘to see or not to see the mirror’. The Tantric is ever watchful of the two expressions of unconscious force – both the ‘reflected and unreflected’. Soma is the fluid of Vision, guard it well, say the Yogins!
This planetary movement is a revealer of subjective unconscious forces of the mass unconscious. When we become aware of our own unconscious impulses then we step out of the tides of time and space. To the Tantrics, Kaal Bhairav is the great benefactor who reveals the unconscious constructs of Time & Space.
Bhairav Astami is the monthly lunar half descent, that this time will usher Jupiter into Aquarius. Bhairav is evoked ritualistically on the Astami 8th lunar descent. He gives a glimpse of the unconscious world within at the exact point when the moon is split in half.
Tantrics say ‘Bhairav Astami Puja Karoo’ at this time. It means ‘remember to look into the mirror when the moon is perfectly split’, on that day hidden things are seen that no other moon day can show.
Truth Be Told
“Satellite’s gone up to the skies Things like that drive me out of my mind I watched it for a little while I like to watch things on TV”
L. Reed – Satellite of Love
Jupiter moving into Aquarius is the time of ‘truth be told’. It is worth pondering on the nature of truth. How many of our truths are subjective? How many of our truths can only stand up in the motion of a structure that we take for truth? What is that structure really founded on? Whether that structure is cultural, ancestral or capitalistic, etc., if we study the nature and reality or unreality of the structure, it can reveal deep truths to the eye of the soul.
Absolute truth is a heavy subject matter, but nature is heavy and she herself reveals absolute truth. The uniforms and costumes we wear may fade with the seasons, but nature endures. The Tantric is s/he who strips themselves naked in the wilderness and feels the natural winds of absolute truth.
The Tantric might literally retreat to the forest and that is indeed a part of Tantric Sadhana (training) but the two truths of subjective and objective will follow us even into the cave. When the subjective structures of illusory truth crumble under their own weight, then we are truly in the wilderness, even when we are riding in the neon contraptions of modernity.
Kali Ma is nature unveiled.
Kali Ma is there, everywhere, when we remember her. She is an easy-to-forget old witch because her glare hurts. She is in fact the oldest witch. Her glare burns the subjective truths that we hold. Our subjective truths may indeed be absolute illusions. Is it easier sometimes to look away?
“By the Power of the unstoppable urge Now you can drink it or you can nurse it, It don’t matter how you worship As long as you’re Down on your knees. So I knelt there at the delta, At the alpha and the omega, At the cradle of the river and the seas. And like a blessing come from heaven For something like a second I was healed and my heart Was at ease.”
L. Cohen – Light as a Breeze
Purva Ashada Nakshatra is in the constellation of Sagittarius and brings clearing, cleansing purification. The deity of this Nakshatra is Apa, she is the cosmological river Goddess of fresh water and the lover of Varuna the god of the seas.
Losing one’s individuality and merging into the greater sea of being, is the energy that this Star brings to us. This is a Shukracharia (Venus) ruled Nakshatra and rules conception. The river wishing to rush to meet the ocean is relatable to the urge of the sperm moving to meet the ovum.
“Purva Ashada Nakshatra brings fluidic transitions just as the inherent symbolism of the river Delta… where one water body loses its identity for another.”
Transition from individual states of being to awareness of more expansive states of being comes from a losing of established identities. By purification of the subconscious sediment that we carry, we rush into the vaster ocean of reality. It is interesting to note that a river delta is also a place where underwater sediment in most pronounced.
Our subconscious sediment colours and expresses itself in the rivers of our being. Transition to new states of being come as things are resolved and purified from the underground. This is the lesson that Purva Ashada Nakshatra brings to us – That we have to leave some things behind if we are to come into more fluid states of being. Figuratively speaking – surface skiing upon the water does nothing to really resolve ones Karmic themes, though it certainly gives the feeling of moving.
On the path of a Tantra, the Yogin is careful to not exchange superficial surface maneuvers for the introspective healing work of facing the deep dark depths.
The science of lunar houses is very detailed and subtle because it is dependent upon which Moon phase transports the energy to earth. Uttara Ashada Nakshatra occurring upon
“The Bhairav Astami of half descending Moon brings a movement of unconscious sediment and offers a transition out of individual unconscious patterns into a new sea of being.”
Bhairav is the deity who makes us face that which we fear, that which we turn away from and do not wish to face becomes our unconscious shadow that lives in the depths, and just like the undercurrent, it informs all the maneuvers of our consciousness.
Bhairav Astami has been ritualized by Yogins since time immemorial as a Moon day for accessing the unseen and unconscious shadow elements of our reality.
The occurrence upon Bhairav Astami of Purva Ashada Nakshatra is a time of working ritualistically with water. There are many inner and outer practices in Tantra that work with the healing powers of water.
The Gurus of Creation
Purva Ashada is under the rule of the 2 Gurus. Venus is Shukracharia, the Guru of the Asuras, and Brhaspati (Jupiter) is the Guru of the Devas. The Asuras are the dualised creative energies of the egg that splits upon fertilisation. The spermatozoa is the Devic singular force. We see that Purva Ashada is ruled by the Venusian Guru Shukracharia and is in the constellation of Sagittarius.
The stories tell that Shukracharia has in his possession a magical power that puts him in the possession of abilities that make him superior. It is the power of Sanjeevani Vidya that he possesses. This is the wisdom and power of bringing the dead to life. Shukracharia it is who brings life to the soul in an eternal circle of life and death.
“The seed holds the spirit, but the egg is the doorway of Sanjeevani that permits incarnation.”
Purva Ashada Nakshatra is an auspicious time for the conception of a child, as power is given to the ovum and the spermatozoa. This Nakshatra brings the energies of Venus and Jupiter together, these planets are dualistic forces that if brought together result in creation.
Mythology & the Watery World
When Venus and Water Meet we get the mermaid, hence the star of Purva Ashada being connected to the Yakshinis, who are the elemental spirits connected to the water element in the unconscious. The Yakshinis stir in their depths when this Nakshatra is present.
The Yakshinis are the sexual elemental spirits of the second water ruled Shakti Chakra.
“Some aspects of Tantra work with summoning & evoking these sexual beings.”
The picture above is called Hylas and the Nymphs by the British painter John William Waterhouse. The Naiads are the water nymphs of Greek mythology. This story presents many poignant themes of Purva Ashada Nakshatra. The story tells how Hylas was on a search for fresh drinking water when came to an enchanting pond where the Naidas lured him in with their beauty.
The Naidas are similar to the Yakshinis of the unconscious watery worlds. They are energies that can lure us in by the promise of something wonderful.
The Yakshinis in the Indian mysteries offer treasure, pleasures and powers untold by those who find them, but like the story of Hylas, they can submerge us in an elemental world and keep us from fulfilling our karmic tasks. Hylas was looking for fresh water for the team of Argonauts but he never returned. We see him holding a jug of water in his left hand, the pond abounds with water lillies which interestingly are called Nymphaeaceae in Latin.
The tree of Purva Ashada Nakshatra is called the Sita Askhoka tree. The stories tell us that the Ashoka forest was where Sita was kept captive by Ravan when he kidnapped her. The Expansive urge of Ravan was enticed by the Venusian caverns of Sita. Sita literally means a cavernous incline and is suggestive of the female Yoni. The Venusian ovum draws the expanse Jupitarian force, Ravan was so overcome that he stole her away. This is the theme of the Epic Ramayana.
The Ashoka is the tree that is sacred to the sensual water nymphs known as the Yakshinis. The Yakshins dwell in the deep unconscious levels of the inner world. Tantrics who make the unconscious conscious are able to see into the world of the Yakshins. Some Tantric magicians work primarily through Siddhis (powers) they gain from these elemental beings. Tantrics consider it a dangerous practice to enter into union with the elemental world for magical powers. It carries many dangers and karmic consequences for the soul.
We see in many fairy stories that humans become submerged in the fairy realm to their detriment. The story of the Fisherman and his Soul by Oscar Wilde hi-lights this allure of the elemental world wonderfully. The occult novel of the Sea priestess by Dion Fortune also covers the theme of elemental possession. The well known story of the Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson reverses the polarities and tells of a Mermaid who comes to the human world as opposed to the other way round.
This Star brings a strong sense of Tapasya – this is quality of ruthlessness and fearless voyage towards the unseen. A yogin is for this reason called a Tapasyin. The word Asha in Ashada means hope and urge. This watery lunar house brings a battle like rush of water. It is activates the urge of the spermatozoa to merge with the ovum.
“The Ovum is Shukracharia (Venus) and the Spermatozoa is Brhaspati (Jupiter).”
The urge to rush into the realms of life can become dispersing to our Shakti if we are focused on barren pursuits. Whether physically or psychically… we become aware of the nourishing or vampiric quality of our pursuits as the unconscious becomes conscious. When we gain insight into the motivation behind our urges, we come to see the mechanism of how they express into the fabric of our lives and the resultant effect thereof upon the Shakti we carry.
Brhaspati (Jupiter) is the biggest planet in our solar system. He abounds with an abundance of boundless energy. Purva Ashada is a time to study the focus of our urges. As this star is in the Brhaspati (Jupiter) ruled constellation of Sagittarius, the tendency to shoot out is pronounced. Under this star in concentrated ritual – Tantrics make a pronounced focus upon reversing the outward tendency of motion known as Privritti to the inward energy known as Nirvritti.
Brhaspati (Jupiter) is the ruler of Sagittarius. Brhaspati is the expansive energy of subtle wisdom, that is why he is the Guru of the Deva’s. The energy of Brhaspati is to expand and subtlety penetrate things. But the state of the fields of life that we are penetrating is to be taken into account, they will produce either barren or fruitful produce. The Tantric honours Shakti by discerning whether they are watering the field of death, or the field of life.
“The merging of the river with the sea symbolism of this Nakshatra is very much about the unconscious becoming conscious.”
Remember the deity of this star is Apa, the goddess of the river. In the symbolism, she merges with the lover Varuna the god of the ocean through the releasing of parts of her identity that are born of unconscious imprints.
On the upcoming Astami we will meet in ritual to work with these forces as part of our second gathering dedicated to Kaal Bhairav. All levels of Yogic ability and experience are welcomed into the Healing Circle on this ritual night. An introduction for new students, where questions and queries can be addressed is also offered.
“Heaven opens inward, chasms yawn, Vast images in glimmering dawn, Half shown, are broken and withdrawn… Moreover, something is or seems That touches me with mystic gleams, Like glimpses of forgotten dreams. Of something felt, like something here; Of something done, I know not where; Such as no language may declare… So heavenly-toned, that in that hour From out my sullen heart a power Broke, like the rainbow from the shower, To feel, although no tongue can prove, That every cloud, that spreads above And veileth love, itself is love…“
Tennyson – The Two Voices
The Nakshatra (Lunar house) at this ascending half Moon of Equinox is Rohini. She is referred to by Tantrics as the Red Woman Star. She rules fertility and the growing artistry of creative life. This deity of this star is the creator who is known as a Prajapati Brahma. This is in fact the most creative and procreative star of the zodiac.
Rohini Nakshatra brings fertility and creativity into all the areas of our organism. Physical as well as psychic fertility is transferred to us when working with Rohini. The Red Star Woman brings power and healing to both the mind and the womb. Rohini reflects the light of the rising Moon and shines it to us on earth with a creative blessing as we move into the longer days after the Equinoxital balance is traversed. Honour given to Rohini is like putting the spiritual focus and power towards the fruit and harvest of our lives.
Rohana Shakti is the root meaning in Rohini, and Rohana signifies ‘the power of growth and fertility‘. She is the astral star force that houses the creative energy of Brahma and projects the astral force to the earth in manifesting fruit.
Beauty in the Eyes
Rohini transmits a hypnotic beauty to us. When the Rohini force is received, we become alluring and magnetic. It is said that Rohini gives captivating beauty to the eyes. The animal of Rohini is the snake which is known for its mystical penetrating gaze.
Vashikaran is the magical power to entice through the magnetism of the eyes.
Rohini brings the most captivating beauty to the eyes. We see that the star of Rohin is Aldebaran, which is in fact the eye of the Bull – the brightest star in the Taurus star constellation. Kajal is traditionally a herbal remedy that is applied to the eyes to ward off the evil eye. As we shall see in the next section, Rohini raises the energies of envy and jealousy. Kajal is put on the eyes as a type of eyeliner on infants in India as a protective and beautifying measure. It draws the powers of the beauty of Rohini into the eyes of the wearer while acting as a medicinal herbal tonic to the eyesight.
Stories tell of Rohini being the Moon’s favorite amongst the 27 lunar houses. Rohini’s sisters are the 26 other Nakshatras that were jealous that the Moon preferred the red sister over them all. The Moon is in its fullest power when the beloved Rohini is closest. The Moon and Rohini mysteriously enter into union for the longest time of all the lunar houses. As the Moon’s favourite, Rohini receives the lunar rays and transmits them to those that acknowledge her on earth. She is the ultra feminine woman who transmits the powers of healing all aspects of fragmented femininity.
The story of Rohini tells of Jealousy. Jealousy is a powerful karmic theme that Rohini can bring to the surface.
Work with Rohini is an antidote to healing the poison of jealousy.
Jealousy is a potent force that poisons the womb. Jealousy can of course be blatant, but it can also be invisible, in the form of an inapparent hidden emotion – it can live in the deep unconscious recesses of the mind and express itself in many ways. The struggle for power, beauty and influence can come from deep unresolved jealousy that has been suppressed.
The influence of Rohini Nakshatra on the half rising Moon is a time when unresolved jealousy is brought to the surface. This can afford us a chance of deep healing of mind, heart and womb. Love, beauty and endless femininity is brought to us by Rohini when we resolve the Tamasic (dead) energies within the unconscious recesses of the mind.
Love and beauty can’t simply replace the dead, the dead must first be put to rest before Love can come into play. Therefore Rohini offers us a chance to work on the rotting karmas that might be spoiling the ripe fruit of being.
The story tells how the sisters were so jealous that they complained to their father to do something about the injustice of the Moon who was showing favoritism to the bright Red Star Sister. When the father heard of this he cursed the Moon to wither away.
The dying Moon was saved by Shiva who counteracted the curse and caused the Moon to grow… but forever after the Moon had to go through the phases between waning and waxing. Shiva ever after carried the Moon in his crown as a sign of his loyalty to his lunar devotee. For this he is called Chandrashekhara (Moon crowned).
Whenever one becomes like the moon, they are crowned upon the head of the infinite wisdom of Yog.
Mantras of Rohini
The Bija (seed mantras) of Rohini are sounds that relate to the womb energies of fertility, along with the rhythmical Lunar movements of the mind and the Venusian sexual chakra. These mantras are practiced in Tantric ritual When Rohini visits the Moon. Some of them are:
Ohh, Vhaaa, Vheee & Vhuuu.
When intoned with a specific shape of the lips, these mantras activate the Nadis (energy lines) of the Moon ruled movements of the astral mind and the womb and Shakti chakra. The womb is the source of fertility and birth, the dark creative cave where Rohini shines brightest – for she is creativity itself.
Rohini is also a word for the maiden at her first ever menstruation. Working with the star of Rohini helps in balancing issues of fertility, sexuality, menstruation and menopause. Rohini addresses the hormonal rhythms and sexual function in both male and female on both physical and psychic levels – it is to be remembered that Rohini is the Moon’s favorite lover. She brings stability to the sensitive astral self, as she balances the Lunar forces that intersect with the mind.
Rohini Nakshatra is found in Vrishabh (Taurus). Rohini is the star Aldebaran, a star of great red radiance and the brightest star of Vrishabh… the eye of the Venusian Taurus which is the Shukracharia (Venus) ruled zodiacal constellation of the Bull. The Ox pulled cart is a symbol of Rohini that alludes to this detail.
The Bull is a virile potent force of tempestuous nature, very much the active expression of Rohini – it can run amok in our lives or it can be channeled as in the case of the agricultural Ox. Rohini is not a castrator but a boundless force of growth that can be put towards ploughing the field of our lives and reaping harvest. We find that Kamadhenu – the great wish fulfilling cow who represents the feminine aspect of Taurean force – is also another name for Rohini Nakshatra.
Between the Moon & Sun
If we consider the previous Nakshatra to Rohni we find Krittika (Pleiades) and see that it’s ruling deity is Agni, who is the god of heat and Fire. Rohini is then followed by Mrigashirsha Nakshatra (Orion) which is ruled by Soma, who is the fluidic cooling Moon god. We see that Rohini is ruled by the deity of creation Prajapati Brahma.
Rohini is quite literally balanced between the energies of heating Agni and cooling Soma. The implicit wisdom inherent here is that Rohini brings creativity through the balance of Moon and Sun. Hatha Yog is often interpreted as the union of the Moon and the Sun, or the union of Hot and Cold, Woman and Man, Earth and Sky. Ha refers to the heating solar force while Tha refers to the cooling lunar force. Rohini is the creative energy what weaves them together and is born of their union. Practices of Hatha Yog open creativity in all dimensions of our being.
Stars in Herbal Medicine
Brahmi is an Indian herb, but it the word Brahmi is also another name for Rohini Nakshatra. Brahma the creator is the deity of this Nakshatra and has as his Shakti (feminine power) Brahmi… hence this being another name for this Nakshatra. Rohini it is, above all else, the star of creativity.
The Indian herb Brahmi is taken to improve memory while at the same time acting as an aphrodisiac.
This synchronicity reflects the Moon and Venus involvement of this Nakshatra. The Moon’s most beloved Nakshatra is Rohini. The Moons memory is intense in remembrance of her, and the love for her, even more so. The Moon rules the movements of the Mind, whereas Venusian energy manifests in love and sexuality. Brahmi is a good herb for balancing Rohini afflictions in the support of healing the feminine.
If you would like to join our Equinox Ritual and work with the Fertile currents of this Rohini Moon,
Shiva is the one who lives in the heart of all beings. On the night of Shivaratri he unifies with Shakti. Tantric practitioner gives honour to the the innermost Yogin of enlivened Kundalini upon this night of great union.
The great night of Shiva is upon us. Maha Shivaratri literally means ‘the great night of Shiva’. Shiva is the first and last and always Yogi. Adinath is his name that means ‘the endless origin of Yog’.
Upon this night, Shiva unifies with Shakti and brings the feminine & masculine forces into equilibrium.
The annual night of Shiva presents the soul upon earth with a vortex of energies that open the Chakras to the magical and healing force of Kundalini Shakti. The Nakshatra (lunar constellation) upon the night of Shivaratri is Dhanishta. Dhan means ‘wealth, abundance’, Nishta implies rhythmic and constant flow.
This is the star of continuous, musical flow of wealth. It is indeed a star of music and has as its symbols, musical instruments. Dhanishta Nakshatra is a Mangala (Mars) ruled Nakshatra and potently brings us the lessons of wealth and fortune through the secret of rhythmic flow.
It is ruled by the Vasus, the 8 elemental deities who manifest material abundance and the ability in the arts involving tangible earthly rhythm – such as music or dance. It is a royal Nakshatra that brings abundance and fortune from the inner levels of being into manifestation.
The animals of this Nakshatra are the lion and the peacock, the lion is famously called the Jungle ruler. The peacock is a bird that is wealthy in its feathers of beauty, it can’t be denied.
Catching the Secret of Wealth
The symbol of Dhanishta Nakshatra is the drum of Shiva and the flute. This is a Nakshatra that is heavily concerned with musicality and rhythm. The Dhumaru is the drum of Shiva and is the ever changing rhythmical heartbeat of creation.
The secret of wealth on all levels of being is rhythm.
To know one’s own particular rhythm is to know how to apply ones life forces to the best function. When we don’t acknowledge our own particular rhythm then we deplete ourselves, and so, the secret of Dhanishta is to learn to honour one’s own rhythm. When we honour our own rhythm then we are able to observe the rhythms around us and learn about the keys to wealth and musical living.
Dhanishta brings divine music to us, but obviously we have to set up a receptive rhythm to catch it. Where Shravan Nakshatra gives us listening and hearing, the following Nakshatra – Dhanishta… gives us something grand to listen to.
If we are out of tune with our own rhythm then our view of all rhythms is warped – and so the lesson that Dhanishta brings to us is to learn to pay attention to our own rhythm – so that it may become a receptive instrument to the sounds of infinity.
This is challenging because our personal rhythm is not a fixed thing and is subject to fluctuations and change, so we may not even be able to rely on our ‘own rhythm’ as a thing that is constant. This ever changing nature of rhythm relates to Shiva profoundly.
Dancer of Celestial Rhythm
The odyssey of our eternal dance of being is told through the stars in the story of Shiva and his union with Shakti. The dance of Shiva is the dance of destruction that is the secret dance of rhythm. Shiva destroys all past instances and this gives the power to face the ever changing rhythms of the drumbeat of life.
Nataraj is the name of Shiva as the celestial dancer. His dance is a dance that is so fluid and unfixed that it is ever ready and able to dance with the infinity of celestial tides in the infinite cosmology of being. Nataraj the celestial dancer is the grand overseer of this constellation. He is the lord of rhythm and dance, and is famously known for his dance of destruction.
Shiva has the ability to match each and every move of Shakti like no other can. Shakti has an endless infinity of expressions and the power of Shiva can follow them all. The Stars of Dhanishta are clustered in the constellation Delphinus, this is the Dolphin constellation.
Dhanishta Nakshatra is a star of music and rhythm it is to be remembered. We can see that the dolphin is a creature of profound musicality. It is well known that the Dolphin communicates through incredibly subtle sound frequencies and rhythms.
Dhanishta has another name which is Shravishtha – that which is devoted to Shravan. Shravan is the previous Nakshatra that rules subtle listening and hearing. This following Nakshatra of Dhanishta implies that one learns the art of being devoted to listening – devoted to Shravan
May we gain the ear to dance with the rhythm of nature, and learn to move with the subtlest frequencies of life.
If you would like to join our ritual on Shivaratri
Oh Lalita, you stand outside the walls of time and space. Indeed your secret is that you are the wall’s, and you are time and space itself. You are the one where time and space meet. To you we bow. The delicate power beyond compare.
Lalita is commonly known as Tripuri Sundari, Sundari means the beautiful woman. Tripuri means the one who is beautiful in the three worlds. Lalita is the feminine essence that receives and cools the fire of the sun. She is the cooling receptive lunar energy that balances the fire of Agni. Her mantras are cooling and are the opposite of her sister Bhairavi’s which are heating.
Lalita promises a receptive comforting place to the fires of our ambition, we may have to get a view of her face through the fires that surround us if we are to get her Darshan (vision). And this exactly is her lesson, to cool down into the very simple and innocent sweetness, perhaps forgotten and secret.
Her mantras and mudras are cooling and softening, so much so, as to melt into the magical corners of our being. The face of Lalita can not be seen through the fires that surround us. Our ambitions, ‘urgencies’ and active impulses are made to rest if we are to see where Lalita is.
Hers is the rising sun that has been cooled by the night forces. Her seat is upon a lotus flower that grows out of the Nabi chakra (navel) of Shiva.
The forces of fire are implied by this lotus emanating from the fire Chakra and Lalita is the Cooling Moonfire of Tejas that sits atop the hot fire of Agni. Lalita’s beauty is the Soma that results when Agni and Tejas unite. Poems and scriptural verses describe her as having a milky complexion, along with full breasts and a smile that can break the trance of Shiva’s concentrated meditation. She is the ultimate alluring beauty and lunar promise.
Tripuri Lalita, as she is called, means the one who is beautifully delicate and soft in the three worlds. She is the beauty on the third element hidden between extremes of opposites. Lalita has a twilight gaze!
When Night and day unite, they create the mystical magic of twilight. When Rajas and Bindu unite. That is, the red blood and egg of the woman and the white seed man, then they create Soma which is life – this Tantric law of circuitry holds true in all levels of divided opposites in all the worlds. Tripuri Lalita then, is the Beauty of these three worlds of Rajas, Bindu and Soma.
For this, she is known as Raj Rani or Rajeshwari, which means, Queen of Kings and Kingdoms. She represents Mata the subject. She represents Mana, the instrument. She represents Maya, the object. These 3 M’s represent the secret of all yogic investigations.
Lalita means the delicate soft one and she embodies the power of softness. We might very easily associate power as something active and expressive, but Lalita is the reverse and is the very peak of receptive power. The beauty that the poems and scriptures ascribe to her, receives the mightiest of the mighty revelations in the tale that follows.
Stories of Lalita
The legend tells that it was Lalita who subdued the Asura named Bhanda. It is a deeply interesting story that tells of polarities. Bhanda was born of Shivas rage when Kama the god of desire tried to lure him out of his Samhadi (deep spiritual trance). The gaze of Shiva burned Kama to ashes in an instant. But one of Shivas attendants tried to revivify desire by mixing the ashes of the burned up god of desire with the last remaining semen that could be found in the 3 worlds. It had been expelled exactly the moment that Kama thad been turned to ash, causing all desire in the 3 worlds to go dry and flaccid. With the paste, the Gana (spirit attendant of Shiva) began creating Kama again.
The last ejaculation before passion died represents an inner yogic pursuit on the many layers of ones being. It was ejaculated at the exact moment Chandra and Rohini were losing sight of each other. When the Moon starts to move out of the star of his beloveds constellation – the Red star Rohini – then there is a tear cast by the Moon and that is the Moons last ejaculation.
This lunar event occurs periodically on Lalita Jayanti. Every yearly Lalita Jayanti, is connected to this constellational event through geometrical lines of celestial force. The upcoming Lalita Jayanti happens to be in the exact constellation where Chandra (Moon) and Rohini who are the greatest of all Lovers, lose each other’s gaze.
It is a ritual day of studying the original wound upon the softest place within.
As the paste carried the energy of Shivas raging glare and an ejaculation devoid of Love, the revivified Kama was most powerful but equally most destructive. The revivified Kama was renamed Bhanda, which means ‘stop’, this name was cried out as he raped and pillaged his way through the universe.
Bhanda replicated the moonlit celestial realms in a murky shadowy reflection. All the Gods and Goddesses were mirrored destructively in Bhanda’s version. The destructive counterparts of the Gods and Goddesses, waged deathly war upon those they resembled in the Moonlit celestial realms.
Bhanda asked the obliging Shiva for a powerful mantra. Shiva gives to those who asks, as he is Bola, full of tenderness and compassion for those who approach to the mountainous heights where he dwells, knowing as he does, how arduous the journey is, Shiva never refuses.
Bhanda got the mantra from Shiva which would make Bhanda immediately receive half the power of those who oppose him. These was no way he could be defeated, along with his own great power and being able to imbibe half that of the numerous enemies he was creating, Bhanda became invincible.
Lalita approached Bhanda and he laughed straight in her face. Soft and delicate as her name suggested, Bhanda roared with laughter from the belly, at the absurdity of such a delicate creature as Lalita coming to defeat him. He was somewhat captivated by her beauty and thought that he would have her the way he had had so many beauties. He realized this beauty of Lalita was something unusual and didn’t realise that what he was actually about to enter into was a painful demise.
Bhanda was wild in sexual rapture and wrestled for aeons with the goddess, never gaining admittance to her delicate moon temple. Every time the mighty Bhanda would apply his strength he would ejaculate. He ejaculated the many Asuric (evil) forces that are told of in the epics. For example, he ejaculated Ravana into being, and so the Goddess Lalita breathed out Hanuman and Raam – and the well-known defeat took place.
Bhanda was burning with desire but could not prevail with his fiery power upon his lunar adversary. His desire would not dwindle and he ejaculated a second time. This time he ejaculated the well known foe Hiranyakashipu, and once again the well known story took place as Lalita breathed out from parted lips his defeater – Prahlaad and Narashima. A third ejaculation lead to the Buffalo headed Mahishasura being expelled from Bhanda, as the famous story of the end of Navaratri tells. Lalita breathed out the Godess Durga upon lionback and the Buffalo headed beast was defeated as in the well known story.
The fight went on for endless aeons and Lalita played with Bhanda’s desire. He grow frail as his power was ejaculated for ages gone past, each destructive force meeting its opposite. Never ceasing to give up the fight with the Goddess, until perhaps when the power to fight exhausted.
The last expulsion did not come, as Bhanda grew weak and impotent. He tried desperately to emit one more painful ejaculation, knowing that it would be the last. Lalita laughed at him sweetly and said his name, ‘Bhand’, which also means ‘the one who has stopped ejaculating. Her laughter causes her body to ripple erotically and Bhanda responded to the beauty before him by one last attempt to worship her.
Lalita played with him, allowing him closer but not close enough, as he ejaculated for the last time his power left him and the Great War was over. He watched the Goddess Lalita walk away as he expired.
Lalita is the woman within every woman that is desired, she is the one who calls forth the milk of creation with her captivating and desired gaze.
Lalita is known as the ultimate slayer of badass beasts. Her fingernails when clipped, are said to give birth to the cycles of time along the ages. Creation, preservation and destruction are all under her charm. The creator and the preserver grovel at her feet and lose their crowns.
Shiva was too proud and so Lalita stamped upon his belly and took her Moonlit seat upon the fiery lotus that erupted out of the Nabi chakra. The power of her softness is so great that the creator, the maintainer, and the destroyer fall at her feet, or get stamped underfoot.
The World of the three Granthis
The trinity of creator, preserver and destroyer all fall at the feet of Lalita beauty. She opens the doors to the secrets of three worlds which cannot be got with active force, but by receptive lunar power. The granthis are the closed doors in oneself that are made up of psycho physical knots of energy, they mask the potentials of the portals of the chakras to receive and give. A Granthi can exist as Surya Granthi which obscures the active force, and a Granthi can exist as Chandra Granthi, which obscures the receptive force.
The Gods of the three worlds worship Lalita.
Brahma is connected to the Brahma Granthi, which is the knot at the creative chakra that relates to the unconscious. Brahma is often called the creative force; he is the underworld root that creates the fruit. The underworld is known as Patala in Tantric law.
Vishnu is often described as the force of preservation and the lord of the earthly realm of Bhumi. The Vishnu Granthi is the knot at the area of the heart, that is loosened and opened by the Yogis.
Shiva is often called the destroyer, his Granthi is in the third eye, it destroys reality through the storage of information, belief and opinion.
The Shri Vidya is a symbolic system of wisdom that deserves mention when speaking of Lalita. The Shri Chakra is a yantra (representation) of the Goddess. Initiates of Shri Vidya would say that the diagram is the Goddess herself. It is a initiatic and secret practice of working with the geometrical Yantra and Mantra amongst other things.
The Shri Chakra is composed of 9 triangles. Most commonly shown with 5 pointing down and 4 pointing up. Depending on what way it is viewed, and in which position it is viewed, the Shiri Chakra has an impact on the energy body. It is a tool for moving energy when one knows of its uses. It is not something that is written about, although the mantras and the diagram may be widely available these days.
Visualizing the Shri Chakra and finding upon the psychic and physical body, the points where the lines intersect, reveals a world of energies for example, relating the mantras to the geometry of the Shri Chakra is a very mathematical and geometric pursuit that brings rather and order to the different spiritual bodies. Some practitioners of Tantra work a lifetime with the Shri Vidya system and its far reaching branches. Branches that are said to grow beyond the three worlds.
In the commercial age of Tantric practices, many schools offer instructions and so called initiations into Shri Vidya. They may offer powerful practices and confess of ancient lineages.
In truth the initiation into Shri Vidya is only given after 9 months of continuous contemplation of the diagram. That means, without sleeping or moving.
This is the time it takes to create a life in the womb and all the Mahavidyas are traditionally approached with a 9 month Tapasya. 9 months of active work and then 3 months of inactivity to absorb what has been learned, a time of dilation to relax the strenuous effort of 9 months of sadhana is often undertaken in complete darkness. So the sadhana of all the Mahavidyas requires 10 years, if one were to do them consecutively, of course they can be spread out over a lifetime. Some of the sadhanas of the Mahavidyas seem more extreme than the others. some are done only at night. Some require pilgrimage, some require staying in one place.
Mantra and the Moon
Hrim, La, Ka, Sa, Hrim, La, Ha, Ka, Sa, Ha, Hrim, La, i, e, Ka
These are the commonly known Mantras of Lalita of the Shri Vidya. They can be uttered in such a way as to open the receptive currents and equally in another way to emphasize the active currents. 15 Bija sounds that relate to the both the 15 days of the descending and ascending Moon, depending on how they are said. 30 intonations = 15 x 2. Sometimes 15 syllables are spoken on the inbreath and relate to the ascending Moon phase. Sometimes 15 syllables are uttered on the outbreath of the waning half of the Lunar month. Sometimes the order is reversed. The effects are different and are studied by Tanntrics. Some directions of energy nourish while others deplete. This law of force is what tantrics study and come to see.
This knowledge is helpful in relating Tantricly to the quality of each moon phase. Her mantra also changes intonation with the character of the Lunar month. This knowledge is kept by Tantrics and is applied in healing and ritual. It is the Law of Raag (rhythm) and following and aligning oneself with the ever changing Raags of nature.
So each Moon day in the lunar month, has a mantra that governs its particular and unique expression. And who is that expression , she is Lalita, her ever flexible secret is that she moves with the tides of nature, she is the woman in all, that learns to listen to nature’s every changing note. She has no fixed formula to adhere to at the expense of nature, she is the original witch woman who sees the magic of nature’s secrets.
The Tantric attempts to see magic. When it unfolds within, then it unfolds without, and the third element that is the un-folder, is Lalita.
One of Lalita’s names is Sodasi, it means the Blooming 16 year old maiden. The extra number on the 15 is the magic number of Lalita. It is the 16th element of Raag, which means the one who moves with the rhythm of nature that is whispered by the Moon. Lalita is that one, that magic mysterious Moonlit one.
If you would like to know more about the Dasha Mahavidyas, check out out series.
If you would like to join the Lalita Jayanti Rituals,
Tantric wisdom recognises that different creatures all have their own particular expression and power that it is possible for us to align with through invocation. The animal energies that we connect to spiritually can be a benefactory element to us upon our path when we make the connection to them.
To evoke the animal powers within us is to return to nature.
Tantrics lay the greatest emphasis upon the return to the natural state. The natural human animal is one who is divorced from the disempowerment of surface structures upon the soil of life. Instead, the natural human animal is married to the depth of nature’s womb and it’s simple and definite laws.
The wisdom of nature opens up the spirit of the natural human. The Yogins call this spirit Pashupatinath: a form of shiva who is deeply in contact with all the elements and all the beasts that roam the Earth and the astral plane.
We all long to reach the state of natural spiritual being, we might sometimes go about getting there in less than optimal ways that can become self-defeating. We all long for the wisdom of nature to flow through us and wash the burdened edifices of un-nature. We all long to return to the garden, where rules, structures and impositions upon the spirit have no place.
The ancient yogis, who left footprints in the Earth for us to follow, were those who acknowleged, yet disregarded, that which was not in tune with the rhythms of nature.
Rather, they evoked and invoked the spirit of nature as a way to protect themselves from the constricting artificial structures of ideology. The way of Yog could be said to be a kind of stripping away of all that which blocks the path of nature’s power from flowing.
Many of the conditions that we suffer from are not natural conditions of suffering, but are reactions to the Man-made structures that we live in – this includes both physical and psychic structures. Many of us may not be able to run wild and naked in our daily lives, but whilst living in the midst of the structures and edifices of life, we are able to open up a parallel line of natural being. That parallel line is the inquiry that Tantra concerns itself with.
The Yogins stand for unity – and that can also be taken to mean a unity between nature and non-nature.
Animals & Chakras
The Chakras are doorways to our innermost world. Each chakra has its own unique quality that connects us to the many constellations of our spirit.
Mantra (sounds) and Mudra (postures) are ways of accessing the Chakras and unfolding their potentials, whilst healing the structures and patterns that suffuse and inform the world through the chakras.
By viewing nature, and our nature, through the lenses of the Chakras, we can become aware of all manner of imprints and indoctrinations – for these are held within the Chakras themselves.
By working with the imprints in the Chakras we resolve many karmic themes and dissolve the illusions and dreams we might be mistaking for Reality. This is a place where the animal energies in the chakras become allies on our spiritual quest.
Perversion of the human spirit could be seen as a result of deviating too far from Mother Nature herself. Yog, in its raw form, does not ask us to develop ourselves spiritually, open the Chakras, or awaken Kundalini. Rather…
Yog understands that in our natural state we are already open and awakened.
Yog, in its original tantric understanding at least, provides a path aimed at leading back to our natural state of being. It is about allowing the force of Nature to simply flow without us putting up a fight or resistance. The potentialities of the Chakras await us beneath the programs and patterns that are imprinted on the face of nature.
The Friend of all Animals
Pashupatinath is a form of Shiva and literally translates as the friend of all animals. He is the friend of the Pashu’s, which means all creatures, both physical and astral.
Pashupatinath has 5 faces, 4 of which face in the cardinal directions, the fifth face gazes into the great beyond. Each of the 4 faces of Pashupatinath look deep into each of the physical elements of earth, water, air and fire. The 5th face gazes into the subtle element of Akash.
Collectively, the 5 elements are known as the Panchabooht. Panch means ‘five’ and Booht means ‘spirit’, and so Pashupatinath is the one who looks into and sees the secrets of the spirits of the elements.
In Tantric science the Panchabooht are known as Bhumi, Jaal, Vayu, Agni and Akash. They are the five elements that inform all levels of life on earth. Tantrics have timelessly honoured all creatures as links to the Panchabooht elements.
Each Animal is a creation and carries a dominant Chakra energy and the corresponding Element.
By honouring the animal spirits we can gain deeper insight perhaps into our human-ness or possibly into our lack of it. The elements of Panchabooht link us to the different Chakras and the vast array of creatures that live with-out and with-in us.
If you would like to join one of our rituals part of our Animals Series,
“Wisdom comes in silence, where the sound between the diversity of thoughts is revealed.”
The upcoming New moon of Thursday 11th of February 2021 will be in the lunar house of Shravan. When the Star of Shravan meets the new moon and intersects with the human astral body, it is an auspicious offering of the lunar year to us for developing clairaudience – the ability of the third ear of the throat chakra to hear whispered secrets.
Each Nakshatra (lunar house) brings a particular energy into focus. The yogis tune into the stars and the moon within their rituals and decode the soul – studying and freeing themselves of the impositions of illusory structures.
Shravan Nakshatra pertains to themes of sound, hearing, listening, words, language, noise and all the themes that encompass the throat chakra.
Sometimes we starve to be heard, Sometimes we starve for magic because we do not hear.
‘Wisdom is simplicity’, it has been said. In the cacophonous themes that reverberate in the inner ear of excess consumption, along with the sounds of seemingly variegated dualisms, where can secret simplistic and magical wisdom lay her head? A head moist with Moon sweat.
Crocodiles & Snakes
Shravan Nakshatra encompasses Makara, the crocodile constellation (Capricorn). It rules over ancient things – the crocodile itself is an ancient creature.
The energy of Makara brought to us by Shravan reveals to us the echoes of sounds of the past. This Nakshatra of Shravan offers us an ear of listening, to revise the ancient lessons needed to be heard if we are to move into the secret sound of wisdom.
Ananta Shesha is the Naag king of Snakes. He is the 1000 headed serpent upon which Vishnu – the ruler of this Nakshatra rests. Ananta is another name of this Nakshatra Of Shravan. Ananta is eternal. When disillusion of opposites comes, Ananta remains unchanged. He is the crown chakra beyond terrestrial reach – from which the Anahat Naad (original sound) emanates. Ananta Shesha was sent under the earth by the creator to hold the earth in place, he keeps balance and stops it falling into the sounds of duality.
The Silent Wisdom of Mauni
This coming New Moon is known by Tantrics as Mauni Amvasya – the Annual Tantric ritual night of silence. For thousands of years it has been kept as a silent time by Tantrics.
A time of mantra and working with the inner-ear of the throat chakra to gain admittance to the inner word of words. A Mauni is a silent sage possessed of inner wisdom, the wisdom of both inner and outer sound. Language and noise can veil the more silent tones of wisdom. The Mauni is she or he who has stripped the forms of sound and gone to the naked music of the soul.
The practice of Mauna is the yogic technique of working with speech. Part of Mauna is to keep silence but it encompasses so much more and presents many inner practices of finding the magic inherent within sound.
When Mauni Amvasya falls under the Shravan Nakshatra it brings a major blessing: it can gift one with the clairaudience powers of Moon-infused flower dew.
The Healing Science of Flowers
Neelpadma is the blue lotus that rules the throat chakra. The Tantrics know that it flowers in twilight at dawn. If Neelpadma is found at the time when the New Moon is in Shravan Nakshatra, the moisture upon its petals is imbibed with power that can confer clairaudience to those who drink it.
This is the science of flowers that the Siddhas keep alive.
Some lotuses bloom in the twilight of dawn and some in the twilight of dusk. The lunar house upon the full or new Moon at either dawn or dusk leaves healing moon milk-like dew drops upon her lotus petals. If the blue lotus Moon-milk is taken when the full moon is in Shravana, then it makes the physical ears hear much better and can cure hearing problems.
It is not a theory but a practice that can be verified by the Moon and flower practitioner.
Chandrapadmavidya is the name of this mostly unwritten & hidden science. It means the wisdom of the Moon flowers.
Shravan Nakshatra is the farthest Nakshatra from the elliptical zodiacal belt and rules rare flowers. Far away and rare flowers that are ruled by this Nakshatra are medicinally harvested by Yogins when the Moon is in Shravan Nakshatra.
The Original Sound
The Yogin listens and hears the Anahat Naad – that is the sound of silence in-between the various sounds that bounce off the walls of our inner universe. The internal dialogues that repeat in our inner sanctum are what create our reality.
The Tantric axiom of ‘There is nothing out there’ reveals that there may be a lot ‘in there. The Anahat Naad is the nourishing sound. Ana means food and nourishment, Hat implies duality and Naad is sound. A balanced diet is indeed of psychic and physical necessity.
The Moon Bird
Shravan is the Star constellation of Aquila. Aquila is the eagle, Vishnu the ruling deity of this Nakshatra has as his Vahaanh (power animal) the eagle.
This is the Nakshatra of extreme psychic sensitivitya d the throat chakra which is under its rulership. This Nakshatra is contained within Capricorn. When Shravan Nakshatra is in the lunar orbit, it brings an extreme sensitivity to sound – when in the new Moon then it brings awareness of inner sounds. The symbol of this Nakshatra is an Ear.
This is a good time to work with mantra and observe silence. Wisdom comes in silence, where the linking sound that lives between and within the diversity of thoughts is revealed and unveiled.
The energy of Shravan Nakshatra is the profound quality of taking in and listening. The ability of remembering and keeping information is brought by this star that rules the memory aspect of the Manas (division of mind). When this star creates a vortex with the new moon, then it draws issues around listening and hearing from us to look at. The lunar sway can go as deep as our souls, to draw clairaudience from the throat chakra.
Shravan’s lesson is all about hearing the unheard, forgotten and secret silver and gold intertwined thread that connects all things. This thread resonates mystical sound with the breath of innocence. When we are a storehouse of information in the spectrum of sound, then the dualisms and separations inherent in the codes of language and variegated principles, challenge us to hear the song of unity. Should the gold and silver threads end up untwining themselves – this is the loss of hearing the secret sound.
The Trimurti are the 3 principle energies of creation, maintenance and destruction. These 3 qualities are ever present in all things. The energy beyond the middle, beginning and the end is the doorway that opens when the balance between them is established.
The energy beyond is a quality of mystic sound inherent within the 3 Trimurti energies. Neither a cry of birth, expressed by the mantra Hey, nor the death rattle expressed by the sound Ho. But the spirit between them.
The Nakshatra of Shravan is one of the 3 lunar houses that have their ruling planet as the Moon. The ruling deity of Shravan is Vishnu. Particularly in his form of Vaman, the dwarf god. Vishnu is the middle part of the Trimurti – he is the balancer between the energies of creation and destruction.
It is to be remembered that Shravan is symbolised as an ear, and it is the ear that keeps the sense of balance in the human system. Vishnu then, is like the cosmic ear. He is the maintaining energy that keeps equilibrium within the Cosmos.
The 3 steps
The constellation of Makara (Crocodile) encompasses Capricorn and is known as the Aquila star constellation. Aquila star constellation has 3 principle stars that are in a direct line and constitute Shravan Nakshatra. They are: Alshain, Altair and Tarazed. They are visible in high summer when they come alive.
Vishnu in his form of Vaman, the Dwarf God, takes 3 steps in the famous story where he defeats Mahabali who had taken over the 3 worlds. The steps that Vaman takes are the 3 stars. In one stride Vaman steps from the Tarazed star to the Alshain star, for the next step, Vaman follows his step and treads upon the head of Mahabali, the head of Mahabali represents the Altair star.
Mahabali is the middle and brightest star of the 3. The step upon the head gradually darkens the star and presses it into the underworld until it returns to its glory in high summer. At this part of the year that we are in now, the star reaches its deepest point of departure and Mahabali resumes his throne as lord of the underworld.
When Shravan Nakshatra appears on Mauni Amvasya, then Mahabali calls us into the very depths of underworld sound.
The Ear of Shravan
The Ear of Shravan gives us a Vaak Siddhi which is the power of speech. Vaak Siddhi is linked to the tongue and how it is used. The Vaak Mudras are the mudras that work with the tongue as a means to access the inner ear at the throat chakra.
The throat chakra is the ear of clairaudience that admits us into the world of hearing the spirit calling. It is the ear of finding the way home through the noise.
There is a wisdom of hearing beyond information that exists within us all. By tuning to the astral energies that rule that intersect with the spirit, we may see the effect they have upon us; we may see our reactions to effects; we may open doors within.
Central to Tantric practice is the tuning into the astral plane through focussed ritualised formulas. Reducing or extinguishing all impositions upon nature at twilight and sitting in simplicity and listening to the spirit beyond even silence – reveals a place of power.
If you would like to join our Thursday Ritual for Mauni Amvasya
The Moon is more than glow in the sky. She is a psychic mirror that Tantrics learn to read, and tune into her ever changing rhythms. Rhythms not Man-made but ordained by Nature herself.
This full Moon day is known as Savitri Purnina and is the time when woman worships, blesses and honours the masculine principle both within and without herself. In the orthodox fashion women fast and pray for the wellbeing and honour of the men in her life (father, lover, children…). This ritualistic formula works best when done on this day and confers many blessings upon the men she prays for.
Savitri Purnina is the time when the wishes and prayers of woman are fulfilled as the feminine is empowered by the universal currents of nature.
Woman being a manifestation of these universal currents of femininity, she stands in her power and is granted a boon upon this full Moon. In the language of ritual there are universal currents based on happening in nature that empower ritualistic undertakings.
Tantra is in many ways the study and seeking of alignment between outer and inner currents. Seeking the balance between the visible and the visible by ritualistic formulae, condensing and expanding upon a specific theme with clarity and focus.
On this Savitri Purnima the Tantrics harness this lunar energy current by their own austerities and mudras connecting the feminine to the masculine in search for balance. This will be the focus of this specific ritual gathering
GANGA DUSSEHRA THE WATER FESTIVAL
This full Moon (Savitri Purnima) falls within the ten day festival that marks the birth of the water element. Ganga Dussehra is the name given the festival celebrating the birth of Ganga (the first water to touch the earth). Its energy is what gives power to the full Moon and represents the strongest feminine energy within the lunar year. Ganga being She in the form of the water of life that blesses the feminine.
Goddess Savitri represents the pinnacle of feminine power within every woman and man.
When this happens then Shuni brings great suffering into our lives to show the destructive nature of the imbalance – which can be restored only by honouring the Feminine. This may result in outer or inner imbalance. For example, we may honour and serve the solar active currents but fail to equally nourish the receptive and passive states and feelings. The two Tantric festival build on each other as a process of initiation: first purification, then devotion.
As we experience during (and after) the practice, the dark Moon of Shuni is a time for touching the most profound and challenging austerities of Tantra. It is said that woman is at her strongest at this time and that the feminine is empowered either to cause harm or to bless – according to how she chooses to handle her power. Shuni represents the dark deep slow planet Saturn that governs the unconscious. He clears the path for us so we may stand karmically naked before the Goddess.
THE FEMININE BRINGING LIFE TO THE MASCULINE
The story goes that Savitri was so beautiful and truthfull that all men were intimidated by her, as her feminine clarity lay bare the truth of their own hearts. One man alone was able to bare her truth: Satyavan. But Satyavan, whose name translates as ‘truthful’, had been cursed to die on the first anniversary of the couple’s union.
Savitri did not fear her lover’s death for she knew and believed in her power.
When the time came for her lover to die Savitri stood by her lover and waited for Yama, the Lord of Death (and brother of Shuni), to arrive and claim Satyavan’s body. Yama arrived riding on the back of a bull and was surprised to find Savitri standing before him fearlessly. Yama was so impressed by the Goddess’ fortitude and focus, her clarity and devotion towards her beloved that Yama granted Savitri a wish: anything but the life of her husband. Savitri managed however to outwit Yama and brought her beloved back to life.
THE DIVINE MARRIAGE BEYOND POLARITIES
Inner and outer relationships are dependent upon both elements seeing each other, balancing and worshiping each other in their own uniqueness. This is the way to unity within the seeming polarity.
Whether it is an inner subtlety of relational energy between the feminine and masculine manifesting in outer planes of life, it is the journey towards the sacred marriage that the Yogis believe in.
The alchemical fusion between opposites. The recognition that one cannot exist apart from the other.
The story of Holi begins on Vasant Panchami – Vasant Panchami is a festival on the 16th of February that begins to welcome the spring. 40 days hence – of Vasant Panchami is Holi – which occurs on the 28th of March. Holi is the first full Moon of the bright half of the year. Having passed the spring-equinox the days exceed the nights in length and the first lunar rays of spring are transferred to us on earth on this Purnima day.
Holi is known as the famous festival of colours – where people throw colored powder on each other. People also throw water mixed with different coloured powders upon each other in a game like manner. The festival of Holi has become known worldwide in recent years. Usually Holi is understood as the celebration of life and colour, but what does this fun filled festivity of playful games signify for Tantrics?
The Story of Holi
There are variations of the stories surrounding Holi, from the colour full game of Love of Radha and Krishna. To the cloak of immortality saving the life of Prahlada from the designs of his evil auntie Holika. The story about to be told, itself has its own slightly varying forms. The essence of the Story that follows is clearly spelled out as the rebirth and awakening of colour and sound.
The Story begins with Love.
Pharbhati was the incarnation of Shakti, the earthly manifestation of Shiva’s eternal love. She is the manifestation of Adiparashakti (the essence of feminine power) that had taken form into the physical plane of manifestation. She was in Love with Shiva, but Shiva was so aloof and remote – given to continuous yogic practices and austerities in far off places. He seemed to be far beyond any romantic sentiments – dwelling in Adiparaparush (the great soul beyond). Though Shiva dwelt in the manifest plane of earth, he had traveled back spiritually to the essence of the seed of spirit.
Notice how the opposite of Shiva and Shakti collide here in Adiparashakti and Adiparaparush.
Pharbhati was an incarnation of Shiva’s Lost Love Sati. After losing his Love and going half mad in rage and longing, Shiva was more ardent than ever to enter into the ultra-terrestrial realms beyond the reach of the human hand.
There was no way that Pharbhati could arouse any interest from Shiva. The Devas had the motive of helping Pharbhati in her endeavour, for it had been foretold that together they would have a child who would save the world of the Devas from Asuraic forces (The Asuras are beings that work for division and the Deva’s are beings who unify. Often translations relate them simply as Demons and Angels but such transposed terms have other connotations that are not descriptive of the principles of Asura and Deva).
Kama was summoned by Pharbhati to help her win Shiva’s Heart. Kama is the god of Love who shoots arrows made of flowers from a sweet sugarcane bow. Kama’s arrows arouse desire in anyone struck by them. Shiva was so far gone into the ultra-terrestrial worlds that he seemed impervious to Kama’s arrows of desire. Kama and his two wives Rati and Priti, each one representing pleasure and longing.
Rati and Priti tried their utmost to coax desire for Pharbhati out of Shiva, they tried with all their powers and charms but to little avail. Shiva was ever so slightly disturbed by their attempts that he opened his third eye – and like a bolt like beam of concentrated rage, he shot a glance at the god of desire and burnt him to ashes, with desire gone there was no hope of Union.
Indeed without desire the whole creation was in peril. Pharbhati was heartbroken at the prospect of failed love with Shiva, equally sad and angry were the-now widows of the God of Love. It took 40 days of wild feminine rage and tears to finally melt the heart of Shiva, and when it did melt he restored Kama to life and entered into eternal embrace with Parvati.
The resurrection of Kama (desire) and the resultant Union of Shakti and Shiva is the day upon which Holi rises and falls.
Holi marks the arrival of spring and the colours of life ready to come into flower. A place where stories are not only written, but lived.
THE FESTIVAL Melodies of Love
Holi takes place upon the First full Moon after the spring equinox. The days are now longer than the nights and this first Full Moon of the ascending season marks the lunarly beginnings of Spring. The medium of the full moon reflects these forces of colourful flowering to us – Nature affects the hormonal currents as flowering abounds in the plant, animal, human and spiritual worlds. The beginning of Holi began 40 days previously on Vasant Panchami, which is Tantricly known as the ritual day of Sarasvati Puja.
Sarasvati is the Goddess who plays the divine melodies upon the Veena (a sitar like musical instrument) the Veena is a seven stringed yogic instrument that has deep effect upon the Chakric system.
The seven strings of the Veena, correlate to the seven chakras. The four melody strings of the Veena, relate to the 4 lower chakras and to their corresponding tangible physical elements. The three drone strings of the Veena correspond to the subtle elements that rule the upper 3 Chakras.
Sarasvati is often regarded as the Goddess of music and wisdom. She is the beloved of the creator Brahma. She is the one who receives the seed of creation and gives birth to the fruit. Her fruit is the music of Love.
Sarasvati plays all the Ragas (melodies) for the 40 days that the saga of Love goes on for, (from her Puja day on Vasant Panchami on February the 16th – unto The Day of Holi on the March the 28th. All the notes and scales of Love were played out in the eternal story of Love and its endless trials and tribulations.
When the final Union came about between Pharbhati and Shiva, the complete scale of colours that had been played for 40 days erupted into the festival of Holi.
Tantric ritual traditionally has kept this Holi night for the practice of inner and outer colour and sound. The intonations of each Chakra along with inner and outer work with colours is ritualised in a colourful and enlivening practice of awakening to Life and Love.
The effect of these practices is to open the potentialities of the Chakras. The Chakras are doorways to the spirit and can be accessed with the keys of sound and colour. Working with the chakras opens the psycho-physical doorways of our being.
Emotional and physical memory is stored in the chakras and gives shape to the reality and dreams we live through in our lives. Tantrics understand that we create our lives through the lenses of the chakras. By working with the Chakras, we create the possibilities to open to the spring like blooms of Love and uproot the dead and faded bouquets of yesteryear in the healing journey of life that we are all upon.
Like the Music of Sarasvati, the sacred song and its colourful sounds are infinite and eternal. There awaits the possibility of magical and hitherto unknown mystical tones when we open the doorways of the chakras into the melody of expansive resonant being.
This ritual will be a focused evening of working with the colours and sounds of the chakras, musicians and artists of the soul are welcomed.
Please note | For this ritual you will require seven pieces of paper that reflect the rainbow of the colour spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.You can be creative and use scarfs or colour in upon pieces of paper.We will be engaging in some powerful and lesser known tantric mudras of colour, known as Rangi mudras – literally the practice and attitudes of colour.
“Tantra is a wisdom tradition that entails strict codes that are handed on in unbroken lines from teacher to student. The teacher is the link in the chain of Tantra.”
The original tantric practices are themselves the Teacher that lead us to the Darshan (vision) of the Guru Tatva (element). In the Tantric tradition, the teacher is no job but a way of life. Those who go forward and become teachers must undergo extreme initiation rituals. Such rituals are to teach – or rather prepare them for a life that belongs more to their students than it does to themselves.
The axiom in Tantra is that our lives are not given for ourselves but for others.
The sacrifices of a true Guru go unseen and know no bounds. Sacrifices motivated by the weight of Love.
So, who is the real teacher? The real teacher is the one who is able to look beyond the characters that we think we are and see who we really are – beneath the library and archives of personal history that lay upon our souls.
The Love of the teacher is not sentimental, but is a visionary Love of who one really is. The Guru’s role is not to satisfy and please the student by giving what the student wants. Often the Guru must show the student that which they do not want to see. For those blind spots are where the true self lays buried like a precious underground treasure. A strict Love indeed, but a love that forgives time and again and holds a profound and enduring patience.
The teacher can seem like they do not care. Maybe they do not care for the skin and surface of our being, but rather for the one within and behind the costumes and uniforms of character.
The Heavy One
Guru means “the heavy one”. Guru is an adjective that means Heavy. It is popularly and modernly translated as “the one who brings one from darkness to light”. This is a perhaps a Christian inflection upon the principle of Guru. In-fact, this could be said to be a reversal of meaning.
The Guru is linked to Shuni who is the planet Saturn.
The stories of Shuni tell how he is the child of Surya (sun) and, with his dark, weighty underworld gaze, even caused Surya to blacken like a dark crispy shadow of his former self.
Saturn is just like the Guru who has the ability to take away all visible and known light within us and take us into the parts of ourselves that have previously not been seen. Tantric methods themselves act like the Guru who can eclipse the solar vision and make us aware of the spirits of the unconscious world that colour our visible lives. By seeing and addressing these forces, they are brought to the altar of the soul for healing, and this is exactly what the weight of the Guru stands for.
Just like Shuni, the Guru indeed brings us to our deep inner weight. He is like the heavy dark planet indeed and brings us to our deep inner weight. Like many words of the ancient Tantric vocabulary, Guru has been transposed across cultures and taken on a somewhat negative connotation in modern times, of the imposter who uses his power to exploit others. This is indeed a pity and an anomaly of a sacred word and principle.
There may be those who set themselves up in such ways as they break into the western market. Tantra has never attempted to break into any market, though a click and scroll through contemporary pages might show us differently.Again another word that has become taken out of context and perhaps been used, exploited and cheapened dishonorably.
Codes of Tantra
The codes of Tantra revolve not around the teacher as a personality or a celebrity but as an imparter of techniques. To be able hold some of those techniques indeed takes great power and weight. Tantra understands that the heavy quality and presence of the Guru is of utmost importance.
The heavy Guru has a heavy vision that must stand for solidity and look only to the real weight of the student. The guru is strict about practices and the regulations of living if one is to come to their true deep weight. Flimsy light weighted abstractions, and clever escapisms, pale in the presence of a Guru.
Laghoo is a Sanskrit word for ‘aspirant’, which means ‘lightness’. The Guru in his vision might not tolerate or overlook the light, flimsy and superficial aspects of our character. The Guru puts heavy focus upon the deeper self that is locked in the very weight of our beings.
If we are used to living in empty vanities and airy realities, the mere presence of the guru can at times be painfully and heavily oppressive. If we are to follow the teachings of Tantra with sincere focus, it does not allow for indulgence in superficiality and escapism. The Tantric way is the way of the weight of reality and truth.
Sometimes seeing and swallowing the Truth is bitter. But sweetening the bitter taste is not an entertainment that Tantra in its original sense will offer us.
The strict insight of the Guru is timed with reality. The gaze might appear as unbending, but their eyes firmly focus upon the optimal power of each and every moment. This is a vision that takes great stamina and integrity of being. This is the weight that awakens the weight of the Guru Tatva.
The weight of the Guru is within each person. The practice of Tantra has a strict form that becomes the Guru. If one is to engage in ritual successfully, there is to be no sidestepping – light wishful thinking and good intentions do not drive the car. One must put the foot on the pedal of Tantra. It is a pedal that takes some weight to press. That is the weight of the Guru.
The true inner and outer teacher wants us to drive the car of life power and not sit back lightly and hypothesize about life. Whether the teacher is our own inner rooted power, or an actual outer guide, the essence of the Tantric teacher is weight.
What blocks the Teacher from coming close? The teacher can not reach us if we are in the habit of defense. When we suffer the habit of defense then we close off the reception of Wisdom. Defense fades as trust grows, by learning to uncover and trust our innate power we open ourselves in all directions.
Tantra is not really the learning of new wisdom, but rather the unfoldment of our innate wisdom, by a process of practical study we come to see the coverings upon our innate wisdom – and can then apply ourselves to a process of excavating the treasure of inner wisdom.
As we uncover wisdom’s face, we may find the hidden games and strategies we play to banish wisdom from our hearts and lives. Wisdom requires the death of many things. We might have got used to make others less than ourselves in our hearts and minds.
We might have come to believe that the unseen and unknown has no measurable value. We might have taken the stance to critically stand above things as a way to navigate through life.
In the face of uncovering wisdom, such things may come to our attention. Such attitudes isolate us from learning anything now and fade as the mask is taken away from wisdoms face. These attitudes are based on traumas that have their roots in self protection. The dropping away of self protection does not mean that one abandons their dignity. The Teacher wants us to keep our dignity while losing our self defense against wisdom – this is the state of empowerment where subservience and self abnegation does not enter.
The Teacher of Wisdom series
All those who venture to find the inner Guru and to understand the role of the Teacher in Tantric wisdom are welcomed to the Teacher of Wisdom series of rituals.
The days upon which we shall gather for these rituals relate to Tantric festivals that celebrate the quality of the Teacher of Wisdom. Beginning on the ritual day of Mauni Amvasya, we will honour the secret and unspoken wisdom of silence. A Mauni is a silent wise teacher, and this dark moon day is commemorative of exactly that.
We will move onto Maha Shivaratri in the next ritual and honour Shiva. Shiva is the first of the Yogis and he is connected with ritualistically on the night of Shivratri, which translates as the great night of Shiva.
The next ritual will be upon Guru Purnima, this is the full moon of honouring the elders and the principle of the Guru.
The final ritual in the Teacher of Wisdom Series will be upon the commemoration day of Lord Dattetreya, he is the legendary Tantric of the left hand way of the heart.
In this series of Wisdom rituals, we will travel through many Tantric practices along with the stories and myths of these ritual nights. We will connect to the principle of the inner wise one that takes us deep into the Inner Teacher of Wisdom in the cave of our Heart.
In this series we will explore tantric methods of wisdom that can eclipse the outer solar vision, and make us aware of the spirits of the unconscious world that colour and dream our visible lives into being. Tantra is the Teacher.
Guru Ravidas was notable as one of the most radical teachers ever to appear in India. He was a forerunner of justice, though his name is certainly not forgotten, his acclaim deserves more mention. Not a political revolutionary but a mystic poet, Ravidas brought together a Tantric vision of living spiritually within the heartless confines and structures of life.
Let us investigate the Vision of Ravidas with a question or two in our Heart – “Has Ravidas’s vision become manifest in the world?” Maybe the more important question is – ”What vision do we hold as we wander through our lives?”
Perhaps in a country like India, where 20 percent own 80 percent of the wealth and influence his teaching, the figure of Ravidas is not popularly or widely presented by those in power. Regardless of this, his influence still exerts itself in spiritual and social fields. Tantrics hold him in high esteem as one of the true wisdom teachers who addressed equally the balance between spiritual and social life.
Figures like him rock the boat of established order and are forerunners of spiritual and social revolutionary maneuvers. Reactions such as discriminatory assassinations, religious unrest have risen as reactionary measures against his vision of unity. But equally have sectarian obliterations of modern oppressive social/religious structures grown from the seeds he planted in the unified Heart.
In his life and in his wake Ravidas left a profound legacy that stood for both inner and outer spirituality. He is revered by Tantrics for his no bullshit vision that exposed and continues to expose spiritual hypocrisy.
His vision was that the outer structures are a reflection of our inner constructs. Like an architect of the soul he shows that sometimes a pause is needed to review the framework and its reflection.
He was a cobbler, fixing and making shoes, considered a low-class and second-class being in the elite view of the spiritual society in which he lived. He continues to be a profound influence even unto this day and age. Organizations that support his teachings have stood up greatly in recent years against religious and class discrimination.
Though his poetry still exists, much was destroyed by forces that opposed his vision equality and favored their elitist structures to stay in place. The life of Ravidas was a testament to the vision of undying truth within all beings – a truth that lies oppressed beneath the man-made separative constructs that are rampant in organised societies. That vision of truth that Ravi Das saw is known as the inner Guru Tatva – that is the element of the true power and weight of the spirit.
The highly discriminatory caste system and organised religion in India was something that was held in lowest regard by him. He saw it as something that caused nothing but sickness of repression. Some states in the modern day India to this day, still do not allow so-called lower-classes to own land or start businesses. He did stare right through the high caste oppression of the priestly classes, both in terms of its class discriminatory measures, its oppression of women and religious elitism.
In today India things have not changed greatly since his times. There are still temples that are out of bounds to lower classes. There are still religio/political systems that carry out cultural oppression and strategic genocides of lower classes. Ravi Das recognised that the patriarchal dominance was so ingrained in the systems of India, it was so established that it seemed to be the norm.
If anything can be said of Ravidas, it is that he had the vision of the Teacher of Wisdom, who saw through the sick structures that prevail in society. His followers are marked by his vision of seeing beneath the surfaces and carry his trait of exposing injustice, left right and center.
Ravidas is perhaps best known for his mystical poetry, his verses have found their way into several prominent scriptures of India. Ravidas was a romantic poet who spent his time seeking out and spending time with mystics, babas and and Sufi mystics, following the ways of magical vision and composing mystical verse. His verses enumerate upon romantically spiritual themes, revealing that love and grief go hand in hand. Grief as a refining sobering force of awakening, is sprinkled throughout his poetry.
Ravidas rejected all spiritual definitions, he saw beyond forms and techniques and followed the way of the heart.
There have been numerous speculations whether he was Sanguna or Nirguna. Sanguna means to worship and celebrate the forms that Shakti takes, Nirguna means to only focus upon the supreme reality with no reference to manifest or visible form.
To Ravidas both views were correct, both views were equally important and irrelevant at the same time. Indeed he stood firm to see the enduring truth beyond dogmatic forms and accepted ideologies.
Many of the so called central cities of religion and Yoga in India today are still headed by the higher priestly classes. These cities are regarded by outside Westerners who don’t know about the codes and history of religious oppression in India as the holy cities – in the unified vision of Ravidas, little could be further from the truth. Within India there are temples where lower classes and women are not allowed. Westerners and Women are readily admitted but natives risk violence, persecution, livelihood and even their lives if they would try to enter.
As long as the oppression of the caste system and socioeconomic inequalities across the world still occur, Ravidas will always be relevant.
Ravidas was a true mystic who spat in the blind eyes of ideology.
His vision was that Love is the truth that is constrained and strangled by social and spiritual segregations. He had the vision or Tadaruup – that is the vision that there is only one collective Heart together and no separate hearts. He was profoundly compassionate and felt the suffering of the oppressed heart, but rather than wallowing in pity he stood up and spoke things that were so reactionary that they had never been spoken.
He engaged a whole new courageous movement of equality within spiritual and social contexts – influencing many poets and mystics down the line. The Sikh religion has its origins with Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak was said to be a friend of Ravidas and came under Ravidas’s influence to compose the verses of spiritual poetry, the poems of both mystics share similar qualities of devotion and revolt against the bigotry of the time. Without Ravidas it is quite possible the Sikh tradition would never have come into being as Ravidas put out his influence upon Nanak.
This has a sad irony to it because the Sikh religion itself as it gained status became a grand modus of oppression of lower classes itself. Itself withholding the rights of land, and commerce and creating religious segregation, or allowing lower classes inside its temples. The Sikh religion as it developed became a pinnacle of patriarchy and abolished the Goddess while looking down upon the ancient pagan practices and rituals as lesser superstitious. The writings and developments of Sikhism can be seen to develop along the passage of time into even more constrictive patriarchal forms, becoming even military. It can’t be refuted that the Sikh military has been a profound source of power for saving India from invasions and upholding justice. The source of its teaching must be acknowledged and its injustices must be exposed if we are to really look with the humanitarian vision of Ravidas. Ravidas in his romantic verse speaks time and again of the need to humble and crumble the structures of the constructed separative self in order to unveil the one heart.
In his poetry there are consistent references to the insanity of societal, religious and gender segregations. His poems are devotional and mystical, they embrace feelings of mystical longing and sorrow upon the path. But they are more than mere mystic sentimentality.
Ravidas brought together the mystical and the mundane structures and how they interrelate and even cancel each other out. His radical approach in the rampant sectarian society in which he roamed created an aura of freedom in him that inspired everyone he met in his wanderings.
Ravidas’s style of mystical poetry was so influential that he was emulated by other Indian poets after his lifetime, many of the disciples of his poetry were so devotional to him that out of respect they would assign their writings to Ravidas.
The best known disciple was the mystical princess poet Meerabhai. She composed some of the most beautiful verses of mystic poetry to ever grace the Earth. Many of her verses have found their way into contemporary song.
The princess Meerabhai wrote deeply about the longing for the true vision of the unified heart. Though the message in her writings is hidden under romantic symbols, her message was the same as that of her inspiration and Teacher – the great Guru Ravidas – the message of love and the one vision of unity, both within and without. Ravidas was a true Tantric, he saw the absurdity of so called elevated spiritual ideals being proclaimed – but not being mirrored into outer life. He saw through the empty agenda of the high class power hungry religious elites.
Kings and princesses sought the company of Ravidas, this was a radical maneuver in itself. As Ravidas was labeled within the so called lower classes. The higher classes were deeply troubled by the fact that a spiritual teacher could be of lower class. This might sound like it is of little matter to our ears these days but it is something quite profound. Even to this day the elite classes in the majority still believe that a so-called person of lower caste can not be a spiritual teacher, women are equally considered lower class and barred from the elite patriarchal orders of the priests.
The role of priest and guru is reserved to higher classes. Things may have changed somewhat, but in the times of Ravidas it was unacceptable that a cobbler was a spiritual teacher. Scriptures and rituals were hoarded by the higher strictly, wisdom that had power was not shared but kept within elite circles that oppressed lower classes.
Ravidas’s message showed his vision that if such wisdom is exclusive, then another and more inclusive and cause for social oppression, then another way of wisdom was needed. He rejected the codes and forms along with their corruption for the vision of Tadaruup, that is: there may be many beats, but there is only one Heart.
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When looking at the Goddesses in Tantra, we notice that their stories point to energetic principles. A Goddess is a whole world of energetic principle made manifest. The work of a Tantric practitioner is to condense and concentrate their forces into a focussed point and to align with the world of the Goddess behind her archetypal representation.
When we align to a Goddess, we bring vast movements to our lives. It takes work and focus and is no flimsy affair of wishful thinking and good intention. The Vajra is the concentration of electrical force. In any branch in life the focus of force is a law for creation. This law holds true in Tantra as it does in any other field.
Tantra is a practical subject that magically accesses the Goddess energies through concentrated techniques and ritual applications. The techniques are not random, but work with a scientifically detailed system of aligning to astral and lunar currents.
Mudra and Mantra become a doorway that links our lives to the energies of the Goddess. By opening doorways, we can bring much healing and flow into our lives. Just as there is a herb for every ailment – there is a Goddess principle for all our human trials and tribulations.
The goddess we shall be working with is Khodiyar Maa. Though she is not a vastly known Goddess, she is highly honoured by Tantrics. Having a wider appearance in Gujarat and Rajasthan which lay over 7000 Km apart from each other .
Khodiyar Maa is worshipped by Tantrics on her Jayanti, the half rising Moon, which this year falls on the 20th of February.
KHODIYAR MAA RITUAL
Khodiyar Maa is linked to the womb and to childbirth, and the marriage between the base and sexual Chakras. She is a Goddess who shows us how to unite the energies of Earth and Water – first and second Chakra themes are her speciality.
Working with her ritualistically, can help those wishing to conceive a child. Khodiyar Maa is a powerful Matriarch to those who have interest to work with the sexual energy and its healing.
Khodiyar Maa is a Goddess who addresses physical handicaps and impediments. Indeed her name means ‘the Goddess who hobbles and limps from an injury’, as she herself has an injury that causes her to limp.
She is a fearless Goddess who will ride deep into the bowels of the underworld to bring about healing.
She addresses emergencies and is a profoundly helpful force that will stop at nothing to address the problems of life and living.
HER STORY & ITS MEANING
There exist a few variations of her story, some assign her to an actual historical figure. The outer variations of the story in the inner essence are the same. It is a Tantric teaching story that embraces pivotal themes of love, sex and birth.
Here follows an account into the birth of Khodiyar Maa…
Once upon a time there was an unhappy Man and his wife. They were unhappy because they were Baanjh (childless). They engaged in much ritual, and sexual Tantric practices to call upon Shakti and Shiva for help. Though they were devoted and focussed in their rituals, it seemed that nothing happened. They grew so desperate and thought that offering their lives was the only option left, they were so stricken by their barren plight that they came to the very edge.
As they reached the very pit of despair, Shiva appeared before them and said: “let’s travel down to the deepest and most beautiful world – where the most precious jewels are to be found”. Deep into the bowels of the earth they journeyed for 7 days and 7 nights, until they came to Naaga Lokh, the deepest 7th subterranean portion of the Patala (underworld ) – the place where the seed and origins of things are to be found.
Shiva introduced them to Naagaraja – the King of the Snakes.
The couple related their childless situation as the King of Snakes listened on. The youngest daughter of the king of snakes was moved by their tears and laments and slithered in to help. Taking charge of the situation, she hatched a plan along with her 7 siblings.
Whispering in snakey tones they reassured the couple that all would be well.
The snake princess told the couple to return to their world and prepare their lives as if they were expecting 8 babies.
The couple climbed back up to the Earthly plane and went about preparing all the necessities for 8 babies. Clothes were sewn, little cribs were made and all the supplies that are required for babies were brought into their home.
And on one 5th Lunar night, when the moon is in the snake constellation of Ashlesha Nakshatra… a miracle happened.
Eight shakes crawled into the baby cribs and grew unto the half moon, until they took the human form of little human babies. Cries were heard through the fulfilled home and now the wife and man wept once more; this time though with tears of joy.
The eight children of the Snake God had been so moved by the sincerity of the previously childless couple that they saw the opportunity to enter into earthly incarnation.
The babies grew up with a great underworld power, 7 daughters and a single son. They dressed in jewels and wore only black as a testament to their underworld heritage. They were magnetic and had mesmerising eyes that saw into the depths of things.
Naaga Lokh is the place of deepest black. That is the place where the most brilliant jewels can shine.
Seven daughters and one son brought life to the home, each daughter wore a jewel reflecting the colour of each Chakra. They doted on their brother, day and night, but one day, destiny had it that the brother was to meet with a great misfortune. He was bitten by a snake and his life hung in peril.
Khodiyar Maa was the most ruthless of all the sisters, she wore the jewel of the second chakra that in Tantra is known as Shaktistan. The place of the Goddess.
Instinctively, she knew exactly what to do: she dove into the waters of the nearest lake and swam deep down into the underworld to obtain the life giving elixir from the Naaga world.
Upon swimming back-up to the surface to reach her brother – who would be dead by midnight, if she did not succeed – another misfortune ensued, as she met with a vicious undercurrent that dashed her on the rocks.
She sustained a serious injury to her foot and could no longer swim. As the life of her brother and herself flashed before her, she helplessly began to surrender to an inevitable death. A Makara (crocodile) watched on and quickly swam her to safety. Upon the riverbank she emerged, limping homeward.
Her siblings who had been waiting eagerly for her to return rejoiced as they saw her – ‘Khodiyar Maa’ they chanted in unison (Khodi means ‘injured foot’, and the girl was given this name thereafter).
‘Praise to the limping healing Mother with the Amrit, (elixir of life) they sang, ‘Here she comes limping’.
The elixir was given to her brother just in time and all was well.
MAKARA | CROCODILE POWER
In the month of Makar – the month of the crocodile – also called Magh, depending upon region, the Jayanti of Khodiyar Maa is celebrated.
The sun has moved only recently into the constellation of the 10th zodiacal house of Capricorn. This is the Crocodile constellation of Makara, that the Tantrics work with upon this ritual day and night.
Khodiyar Maa’s Jayanti is on the half ascending Moon, just as in the story when she emerges from the water unto the earth.
The two halves are mirrored in her annual Lunar day. The halves are apparent also in the symbol of the crocodile constellation that is the transition between water and earth and the dark and light poles of the year (see also the blog dedicated to the pagan festival of Lohri)
Khodiyar Maa has temples that are often located next to rivers.
In some parts, legend has it that a real crocodile emerges from the waters to give Darshan (vision). The crocodile is an amphibious creature that moves between Water and earth.
It is the Vahaan of Khodiyar Maa. The base Chakra is linked to the earth element and the water element rules the second Chakra. The symbolism of the story shows how Khodiyar Maa transitions between these two elements with the healing elixir.
Khodiyar Maa grounds the sexual power into the base so that the Kundalini serpent can ascend from a rooted foundation. The Kundalini power must have a base, if it is to not be dashed upon the rocks of the spiritual waters of life in which we spin.
The story is a deep inner allegory with many layers of meaning.
In Tantric practice one meditates upon such stories which reveal their secrets as insight and focus develop. The seven sisters are the manifest Shakti powers of the Chakras who focus on.
The one brother that they have represents Shiva, the raw unmanifest unto which the Kundalini of the Tantric is focussed in devotion to the great mystery. Just as the story reveals, Shakti is needed to animate him into life and into our lives.
The Tantric is just like Khodiyar Maa – diving deep and fearlessly, despite dangers and fears – unto the quest of the elixir of life.
The story shows that her motivation was Love and not power. When the motivation is raw and pure then the ally appears, just as the crocodile did in the nick of time.
Her name translates as the bringer of vegetation. She is twilight blue in colour and she brings the gift of herbs, fruits and vegetables to the earth.She is the revealer of nourishment and growth.She is the great mother of nurture who brings magical growth to the garden of our souls.
The first rising half Moon of the year, 20th of January, signals the beginning of Shakambhari Navaratri, the nine nights of Shakambhari. For Tantrics, these 9 nights are a time of studying deeply the order and disorder of our inner garden.
Shakambhari is depicted with a thousand eyes from which she waters the garden of our soul, reaching even into the most dry cracks and corners. She brings the latent seeds of our secret innermost life into flower.
Shakambhari’s powers culminate on the 9th night, upon the Full Moon of the 28th, when she is in her full power, on the day known to Tantrics as Shakambhari Jayanti. At this time, celestial forces are conspiring to begin awakening nature after her yearly sleep. Being ourselves part of nature, these forces act upon us and afford us an opportunity to tend our spiritual garden.
LAW OF EXCHANGE
The story of Shakambhari tells of the law of exchange, of the psychic & physical draught that befalls us when the reciprocal laws of exchange are not honoured.
Tantric cosmology tells of how the world of spiritual forces, intersects with the physical plane by a law of reciprocity. The spirits depend upon us for sustenance as we depend upon them.
If we dissociate ourselves from the spirits then we fall into psychic and physical famine as the story points out.
Shakambhari is also revered as the keeper of the secrets of herbs and their medicinal use, precisely because she mediates between the spiritual and physical world by means of the law of reciprocity. She reveals the science of healing by showing how a herb and a food has a different effect upon the system according to which Moon phase it is imbibed upon.
Shakambhari is the great balancer and nourisher, she balances dryness and moisture. The balance of dryness and fluidity in the human mechanism is of utmost importance to Tantrics. Tantra has a whole science of practices connected to working with dryness and moisture, by honouring the fluidic movements of the Moon.
When the psychic and physical nerves become dry there is not the capacity for the human organism to contain Shakti.
Some substances and practices are extremely heating and create dryness, this is to be balanced by working with the Moon and especially working with the 3 fluids that comprise Soma, that is Milk, Blood and Water. Soma balances dryness and brings softness and the feminine into our orbit.
THE GREAT SPIRITUAL DROUGHT
Once upon a time a great draught was upon the whole of creation. The draught was so severe that it traversed the 3 worlds: conscious, unconscious and earthly. The Draught came into being because the people of the earth plane had stopped to give honour to the spirits and fallen into dryness. The fluid of Soma did no longer flow and in utter dryness Shakti did not have a place, for she lives in the place where fluid and dryness is balanced.
The sacred ways had been forgotten and the spirits who depend upon human interaction for their sustenance were drying out for lack of prayers and offerings. The dryness of the spiritual world was reflected upon the earth plane. All around things withered. As the spirit world grew dry, so did the earth, right down to the very underworld, the great famine enveloped.
The earthly plane is nourished by the milk (Kamakhya) the fluid of desire. The underworld is nourished by blood (Kali, the fluid of time) The upper world is nourished by water (Kala) the lord of death who takes us Northward. Together these sacred fluids equal Soma. The heaviest of the 3 sacred fluids is Blood, then milk, and then water. The heaviest sinks South, whereas the lightest rises North, and in the middle is the milk of life.
The story tells of how there were few people remaining upon the earth who still knew of the importance of giving honour to the upper and underworld spirits. These last few adherents to the laws of nature and magic were the original Tantrics. Legend has it that together they formed a circle and prayed with their united concentrated spirits. They believed that Soma could still flow and heal all worlds. And so, upon the first rising half Moon of the uprising year, they gathered together in concentrated ritual and prayed to the Goddess for help. The Goddess was nourished by their Love and longing and she took form as Shakambhari. She nourished them in return, for this is the Law of Exchange that is central in Tantra.
Shakti (in the form of Shakambhari) found an entrance back to the earth plane through the middle line of the half Moon. Rituals of the half Moon are rituals of balance.
The dividing line between the two halves of dark and light becomes a meeting place of polarities & a place where spiritual forces can be invoked.
Shakambhari appears on the half ascending Moon of Shakambhari Navaratri (20th of January) in response to prayer, and she comes into her full power on the Purnima (full Moon, 28 January).
Compassion & Nurishment
The story of Shakambhari tells of the importance of compassion and nourishment. She appeared with a body covered in a 1000 eyes and, as she saw the dried out plight of the creation, she began to weep tears of compassion for the suffering of the world. Her many eyes wept for nine nights, in which she poured Soma into the three spiritually barren worlds and restored full moisture by the Full Moon.
She brought fruit, vegetables and herbs, she restored the rivers and the seas and sprinkled the earth with flowers.
Shakambhari Puja is a ritual of finding that for which we hunger and thirst for, her ritual goes even further to look into the reason for the inner hunger,
Shakambhari can teach us the laws of nourishment and fortification. She brings healing to our relationship with nutrition on inner as well as outer levels. Shakambhari reveals to us the laws or reciprocity, that in order for the garden to grow, we have to water it.
Loh means light and gives its name to this festival day of welcoming back the light. This is an ancient Indian pagan festival that is celebrated in the North of India. It has echoes in South Indian festivals that occur at the same time. On the other side of India, 1000s of kilometres away in the south on the same day, Bhogi festivals are celebrated, which have identical elements. All these festivals are centred around the lighting of sacred fires.
To befriend, & become befriended, by Nature
Tantrics have aligned to these rituals as a way to both befriend and be befriended by nature. Such so-called pagan celebrations of the rhythms of nature have been dismissed by orthodoxly as primitive and based on superstition.
Tantra is a pagan tradition of honouring the forces of nature.
Some of the traditions and festivals became assimilated into the widespread arena of religion while others remain more obscure or only regionally acknowledged.
What may not be apparent to Westerners is that orthodox religion in India is highly organized and deeply discriminatory within a class system that itself strives to keep in place such discriminations.
There are temples in India where only higher classes are admitted, this seems to have gotten even more corrupt with the passage of time. The higher caste priestly orders, have their fingers in politics and economics more than might be known.
Tantra, on the other hand, especially within this Left Hand Path, has been horizontally organised outside of formal institutions and widely inclusive, both of class and gender differences.
Western Views & the excessive fire of modernity
Until recent times, Yoga in India was a male-only tradition. Western women were allowed to join practices because of their money & their status.
Western women have entered into the yoga arena only within the past century and because of the generous economic offerings they were making to Gurus and their ashrams. It is common in fact still today for higher class priests and teachers to admit Western women into their classes, but refuse Indian women.
A lot of the rituals that the male line carries out are paradoxically not suitable for women, though Western women might be the main followers of the practices.
Fire rituals are most unsuitable for women, they can cause great imbalance to the female bodily chemistry, disturbing the reproductive faculties and menstruation.
The female chemistry carries an excess of fire in accordance with menstrual rhythms. These rhythms can become agitated and disturbed when working with powerful and unsuitable rituals that involve fire. Rituals are to be understood as powerful harnessing of energies that produce powerful effects. That we live in a very solar oriented society, with excess of light in terms of electricity, already gives an excess of fire to the organism.
Fire rituals came from a pre-electricity era, it must be remembered.
Both the modern man and woman suffer from the imbalance of excessive fire and heat in the system. Cooling practices are more called for in this time to balance the solar and lunar forces in both the psychic and physical organism.
Many of the structures of the prevalent Vedic mantras do not include the feminine Matrikas (tones) and unbalance the female constitution, if overly worked with.
It is essential to see that the ritual practices of the Vedas were never meant for women.
They have indeed landed in the hands of organised patriarchy and carry forward great streaks of fascism in the way that the philosophy of the Vedas has been used and manipulated by the higher classes to subjugate and exploit people greatly under the pretexts of religious dictates.
Witches & Pagans Wisdom of the un-Civilised
Not all Indians actually honour the orthodoxy and the higher priestly classes in the same manner that Westerners often do. Those who are not in the elite know by direct experience how the higher religious classes mix their powers with religion to subjugate and exploit what they – the higher classes – deem as the common and uneducated pagans.
The tribal, shamanic & Shakti traditions have often been outcast from the orthodoxy as lesser or uncivilised.
The Tantrics did not arise as a reactionary measure towards the orthodoxy as several popular Western scholars of Indian lore have assumed. The Tantric wisdom predates organised form, and is the natural essence that imbues and developed into organised form.
Tantra is the uncivilised and pagan roots of all Orthodoxy.
It is like the folk wisdom of the Witches in the West, who were burned by the patriarchal inquisition and replaced their wisdom with codes and structures that go against nature and the laws of compassion.
There is a saying in Punjab that if you see a priest first thing after leaving your house you should go back home and wash yourself of the filth of their presence.
Although Lohri is a festival that is confirmed today to some parts of Northern India, once upon a time this festival was embraced by the whole of the rural people of the North.
Even Pakistan, when it was still part of India – in relatively recent times – and not a separate state as it is now – It was a place of Tantra that recognised festivals such as Lohri which are now commonly regarded as minor folk festivals that do not enter into the religious mainstream.
Tantra still thrives in an underground form in the North of India, where many of the ancient natural pagan rites are adhered to. In places such as the Punjab this can be seen. Both the external and the underground Tantric practices that are prevalent there, are more in the tradition of shamanism and Nath cults that are not always linked to some of the well known hierarchical Sampradaya orders, but have their own origins and lesser known and secret lineages.
Punjab is a northern region of India infamous for its raw disregard of upper class orthodox elitism. It is also a state in India where 5 rivers converge. The 5 rivers of Punjab correspond to the 5 nadis (energy lines) of the throat centre. Indeed the North Indians are highly vocal and known throughout India to produce the most legendary singers. This is why Lohri is a festival of song and festivity.
Rock your Baby
Lohri in the North is also understood to mean ‘to rock a baby’. Newborns are blessed upon this day. The first Lohri of newborns is a time of great celebration and the reception and giving of blessings. The Hisdray arrive to bless children on this celebratory day.
The Hisdray or Kusray – as they are called in the Northern states – bring blessings to Babies and Newlyweds
Hisdray are an ancient & mysterious cult of eunuchs – transvestites, hermaphrodites & more recently transexuals – who have the power of Vaak Siddhi: the power of blessing or cursing through speech.
They come to bless upon the day of Lohri to both babies at their first Lohri. The festivities involve group prayers, games, song, dance and other festivities of Lohri, sweets are made, given and collected, fires are lit and games are played.
Honouring the Guest
What many people commonly do to celebrate the winter solstice is basically done on Lori. Fires are built at sunset and circumambulated. But why is Lohri not celebrated upon the Winter Solstice?
The Solstice is a solemn time of the year’s longest night, a time when the night forces are in full force and honoured by the Tantrics by immersing themselves fully in darkness.
The Dark is deeply tuned into around Solstice by Tantrics.
When a long staying guest leaves our house. It takes time to acknowledge their absence and come back to a settled state without them there. This is how Tantrics consider Winter Solstice.
Lighting a fire on the Winter Solstice equals to rejoicing for the guest leaving while the guest is still in your home.
Tantric allow for the guest – darkness – to leave with dignity and mourn their departure. Perhaps the modern denial of the night forces is responsible for lighting fires even before the guest of half the year has departed. In the Tantric view it is ungraceful and ungrateful to see off the dark in such a way. For she has given so much. What she has given exactly is for one to discover for themselves.
The Tantric learns to honour the feminine forces of the dark and lingers and pays respect for a while, as she trails off into the shadows.
Some of the folk games played by children on Lohri reflect this. In one such play of children, the child is painted black and tied with a rope held by his friends, he asks for Lohri (sweets) in a sing sing type of way at the doors of his neighbors. If they do not respond sufficiently the rope that restrains him is loosened by his friends and he enters the house to break things therein!
The symbol of the game is explicit, the Dark is asking for a gift & blessing before it can depart knowing it has been appreciated, & honoured.
The dark gives her gift when she has been honoured. Just like the gift of a child that emerges from the dark womb after a 9 month stretch inside the Mother.
Interestingly, children and newborns are blessed on this day which is believed to carry a great blessing for rising strength. At the other side of India, in the South, in the same day Bhogi Pandigai is celebrated. It is also a festival of blessing children and lighting fires.
The First Dark Moon
A rarity, Lohri occurs this year in its original Tantric place of power upon the Dark Moon.
The first Amvasya (dark Moon), following the winter solstice, sees the time to let go and say farewell to the dark season. It is a time to begin lighting fires for the new uprising guest of expanding days that is upon us as the Moon waxes for the first time in a full round after Solstice. As the Moon rises from the Amvasya she brings with her the season that reflects the sun.
Tantrics work with honour the fire on the ritual day of Lohri. Saying farewell to the dark and welcoming the light. Nuts and seeds are thrown into the fire with prayers, as a way of releasing the old and welcoming the new. In some regions, old garments and items that hold old energy are put to the flames of rebirth.
The next day after Lohri is marked as a Makar Sankranti or Maghi Sangrand – this is the beginning of the new calendar month, known as as Maghi in the North, and the month of Tai in the Tamil calendar.
Day of the Crocodile
Sankranti or Sangrand is the first day of the month. Makar or Maghi means crocodile. It represents a new astrological force coming into effect and raising the season to one of light and warmth, under the reflection of the first waxing moon of the light half of the year.
Makar Sankranti is a day that recognises that the coldest day has passed, and the heat is building by the growth of the first Moon-round post winter-solstice. Kites are flown, in many regions, this represents the rising new season. In Gujarat, this is a central custom in the festival which is there called Uttarayan. Kites abound in the skies at this time, though the custom still exists, it has declined in recent decades as the hand of modernity sweeps across ancient customs. In the South, Sankranti Makar corresponds to the festival of Surya or Tai Pongal, many of the ritualistic customs are similar to those of the North, even down to the dishes that are cooked.
Pongal is widely celebrated by the Tamil people – the Southernmost state of India.
Makar Sankranti traditionally begins with a morning dip at sunrise in a river, even when the temperatures are freezing. This is a symbolic and magical gesture of cooling the body and spirit for the heat of Surya (sun) that is rising with the coming Month. The day of Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of Uttarayanna – this is when the sun enters the 10th zodiac house of Makara.
Makara corresponds to the western Capricorn sign, & is symbolised by a Crocodile.
Makar Sankranti indeed derives its name from Makara, the crocodile constellation. The dip in a river in the early Morning on this day that brings with it a new rising astrological cycle is a way of honouring the Crocodile energy.
The Goddess Ganga (as in the river Ganges) rides upon the crocodile Makara, as does the God Varuna, the deity of the seas. The cooling blessings of the water element are sought as the moon raises the tide for the first time post-solstice at the beginning of the season of building heat. The energies of water and fire come together at this sacred festival time.
The fire is lit at sunset on Lohri and burns till sunrise when the water dip is traditionally taken.
Tantra Keeping the Spirit Alive
As modernity has set in and altered the structures of living, the celebration has started to decline from a form of ritual worship into a public holiday even within rural communities over the last decades.
Sacred days often can be lost and turned into commercial festivities where the aspect of ritual is removed from its central position. Alternatively religious or cultural dogma can pervade such festivities, until the essence and power of the ritual day is obscured.
Tantrics are those who keep the sacred rituals and their significance alive by imbuing them with life force and Tapasya (spiritual effort)
If the sacred days are understood as portals, to be worked with and honoured in a ritualistic manner, then the chance of taking them for granted as mere customs, or dismissing them as superstitions is safeguarded.
In Defence of Magic
Lohri reveals how modernity can swallow magic and erode powerful necessary rights of passage, necessary if we are to align to the Wisdom of Nature.
The festival of Lohri has much to show us, if we reflect upon the light it sheds carefully (Lohri literally means enlightening). Lohri reveals how powerful rituals and customs bring people together in communal prayer and blessing. This is the very essence of Tantric ritual.
Lohri reveals how the solar light-oriented face of civilisation does not give honour to the balance of nature’s two ever-present, mutually informing and empowering forces of dark & light.
Lohri reveals that the deepest wisdom, which is the Wisdom of Nature, can easily be glanced at sideways as primitive by the patriarchal eyes of orthodoxy.
And what Lohri perhaps most importantly can reveal to us is to align our currents to what nature is telling and showing us, and not push the guest out of the house before thanking them for the gift of their presence. For in doing so we banish magic from our lives.
’But down in the underground You’ll find someone true. Down in the underground a land serene, a crystal moon. Oh, It’s only forever. Not long at all’’
Underground | D. Bowie
Kaal Astami is a time in which to study the deep dark layers of oneself, shedding the outer layers like a snake, to reach the mysteries beyond the threshold of time.
Time is indeed of the essence. It may contain the essence itself, but our time can be something devoid of magic. It then becomes something to waste away when it is barren of Moonlit Magic. Some of the modern rituals we repeat daily are worth our investigation. If something is repeatedly done with our concentration then it becomes a ritual.
Rituals can both entrap and liberate.
Kaal Bhairav ritual-worship has the potential to show us the most obvious – yet easily unseen – things of what we are doing with time. Or perhaps what time is doing with us… When we align to the deep slow realm of Bhairav, he guides us into the invisible line between life and death, beyond the threshold of creation and destruction. Life and time, creation and death, all hold hands in the realm of a Kaal Bhairav.
Kaal Bhairav teaches the Wisdom of Death. He shows us that the creative spiritual impulse is not free of Death, for Creation without Death is Stagnation.
Bhairav is a deep friend, liberator and protector, if he is approached in honour. He holds the Danda, the stick of power. Dandapatti means the friend of ‘the stick’, or ‘the friend with the stick’. It is the magic wand of the Wizard and broomstick of the Witch. It is the spine that flows with the dance of circuitry in the currents of life and death. It is the stick within grasp when we study the mysteries of Bhairav.
It is the stick that carries the soul across the portals of life and death.
The stick is called Kankala Danda, literally the ‘skeleton stick’. The stick of Bhairav gives the protection of courage to go under the surface of skin and flesh, right to the very bone of our lives. Bhairav asks us ‘are we here to live or are we here to die?’
YOUR STICK OF POWER
For this ritual you will require a stick of power. You may use a broom, or any stick you find. You may go out into nature on a magical quest and find one – or let it find you. You might even be surprised and realise that you already possess one. Whether your stick is a broom, a wooden spoon or a crafted wand, have your Danda close to hand for this ritual.
On this ritual night, we will continue to work deeper with the Kankala Danda (skeleton stick mudras) which we begun in December to further explore the connection between life and death, and the ways in which we may be wasting our lives away.
The stick of power that Bhairav carries represents the measurement of time, it is topped by a skull that signifies the mystery beyond time.
The antar Kankala mudras (inner skeleton practice) are powerful in revealing hidden magical realms.
Because Kaal Bhairav is obstinate, tenacious, terrifying and immovable by his laws, he helps reveal where we are obstinate, tenacious and immovable to his laws of Time and Death in our lives.
As well as teaching us how to life, Bhairav equally teaches us how to die.
Many may be consumed with the issue of ‘how to live’, but the tantric equally concerns themselves with ‘how to die’.
Bhairav can show us the lessons we are not learning and having to repeat for lifetimes long.
The days are lengthening The solstice is passed The nights recede by a sunlit mast The first full moon of the rising year Belongs to Bhairavi, who on this day is here.
Bhairavi means the fierce one. Her beautiful face shines fiercely with the brilliance of 1000 suns, she wears a necklace of fresh severed heads, and the moon is on her forehead.
The sight of Bhairavi can be an ugly, frightening one. What starts beautifully can start to creep slowly if we lose honour of Bhairavi. Her lesson is about honouring the dark feminine power.The yogi watches carefully how they approach Bhairavi.
She uses if she is used, she honours if she is honoured. She is the mirror of how we treat our life power.
Bhairavi is the fire that consumes, she incites power and passion, her destructive fire ingests creation in its flames. She is the continual destroyer of the three worlds (Earhtly, Conscious & the subconscious), for this she is called Tripura Bhairavi (“fierce in the 3 worlds”).
Her burning destruction allows for creation to take place. Necessary is destruction if creation is to go on. Just like her lover Bhairav, Bhairavi is ever present, she is the fire that consumes our lives until death less than the shadow of ash.
Psychic Clouds in our Inner Skyes
Bhairavi is the grand paradox.
She is beautiful and enchanting. Her beauty excites and calls out our life force as we serve that to which we are drawn. But Bhaiiravi is also known as Kotraksi, which means the one with deep set sunken dark eyes. The more of our power we give away, the deeper we fall into her dark eyes, and the more ghostly her form becomes.
Bhairavi Jayanti Puja is the study of that which we give our power to.
We see this now as the solar fire in nature grows with the lengthening of days grows, previously nourished by the darkening season. The night of Bhairavi is the time to study where we are giving our power, and where perhaps we are wasting our power by feeding corpses.
This Purnima (full Moon) is the first one of the rising half of the natural year, with its now lengthening days after having crossed the threshold of the solstice. Bhairavi sits on a corpse as her vehicle, called the Savasan in Tantra. The corpse does not move and neither does Bhairavi. But we move towards them. The more we waste our Shakti, the uglier and more fierce she becomes.
This is why she is the drinker of blood.
In this life we have to give our energy and life blood, living and loving requires the investment of Shakti, we have to make focussed effort to live, but sometimes it is not focussed, but obscured by psychic clouds.
Bhairavi is the one who reveals the psychic clouds in the skies our soul.
Bhairavi is the force that requires focus to face, she requires our involvement and relationship. She is the force of living and dying which both go hand in hand.
It might seem easier to feed our power to a dead corpse than to Bhairavi who is the most exacting woman of all.
Bhairavi can be displeased easily, but the corpse will never complain, we can turn away from Bhairavi and complain into the ears of a corpse, but Bhairavi grows more frightening and ugly as we waste our energies on dead things.
In Frustration there is power
This might sound abstract, but simply spoken, this is what we do when we don’t use our energies well. For example, Complaining is something we might take for normal and necessary. It is easy to discover an injustice, if we look for it.
With our acquaintances, we might make coffee meetings with the intention of releasing frustration through unloading by complaint. The complaint might stand in the light of absolute justice and we might believe it absolutely necessary to speak it out.
Rather than internalising the power inherent in the frustration, we release it prematurely when complaint and being against something is not internalised but externalised habitually.
When we open & start to touch & hold the powers that frustrate we prepare for Bhairavi.
It is prepared by facing deeply the origin feelings that are created within us, and not all too easily turn to complaint as an outlet.
These days there are many more ways of complaint perhaps available as technology seems to broaden the horizons of expression.
The practice of Bhairavi Jayanti is a subtle inner ritualistic work that honours the birth of the growing half of the year of lengthening days, with this first full moon in the bright half of the year we ritually come forward to the study of the habits and familiar ways we might be wasting our life force. Facing the gaze of Bhairavi with honour on the other hand, requires us to harness our life force. A volcano builds its fiery forces in the dark, it follows the path of knowing when to restrain, sometimes it’s destructive explosions give birth to the new by destroying the old. Yet…
… to be like an ever emitting volcano, leaving no power in the base is the path of feeding the corpse.
On this night, Tantric’s have timelessly gathered in a circle of power. Together they have ritualised with the blessing of nature’s currents and practiced Antar Bhairavi Mudra in concentrated puja (ritual).
Bhairavi Mudra is the deep investigation of the harnessing, usage & wastage of our life force.
Agni & Tejas in the 3 Worlds
Bhairavi is the opposite of Lalita, the second of the Mahavidyas. Lalita Jayanti follows on February the 27th, on the Full Moon. Both Goddesses have the prefix Tripuri (the three worlds) before their names.
Bhairavi is the consuming fire of Agni, and Lalita is the cooling fire of Tejas. Tripuri Bhairavi is the consuming Agni fire of the three worlds, and Tripuri Lalita is the cooling Tejas fire in the three worlds.
When Agni and Tejas are in balance, they brew Soma, the psycho physical compound of spiritual insight. The fires exist in the 3 worlds, that is, in the subconscious underworld, in the world of celestial awareness above and in the middle plane of the earth in between. We live, move and have our being in these 3 realms.
The study and balance of the hot and cooling fires in our threefold world is a focus of the Tantric practitioner.
If the psychic fire within us is hot and emphasis is on the Agni, then the body will be heated and the breath and heart burning. If the psychic fire within us is focussed on Tejas (the cooling fire) the body will be cool with heart and breath rhythmical.
The fires must be balanced in the right measure to create Soma.
The movements of nature and the moon intersect with these two fires which are ever moving and reflecting the currents of atmospheric and lunar energy.
The balance of the two fires is the ever moving Yogic pursuit.
When Agni does not overly consume, then the solar plexus fire recedes from it’s all too often seat of dominance. Balance is then established and the cool fire of Tejas burns in the soma chakra and creates the psychic elixir of Soma in the 3 worlds that we inhabit.
The Soma chakra is the other polarity of the solar plexus and brews the downward glowing moon fire from above.
The mantras for Soma and Agni are balanced in Tantra.
For example, the Mantras of Bhairavi exist as three syllables which are the 3 tips of the downward facing triangle at the base of our being. This triangle is her primal Yantra (symbolic and sound form).
Bhairavi’s heating mantras are the bijas (seed syllables) that activate the fire of the 3 worlds, one for the physical, one for the unconscious, and one for the celestial awareness.
The 3 Bija mantras of Lalita on the other hand are cooling in nature, the mantras are combined in the right measure, and this measure is ever changing, just as the Moon is. Tripuri Bhairavi and Tripuri Lalita, together teach us about the destructive fire and the creative fire respectively.
They reveal to us how both the creative and destructive fires of our destiny are ignited.
A big planetary rotation of forces occurs on Winter Solstice, as the longest night of the year takes us to the very depth of outer darkness. This extended darkness of the macrocosm is mirrored in our inner microcosm, as we are but a reflection of nature.
Dear Friends of the Healing Circle of Shadow & Light,
The longest night of the year is upon us. Winter Solstice presents a polarity shift in the three worlds, that is the earthly, the lunar, and the underworld.
This holds true in both a physical and spiritual sense. The physical energies in our body are expressed in the three metals of Silver, Gold and Iron. These elements intersect with our spiritual being and influence us deeply.
The Solstice is such a day of potent physical and spiritual influence, tantrics recognise this and timelessly work with and harness such cosmic waves in the context of healing ritual.
Moon, Sun & the Black planet Shuni (Saturn) are expressed in the metals silver, gold and iron.
On the morning following the winter Solstice, the rising light will melt the cycle that we have been in and the solar force will lengthen the days in the endless cycle of Death, Life and Mystery. In the language of Tantra, Silver is lunar, Gold is solar and Iron is Saturnian darkness.
The balance of these ever moving three elements is the Tantric pursuit.
The right measure of each, opens doorways within and without and creates magic. Upon cosmic events such as the Solstice, Silver, Gold and Iron meet upon the year’s longest night and a transform of relationship between them and us takes place. The structures of one’s Soul can be glimpsed within such polarity-shifting times under the guidance of the Tantric goddess Kali.
The Womb is the Temple
The deep shadows that obscure her face are glanced and glared into, upon this ritual tantric night of Kali Puja, that is, the night of the Dark Goddess. Tantrics reveal that the shadows of the womb are most accessible upon this night most Tantric.
Kali Mandir is the Tantric name for the Womb.
It translates as the temple of the dark goddess. Kala is time, but Kali is that which takes away time. This is revealed in the Tantric image of Kali Dancing upon the body of Shiva. Shiva lays there with phallus erect, receiving the life giving currents of the One who destroys time. That one is Kali Ma, the Dark mother.
The child in the womb lives in the timeless realm. The Child’s birth is a death out of timelessness into the realm of time. This realm of time is the realm of Kala. It is the realm of time and space, the realm of cause and effect, in which we live and die.
The Traumas of the Womb
Kali Puja is a night when the axis shifts and the days start to lengthen, it is a death of the dark season and a first birth of the light. Kali is most powerful on this night of witchery just before, when her night is the longest we will know in the year.
The darkness creates a portal that draws the spirits near and offers a chance of healing deep ancestral Karmas related to the womb. The womb being the one that birthed the whole enterprise.
The womb refers to the Shakti area of creation in both Woman and Man. This long night has a very deep energy that can be observed by listening to the currents of energy. It is a night as deep as the womb of Kali Ma, the womb from whence we came and to which we will return. Tantrics have followed these junctions since time immemorial and aligned themselves in concentrated ritual to the currents of nature.
We will follow suit and partake of many a dark mudra and mantra on this night of Ceremony to the Dark mother herself.
Practices of working with the womb are central to this night. What more can be said other than that it is a deep place, indeed the deepest cave of all creation.
This will be the last dark Moon of the year, the dark time when the night will be at its longest.
A further blessing is that this dark Moon falls upon a Monday, Somavhwar, literally the ‘Day of Soma’ – the Moon God.
If a dark moon falls upon a Somavhwar it is known as the festival of Somavati and it occurs only once or twice a year, bringing forth many Tantric rites. It is an event most conducive for practice and for seeking healing, especially in relation to ancestral work.
BLOOD, SEX & DEATH
The Tabooed Forces of Life
Somavati is a day when water, milk and blood (in the form of wine) are worked with ritualistically.
The wine represents the blood of Kali (the Goddess of Life), the Milk is the juice of Kamakhya (the Goddess of Desire), and the water represents the river of time in the realm of Kala Bhairava (God of Death, which we celebrated last monday).
It is with these divine forces of blood, sex and death that we shall work with on Monday’s ritual in the search for healing our relationship to Life, Pleasure and Surrender, which are often infused with patters and Shadows we struggle to understand in our daily lives.
The Spirits come to Heal
The coming Dark Moon is the last one embedded within the darkening half year of lengthening nights, upon this we have a solar eclipse, known to Tantrics as a Surya Grah.
Spiritual practices on eclipses are intensified 100 fold, it is said in Tantra. It is a time when consciousness is overshadowed & the application of our psychic will proves the strength of Soul. The spirits are close to the earth plane on eclipses & much healing with the world of spirit can be set in motion.
Traditionally it is a time when our ancestors would stay inside and not venture outside. Mundane activities would be left to rest and one would rather take to spiritual focus in times of eclipse.
These things are slowly being forgotten and classified as a mere superstition by Modernity which overshadows spiritual wisdom.
By being sensitive to our inner currents of feeling, we come to see the spiritual dimension of our being, which the eye of civilisation has been trained to overlook.
The Moon under the rulership of Soma, relates to fluidity and flow of life force.
In Tantra, Soma refers to the Moon and carries several connotations.
The Moon’s Healing Fluid
Soma refers to the sacred & Healing Moon fluid. It is a subtle psycho/physical compound that is the essence of Tejas – the cool fire of psychic & spiritual power.
The opposite of Tejas is the hot fire of Agni. Tantra is concerned with bringing both the cooling and the heating fires into a balanced dance with each other.
Soma vivifies and creates, whereas Agni consumes and destroys. Both of these fires are needed in the correct proportions in the constituents of our body and spirit. A balance of these forces is required to open the subtle portals of awareness.
An abundance of Agni fire in our psycho/physical mechanism is the ill of modern times. The overemphasis of Agni not only consumes the finer currents of awareness but creates stress in the system and ages the body.
Soma on the other hand is the juice of eternal youth – you may enjoy reading a previous post, The Forgotten Jewel of Tantra, which goes in more details about the qualities of Soma.
Some forms of Shakti consume Soma and some forms of Shakti vivify the Soma fluid of the Moon within us. Heating pursuits and emotions, extroversion and over activity consume Soma.
Introversion, rest and slowing down the currents of being are what nurture Soma. Noise and speech create Agni, which is hot and active. Silence and stillness create Soma, which is brewed in passivity.
Passivity is a quality that might have disappeared from our lives & considered a sign of weakness of illness even. In Tantra it is sought like a rare jewel.
Passivity is a secret Moon-type state of consciousness that the Yogis venture to know in the midst of the fires and actions of life. The Yogis prize Soma and are cautious and careful to nurture, cultivate and preserve it. Soma is psychic power.
Soma is the cool healing fire that melts the obstructions in the way of our Shakti life energy. The cool fire of Soma is not as obvious as the active expression of Agni.
Soma lives internally and signifies and is experienced as a magical inner life.. .perhaps even independent of external factors. The introverted fire of Soma is an internal glow that gives one strength of focus and ‘awake-ness’ upon the astral levels.
The Fire of (Self-)Destruction
In present times Agni burns strong & stands in a predominant place. This is most visible in the magnitude of destruction on a planetary scale, through wars, violence towards all forms of life, & even in the warming of the atmosphere. There is too much heat in the system.
This calls for the cultivation of Soma, which must become a priority both individually and collectively if we wish to shift the balance back to a state of harmony.
To give strength to the God of softness and simplicity that Soma is. Soma is cultivated in simplifying our lives. Somnath is one of the names which Shiva goes by, for he is the eternal Yogi who wears the moon in his hair.
Somnath lives in the spirit of all souls who tread the path of shining in the dark. The path of the Magic Moonlight. Like the moon that shines brightly in the night sky, Soma is cultivated in the dark.
The practice of Kechari Mudra has several preparatory steps, it is initiated and practiced when the Soma Moon is at its strongest.
Ketchari is a secret science of Mudra that activates points of energy in the system that releases Soma in the form of a hormonal substance that creates profound softness & trance.
PRACTICES ON SOMAVATI
Honouring the Ancestors
The day of Somavati happens rarely, one or twice yearly when a dark Moon falls on a Monday, it is a strong ritualistic time, when it is combined with an eclipse it is made more profound, a most rare occurrence it be.
It is a time to give homage to the deceased ancestors. To perform Shraddh (psychic ritualistic offerings) this is to bless & heal the spirits of one’s dead ancestors.
To assist in earthbound elements that can affect us in the Astral world, tantrics call this effect the Pitru Dosha. Somavati is a sacred ritual time of liberating Pitru Dosha. The new Moon sequence of Chandra Parampara supports this and is ritualistically practiced by the tantrics at this Moon junction.
Chandra Parampara is the Yog sequence of practice that among all the practices of Yog. It creates the greatest softening and flexibility in the organism, both psychicaly and physically. Prayer and ritual under the Soma Moon is a time of opening body and soul towards the deepest levels of softness.
Simplification is the way to Soma… and the way of Soma.
We shall work with the three liquids that make up Soma. They equal Soma if they are balanced in equal equations. Blood, Milk and Water shall lay upon the altar on this a Dark Moon night – the Darkest Moon of the Year.
You would be most welcome to join the Online Ritual on Monday 14th of December
To Face One’s Own Death Descending Half Moon Ritual
“Oh Bhairav, Ruler of the North, You who are the House of Death, And the Death itself, You who are Time, Teach us the secrets of Fear and Devotion, Maha Kaal Siddhi be yours to teach, The magical secret beyond time.”
Monday the 7th of December is the Descending Half Moon. This is known to Tantrics as the annual day of Maha Kaal BhairavJayanti, the ‘birthday’ (Jayanti) of Kaal Bhairav, the Tantric deity of darkness and fear. The 8th night of lunar waning every month is Sacred to Bhairav, the darkest form of Shiva. The 8h descending lunar night is known as Bhairav Astami. Or Kaal Astami. Kaal means time, Astami means the eighth. The last Bhairav Astami of the dark half of the year is the most sacred one and is Bhairav Jayanti, which is why it is considered Bhairav’s ‘birthday’ (Jayanti).
Kaal Bhairav represents Time and Death. In fact, Kaal means ‘dark’. He is represented as the Crow master who rides upon the Black Dog. Crows and black dogs belong to his realm and are the messengers of his secrets. Kaal Bhairav is the heavy and slow planet Saturn. The Planet Saturn is highly active upon the inner astral plane in the Northernmost hemisphere at this time of the year. This night of Bhairav is sandwiched right between the last Full and Dark Moons of the Darkest Season of the year, when the length of the nights are at their peak and Tantrics spend time investigating the dark layers of their being.
THE DEEP DARK LAYERS
Of the Soul
In the ritualistic circle of Tantra this is a time in which to study the deep dark layers of oneself, peeling away the outer layers like an onion to reach the sometimes tear-inducing taboos of the nether-regions.
Subjects such as death, fear and time are approached in this ritualistic night.
Time is of the essence and our time can be something devoid of magic. It then becomes something to waste away when it is barren of moonlit magic. Some of the modern rituals we repeat are worth our investigation. If something is repeatedly done with our concentration then it becomes a ritual. Rituals can both entrap and liberate. Kaal Bhairav ritual-worship has the potential to show us the most obvious yet easily unseen things of what we are doing with time – or perhaps what time is doing with us.
We find Devotion
Bhairav is the ultimate destroyer. The story tells that it was he who beheaded even the creator. Bhairav suffered for it, yes, whereas the creator found liberation.
This night’s ritual follows the narrative of the subtle tale of Bhairav’s journey to the North. It is a subtle tale that encompases the deepest and darkest corners of the soul, not to mention the most destructive aspects.
The story tells that, after Kaal Bhairav beheaded the creator, he could not get free of what he had done. Destruction and creation literally stuck together, as the head of the creator stuck to Bhairav’s hand and rotted putridly for aeons upon aeons. In the end Bhairav finally crossed the invisible line between life and death and traversed the threshold of creation and of destruction.
This story points to an inner reality that is to be meditated on. Life and time, creation and death, all hold hands in the fear-inducing realm of a Kaal Bhairav.
Within Tantra the Bhairav ritual & practices are highly secretive. They are to be proceeded with caution, for they arouse our deepest & darkest innermost fears.
Raising fear carries a great healing power if one works with the raised material in the landscape of the soul. The various names of Kaal Bhairava are powerful Mantras that move repressed fears in us. The freedom of finding and facing repressed fears, frees us from agitation as there is nothing to move away from, this works like a mirror, there is then also nothing to move towards either. The place of Yogic power comes in this inner constellation. Drive dies and spirit power takes its place.
The creative spiritual impulse is not free of death, for creativity without death is stagnation.
The Direction of the Spirit
Bhairav is the ruler of the North. North flowing rivers take the spirit out of the body, the dead are placed to the North in Tantric wisdom. The liberated spirit goes North beyond the grip of the illusions of the astral plane. Bhairav is the God of Kashi (today renamed ‘Varanasi’), the sacred city of death in the North. The place in India where the Ganga river flows North. It is a region of the astral-plane alike.
Bhairav is therefore a deep friend, liberator and protector, if he is approached in honour.
He holds the Danda, the stick of power he gained after aeons of pondering the dead creator’s head in his hand. For this Bhairav is called Dandapaani, ‘the one who carries the stick of power’. It is the magic wand of the Wizard and Witch. It is the spine that flows with the dance of circuitry in the currents of life and death. It is the stick within grasp when we study the mysteries of Bhairav. It is the stick that carries the soul across the portals of life and death. The stick is called Kankala Danda, literally the ‘skeleton stick’. The stick of Bhairav gives the protection of courage to go under the surface of skin and flesh, right to the very bone of the matters that weigh most upon us. Bhairav asks us ‘are we here to live or are we here to die?’
This practice is a most northward pursuit in which one works with one’s death. It works with the time one has …and the time one does not have.
On the occasion of the yearly Bhairav Jayanti, the Tantric practitioner tunes to the celestial and atmospheric waves of nature and harnesses the flood of the spirit.
The Tantric comes to know that destruction is the other hand of creation, both go together in the cyclic dance of death & life. Both destruction & creation go hand in hand.
In this ritual we might chant his 64 names if we come that far. By tradition, his Bija mantra is never written, but it will be uttered in this dark night’s ritual.
His mudras are Maha Kaal Asan and Kashi Mudra. These physical movements send the spirit North to the world beyond.
Maha Kaal asan takes a step through the three worlds, it reaches skyward, whilst rooting deeply, and requires the focus of the middle realm that we inhabit. This Mudra teaches us slowly of the walk – called life – we take through the triple realm of our being (which we began to explore last Monday on the first part of this new 4-part series – read about the myth of Shiva destroying the three worlds of illusion on our blog).
The inner and outer Danda mudras are practiced, including the antar Kankala mudra (the inner skeleton practice)…
… a dark practice of calling upon one’s death, not suitable for the faint hearted or the spiritual consumerist and sensationalist.
Tantra may have become sensationalised as pleasure and spiritual indulgence, easy to buy into in the modern era. But the old-school rules of Kaal Bhairav are within the timeless laws of pain and pleasure: the two go together.
Under Kaal Bhairav’s jurisdiction, the taboo – even unto ourselves – is approached on the ritual of his birthday night.
He is Time, he is Death, he is obstinate, tenacious, terrifying and immovable by his laws. He can reveal where we are obstinate, tenacious and immovable to his laws of Time and Death. He can show us how to die, many may be consumed with the issue of ‘how to live’, but the tantric equally concerns themselves with ‘how to die’.
He can show us the lessons we are not learning and having to repeat for lifetimes long. But he demands that we have courage to face our pain as well as our pleasure, for pleasure alone does not fill the cup in his realm. Just like Shuni (the planet Saturn) that he is, Kaal Bhairav, takes us beyond and far behind the limits of darkness, death and time, he is heavy and slow and gives depth to the soul who dares to meet his gaze, the soul who dares to face themselves in the dark finds a deep friend.
We hope you will choose to join us forthis ritual and venture together on this journey into one of the darkest themes in Tantra.
Deva Diwali is the rejoicing in the spiritual world of the awareness of Shiva to cast the arrow of aware vision upon the blind Karmas of both the Matriarch and the Patriarch. These Karmas are revealed by the force of planetary currents upon the astral plane on Deva Diwali.
Deva Diwali is the Diwali of the Spirit World. Tripurari Purnima is the full moon of Shiva in his form known as Tripurara.
Tripurantaka is the destroyer of the three worlds. Tripurari (Triparuri are the three worlds) Shiva’s arrow-like vision destroys them.
In the Tantric year, this is the second most important ritual day that is dedicated to Shiva. The main one being the Shivaratri, which translates as the night of Shiva.
Tripurara is a name of Shiva. It means the lord of the three worlds.
Pura signifies a land or a place. The forehead marking upon Shiva is the three lines that denote the three realms.
What are the three worlds and how do they relate to this Full Mooned night?
Svarga, is the spirit world, Patala, is the underworld of the unconscious, and Bhumi, is the earth plane where the two worlds meet.
These worlds are symbolised by 3 terrestrial metals. Patala is related to the heaviest metal of Iron, The lightest is Silver in the mysterious and unseen lunar world of Svarga, Gold is the weight in between, twice as heavy as silver, it is the metal of the revealed world, illuminated by the golden sun in the daylight, it is the earthly plane of seen things, known in Tantra as the realm of Bhumi
THE ASURA BROS
The story goes that there were three Asuras. These three brothers wished to dominate creation. Collectively they are known as Tripasura, the three.
They had got so powerful by worshiping Shiva and emulating the magical arts of Shiva himself.
Asura is often translated as Demon, this may have very many connotations to call them such.
The Asuras are spirit beings who are overshadowed by unconscious shadows which lead them in destructive ways.
The three Asura brothers were the Sons of the mighty demon Tarakasur who represents the destructive side of the sexual chakra. Tarakasur fathered 3 rapscallious sons named Vidyunmaali, Kamalaaksha, and Taarakaaksha.
The father had already met his fate at the hands of Shiva’s son, the world-famous elephant god Ganesha.
The father was himself a powerful Yogi gone wrong. He had not completed his yogic austerity, but had prematurely gained power by a gamble. The gamble of premature power was given on condition that he could only be killed by Shiva’s son.
Knowing that Shiva was a Yogi far out of reach of the world and of family life, the wicked Tarakasur took the gamble of power. Once drunk on his power, he started to dominate unjustly with his newly acquired and seemingly unstoppable power.
Little did he know that Shakti was to entice the mighty renunciant Shiva and bear a child with him. And so Tarakasur met his fate as had been ordained.
Vidyunmaali. Kamalaaksha, and Taarakaaksha represent the hidden karmas of the active masculine and passive femmine.
They represent the Moon, the Sun and Shuni (the planet Saturn). Shuni is he who raises Karma and that which has not been seen but must be faced.
The brothers, although devotees of Shiva, bore a grudge in their hearts that their father had not been as great as Shiva and had met his demise on account of Shiva’s son.
The grudge that the brothers held against Shiva was to poison their hearts and cause their ruin.
The grudge they held represents the unresolved Karma with which they are synonymous.
THE CITIES OF METALS
The Three brothers and their endless magical concentrations and yogic austerities bore results after continued devotion.
So much so that they won the favour of the creator. They were offered wishes for anything they so desired.
Now, the 3 yogic brothers were so highly jealous of Shiva, who lived in the uppermost heights upon the sacred mountain, that they wished for their own heights and so wished for flying cities in the sky that would float above the abode of Shiva,
The three brothers believed that if they elevated themselves higher than the unfathomable heights of Shiva then they would be greater than he.
The first brother asked for his flying city in the sky to be made of gold. The second brother wished his flying city in the sky to be made of Silver. The third brother wished for his flying city in the sky to be made of Lead.
The architect Mayasur was the one who built the cities in the sky for the 3 arrogant brothers. Mayasur was the great Architectural King responsible for building the destructive panels of life. It was he who built and gave his name to the legendary hall of illusionary mirrors known as Mayasabha.
The three brothers conspired to align the cities with the weight of the heaviest metal behind. It took a whole year before they could manage to form an exact alignment.
When they finally did, they conspired to ram full blast onto the sacred mountain upon which Shiva eternally meditates.
They planned to smash the mountain to dust, and along with it, the great Shiva.
And so on the day in question, which falls upon Deva Diwali of the last Full Moon of the darkest part of the year, there is an astral alignment of destructive spiritual forces.
In Tantric science the metal of the Moon is Silver, the metal of the Sun is Gold, and the metal of Shuni (Saturn) is Iron.
At the first place the three brothers put the silver flying city, in second place they put the golden flying city, and behind they placed the Iron city.
Silver is half the weight of pure gold, so they thought that if the silver should not do the job the gold would, and failing that the iron which is equal in weight to both silver and gold combined would certainly smash the sacred mountain.
Shuni is the planet that raises the deep unconscious imprints and most hidden karmas.
When Saturn is behind the Moon and the Sun, he reveals the hidden shadow sides of these two planets. These are the receptive Lunar and the active Solar shadows we are talking of. The unresolved sides are brought to the surface upon the spiritual plane. This occurs on the night of Deva Diwali and is revealed in sacred ritual.
FASTER THAN TIME
At the moment of exact alignment after a year of trying to synchronise they blasted the mountain at lightning speed.
In terminal velocity they broke through space and time, sound and vision barriers were transgressed.
But the Tripasura had underestimated Shiva, the master of Yog!
In speed beyond light and thought, Shiva saw what was going on and summoned Vishwakarman, the architect of the universe and of the creative panels of life.
Shiva asked Vishwakarman for an arrow to be built that could destroy the 3 cities. It was done as the very thought was manifesting.
The arrow appeared as instantaneously as the speed of thought and Shiv took aim with his bow, known as Pinakka. The arrow rained fiery flames and torrents of water upon the three cities and pierced the arrogant hearts of the three yogis gone astray.
The cities rose in flames and Shiv danced the Tripura Nasha Tandava upon them, (that is the ‘vision of the three worlds’ dance). These are three distinct yogic dances that relate to Silver (light) Gold (middle) and Iron (heavy). They are danced upon this ritual night.
The blazing 3 worlds seemed to turn to dust and they departed beyond the terrestrial hemisphere and disappeared.
From the ashes of the burned bodies of the brothers, shiva drew three lines upon his forehead, one silver, one gold and one black.
[There are other variants of the story where Shiva only gazed upon the cities and they dissolved. Nasha means gaze. Some of the versions of the story tell of other quite charming details. For example, the great snake Vasuki (that Shiva wears as a necklace), was the bowstring, and the war chariot on which he rode for the task was Bhumi, the earth Goddess, and had the Moon and the Sun as its wheels. The deity of the heart was the arrow.]
Tripurantaka became shiva’s name after he destroyed the 3 cities and the Tripasura (the three demonic brothers).
Tripurara also became Shiva’s name, meaning ‘the lord of the three worlds’. The forehead markings of Shiva bear significance to this story.
The mountainous home of Shiva is referred to as the stable seat of Shiva, Shivasan.
The story reveals how all of us walk in the balance of our mountain, which can be stirred up, or even ground down by the solar and lunar expressions of unconsciousness.
After marking his forehead victoriously, yet without vanity or display, Shiva returned to his Samadhi but was ever very attentive.
At the exact time each year, by planetary alignment upon the astral plane, the three cities in the sky boomerang back – like an echo etched in the fabric of time and space, they returned and attempted to bombard his sacred mountain meditation once again. The yogic power of the three brothers combined had etched itself into the ethers for infinity.
Shiva takes a whole year to breath one single breath, and between each breath he is vigilant to cast the arrow and blast the cities back into outer orbit.
The pause between each inhale and exhale is a place of vigilance and concentration where Shiva remains aware of the shadow of the three metal cities of gold, silver and iron. That is, the heavy underworld Karmas of the feminine and masculine that Shuni (Saturn) dredges up from the unconscious feminine and the masculine poles.
The lunar and solar poles of Silver and Gold are raised once a year on this junction.
An opportunity is afforded to see into the hidden stories encoded in the inner and outer constellations we are living, unconsciously between the feminine and the masculine.
Upon this yearly junction the three planets are positioned in such a way that they are pushed by Shuni (Saturn) from the rear, and raise the karma’s latent in the masculine solar (gold) and feminine lunar (silver).
Saturn is the planet that rules the heaviest terrestrial metal that dwells in both the physical and astral body.
Shuni is the king of the planets for his ability to cast shadowy unconscious darkness upon all and sundry.
The Deva Diwali is the rejoicing in the spiritual world of the awareness of Shiva to cast the arrow of aware vision upon the blind Karmas of both the Matriarch and the Patriarch. These Karmas are revealed by the force of planetary currents upon the astral plane once a year on Deva Diwali.
Deva Diwali A Gupt Puja
The planets are physical and affect us physically, but the planets also have realities in the astral world. This night of Deva Diwali is to be remembered to be based upon movements of the inner astral universe. It is after all the Diwali of the spirit world.
Tantra recognises several unorthodox gupt (hidden) festival days, these are in some ways mirrors of earthly planetary events, the Gupt festivals are times of very subtle inner work. More subtle techniques are applied on the Gupt festival days.
For example, the two navaratri (nine nights of Goddess) are times of physical planetary alignment as ritual in Tantra, they also have their inner equivalent of the Gupt Navaratri where more detailed and subtle techniques are practiced as planets on the astral plane work from the inside out as opposed to the outside in.
Deva Diwali is a secret and inner Diwali that can not be taken for granted. If we do nothing to attempt to look at the Karmas that are pushing us into actions both passive and active, then there is no lamp lighting, there is no rejoicing and the Inner Deva Diwali is nothing we would know as experience.
Spiritual lamps take much care, huffs and gusts of impulses and cheap escapist moves can extinguish magic flames in an instant.
The Arrow between breaths
In the Tantric pantheon of sacred healing practices, every Moon phase has its corresponding practices and mudras.
Shiva’s breath is his bow (Dhanusha) named Pinakka.
This bow represents the slowly drawn breath, the pause between the breath is the shot of the arrow.
The latent Karmas that live unseen are found between the breaths. When the pause between the breaths is discovered, then the secrets of Pranayam opens up both body and soul.
The backbend in Yog is the essential of melting, it is independent of strength or force but requires a solid foundation from which to fall with gravity. The secret of opening the back bend is in the discovery of the pause between the breaths.
Deep Karmas are melted both physically and psychically in the back bend. Back bend is Bolo, the soft one. Bolo is a name of Shiva.
When we are over-active and living by the solar principle over the Moon, the relationships to the feminine fall into death and destruction. The pause between the breaths can appear as an empty and lonely place which must be ventured in, if we are to know the magical secrets of the mountainous home of Shiva. Pharbhati, who is the manifestation of Shakti as Shiva’s Lover, literally means ‘the light of the Mountain’. She is the Rose of Shiva, but he called her the Rose of Shakti (listen to our recorded tale about this Tantric Myth on our YouTube Channel).
This night’s ritual practice is very much about discovering that which we move away from in the pauses between the breaths, that which we move towards hangs together in absolute relation to what we move away from.
That which we do not want to see, conditions that which we see.
The Yogi investigates Woman and Man, the Moon and the Sun, the Night and the Day, the Egg and the Seed.
Shiva’s bow shoots the sacred arrow of water and fire, this is silver and gold, this is the Moon and the Sun, this is the female dark (Rajas) blood, and the male white (Bindu) seed.
It’s coming like the tidal flood Beneath the lunar sway Imperial, mysterious In amorous array.
L. Cohen – Democracy.
Shaadee Ardha Chandra Puja is the ritual of the inner marriage. Shaadee, means marriage. This is the release of the work of the current Moon phase, which we have been working with – through our weekly online classes – under the spell of the Goddess Kamala. Not much can or should be said about union and marriage. If marriage is born of true Love it is the completion of a Yog. Some marriages are born of elements other than Love. This is a Moon phase that investigates and reveals the face of Love.
Some marriages are born of elements other than Love – the subject of Sunday’s Half Moon ritual.
OF THE LUNAR RITUAL MONTH OF LOVE
A good opportunity is presented to briefly go over the last a Moon phase of Love – irrespective of whether you have taken part in our online gatherings or not. You might have still sensed the subtle influences of these powerful moon stations in various aspects of your life. It may give a glimpse into the possibilities of Moon Magic.
PURNIMA | 31 October
On the Full Moon, Kamar Purnima, we begun working with the inner Prince energy. Upon this ritual night – in accord with ancient Tantric custom – we took the inner seat of the princess, looking towards the prince on that full Moon night.
In this ritual we worked with the colours of the chakras. Through this practices we investigated the granthis (knots) that obstruct our journey upon the rainbow ladder of the chakras.
The knots and psychic blockades can be revealed to us by concentrated Antar Mudra (inner concentrations).
The Full Moon is the Shakti (power) phase of the Moon. It is a time of bright ritual.
The more Shakti that is generated and stirred up on the Shakti Moon phase, the easier it becomes to then access the deeper hidden layers of our psyche on its opposite station: the Amvasya (Dark Moon) phase. Amvasya is the bhand (inner) phase that allows us access to the deepest parts of ourselves.
Lets remember that Magic and Ritual follow laws of resonance, reflection and exchange. These are scientific laws of cause and effect, action having its opposite reaction. This be something to ponder upon.
ARDHA CHANDRA| 7 November
The next ritual on the half descending Moon was Thakka Ardha Chandra Puja. Thakka implies the first lovers’ meeting (the meeting of the inner Princess and Prince). We worked very simply in terms bodily practices in that ritual, with much static asan, storytelling and information about how Ritual and Magic can be approached.
Focus and energy was placed on inner Mudras, which are complex and required much concentration.
We recapitulated every romantic first meeting we encountered in our lives to investigate the extend to which we have come to rely on the familiar landscapes and slogans of contact that structure our unconscious patters.
Such familiar codes of connection are insidious as they close the doorways to broader horizons. Profound concentration and awareness is required in every first encounter if we are to glimpse into new realities and magical avenues of being.
We tested this to the utmost in this Siddha ritual. It’s benefits we then reflected in its opposite Moon phase of the Sukkha Moon (the half ascending lunar phase).
On this night we introduced and started to go into how Moon Magic works, and the great importance, of how magical power ought to be harnessed most effectively and safely when it is aroused. When one works magically, deeply and in a challenging way upon the Siddha Moon phase (half descending), it opens a door that is reflected back in its opposite at the Sukkha Moon phase (half ascending). It can be translated as a planting and harvesting phase of one’s inner work. A seed is planted and cared for in one phase and the fruits reaped on it’s mirror phase.
AMVASYA | 14 November
On Amvasya, we saw the Dark Moon of Diwali. In this ritual we went briefly into the meaning of why this appears to be the most widely celebrated of all Indian festivals. Known to the Tantrics as the very Dark Moon, it goes by many names, including Kamala Jayanti, the birth of the Goddess of love, which rules over the current Moon phase and which we are celebrating through these online gatherings. Diwali is equally the mourning of the loss of the Goddess, for Amvasya meaning the Moonless sky (Dark Moon). It is also known as the night of Kali (for Kali means ‘dark’). We went into these seeming paradoxes and their relation to the stars through the many tantric myths that tell the story of this major Moon phase (see our blog post) as a way to investigate the true face of the Goddess of Love within us.
The Dark Moon is the Bhand (inner) phase ritual. It was a sombre reflection back to its Shakti sister of the full Moon. Following magical laws and again working and moving with the resonances of nature’s rhythms.
This was the night of deep longing, assisted along by some dynamic and focused asan, with particular focus on the Heart Nadis (energy lines).
The inner mudras were bhand (focussed) on looking for the lost Goddess. The mythology surrounding Diwali points to this and we talked briefly about how this relates to astro lunar junctions that are presented of this day in the cyclic rhythms of the Moon.
The longing arises from a mysterious place that we attempted to encounter during the practice, learning that the object of longing becoming secondary to the feeling of longing in itself.
When we go attentively and map our consciousness and bodily rhythms, we see how the Moon moves us. We are under the push and pull of lunar currents. We can make the tides work for the good of our spirit and our lives, if we acknowledge this lunar force of nature. Resisting these currents only leads to suffering. We might sometimes stand over nature and heed not her magical currents that we are bound to, but the Tantric branch of Moon Work is a step to restoring the flow of the Nature Goddess, first and foremost within our own Hearts.
To find out more about this major lunar cycle within the Tantric Calendar, check out our post on Kamala and Diwali.
And don’t forget to also check out our online classes which coincide with major Tantra festivals and rituals.
On the November Dark Moon Tantrics study the Ravan within themselves That is, the part of us that wishes to impatiently possess the Goddess before we have won her hand and trust. It is a night that has been prayed by Tantrics since the beginning of time for the return of the Goddess. We shall meet to mourn her loss, and celebrate her return (if we have earned it)
This Saturday, 14th of November, is Kamari Amvasya – also known more generally as Diwali, the festival of lights – without doubt, the biggest celebration in the Indian culture.
Amvasya is the absence of light when the Moon is dark, and Kumari means princess. Kamari Amvasya is the absence of the princess/Moon when she is stolen from the sky.
This night is the ritual time when the active seat is taken by the Kamar (prince) force within us, which goes searching for Kamari (princess), who has been swallowed by the dark.
The last Purnima (Full Moon) was the exact opposite, known as Kamar Purnima. When the inner princess went looking for the inner prince. This dark Moon is also celebrated as Kamala Jayanti, Kamala is the Goddess of Love, Jayanti is her birthday, an inner symbolism is there to ponder.
This Amvasya is the second Dark Moon in the very heart of the dark half of the year. The darkest Moon also known as Kali Chand. This ritual dark moon is an important festival in the orthodox tradition, and of great ritual significance to the Tantrics. The planetary currents pose the challenge and incite the Tapasya (strength) of questing for the lost femmine.
The story of Diwali is a story of Kumari Amvasya, as can be seen upon Moonless reflection. It narrates of how the Goddess Sita is stolen away from her beloved Raam by the clutches of the powerful Yogi Ravan. When Ravan stole Sita away, Raam – the great Solar power – lost his Moon and darkness and destruction fell upon the Heart.
THE EGO OF INFINITY
Ravan was one of the greatest yogis of unbelievable Shakti (power). He was a devout yogi who worshiped Shiva day and night until he acquired the power of Shiva himself. Having identified so much with Shiva, Ravan himself became the object of his love and admiration. The Shiv Tandav Strotra is a song that praises the beauty of Shiva as no other song does. It was written by Ravan as he wept tears of suffering through the realisation of the greatness of Shiva.
Ravan was so determined to become greater than Shiva that he lifted the sacred mountain upon which Shiva himself lived as an attempt to show how his individual self was greater than the infinite mystery.
But Shiva was soon to show him a lesson. The mountain came crashing down and crushed Ravan’s fingers for infinite aeons of time. Some even say that Ravan wept the Ganges into being as Shiva kept the mountain crushing upon Ravan’s fingers with the weight if his little toe.
Shiva crushed Ravan’s hand out of Love for his devotee. To teach Ravan that no one can be greater than infinity.
Shiva is the great infinity beyond the beyond. The infinity that cannot be owned or assumed by any. An infinity to surrender and die by.
Ravan sang the most admiring verses ever sung towards Shiva as the weight of the mountain of infinity that no one can lift crushed Ravan into the most painful state imaginable.
THE SHADOW OF RAVAN
Despite the strong identification of Ravan with Shiva, Ravan still had one little part left that had not merged with Shiva. Ravan had an avaricious weakness for beauty. This avarice was void of grace and honour of the feminine. It was the crude hand of the patriarch that sought to dominate and possess the feminine. This is what lead to his downfall.
Sita, the cool Moon Goddess was a mesmerizing and receptive vessel for Ravan’s powerful burning Shakti. Ravan could not contain the Shakti he had acquired.
So he went wild and lost his mind at the thought of the beauty of Sita cooling his burning infernos of manhood. He therefore abducted the Goddess of the Moon away from her Beloved Raam with deceit and force.
When Ravan stole Sita away Raam – the great Solar power – lost his Moon. Darkness and destruction then fell upon the world and the Heart. But Ravan had overestimated his power!
The Love between the Goddess & the God was bound together by the sacred breath, Prana, known to the Yogis as Hanuman, their loyal attendant and friend, the monkey God.
Hanuman is also called Pawan Petra, which means the child of the Wind. The story tells how Hanuman through the fearlessness evoked by his devotion to his Beloved Sita and Raam, rescued the captive Sita and brought her to her place of balance
The symbolism inherent in the story reveals how it is the breath that balances the power of the lovers within ourselves.
It is the breath that reveals the secrets of Love in the outer world. The breath Heals our relationships, for the breath holds the emotional codes of behavior. The yogis call the psycho/physical energy knots in the breath – the Granthis. Tantra attempts to approach these knots. The breath can resolve the concurrent Love lives, that we have lived in past, present and future. Hence, Hanuman Ji is the one who brings the Lovers together.
The story Goes through many twists and turns before the Lovers we’re united by Hunumans devotion. At one point the story narrates that Hanuman needed to bring a healing herb from the Sacred mountain, he was not able to find it, and So he brought the whole mountain with him.
When Ravan was not able to lift the mountain with all his might, how was it that Hanuman not only lifted the mountain, but flew with it across the land? Because Hanuman lifted the mountain, in the name of bringing the Lovers together, he had the great blessing. And, so Sita was brought back to Raam by their loyal attendant, Hanuman the monkey god. And in bringing Sun and Moon back into balance Hanuman restored Love on Earth.
An endless array of lamps were lit by humankind to guide the flying Monkey God Hanuman, carrying Sita under his arm, back to Raam.
THE POWER OF THE BREATH
Hanuman represents Prana, the Breath. Hanuman restores Love and harmony on Earth by breathing the Moon and the Sun back together and therefore overcoming the destructive forces of the fire of passion that had possessed Ravan to dishonour the feminine. This resulted in the failure of the feminine and the masculine to live and Love in equal measure.
When the Shakti is mistreated in such a way that brings imbalance in our system, we can no longer control her and destruction (rather than healing) becomes our fate.
In Tantra Yoga a balance is sought at all times to bring the masculine and the feminine, the Sun and the Moon, the Light and the Darkness, and the Active and the Passive, in perfect balance. Yet, in a world in which the active, male, solar forces are so dominant, more attention needs to be given to the feminine qualities, which is why the Tantrics have been worshipping the Goddess for aeons.
This inner and outer balance between the male and the female is, in a nutshell, the meaning of Hatha Yog – Ha, implying Sun, and Th, the Moon. These are equally designations of Kamari and Kamar. The Kama in both their names is the desire that longs for their opposite nature’s to meet. Hence the Tantrics honour the twilight meeting.
Like a million lamps burning in the darkest night, this is the Tantric night of deep prayer for the feminine. Might it be prayed with tears? Might it me prayed with amorous force and desire? It is a night that has been prayed by Tantrics since the beginning of time for the return of the Goddess. A chance to move towards the inner princess is offered upon this sacred night. On this powerful dark night, We may meet to mourn her loss, and celebrate her return – if we have earned it.
To find out more about about this current lunam phase governed by the Goddess Kamala, read also our posts about Diwali and Shaadee.
And if you would like to experience an authentic tantric ritual, join one of our online classes!
If we are to be truly effective in the meeting of the sacred heart, immediate concerns must be addressed & not avoided by going into extraneous involvements. This is the grounding of desire. It is a fortifying and nourishing way towards the fulfilment of Love.
This Saturday the Tantric calendar celebrates the Full Moon of October dedicated to the Goddess Kamala. The name Kamala contains the work ‘Kama’, which is central to the Month of October. Kama can be translated as ‘Desire’. We find this word in the title of the well-known Indian manual of Love and Desire, ‘The Kamasutra’ – literally, ‘the verses of desire’.
This is the lunar month of Love & Desire.
The month of October ushers us into the second Full and New Moons of the darkening half of the year (31 of October and 14 of November respectively). Two is the number of dualities upon the physical and psychic plane. The number two is the number of the polarity of Love. This Lunar phase explores the dualities and their meeting in great detail. These dualities are expressed as Kumari and Kumar, they are the inner archetypes of the princess (Kumari) and the prince (Kumar). In this dualist world, Kama (desire) becomes the mysterious urge of Nature to unite between dualities.
The Yogi seeks the secret of nature’s unification by stopping to oppose her, and Tantra is the subtle study of all the places where we oppose nature within and without ourselves.
Kamala is the Goddess of Love to whom this Lunar cycle is dedicated. It is Kamala who presides over this lunar month. Kama is the God of Desire, the raw principle of desire. Kama is known for shooting his 7 arrows into the seven chakras and cause infatuation and longing.
Tantric wisdom shows us that grounded desire is nothing but Love. This is the secret implicit in the name of the a Goddess of Love: Kamala. To whom this lunar month belongs.
The last Bija mantra ‘La’, in the name of Kamala brings grounding to the desire principle. The La grounds desire – La being the Bija (seed) syllable for the Kunda, that is the pot that houses Kundalini Shakti at the root of our body. It is the very base of our being.
Ungrounded desire, on the other hand, becomes restless ambition. It is represented by the archetypal figure of The Sick King, full of hot air and hope but no Pyar Shakti (Love Power). We will come to the king very soon in our narrative here.
Ungrounded Desire/Love turns into addiction, obsession, co-dependence born of an inner unfulfilled neediness.
Ungrounded Desire plays out in spending our energies in things that have nothing to do with our immediate situation in life and love. Tantric practice concerns itself with the most immediate feelings of the heart, and the nearest matter at hand, that is the best focus for our resources.
If we are to be truly effective in the meeting of the sacred heart, immediate concerns must be addressed & not avoided by going into extraneous involvements. This is the grounding of desire.
To ground our desire becomes a fortifying and nourishing way towards the fulfilment of Love.
Princess & Prince
The need of the inner neediness’ is to ground desire. The unfulfilled hunger at its root seeks ‘the grounding of longing’. This is the concentration of spiritual focus. Tantric science is built upon this concentration of our inner force. By grounding the desire within ourselves, the vessel of the self becomes full and rich with life power. This is known in Tantra as Pyar Shakti which, as stated above, translates as ‘the power of Love’.
Chandra Purnima (Full Moon) arrives on the last day of October. She is also known as Kumar Purnima to Tantrics. Purnima translates as full and total. So this is the Full Moon of Kumar. Kumar means prince, lover, and also bridegroom. In the orthodox celebration of this day many thousands of maidens in India perform worship, fasting and rituals in the hope of welcoming a beautiful lover into their lives.
The Tantric rite upon this full Moon has been kept since ancient times as the secret work with the inner prince.
Remember that Tantrics have very detailed rituals for every Moon phase. By making every Moon a sacred day of honour we open our life to magic. Our time here on earth is but a few steps between life and death, we might involve our heart and mind in many things at the expense of magic. The Tantrics adhere strictly to the currency of magic. The Tantrics take the seat of femininity at the Shaktistan chakra in this full Moon ritual of Love. Shaktistan, as this chakra is known to the Tantrics, translates as the place of the Goddess. It is the second chakra of creation, the seat of Kama (desire).
Kama is grounded in the chakras within this ritual.
The Tantrics on this ritual night identify with the inner Kumari (princess) and rise to meet the Kumar energy of the prince who dwells in the chakras above. Like a battery circuitry, Shakti is one pole and Shiva is the other pole. Kumari is the princess Shakti, and Kumar is the princely Shiva.
Queen & King
Rani and Raja are well known designations of royalty. A Queen or a King, in the mundane sense, have been given this title in India since time immemorial. The marriage of the inner Kumar (prince) with the inner Kumari (princess) is the inner yogic unification of the battery-like energies of plus and minus in the circuitry of our inner universe.
The inner marriage results in a circuitry that unites and heals divisions between our feminine and masculine parts. This is then reflected in our outer lives. Resolving things inside resolves issues without. This is the wisdom at the heart of Tantra.
The meeting of the inner Kumari (princess) and the inner Kumar (prince) gives birth to the Queen and King.
The innocence of the prince and princess within ourselves, when brought together, create the power of Queen and King. Princess and Prince are the potentialities that are yet to unite. The Princess and Prince are not yet united in their power as Queen and King.
VULNERABILITY The unbirthed potential
We must not necessarily think in fairy-tale terms of man and woman, although this is also implied. The princess and prince archetype spans across designations of gender. The macho man has a princess within him. He may reject her, he may oppress her, or then again he may honour her with dignity and grace – whatever his inner contact to his inner princess may be, it will be translated to his dealings with princesses in the outside world.
The sentimental flamboyant one, might praise the princess in his thought and action, he may affirm to himself that he curtseys gracefully at her court, when in actuality, he might be drowning her in stifling garments… too rich and weighty to allow her to move in an innocence of being.
The dealings with princesses in ourselves and others may well be in the romantic sphere, whether in a woman or a man. Both woman and man may also meet the princess in their dealings with the princesses in their children, associates and animals.
A princess is a subtle energy of maidenhood, she holds a yet un-birthed potential. One cannot jump over the princess to the Queen. To meet the princess takes gentleness and grace.
Many might jump to address the Queen, or princesses may prematurely pose as Queens. This is the path of pretence and disempowerment, it reflects the deep inner impatience that casts the Kumari into the cold before she has the warming mantle of the Queen. This has disastrous consequences for all. The self-care and honesty to face oneself as one is, creates nurturing and growing power. Time and again, the practices of Tantra, show us how impatience, ambition and force do not serve us.
The woman touches her innocence and youth by taking the seat of Kumari, the vulnerable place is the place or rebirth that her seat presents. Indeed it is the place of power and healing.
By stepping over the magic of vulnerability, we banish love from our lives and move into the energy of the vain Queen that folk tales the world over mention. The man humbling himself to take the hand of the princess within his own heart becomes gentle. Rigidities melt aside in a psychic and physical melting of the wax that we are made of. Melting in the flame of Love, which Tantra whispers of. Whether we are man or woman in gender, we are both in the spiritual sense.
The study of this Moon phase is about looking at the state of our inner princess & our inner prince. Kumari and Kumar.
THE SEAT OF POWER
The prince within us all is the grand Kumar. If he assumes the throne of a king prematurely, he will have dominance made of empty power. The prince who assumes too early the seat of the king rules in sickness and impotence. His seat may cause others to tremble but this position drinks from him as he uses power that he has not earned. He will be impatient and violent, bullying the Kumari within into submission. Of course, she may obey but the prince who’s not won the heart of his inner princess and earned the king’s boots will lose everything and dry up bitterly without Love.
The Tantric studies such things and inner constellations of energy, and brings healing salve to the wounded princess and prince.
The Tantric codes have much wisdom to impart in regard to the multi-faceted connections and interrelated links between princess & prince, queen & king. The science of Tantric mudras that pertain the these subjects and positions reveals the inner world of our psychic royal court.
The Indian folk tales and written epics, deal greatly with royal archetypes and their connections, sometimes having very intricate plots that span across different lifetimes and parallel universes. Romantic love goes through the princess and prince.
This work on the Kumar Purnima ritual is profoundly healing for our past, present and future encounters between the princess and prince, both in an inner sense, and an outer tangible sense manifest in our relationships.
On Saturday night we shall gather to practice in the age old Tantric ritual. We will work with and honour the spirit of Love on the October’s Full Moon.
We will practice the royal gestures, both in an inner and outer sense. to one’s countenance They bring grace comprised of physical & psychic gestures. These are royal mudras which lead onto the Raj & Rani Mudras. the Kumar & Kumari Mudras.
The antar (inner mudras) that we shall work with at this time comprise of what is known in Tantric science as Gupt Mani Karana mudras. This translates as the work with the inner jewels, or the secret of the seven jewels (Saptmani). Gupt means secret, mani is a jewel, and Karana means to do.
On this sacred ritual night the tantrics do the doings of the seven secret inner jewels.
“If we are to connect to the deep nourishing forces of femininity and nature within and without we must open our ear to hear her voice. The voices of patriarchy may deafen the tone of her wisdom. The yogini is one who listens to her mystical song.”
We are currently in the middle of one of the years most important Tantric celebrations: Navaratri, the 9 nights of the Goddess (see our recent post on our Facebook Page for detailed sharings about each goddess night). This year Navaratri will culminate on the 26th of October, on its concluding night which is dedicated to the goddess Durga and celebrates the victory of the divine feminine.
Victory over what? And what is it that opposes the feminine?
These answers are not given out cheaply by the Goddess Durga, but must be investigated with ones Heart, if they are to be earned. She is the great Ugra Devi (Intense Goddess). She requires intensity of us if we are to approach her gate.
Tantricly, it is the time of victory, when the Feminine prevails over the patriarch. A hint as to the meaning of the ritual is given by the myth of Mahishasura…
The Legend of Mahishasura
The Legend of Mahishasura is where the story starts.
Mahishasura was a powerful yogi who’s powers went to his even more powerful head. He became powerful through yogic austerities that gave him the power to call forth Bhrama, the creator. He earned a wish by the power of Siddhi. Mahishasura demanded power and immortality.
He had earned great power and was initiated to something equally great. But Mahishasura overestimated his power. He assumed a greater height that he actually had. In his self-satisfaction he was not careful in his wish before the creator. He proudly proclaimed his wish to the creator that no God, Demon, Ghost, man or animal would be able to ever defeat him. He wished for absolute dominion over all of creation.
His wish was granted!
As the creator parted from Mahishasura, he said: “watch out for a Woman, you only said no man!”.
Mahishasura, fumbled for words and wished the wish to be rectified but it was too late to go back. The creator left with a smirk…
Mahishasura did not believe a woman would ever have the power to defeat him.
He had great siddhi and thought he should not worry about it, and rather get busy in playing the new god to the creation that he believed was now in his hands.
He swam in the sea of self-aggrandisement and got busy in oppressing the beings of the three worlds to satisfy his will.
The three Worlds are known collectively as Triloka. They are the three worlds of the under, upper and the earth between them.
Mahishasura’s desires were perverse.
The once upon a time most dignified gods were now abjectly oppressed to do his instant bidding. Because of the blessing of the creator Brahma, Mahishasura was unstoppable. The Gods surrendered and Mahishasura’s hideous guttural laughter could be heard echoing through the three worlds.
The Gods approached Shiva the destroyer who did not wish to be disturbed from his meditation. Shiva’s samadhi kept the 3 worlds in order, and he didn’t feel compelled to do anything. They continued to agitate him until he opened his third eye for a second and said: “my wife will sort it out.”
Man and woman alike had been oppressed and made subservient to Mahishasura’s perverse rein of patriarchy. Cruelty and the rape of nature ensued, humans became drones to the mantras that he commanded them to recite.
Mahishasura enjoyed rapturous pleasure and did not keep to his Yog austerities and practices anymore. He grew pleasantly fat with a perpetual soft smile upon his cheeks. Shiva telepathically from his mountain heights asked his wife to go and look into the situation. She set off to meet Mahishasura.
When the beautiful daughter of the mountain king arrived in her innocent apparel, the great Mahishasura had no idea of the extent of her feminine power.
He invited the beauty to drink wine, he had only one thought on his mind that he believed could be accomplished with a click of his fingers.
He thought to himself, why not relax from all this oppressing and terrorising for a moment, and play a game of cat and mouse for a bit? He thought he was the cat. But soon he would learn who really commanded the game…
As he made his advance, he was thrown back with extreme force, his golden goblet dribbled it’s wine like scattered essence.
Never in his life had he been moved by anyone. He advanced again with more ferocity.
This woman was a match!
Mahishasuras was a shape shifting yogi, and so he shifted through numerous forms to try and subdue to Goddess. The Goddess simply moved with him, matching every move. He became a Giant, and the Devi became a vast Ugra Devi. He changed from animal to ghost in order to subdue her, but nothing worked! He tried all the tricks he knew, even appearing as Sundernath, the beautiful form of her husband, nothing could get past this woman! He tried the old trick of multiplication… as drops of his blood flew around he became many from each droplet. Still, nothing worked.
The great Mahishasura was impressed by such a woman, her power awakened deep perversity in him, he wished to conquer her with his manhood.
He saved his main trick till last, the trick of tricks that could never fail.
Mahishasura, it is to be remembered, derives his name from Buffalo, a creature of huge weight. Mahish means buffalo and Asura means perverse. In full blooded arousal he charged to mount the goddess who’s sari had fallen for an instant.
In the air he changed form from man to buffalo. Alas, the Trishul (trident) studently appeared from beneath the silken folds of Durga’s sari, bursting Mahishasura’s heart.
He gazed at her as he took his last breath, bewildered by the fat that a woman had defeated him.
He had not even had the change to shapeshift fully. His naked body splayed over the floor, only his head had turned to that of a Buffalo, his tongue rolled out of his mouth and lopped to the side. The Lion upon which Durga rode, sunk his fangs in, just to be sure!
FEMININE TRIUMPH OVER PATRIARCHY
Durga is the most Ugra of all forms. When she is angry, all the Urga Devi’s shoot from her third eye. She is Mother of the World. She is at once nature and protector of nature. She is a favourite to the Yogins. Ambarani is the name of Durga as Queen of all the 3 worlds.
The trident that pierced Mahishasuras heart struck his being in all 3 levels, till not a trace of his oppression over the feminine remained.
The Goddess festival is concluded upon the defeat of the patriarch by the feminine. The 9 nights of Navratri reach their climax on this night. The feminine is victorious. This Tantric teaching story has many connotations upon which to mediate. Each Navaratri night has built up to strengthen the feminine principle (see our facebook pagefor a daily post featuring wirtings about each of the goddesses).
The star forces are there to absorb by those who have quieted the other forces that oppress the voice of the Goddess. The Goddess who keeps the heartless patriarch in his place is both an inner watcher and an outer necessity in our lives.
If we are to connect to the deep nourishing forces of femininity and nature within and without we must open our ear to hear her voice.
The voices of patriarchy may deafen the tone of feminine wisdom. The yogini is one who listens to her mystical song.
Upon this night of Tantric ritual the age old circle practitioners meet to work with and to celebrate the feminine power. The Tantrics have kept this ritual alive for aeons. Through patriarchal rule of missionary religions, through the British and other male oriented empires upon the soil of the mystical culture, the Tantra has never been lost, it has lived on secretly on the outskirts and in the shadows.
The sacred feminine ritual of the Mother of all worlds.
Tantrics practice the Mudras and Mantras of Durga. The Ugra mantras translate as the terrible sounds. They are part of the Gupt (hidden) practices.
They are techniques that create sound while subtlety choking the throat through an inner contraction. They produce fear and passion simultaneously in the practitioner and raise inner substance to work Tantricly with.
They raise the Prana and create great heat in the system. A heat that feeds Kundalini with one’s Shakti, if it is concentrated. The Maage mudras of the Buffalo and Sheer mudras of the Lion comprise a great part of this ritual. Above all, it is a ritual of working with, empowering and celebrating the feminine power.
“This Full Moon meditation comes from the pantheon of secret tantric practices that work powerfully to reconcile the opposites within us.”
Death and Life are two sides of the same coin.
There is no living without dying, and there is no dying without living. Living and dying go together.
Where Lakshimi is life, Alakshmi is death, where Lakshimi shines like a star of vision, Alakshmi consumes like an enveloping night of creeping blackness.
This meditation that is about to be presented, is linked to the two sisters in question. It is a ritualistic practice that pertains to the Moon phase we are working with tonight and on the 16th of October.
This ritual comes from the pantheon of secret tantric practices that work powerfully to reconcile the opposites within us.
Though this practice be most simple in appearance, it brings about profound power and insight to the one who practices it diligently between the first Full and New Moon of the darkening half of the year (that is, from tonight and for the next fifteen days).
The practice brings about deep insights into the nature of wealth and poverty and our relationship to these forces.
Just as the Tree is fruitfully in bloom in one season and then barren and leafless in another, the movements of these two energies comprise the vision of the nature of reality ‘with’ its fluctuations in the psychic seasons of the soul.
Object of Power
A coin is a Tantric object of power and symbolically represents the currency of the soul: Shakti.
Some tantrics keep a coin, sometimes it is worn around the neck on a string. Amongst some yogis it may be a mere convention, but in the lines of Tantra, a coin is often handed down the line from elders to apprentices, having acquired power from decades of ritualistic use. When a disciple has sufficiently learned about the laws of the exchange of energies, then they are given the coin as a mark of initiation, one amongst the 3 metal objects of power: trident and copper pot being the other two. In tantric culture a yogi who has gained a high degree of wisdom about energy cultivation and preservation is privy to receive such a coin as a mark of initiation. The learning of the laws of energy exchange implies that one knows of ways to keep a steady degree of energy, without the common fluctuations between tiredness and excitement. This meditation is a great psychic instrument towards helping one towards such an attainment of equanimity.
Law of Exchange
The practice can be dipped into superficially or one can immerse their whole being in it. The practices of Tantra only give back in return what one gives themselves to them. Time indeed can help one in gaining focus, but beyond the amount of time spent in such practices, is the quality, and intensity of devotion and focus, this plays a more important part than anything else.
We may approach Tantric subjects with the hope of gaining something, for example, health, peace of mind, healing or power. These things come at a price and can’t be expected. We only gain to the degree to which we have given, when we go into the mirror of Tantra.
If we use the practices in a casual way, spending minimally, holding back or withholding the currency of our Shakti, then Tantra will take from us in the same way that we have hoped to take from Tantra.
Life itself is a Tantric mirror, if we meet the reflection without smears upon the mirror we naturally meet balance, karmic smears upon the screen through which we live life are a Tantric concern.
In the spiritual world, there are no cheap deals, or two for the price of one offers. In the law of exchange there is no grasping for abundance with a poor hand. Taking a lot without giving might be the perverse privilege of humans, but this is at a crippling price, often to others, but in the spiritual sense… where there is only one heart, we bear the consequences ourselves.
‘Time is money’
Those corporations that roll in big amounts of money are those that occupy a big place in the space/time continuum. Take corporations such as Amazon or Burger King, Facebook or tabloid newspapers.
Corporations occupy the space/time continuum in both a collective and an individual sense. How? by latching onto the unresolved archetypes that burn in the recesses of the soul.
Until a symbol that consumes us is embraced in both its dark and light aspect, it is an open door to disempowerment by ‘unowned’ forces that can ‘enter’ invisibility and unnoticed within us and steer the engine and direction of our spiritual focus. By aquatinting oneself with the timeless realm that the soul inhabits beyond the space/time continuum, the ‘time is money’ or the ‘time is power’ principle is known in more than a theoretical way. Tantrics say that soul of every human is Maha Kaal, (the one beyond time) beyond birth and death, beyond coming and going. The Yogis’ vision has been to touch the timeless, through working with time in the realm of time that we inhabit in parallel unison to the timeless realm.
Take a coin. It can be specially selected, perhaps bought from a collectors shop. You may have a treasured coin among your keep sakes and trinkets already. Or you may simply take the first coin that comes to hand.
One side of the coin is painted black by you. You can use a wax crayons for this, or children’s hobby paint, or even black nail polish. The other side is polished for a period with a cloth or a tissue, you might even like to use metal polisher to bring out a shine.
The coin is tossed and lands upon the floor, and you make circles around it. If it lands shiny side up, you circle it in the attitude of Lakshmi, in the Surya chakra (clockwise Solar direction) walking round and round the coin until you feel yourself to be the Goddess of fortune herself. Notice your outer countenance and align it to one of royalty and grandeur, whilst inwardly summoning and visualising the prosperity Goddess, you can feel yourself to be Lakshimi in your own psychically creative way.
If the tossed coin lands black side up upon the ground, you circle the coin in the Chandra chakra (counter-clockwise Moon direction) You take the walk of poverty, summoning thoughts and feelings of poverty, walking with empty, impotent countenance of hungry and tired poverty. Align yourself to an inner attitude of Alakshmi, ugly, sour and barren. Align to a grief-stricken reality and as you continue to circle, go deeper and deeper into this.
Flip the coin until you have done both sides, you may get a few tosses of one Goddess in a row, keep going and doing the practice. When both sisters have shown their face by the magic of the coin, then the circling is complete.
Afterwards, sit on the floor with the coin between your palms. Go into the centre that exists between the extremes of the two expressions of Lakshimi and Alakshmi.
The practice can be done anytime, upon awakening and before sleeping is recommended.
To find our more about the myth of Lakshmi and Alakshmi, read our blog post!
We hope you will find this meditation useful. Hara Ring,
The Golden Moon of Wealth & the Dark Moon of Poverty A Tantric Ritualistic Investigation into Duality
In the Tantric system Lakshmi is the Golden Goddess of Wealth. A beautiful woman of rapturous allure, attracting the soul like a moth to the flame. Alakshmi, her elder sister, is the Barren Goddess of Poverty. A withered woman of sour nature who rules over loss, hopelessness, disgust and perversity.
When Lakshmi enters the heart and home there is a desire for Golden living. In her sweet-lipped realm, abundance and prosperity abounds on the spiritual and physical level as she carries the cup of Amrita (elixir). When Alakshmi enters there is preoccupation with life in decay. In her sour-lipped realm, perversion and poverty shade one’s heart and being as she carries the cup of Hala Hala (poison).
One who trails their hand towards the secrets of blue twilight… One who reaches for a secret wisdom imparted twice daily… Such a one is on the way of the soul. The way of Shiva.
Shiva is the one who rejects nothing, that’s his secret and he’s the prototype for the Yogi on the path of Wisdom. Yogi means the one who balances and brings together. Shiva does not run in fear from the shadows of poison or loss, and neither does he run to the light for hope or abundance.
Shiva’s seat is the place of balance and power in the opposites that reality presents us, Shiva is the natural being who’s surrendered the selective battle of the self and because of this stance has opened the secrets to reality. The meeting of the Full Moon of Lakshmi with the Dark Moon of Alakshmi is the wisdom of Shiva who represents the soul power in us all. Shiva drinks of Halahala (poison) and Amrita (elixir) alike. It is Shiva who meets both Lakshmi and Alakshmi at Twilight.
In Tantra nothing is rejected and poison and medicine are understood to be one and the same: polar facets of the same reality. In seeming paradox, to reject the poison becomes equal to refusing the medicine. Tantra offers a healing vision to the notion and reality of poison: a new approach to revealing and resolving conflict…
To Know Both Goddesses
The Full Moon on 1st October is known as Lakshmi Puja. The Dark Moon on 16th October is known as Alakshmi Amvasya (Amvasya means when the Moon is absent).
Between the Full Moon and the Dark Moon we find the age old Tantric festival connected to Lakshmi and her elder sister Alakshmi. When both Goddesses are known in balanced measure, there is sobriety and Tantric focus between the dualities.
The wisdom of the balance between wealth and poverty is the key to the door of vision. These two forces prevail in our heart and in our universe and are both given honour by the Tantrics. A balance between dark and light, man and woman, beauty and ugliness, Crow and Swan. To worship Lakshmi without acknowledging her elder sister Alakshmi would be a one sided, blind pursuit, exemplified by extremes of indulgence and satisfaction without taking into account the shadows of life. True spirituality never turns a blind eye but has a vision between the dark and light at twilight. Night and day don’t exist together, but might enter our home in the secret Tantric twilight.
Two Sisters Come for Dinner at Twilight
An old Indian Tantric teaching story tells of both sister Goddesses visiting the house of a devotee, who through great Tapasya (concentrated effort) had awakened their interest. Upon inviting them into his home he asked them, as is the Indian custom, “What may I offer you?”.
In Indian culture, when receiving a guest into one’s home, the unquestioned custom is to offer them a wish. Whatever is asked is given as duty, without resentment from the giver or shame on the part of the asker. ‘The Guest is God’ is a Indian phrase that has at its root the vision of the divine in the most mundane of areas. Although classical Indian culture is slowly being eroded by modern standards, this elegance and grace of etiquette remains, mirroring an order from a world beyond that of everyday concerns and striving.
And so the devoted host received the sisters…
Lakshmi came wearing red and gold (the colours of the bride in India). Her full hair was beautifully and modestly braided and she scented the atmosphere with rose and jasmine. She moved with sweet elegance as if she floated on the ether. The devotee noticed that her countenance and presence brought space to his breath and heart, a feeling of well-being, generosity and contentment entering his spirit as he watched her.
Lakshmi’s wish was for a single dish of sweets and creamy delicacies. The devotee had these ordered and she ate them in a graceful, almost dance-like manner.
Alakshimi entered wearing a single white cloth (the colours of an Indian funeral widow). Her hair was sparse and unkempt, matted and unwashed. She moved awkwardly and painfully with a hunchback, stinking of bile and excrement. The devotee watched her and noticed how she aroused craving and perverse tightening thoughts in him. Anger and violence struck his mind like lightening. Shortness of breath and a vice like grip on his heart was felt.
Alakshmi’s wish was for copious dishes of lemons and chilies that had started to rot and decay. The devotee had these ordered and watched how she went at devouring them in a seemingly breathless panic.
As the two sisters enjoyed their meal in the home of their devotee, he noticed that a profound focus and sobriety existed in him. He had equal understanding of fortune and loss at the same time, which filled his head with compassion and lucidity.
Lakshmi stood up and said “May I wash my hands outside, I will return in a moment.”
The devotee directed her and she left him alone with her older sister. In the presence of Alakshimi, the devotee became morose and depressed, concerned only with the morbidity in his heart and the world around him. He went very deep into his meditation but the pain took away his clarity. When Lakshimi returned, a balance once again came over him as if waking from a dream and he saw that life is not only bad.
Then Alakshimi stood up and said “I wish to go shit and need no water as I never wash.” The devotee directed her. When he was left in the presence of Lakshimi, he noticed that he was filled with rapture and well-being. Kingly and proud, compassion left his heart as he indulged in his own grandeur. As Alakshimi returned the devotee felt he had awoken from a self-satisfied trance and could not imagine what arrogance had possessed him.
After dinner conversation ensued…
The elder sister demanded to know from the devotee which of them was the most beautiful. The poor devotee strained to find an answer that would not cause offence.
He attempted to go into deep meditation to find the answer that stands between the opposites. In inner Tantric equanimity he found the secret twilight insight that stands between dark and light.
“You are both profoundly beautiful and ugly at the same time according to where you stand.” he said.
Alakshimi leaned forward and glared frighteningly into his eyes, asking, “What do you mean?” The stench of her breath almost knocked him unconscious.
He answered: “Lakshmi for example was hideously ugly when she stood outside my home, but when she entered within she became beautiful’.” He continued, choosing his words very carefully, “Alakshimi was unbelievably beautiful when she stood outside my home, but not so pleasing when she entered within. When both of you come together my heart feels in balance.”
Lakshmi said, “Dear devotee, sometimes I will come alone. But if you wish to enjoy my beauty a little more then place rose and jasmine flowers and sweets on your altar. Alakshimi said, “And sometimes I will also visit you alone. But if you wish to enjoy my beauty a little longer then leave rotting lemons and chillies outside your door.”
“If you are wise and find the secret between twilight,” spoke both sisters together, “we will come and visit you together.”
Yoga: Meeting in the Balance of Twilight
Just as night departs when the sun rises, and the sun departs as the moon rises, Alakshmi and Lakshmi are opposites never to inhabit the same space except in rare moments of balance, exemplified by the hours of twilight.
Twilight symbolises the balance of opposites. The word Hathyog by its very etymology, implies the art and practice of this unity. The twilight consciousness is the balanced harmonised place of awareness and poise between both sides of reality.
In general, modern living, ideologies and religions are based upon ideas and principles that honour the sun. We may follow these established lines and codes of conduct to our own detriment if we don’t take a closer look at the nature of things.
Living by the sun causes dryness, heat and exhaustion. One can become loud and consumed by fire. Gold in the daylight is of great worth, but it becomes a curse when not balanced with Silver by moonlight.
Hence an overbalance of the Lakshimi Tatva in oneself can cause stagnation, greed, arrogance, lack of compassion and self-satisfied indulgence. However, along with their conferring of vision, sensitivity and feeling of the subtle, night and moonlight realms hold dangers of being consumed by the spiritual world. Hence an overbalance of the Alakshimi Tatva in oneself can create a hunger mindset of unsatisfiable craving and feelings of emptiness. Humility void of a little pride can turn to poverty.
The Balance of Gold and Silver, Sun and Moon, is the place where both sisters are given honour, where power meets humility and heat touches cooling respite.
Sisters as Queens
Lakshmi is the Queen of Riddhi.
The Riddhis are a very subtle science regarding the manifested powers of success and prosperity. For example, one of the Riddhis is known as Satyasankalp. This is the power to manifest whatever one intends.
Alakshimi is the Queen of the Siddhi.
The Siddhis are equally a very subtle science of powers within the psychic realm.
The Siddhis are powers that pertain more to the spiritual side of things, it could be said.
For example, one of the Siddhis is known as Isithavam. This is the psychic power of having wisdom of the secrets of the Sun and the Moon.
We will go into a detailed account of the Riddhis and Siddhis at another time.
The Door to Appeasing the Spirits
Above the doors of many Indian households and workplaces often hangs a string of lemons and chillies. Even though its meaning may be forgotten by many, it has its roots in a spiritual world view. The spirits of poverty exemplified by Alakshimi are astral energies that live in the ether and feed upon sour and hot energy, emanated though the string’s decomposing odours.
In Tantra, a whole science exists around satisfying the energies and spirits that live in the subtle layers of the air element, with perfumes both fragrant and noxious being used to balance and appease.
The Door to the Heart
SHREEM is the Bija mantra of Lakshimi. When uttered at the right resonance, this mantra stimulates the currents of the heart chakra and opens the door to the heart. The hands are a door to the heart energies and, when we look at Lakshmi iconography, we see that she has mountains of gold coins pouring from her hands. Lakshimi Mudra is the physical gesture of assisting the body to open the heart channel. It goes ‘hand in hand’ with an inner mudra of concentration used at this moon phase. The mantras and mudras of Alakshimi are not to be written and only imparted in ritual context. These mudras teach one of closing the door to the heart. Such practices can give insights into the ways we might be unconsciously closing off the life force.
The mudras of both sisters work with the hands extensively. It may be noted that improper yoga practice compressing the wrist nerves can work counterproductively on both the spiritual and physical levels of Prana Shakti.
Unlocking our True Being Samskaras and Vasanas
Samskaras are the deep roots of our tendencies from which, or moreover ‘around’ which, we move. Samskaras are stored in and arise from the causal body which is known as the deepest of the 5 bodies that cover the soul. Tantra knows these bodies as layers of frozen shadows that mask reality. The causal covering is known as the Manomaya Kosha and is the deep place where things in our being are hidden and almost invisible.
Vasanas are our tendencies that we move with, and move towards. They are present in the most subtle layers of the astral body, known as the Anandamaya Kosha. This astral body is a more tangible realm of the subconscious mind than the causal body, giving us the experience of sensation.
Alakshimi is the Goddess with the key to the Samskaras. Lakshimi is the Goddess with the key to the Vasanas.
Our Samskaras and Vasanas are invisible as they give rise to our experience. Through the manifestations and consequences they incur we might obtain clues to the programming that rules us.
Tantra is the introspective study of how we formulate reality by the dance of Samskara and Vasana, of Alakshmi and Lakshimi. Tantra recognises that the Samskaras and Vasanas are not who we really are, but two interacting constellations of energy giving form to self-experience.
Samskaras and Vasanas Playing Ball
Our being is like a ball that bounces around a room full of furniture. We could say that, according to the contents of the room, we come to define ourselves. The furniture upon which the ball resounds gives definition to the psychic space and defines the ball’s possible movements.
The ball represents the Vasanas – our tendencies – and the content and form of the room represent the Samskaras – our predefined codes.
By liberating the ball from its usual movements or Vasanas, one steps into attainment of the Riddhis, a very subtle science regarding the manifested powers of success and prosperity, of which the Goddess Lakshmi is Queen. Through deep study of the furniture-filled room that the self-inhabits, one unlocks the Samskaras and opens the doors to the Siddhis, of which the Goddess Alakshmi is Queen.
Though the two realms interlace and overlap, the Siddhis may be considered less perceptible than the Riddhis, pertaining to powers within the psychic rather than material realms.
Reformulating Reality Under the Dust
Samskaras are stored in and arise from the causal body. This causal body is known as the deepest of the 5 bodies that cover the soul. Tantra knows these bodies as layers of frozen shadows that mask reality. The causal covering is known as the Manomaya Kosha and is the deep place where things in our being are out of sight and almost invisible.
Vasanas are present in the most subtle layers of the astral body, known as the Anandamaya Kosha. This astral body is a more tangible realm of the subconscious mind than the causal body, giving us the experience of sensation.
Samskaras and Vasanas are invisible as they give rise to our experience. Through the manifestations and consequences they incur, we may glean clues to the programming we run by.
Tantra is the introspective study of how we formulate reality by the dance of Samskara and Vasana, of Alakshmi and Lakshimi. It recognises that the Samskaras and Vasanas are not who we really are. These two interacting constellations of energy give form to how we experience ourselves, but both are formed of the dust gathered by the soul in its journey through infinity. The Tantric voyage is like wiping the windshield of the self, freeing it of the particles that define who we are and define the reality that we see. Tantra, quite practically, is a way of decoding structures of familiarity and preparing for unfamiliar, forgotten, or perhaps unknown voyages.
The Solidified Structures of Self-Confronting the Soul
Samskaras are the subconscious imprints out of which Vasanas are built – the foundational codes we enact and reflect in our countenance, language and conduct. For example, if our Samskaras involve identifying with the archetypes of royalty, wealth and prosperity, our Vasanas would be expressed in our tendencies to dress well and act royally.
It might seem a good thing to be ruled by a positive archetype such as ‘the royal imprint’, but from the Tantric perspective, to be over-identified with a symbol is a cause of psychic inflexibility. This translates to an inflexible breathing pattern, revealed in the patterns in our musculature. The solidifications and rigidities of the psycho/physical mechanism can manifest anywhere within the narrow perspective we serve. Upholding of a character consumes vast amounts of our energies and limits our vast possibilities.
The practice of Tantric mudras goes through the medium of the body in order to confront the soul. By investigating our physical places of resistance and stiffness, we come into the world of the subconscious and unconscious. This is the world of the Samskaras. We could say that the Vasanas are merely symptoms of the imprints of Samskaras.
Do we think we only need a code of character to live by? Is it merely a response to living in a world rampant with codes of conduct, the imposition of modernity and civilization? The Tantric peers into such questions and in doing so, questions the root of themselves before posing questions about ideal principles and the nature of things. The object and its reception transforms as the subject does so. The door to magic and mystical vision, to a hitherto level of psychic autonomy and liberty, reopens.
An Investigation of Opposites
The Path to Our True Nature
If we were enmeshed within the inflexibility of the royal archetype, the Tantric practice of working with the opposite energy would yield much insight into our true nature. To know Lakshmi’s older sister Alakshmi reveals the secrets of loss and poverty, hence revealing the resistances and inflexibilities in our mind and body and allowing for changed perception and behaviour.
The Tantric investigates opposites and the shadows of the structures we move within and around. Tantric practice thereby transforms our whole relationship to wealth and poverty. Through opened breathing and releasing rigidities in the musculature, one becomes more receptive to the currents of life. The psychic tension we hold (or that holds us) in relation to this theme can be released and made fluid, giving us an influx of power that is then available for spiritual travel.
The holding onto and focus upon a persona or way of being at the expense of another is crystallisation and solidification.
This in Tantra means death.
Tantra is not positive thinking or the aim at one principle at the expense of another. Tantra is the embrace of both dark and light, the vision of reality free of unfixed ideals and principles, moving towards being the balance reflected in nature. Nature has both negative and positive forces that keep balance and equilibrium. An electrical circuit can only flow by the marriage of both poles, by the meeting of the passive and active. We become a circuit of flow and force when we move onto the path of balancing and reconciling the parted dualities of our being. As psychic energy is liberated, so too is its manifest reflection in the physical dimension.
Tantra is then, the middle place of meeting between Hot and Cold, Woman and Man, Mother and Father, Parent and Child, Human and Animal, Sky and Earth, Wild and Civilised, Rich and Poor. The gaze from the ever changing reflective Moon-like mirror that releases personas and concepts in accord with nature’s rhythms and catches the Twilight view, where worlds apart meet in the secret between the so called good and bad, between Lakshimi and Alakshmi.
Om Shreem Hreem Hring Ring Glaum Gum Bum Ganapathiyay Namaha
When Ganesh is pleased he raises his trunk and flaps his ears.
This tantric phrase referring to Ganesh holds much symbolism as to Ganesh’s significance.
He is the Elephant God of the base chakra.
The trunk raising is indicative of Kundalini Shakti rising up when the base chakra energy is nourished and grounded.
When stray psychic energies are concentrated and given solid form and life they then become sweet nourishment to Elephant who will raise the accumulated power that has been brought home, this he does with a move of his trunk.
Ganesh the Elephant headed God is a favourite amongst the Indian Gods and possibly the widest known of all the Indian deities outside of India.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on the 4th day of the New Moon of August. Chaturthi means fourth and refers to the 4th day following a New Moon or Full Moon.
This is the grand Ganesh Moon.
In Tantric cosmology this Moon day is said to be amongst the most psychically destabilizing days and hence the Elephant ritual is a practice that fills the polar opposite of instability by its stability. It is a ritual of grounding and weight that has greatly stabilizing effects. Such ritual practices have been kept preciously by Tantrics and involve many careful formulas for working with focussed energy.Orthodox rites have this day as a very dramatically festive time with much public and private home measures of worship.
The Chaturthi each month is the 4th lunar day and is a Moon phase marked by instability and dwindling power. The Moon energy of the Full and New Moon is potent for the first 3 nights and then on the 4th day its effects starts to subside.
This subsiding corresponds to a subsiding of psychic tension/magnetism within us that is pronounced and potent at the extremes of the New and Full lunar expressions. The subsiding of inner psychic magnetism brings with is a state of psychic instability and uncertainty, hence the solidity of the Elephant energy is invoked on the Chaturthi days.
This is the 4th lunar day each month, where Tantrics invoke the energy of the elephant through internal and external mudras.
Tantricly and most practically calling upon solidity and stability within the destabilizing lunar effects of the 4th day. By looking for and finding the elephant within the unbalance of the psychic nature is to go to the eye of the storm where there is a place of safe and solid ground amidst the moving swirl of effects.
Ganesh the keeper of 4
Ganesh is the Elephant God who guards the Mooladhar Chakra.
This is the Earth Chakra lotus that has 4 petals of 4 syllables along with a central root or Bija (seed) mantra from which the 4 syllables originate.
The utterance of these syllables awaken the physical and psychic sensitivities of this chakra. The physical elephant mudras require slow strength and steady endurance to perform.
When practicing with the elephant energy, one replicates the qualities of the creature. The inner mudras are characterized by weight and heavy focus and have as their outcome a grounding and maturing of psychic energy.
The 4 petals of the Mooladhar chakra are 4 sounds that govern the 4 most physical elements: Earth, water, fire and air.
Working with the Ganesh ruled elephant practices brings stability to the foundations of our primary elements and this will be the focus of our online tantric ritual on the 22nd of August, practicing the secret inner and outer mudras and the 4 sacred mantras.
The slow, strong steady countenance of an elephant is something held in high reverence and esteem amongst the tantrics.
In the field and cultural fabric within which we live and die, many may be the doings so easily and lightly driven by haste and baseless expressions.
The Elephant is a much needed spirit creature within our being.
The steady current of the elephant stands strong in superficialities and is a power to back up every step of our being with a weight of earthly wisdom.
A steady rhythmical step by which the elephant proceeds.
The elephant is the only 4 legged creature that has 4 forward bending knees.The 4 sided yantra of the square is a representation and signification of the base chakra. The square is a pictorial character of equality, formed by the balance of the 4 elements.
10 days of the Elephant
Ganesh Chaturthi is a ritual festival where an earthen statue of Ganesh, or of an elephant is made. Publicly this statue is worshiped and paraded until the 10th day it is submerged in water.
Earth returning to water holds much significance in this rite.
All over India there are tens of thousands of statues of Ganesh offered to the waters at the conclusion of this festival. Some of these statues are of gigantic proportions and luminously coloured and affixed to vehicles as they are paraded proudly towards their watery rebirth.
Tantrics rites of ritual create an earthen form of an elephant with earth and water from ones locality. The elephant form is placed upon a metal base to spread electrical magnetism and then meditated upon and infused with one’s magnetism that one in turn relates to the base chakra through concentrated focus.
It is focused upon intensively for the 10 days until the full Moon.
This invoking life into statue or representation of a deity or principle is known as Pran Pratishtha and is done in formal orthodox rites of setting up statues in temples.
Tantric formulas work in similar ways through imbuing life and energy into statues for specific inner work and healing measures. This form of concentration upon the statue of Ganesh has as its focus the bringing up of one’s base chakra themes so they can come up to be viewed and worked with. By such methods one may get a view of karmic obstacles of Mooladhar chakra to be healed.
The invocation of this elephant energy is most powerful upon this yearly junction of Ganesh Chaturthi as astral elements are in favour of supporting the Elephant energy ritual.
It is the peak of fire as the Hot season has touched its pinnacle, the opposite element of air is brought forward by fire, the Monsoon of water and humidity at large at this time brings forth its opposite of the earth element. In this way the physical elements are at their peak of stimulation, which in turn activate the subtle reflections of these elements within the base chakra.
10 days following Ganesh Chaturthi takes one to the full Moon. The earthen statue is then offered into water such as a river by Tantrics.
The Tantrics take this as a meditation of releasing blocked or locked shakti to enter to the worlds above in the chakras beyond the base; beginning with the second chakra of Shaktistan.
This offering of the earth statue to the water is a movement that represents the opening of the granthi’s (psycho/physical knots) of the base chakra and the subsequent release of Shakti to the ascent towards the second chakra which is the sexual chakra, which is connected to the water element.
This outer way of working hints at the inner mudras that relate to the elephant.
These mudras are known as Gaja Karana (doing of elephant) and are Mudras that are exercised at this favourable time in order to assist the dissolving of ones earthy knots and karma’s.
Ganesh protector of the Mother and Home
The story of Ganesh tells how he was the son of Shakti and Shiva.
His mother wanted to take a bath but could not find the peace to enter into union with the water element, many disturbing demands came upon her until she finally asked Ganesh to stand guard at the entrance to the home, which he proudly did, refusing any admittance that came their way.
Ganesh’s father Shiva had the habit of disappearing for long periods of time and retreating to the mountains where he would be undisturbed.
In deep solitude Shiva would pursue deep travels into the inner spiritual worlds.
The season was at its hottest and the outer fire of the earth’s atmosphere had aroused the inner fire of Shiva.
The rains of the time had brought the fire down to the watery second chakra and further reached Shiva’s passion.
Passion and determination brought Shiva down from the mountain and he found himself wandering home to his Wife.
When he reached the house, he found a young child standing guard who would not let him enter.
Ganesh had been born in his absence and neither had knowledge of each other. Shiva pushed him aside but Ganesh would not relent.
A vicious slap from Shiva decapitated the boy, sending the head flying into worlds beyond terrestrial reach.
Without the slightest care for what he had just done, Shiva entered into the watery chamber where his wife bathed naked in milky jasmine and rose scented waters.
‘’How did you enter within” she asked of him. ‘Our son should have let no one in”
Shiva realised then what he had just done and his heated passion and one pointed determination started to give way to lament.
The Shiva power from above may carry the fire down to the water-element ruled Sexual chakra of Shaktistan (literally place of the Goddess) but without the inclusion of the Earth element, the fire poses an unwelcome risk to the watery Goddess of the second Chakra.
The milky bath water started to turn red as the blood of the child poured gradually in.
Distraught wails of the mother resounded through the ethers.
Shiva said, ”By the power of Kechari Mudra, I say that the first living being to come this way shall offer life to our son.”
It was a baby elephant that wandered to their home and offered life to the decapitated child’s body, and so Ganesh received the head of the elephant for which he gets the name Gajanan, the elephant faced one.
The elephant has an unparalleled memory that took note of the offence, hence Ganesh is often portrayed as the great record keeper with pen in hand.
The Tantric language of Moon time
In this story the detailing of Ganesh as the protector of the Mother is a significant detail.
The New Moon just 4 days previous to this day of Ganesh’s elephant birth was celebrated as Pithori Amvasya or Mata Puja as it’s known in Tantric ritual – This is the Mothers Moon that brings the mother energy to the solar plexus chakra known as Manipur.
Pithori refers to flour and edible sustenance which is the physical sustenance to the body through the stomach at the level of the fire-ruled Manipur chakra.
If we trace it further back to the previous Full Moon, we find the horse Moon which represents the Air element and the Annahatt heart and its touch upon throat Chakra. The Pran of the heart chakra connects to and is converted into and creates the element of Akash (space) at the Vishudd chakra at the throat.
And previous to the Horse Moon was the Soma Moon (see previous blog) which connects to the upper chakras and to the most subtle ultra-terrestrial element.
When we see the pattern of how the chakras have worked along all the way down through their respective elements we can see that the ritual days have brought the movement down to the Base and second chakra at this junction.
Water and Earth are implicit in this most tangible junction of manifestation to the previous preceding elements.
The energy has come through the chakric line… down from the subtle element of soma through space, air, fire and water to now meet Ganesh at the base of Earth.
21 leaves and 21 sweets and 21 mantras. The sum of 7 x 3
That the subconscious mind is accessed by symbols and emotion has been known to Tantrics for aeons. Much of the tantric work is to access the out of sight granthis (knots) and karmas that affect the foundation of one’s being.
Tantric work partakes of much more than blind ritual of tradition, but has a very clear focus upon the symbol being worked with and what it represents within oneself.
The Bhar (outer) mudra is recognized and focused on with its corresponding Anthar (inner) mudra. Whether this focus is on asana and inner meditation or upon ritual offerings and gestures.
Tantra is a very focused and practical undertaking – it focuses and ‘practicalizes’ subtle energies through symbolic concentrations on intangible or far away realities so they can be brought closer within tangible range.
Focus requires the inner fire of Tejas and at the same time focus stokes this fire, the steadiness of the flame of Tejas is dependent upon our usage or wastage of our Pran (breath).
When Tejas is nurtured and cared for then Tantra becomes powerful.
Tejas builds Soma and in turn manifests as Ojas in a more embodied and tangible level of being.
Tantra shows and teaches subtle care experientially by its very methods of practice. It shows us areas where we do not take care of the subtle elements, without the subtle care Tantra cannot begin.
It is said that Ganesh is very fond of eating sweets. He is often pictured with a tray of Indian delicacies.
Modhak sweets are a coconut filled dumplings and in many regions of India are said to be the favourite of Ganesh. He is sometimes called Modhakapriya for this reason, which means ‘the one who loves to eat Modhak’.
The form of a modhak is like a small conical mountain and represents the weight and solidity of the Mountain. The form of Ganesh also represents a mountainous conical shape that spells out solidity and earthed power.
21 sweets are offered to Ganesh in many forms of Ganesh puja (ritual). 21 is a number sacred to Ganesh for several reasons as we shall see.
Ganesh represents the mountainous base and foundation of all the chakras, for this he is known as Chakravatin.
There are 7 major chakras in the body that physically are connected to the 7 major endocrine glands that create and distribute hormones. When there are said to be 8 major glands one must note that the male and female reproductive glands are both included in the list, and except in the rare cases of physical hermaphrodites, there are 7 predominant with a man or woman.
These hormones of the glandular system condition our physicality to a great extent. The suppression or increase of a single hormonal substance can radically alter our bodily health and chemistry and also our consciousness.
By working with conscious and focus, we effect change in the physical level via the hormonal system – this also works the other way around.
By working with physical mudra, Asana (movements) and Pran (breath) we approach the spirit world through the balancing of chemical constituents.
Ganesh is the Chakravatin who balances the whole psycho/physical structure of the chakras. The chakras are 7 and exist in the physical world, they exist in the ‘astral’ and effect the emotional/mental levels of our being, and they extend beyond terrestrial reach into causal world and beyond to the spiritual world. The chakras can be seen as doorways to these levels of existence.
All in all the 7 chakras exist in these three worlds which are known by various names such as Bumi, Patala and Swarga.
That equals 21 levels of the 7 chakras when we see them as 7 x 3.
Each of these 21 chakra levels has a name and that is a name of Ganesh.
Rituals of Ganesh often work with these 21 mantras made up of various forms of his name.
The 21 mantras work with the science of Naad (sound) to activate the potentialities of the 21 levels of chakra.
Within each of the 21 names of Ganesh is encoded a meaning that pertains to a particular level of the chakras.
Here is a list of the 21 names of Ganesh:
The first name in the list translates as the lord of the whole structure, and the last name in the list translates as the one who successfully brings magic and power.
In Tantric ritual each of the 21 sweets is offered along with each of the 21 mantras and concentration upon the 7 chakras in the 3 worlds.
Ladhus or Modhaks being the most common offerings with the mantras, but all manner of sweets can and are be used as offerings to the energies and spirits of the 21 levels of awareness.
The sweets represent the physical tangible level.
Aside from the sweets, 21 types of leaf are offered and often made into incenses in Tantric ritual, the incense of the leaves represents the astral level by its more subtle form of matter.
For example jasmine leaves, Dhurbha grass, and several other leaves are offered, some of which have slight psychoactive effects when specially prepared as incense.
The gaseous level of the scent connects to the more subtle astral levels and spirits so that the various incenses further stimulate the 21 chakric levels.
Ganapati is a common name of Ganesh and translates as the pati (friend or master) of the Gana (spirits who preside in the 21 worlds) In the orthodox rituals the leaves are not usually burned, but offered whole. It is most common to offer 21 offerings of the Dhurbha grass alone. This is a leaf amongst the 21 that has a profoundly cooling effect on the body and is a preparation in many yogic remedies. The Dhurbha grass is to be offered with 3 strands that represent the 3 spinal channels, the scent and ingestion of this grass removes heat in the 3 main Nadis (meridians) so that Shakti can flow without burning obstructions.
There is a story that encapsulates the importance of the cooling effect of this important yogic herb that is used widely in many types of remedy and ritual invocation.
One there was a bothersome demon called Anlasur. He represented the heating nature of many of the pursuits that humans take that consume Soma (psychic elixir).
The demon Anlasur breathed fire and was causing catastrophe for humans.
The Gods and Yogis invoked Ganesh for help with this disturbing foe who was consuming life power.
The mighty Ganesh simply swallowed him whole and that seemed to be the end of that.
But soon after Ganesh was overcome with heat and burning sensations in his stomach. The fire was so great that he gained a voracious appetite to appease it.
The awakening of the Manipur (solar plexus chakra) finds form in Ganesh’s powerful belly and is further exemplified in the Ladhu sweet which is a heating yellow sweet ball that represents the sun.
The burning only abated when the clairvoyant sages ‘looked’ for a cure to the heat and saw the cooling nature of the Dhurbha grass that grows so commonly and abundantly. Having been covered in the Grass the heat in Ganesh’s belly subsided.
21 sprouts or bundles are offered in orthodox worship, often wrapped upon the statue of Ganesh in a way that mirrors and gives honour of the story.
Tantric mats are sometimes woven from this grass and used for executing the heating mudras and practicing without overheating the system. The asan (blanket) of the yogi is of the utmost importance in mudra practice. Substances that do not conduct the electric generated by yogic practice(such as rubber yoga mats) work counterproductively on the electrical nervous system.
Ganesh and the honouring of the ancestors
As already noted, the Ganesh Chaturthi festival takes place after the Mother’s New Moon festival known as Prithori amvasya (see previous blogpost).
It is a new Moon of honouring the Mata Tattva.
The Mothers Moon follows on logically to the Ganesh Chaturthi to give a deeper grounding and earthing to the ancestral work set in motion on the New Moon.
In the Story we have already seen how Ganesh was the protector of the Mother as he stood watch over the watery world of the second chakra as his Mother wished to bathe undisturbed.
Another story that points to Ganesh’s significance as an honorary of the ancestors is one that tells of him as Chakravatin.
The literal meaning of Chakravatin is the one who causes all the chakras to spin.
This is a word assigned to a ruler in a spiritual or a mundane sense and refers to ‘one who circles the world’
The story goes that in their youth, Ganesh and his brother Skanda were finding ways to test their super powers. A bet was set up between them – that the one who circles the world the fastest would win a plate of sweets.
The fast paced brother Skanda, was highly confident that he wound win the bet over the elephant paced Ganesh.
On the go! He set off at lightning speed and circled the world.
When he returned he saw that Ganesh had not even left the house.
He prepared to take the prize of the sweets for himself, when Ganesh interjected and said, ”you were slower than I thought my dear brother.”
Skanda was not quite understanding until Ganesh clarified the situation.
Ganesh told how his world was his parents Parvati and Shiva and he did not need to race across space and time to circle them as Skanda had done. In fact he stayed home and took a few steps around them and completed it before Skanda had returned.
Skanda understood this and accepted Ganesh’s success.
Ganesh happily got the sweets and smiled at being able to communicate a secret about grounding energy.
When Ganesh Circles and concentrates on his parents as his ‘uni’verse he is honouring the ancestral lines. Ganesh grounds energy by setting free the astral knots that link us to blocked ancestral imprints. Ancestral work is a big part of Tantra and some of the mudras quite literally involve circling the ancestry and resolving issues on the spiritual levels. Our ancestry lives in the psychic atmosphere of our being and is acknowledged as a key by the tantric for grounding and solidifying stray energies.
Ganesh in this story presents himself as the guardian to the world of the ancestors and the honouring of the lines from which we come.
Quite conveniently and without chance, as we flow our way through the Tantric years calendar, Ganesh carries us to the next major ancient tantric festival of Ancestral healing.
At the September Full Moon, we come upon the festival known as Pitri Pakasha, which literally translates as ‘the fortnight of the ancestors.’
At the time of the Pitri Pakasha the constellations of astral energies and influence are such that the spirit world of the ancestors comes close to the earth and Tantrics pay homage with healing rituals particularly on the Full, half and New Moon throughout the two weeks of the Pitri Pakasha festival time.
It is a time of healing deep seated issues along the ancestral line. We will be gathering on specific dates in September too to join in ritual. For now we hope you will join us of these august dates to celebrate the child-mother connection.
Wisdom is a heavy subject with a heavy price that the Weight of the Elephant formed Ganesh reminds us of.
The New Moon of Child & Parents Star constellation of the Pleiades active
Upon this sacred and ancient Tantric festival day, the Mother gives blessing and prayer to her children. The healing of the Ancestral Shadows that we carry is the root of this Moon festival known as Pithori Amavasya.
The ritual is for healing of the ancestral blueprints of the Mothers line. It is a ritual day for parents and Mothers and anyone wishing to heal the knots of karma connected to their matrilineal parentage through deep tantric prayer.It is important to note how the whole of Tantric science upon the physical plane, within the bounds of birth and death, is a practice of Prayer.At deeper layers, the practice of prayer may become replaced by Prayer itself. We live, move and have our being in a multiverse of energies that the Yogis give honour to by way of prayer.
The recognition of the seed of the one spirit within the numerous energies of the multiverse is the beginning of Yog. Though the seed be layered upon and sheaved by endless unique expressions, the source is the great mystery to which the courageous inquisitive explorer can’t help but be pulled. On the last new Moon of July we honoured the healing Soma Tattva of Moon fluidity and the energy that implies.
Grace, reception, liquidity and softness.
Now, on the August new Moon, we honour another principle: The Mata Tattva (Mother element). By honouring and connecting in prayer and ritual to the multiverse of such energies and sacred principles of existence, the yogins becomes full of honour and sacredness themselves.
The science of Tantra is a science and art of prayer and honour to the infinite forces and manifestations of Shakti. The prayer is eternal and it’s discovery never stops.
Shakti offered in prayer builds relationship with and to the place it is offered.
The Yogins therefore take care of Shakti and learn not to throw her into and places recklessly. We build relationship to the spirits by the Shakti we give those spirits. To put it another way: the places we invest our power become our reality. Sometimes the things we feed end up feeding on us.
On this occasion of Prithori Amvasya…
The mother element within ourselves is activated, honoured and given dynamism by astral forces in Tantric ritual. That implies not only Mothers of children but all born of the womb. In the orthodox manner of this festivals acknowledgement, the focus goes on Prayers by Mothers, whereby Indian Mothers offer prayers, fasting and austerities for the good of their children.
MOTHER THE GRAIN & FLOUR OF LIFE
This ritual day is popularly called Prithori Amvasya. The word ‘Prith’ refers to flour. In some forms of worship, Murti’s (statues of the 7 mothers) are made out of flour or other such produce of sustenance such as rice and ground grain.
The acknowledgment of the staple grains that we eat on a day to day basis, has inherent in it the honour of the nourishing Mother element. And so the festival gets its name as the flour festival. The Tantrics know this festival as Mata Puja which means the Mother Ritual. In the Tantric lines of ritual, the Mother Tattva within all is nourished and connected with, through specific ritual formulas and practices. These practices apply to both Woman and Man, and apply equally to the child-full or child-less. The focus is on connecting to the Mata Tatva within, or one could call it the power of the inner Mother that we all carry.
Through the efforts of Tapasya (yogic austerity), concentrated prayers and fasting, the veil between the physical and psychic world is made thin. This assists in contacting and communicating with the energies offered by the planetary and astral forces upon ritual days, in the case of this ritual day – with the Mata Tattva or mother energy principle.
This Mata Tattva energy resides physically and energetically in the Womb of Woman, and in the Man it presides in the physical and etheric ‘inner Womb’ that is responsible for the creation of the seed.
The physical and psychic essences of Rajas and Bindu or blood and Seed carry the imprint of Shakti and Shiv and the creative principle of the Mata Tatva. The lines of energy that distribute the creative Mother energy through the medium of the psycho/physical Rajas and Bindu are 7 in number.
THE STAR MOTHERS
In the human organism the 7 major Nadis of the distribution of Mata Shakti are named after the 7 stars of Kritta star constellation – also known also as the constellation of Pleiades.These stars are named after 7 forms of the Mother.
These astral star portals connect ethericly to the human microcosm of the astral body through the 7 Chakras and their respective Nadis (energy lines) that share the names of the 7 star Mothers. In the psycho/physical Human system the 7 major nadis that carry the creative Mata Tatva energy emanate from and to the Womb through the medium of the Rajas, in Woman, and the Bindu, in the Man:
1) womb to anus 2) womb to sexual organ 3) womb to navel 4) womb to right and left breast 5) womb to throat 6) womb to brain 7) womb to top of head
The mudras of Kamakhya and Kanah Karana, it may be noted tend to predominantly incorporate these channels.
The 7 stars of the Kritta star constellation (Pleiades) intersect with these corresponding Nadis in the human astral body through the portals of the chakras – by way of which the celestial energies reach the astral human body.
The astral effect upon these particular Nadis by the stars forces are more pronounced upon certain festival days which are days based on lunar and atmospheric influences.
The festival of Prithori Amvasya is such a festival that activates the energy of the Mother in us all.
This is the new moon festival time of ritual for birthing the potentials of the ‘7 Mothers’ in ourselves, whether woman or man.
There are also 2 other ritual junctions in the Tantric years calendar where the energies of the Pleiades have a pronounced effect upon our human system here upon earth. These days are kept by tantrics for further ritualistic procedures of working with the Mother energy.
THE PLEIADES A CLUSTER OF LOVERS
They are known as the seven sisters in western astrology. They are called the Sapt Matricas by the tantrics. Collectively they are the 7 Goddesses known as the Kritta. The word Kritta means ‘to cut’. The myth tells how they were once cut from the Sapt Rishi constellation of the 7 stars of the Big Dipper. Indeed if one looks closely at the two star constellations it can be seen that they have a resemblance to each other.
There was a time when the Sapt Matricas and the Sapt Rishi existed beside each other as Lovers. The separating cut aroused the bluish dust cloud that can be seen around the Pleiades. Agni the God of fire was summoned by tapas (powerful firey prayers) of the 7 Rishis (Rishi refers to wise seer). Agni was invoked and his firey eyes fell upon the beauty of the seven Matrikas. Agni fell profoundly in Love with the 7 star Goddesses because of their brightness and luminosity. Agni is their opposite.
The 7 Matricas star Goddesses represent the cooling creative fire of Tejas and Agni represents the heating, consuming and destroying fire.
The balance of these two types of fire is the way of Tantric Wisdom.
These fires belong together as they balance each other, but at the same time they are opposites that repel each other out and cancel the other out, much the same as the dance between Night and Day… cold and hot. Agni’s Love for them was so great but unrealisable because of their marriages to the 7 Rishis.
Agni could not bear it and so he left the realm of the stars out of the desperation and sorrow of unrequited Love. Agni then came to Earth as the first fire, his presence threatened to consume the entire earth.
The Goddess Svaha found him weeping fiery tears in a Forrest made barren by his laments. Svaha fell in love with Agni for his intensity. When she realised the cause of his lamentations she immediately changed her form to look just like the 7 Matrika star Goddesses and together in her 7 formed femininity she entered into blissful union with Agni. Agni was overjoyed and lived his deepest burning wish.
One may note in many of the fire rituals of India, both Tantric and orthodox, the name Svaha is uttered as mantras offerings are given into a ritual fire.Svaha being the cooling mantra that cools the hottest element of fire so it can be converted to Tejas and into a workable handleable form.The story encapsulates this principle in the way that Svaha is able to calm Agnis fiery tears from becoming all-consuming.
Meanwhile up in the world of the Stars things had gotten barren for the wives of the Rishis. The fire had literally gone out without Agni’s presence. It had been the Invocation of Agni by the Tapas of the Rishis that had kept the flame of love burning. The Rishis became impotent old wise men that the wives began to suffer.
They were only fit for writing and spreading scriptural knowledge and started to write and teach… the once Wise lovers aflame with the fires of wisdom had become a bore.
An amazing intrigue started when the Saptrishi’s heard that their wives had mothered the child of Agni. Accusations of infidelity were coldly thrown. The Rishis hoped to rouse Agni once more by their angry displays but all they succeeded in doing was insult and distance themselves from their wives.
The offended and bored wives withdrew themselves as the flame of Love no longer burned, they travelled to another part of the sky, cutting the connection to their former lovers – hence the name of their constellation, known collectively as the Kritta: literally ‘to cut’.
The 7 Mother Stars of the Kritta constellation are in a portion of the astral plane which gives form to human souls on their last junction in incarnation upon the earth plane.The Saptrishi constellation of the Big Dipper can be said to give form to the mental and causal bodies of the soul whereas the Krittas of the (Pleiades) give birth and form to the astral emotional and subtle bodies that more closely connected to the physical plane.The Mother stars are the last star junction the spirit crosses until it comes to the plane of Bhumi (Earth) where it is physically birthed by the Mother.
The myth shows how the Seven Mother Stars separated from the 7 Rishi Stars. This manoeuvre created a bridge from the spirit realms to the Earth. This happened in a previous Manvantara (inestimably earlier age) This created a linking of the causal/mental plane to the astral/earth orbit, through a bridge like connection from the 7 Mothers to their once beloveds – the 7 Rishis.
An autonomy between the astral and the causal is something that is built through the astral thread known as the Antankarana. This thread exists within the spine and is equally a thread that connects the causal plane to the astral and furthermore to the earth through the intermediary of the Stars we are speaking of. By bringing the 7 mother elements into balance, we bring a balance to the chakras in the body. The seven mothers are important to balance and bring into harmony if we are to establish connection to the causal plane and beyond.
The Mothers give astral form to the physical (Dhatus) or body constituents. Each Matrika (Mother) rules a particular chakra which in turn rules a particular Dhatu.
The 7 Mothers are listed as:
1) Varahi: bone, Mooladhar Chakra 2) Indrani: marrow, Shaktistan Chakra 3) Kaumari: muscle, Manipur Chakra 4) Vaishnavi: fat, Heart Chakra 5) Brahmani: skin, Vishudd Chakra 6) Maheshvari: blood, Agna Chakra 7) Chamunda: Bindu in the man, Rajas in the female; Sahasra Chakra.
Chamunda is the leader of the 64 Tantric Yoginis, her seat is on top of the human body where she waits for our death. Chamunda favours the seat of a corpse.
She is the Maha Shakti behind the 64 yoginis are who are mentioned in, and have been assimilated into, the scriptures of India. The wisdom of the 64 Yogis takes form in Tantric circles of initiation, outside of these circles, there is little known about them other than the weaving into scriptural mythology. The mantras and ritual practices that relate to the 64 yoginis involve very powerful formulas and rituals that have never been under the star of common knowledge.
Just like the temples of the 64 yoginis themselves in remote places, many unknown outside of Tantric circles and often in difficult to reach places. The 64 yoginis are the keepers of the 64 types of Indian arts known as Kaula. The door to those arts goes through the Goddess Chamunda.
She gets her name from the fact that she consumed the Asuras (demons) Chanda and Munda. These are the astral-Chandu and mental-Munda forces in ourselves that we have lost connection to through dissociation and unconsciousness.
The yogi works to associate the Chandu and Munda in unifying centralised awareness so that Chamunda May come about.
These forces when moving inward in a centripetal direction are a nourishing force of Shakti that brings us life and arouses the grand Chamunda power that is key to the 64 Yogini powers: – Just as in the story where Chamunda consumes Chanda and Munda after first sucking out their blood into her very centre.
When the movement of Chanda and Munda moves outward in a centrifugal direction (away from the centre) then we have dispersion of Shakti and spiritual turmoil..
The force and violent ruthlessness of Chamunda represent an intense focus and unseating effort of the yogi to call Shakti back home.
GODDESSES & GODS DEVI AND DEVA
When looking at the names of 7 Mother Goddesses, one can see the reflection to Gods that they are related to.
Brahmani, is the Shakti of Brahma the creative energy.
Indrani is the Shakti of Indra, the energy of thunder and lightning.
Kaumari is the Shakti of Kumar, God of War and energy of Mangala the planet Mars.
Vaishnavi is the Shakti of Vishnu
Varahi is the earthly Shakti of Varaha
Maheshvari is the Shakti of Maheshvara. A name of Shiva.
Chamunda is the Shakti of Bhairav the terrifying form of Shiva.
The 7 Mother’s are the Devi’s of the 7 Deva’s. Each Devi is a form of the Deva that is more tangible and manifest. This is inherent in their roles as the 7 Mothers.
The Mother gives form and birth to terrestrial life whereas the Deva stands for the ultra-terrestrial principle upon the mental and causal levels. Devi is the expression and shape of the principle in motion and manifestation. If the Deva is the Seed then Devi is the flower and fruit. The tree of life is the interplay of Devi and Deva.
The 7 Mother’s represent the more tangible physical form of Tejas, which becomes Ojas. Ojas is the capacity of the emotional/physical organism to contain and distribute the fire of Tejas.
Tejas can be defined as the inner spiritual power of focus that touches upon subtle spiritual realms. The ability to access these subtle energies is one thing but to integrate these energies into the physical and emotional level is another thing entirely.
In the Tantric line of secret teaching, the 7 Devas represent 7 forms of Tejas that find union, completion and expression along with the 7 Devi’s through the medium of the 7 chakras.
The Earth Goddess Bhumi for example relates to the earth chakra and the subtle form of earth. She resides in and rules the base chakra – Mooladhar.
The Earth Goddess is also known as Bhudevi.
These are alternate names of the Matrika Varahi. She has the form of a boars head with a woman’s body and rides on a buffalo and is the Devi Shakti of the Deva Varaha. When working with the Earth element, the Tantrics might then for example, employ the buffalo Mudras to engage the earth element.
THE MYTH OF THE EARTH
The myth tells how the Earth goddess Varahi had sunk down deep into the waters and how the great wild-boar-headed god Varaha came from the heights beyond the physical descending down (Tejas meeting Ojas).
Varaha had the body of a man and the head of a wild boar. In his Love he tried to save his beloved, the Earth Goddess Varahi. He fearlessly dived into the waters and hooked the earth upon his tusks and brought her to balance on the waters once again.
Beneath her he installed a magical Elephant, Turtle and a snake to make sure she would never sink back into the depths. The Symbolism of the earth can be seen here with the elephant and the turtle and snake are two creatures that articulate between both water and earth.
This story is rich with symbols that point to the balance between the water and earth and the respective chakras – the Mooladhar, earth chakra, with the Shaktistan, water chakra.
The earth element inside us in our base chakra can be submerged in the sea of the second sexual chakra. The optimal place is when the earth is in balance with the waters, possessing the stability and foundation of an elephant, and the articulation of a turtle and snake between earthly and watery worlds. The Kundalini serpent which lives at the base of our being is indicated clearly in the myth.
The Asuras (demons) are the opposite of the Devas,
In the myth an Asura Hiranyaksha who dragged the Earth Goddess into the waters represents the unbalanced forces of the sexual chakra, which in the story had become imbalanced in relation to the earth chakra. The demon first emptied the earth of water which made her Tamasic (heavy) he then kidnapped her and then took the earth Goddess underwater. By this gesture, he submerged stability and balance.
The Tantrics practically study themselves through Tantric methodologies, to see where they might themselves be submerging their own stability and compromising their base chakra.
The base chakra supports the whole chakric system. It is to do with our home and our integrity. And like the powerful Deva Varaha we must sometimes also dare to dive into the very depths of our chakric themes to recover our Shakti. A wild boar knows no taboos of putting it’s snout and tusks into all manner of matters and types of matter – just as Vahara recovered his Shakti Varahi.
This myth of Varaha and Varahi relates to the relationship between the lower two chakras. There are myths that relate to other chakras and the relations between the chakras.
For example the Lion god Narashima ripped the entrapped Shakti out of the solar plexus of Hiranyakashipu in another myth.
The demon who took Varahi down into the waters was actually the brother of Hiranyakashipu who is also known as Hiranyaksha. The two brothers are tied up in the themes of the Granthis (energetic blocks/knots) at the world of the Chakras below the Kalabandh – the centre of the body at the diaphragm which separates the upper reflections of expressionary chakras from the Base powers of the chakras below where the two brothers represent the Granthis.
Energetic blocks are the psycho/physical Granthis, as the yogis call them.
They are made up of unconscious themes that the yogi seeks to resolve through Tantric means.
When we go a bit further into the myth of the two brothers – who cause chaos in the lower chakras through an unbalanced handling of force – we see that they were once the divine gate keepers to the Heart chakra. However, they failed to do their job satisfactorily and thence fell from grace and became the energies of chaos that haunt the lower chakras below the Kalabandh.
STORIES & MEANINGS
These stories may easily seem like fantastical fairy tales and they are, but further in stories are encoded yogic principles, one could see the moral aspect very easily and this is often latched onto by the religious expressions and sentiments projected upon such stories. Such stories abound in scriptural texts in vast amounts of variations. The stories are ancient and archetypal realities that point to inner elements that we experience on the yogic voyage. The symbols of the chakras and their significances are woven in to the stories, they can easily be shaped to represent moral codes as is often done by the religious institutions, but much more is in the stories than mere morality.
The lines of myth pre-date scripture, scripture has been a human attempt to install stories and information systematically. Very often what happens is that those stories take on the meanings that organised religions assign to them.Tantrics do not really have scriptures, even if there are a few ancient writings under the name of Tantra.Tantra is a subject kept alive and distributed carefully through oral, magical and practical means. The stories are often imparted by elders who may have little or no scriptural insight.
The stories are numerous and point at inner realities that relate to the yogic cosmology of the universe that we are.
They are at once teaching stories and double up as stories portraying energy principles detailing the cosmology of the human psycho/physical system and the macrocosmic celestial movements of planetary and atmospheric influences.
For example the above detailed story of the Vahara power inside us tells of how the base chakra can be submerged by the second chakra if the Shakti is lived or even ‘unlived’ to an unbalanced greater extent through the second chakra. The Vahara power is the active side of Varahi who represents the passive earth element, an active earth power is then needed to care for the base chakra if we are to keep the earth mother inside of us in a state of nourishing release or ‘receptivity’.
Another name of Varahi is Bhumi.
In another story, Bhumi who is the Earth Goddess married the sky father God Dyaus Pitir (literally sky father) together they birthed a daughter called Usha who is the Goddess of the dawn that opens her eyes at twilight.
Polarities coming together to give birth to the new is implicit in the story.The story of Varahi shows how, if we do not find the active earth principle within ourselves, then our home life falls into chaos and reliance upon anything but our own earth powers.
Just as in the Story where Varahi is submerged by the unconscious and unbalanced waters of the second chakra, Varahi represents the nourishing aspect of home life.
Vahara, on the other hand, is the active earth power that places the earth elephant, serpent and turtle beneath her to keep stability, these second creatures both being creatures that can articulate between both earth and water, or between the base and second chakra.
The Seven Mothers are responsible for the creation of life in the womb.
They introduce the 7 forms of Tejas which relate to the subtle principles symbolised by the Deva’s. The Mothers bring these elements into the emotional and physical realm through the 7 physical constituents called the Datus: blood, bone, skin, marrow, bindi/rajas, muscle fat.
This applies equally to the grounding of ultra-terrestrial realities to the terrestrial level as it does to the bringing of nourishment and life to a child in the womb.
The 7 Mother’s feature pivotally in Tantric ritual when addressing childbirth and the care and development of children.
7 types of Malady are traceable to the 7 Mother’s being offended.For example if the first Mother Varahi is not honoured then this effects the earth element and the bones. Bone is the Dhatu (bodily element) under the rulership if Varahi.There are particular uses of Bija mantras that access the realm of the earth element and bring it into balance.
Accidents also come under the rulership of Varahi as they are physical manifestations of psychic energies.
Falling, or having something fall upon oneself is a malady under the eye of Varahi.
The things that wound or offend the earth element are to be considered when attempting to make peace with Varahi. Drugs for example radically unground the physical Datus and unseat Varahi.
Varahi is at the base of all the Datus, even though bone is her speciality.
She is the foundation of the whole system. Indeed she resides in the base Chakra. Her Mudra is sometimes known as Bhumi Mudra or the earth triangle and is most often the starting place of Tantric yogic ritual. Varahi needs special attention as the base of our being must be honoured for the structure to live well.
Tantrics who work very much in trance and the astral realms of ritual equally risk unseating Varahi by unbalancing the physical Dhatus.
Prolonged levels of focus in subtle realities can draw Tejas and Ojas apart.
In order to keep Varahi in her seat and happy, the Tantric must take care to not get un-lodged from the earth seat by excessive wayward travels to the spirit realms. Such travels are not easily accessed for most are require a degree of siddhi and focus, so this mainly pertains to those who are deeply living in intensive daily Tantric sadhana.
For such practitioners it is important to find a way to the earth seat of Varahi. There are methods to ground the energies, sometimes tobacco is used as a crude method but it is far from being recommended.
The magnetism of babies and young children, animals and forests also grounds the physical layers and it is good for far-traveling Tantrics to associate with such.
VARAHI RULES THE HOME
It is said that if Varahi is pleased she brings Love between Mothers and Fathers. She brings love from the parents to the children and back to the parents from the children.
The children represent the underworld of Patala. They are in a process of growing and manifesting from the seed of potential born of a dark womb.
The mother is the physical/astral realm of Bhumi. The Mata Tatva spreads a nourishing energy through the astral level and spreads to the physical. Woman is connected to this through her rajas (womb energy). This principle is most starkly seen in pregnancy.
The father represents the mental/causal world known as Svarga.
The Bindu seed has the action to move in this direction and so the man connects to this realm. Again, this principle can be seen to play out actively in the creation of life.
For these 3 elements of Mother, Child and Father to be in balance with each other – practically and figuratively speaking – Varahi must be pleased. These 3 energetic interplays can be looked at closely to be seen to play out on many levels.
Homes without Love are homes where Varahi’s seat is comprised.Whatever the constellation of the home may be, whether abounding with family or whether it be the solitary home, it is made up of this movement of energy, regardless of gender, or partnership or child-fullness or childlessness, a home is dependent upon these aforementioned exchanges of energy. The articulation of these energies in fluid motion make for a good home life.
Every man has the child and woman inside him. As every woman has the man and child inside her.
The physicality creates a magnetic current that makes an energy more present.. a man has constituents in his body that a woman does not have and vice versa, regardless of sexual or gender orientation, the energies we are talking about are magnetic principals that do not relate to a socio-stereotype of roles.
We have taken the model of mother, father and children to express movements of energy. Whatever the state of our home we may see how the balance of the 3 elements expressed in Patala, Bhumi Svarga must be in harmony. We can say underworld/astral, earth plane and spirit world just as readily as child, mother, father.
The intonation of mantras is a bridge between the world of Tejas and Ojas, as making sound is the physical feel-able activity of a subtle form of sound. If a mantra is said internally without voicing it physically then it builds Tejas internally.
The 7 types of Tejas are addressed very specifically by inner concentrations on 7 types of sound, when voicing these sounds it gives them tangible form and applies the energy to be converted to Ojas.
This is anthar mantra (inner sound) and the opposite is bhar mantra (externalized sound).
There is to be sometimes noted a change in the internally voiced Bija than in the externally voiced.
Tantrics are able to accomplish siddhi’s such as Healing if they build up a power of inner Tejas through inner mantra. The voicing of an internally empowered mantra unleashes tremendous force that is dependent upon the degree to which it has been empowered.
In the same way that the car needs petrol to drive, the engine of ritualistic undertakings requires fuel.
Tejas is the fuel and Ojas is the car, we could say.
HONOURING THE 7 MOTHERS AFTERTHOUGHTS
When the 7 types of Energy are honoured then there is a harmony in the Chakras.
For example, if we were taking a journey, we would need to make sure we have the respective necessities with us. We would take the required and suitable clothing to accommodate the weather, we would secure the necessary travel documents and tickets to allow the journey, and we would arrange for necessary nourishment and accommodation. If all the elements of taking such a journey are in balance then there would be a satisfactory outcome to reaching the destination.
If one element were out of balance, such as not having a ticket or not taking warm enough clothes for the climate then the whole journey could be thrown off balance.
The structure of the Chakras and the chakric life that we live needs balance for harmony to prevail. It is a careful undertaking to learn about our own specific chakric life and the care it needs as we go through the journey of life. Every person has their own melody, rhythm and music of the Chakras that takes listening to know just how to honour and move by it.
The remedies that nourish our chakras can be found through self-study and Tantric practices. By experientially investigating the psychic and physical rhythms of our make-up, we can discover the poisons and the remedies that create or destroy Life and Love in us.
The tantric practitioner takes a step of self-reliant autonomy that sets aside any standard system of conduct. The tantric becomes his or her own physician as they investigate the dynamics of their use of energy. Actions that we ourselves do are investigated in Tantra for their life giving or life taking potentialities.
The 7 mothers each have their realm of influence through their respective mantras and remedies. Seven types of flower are known in Tantra to that create remedies for example. Food crystals, metals, types of Sadhana (spiritual practice) and many manner of things exert influence upon the chakras through a psycho/physical medium.
By correspondence and connection, each of the 7 energy constellations relate to respective elements of influence.
Just as there are beneficial currents of the seven mothers which are known as Amrit (remedies), there are also malefic currents known as Halahala (poisons).
The correct measure of elixir and poison is needed in balance to arouse harmony in the chakras.The state of a chakra can itself turn poison to elixir and elixir to poison.
The 7 mothers are our celestial parents who are connected to us through the chakras – In the same way that the parents are always connected to a child spiritually, before and after birth and into adulthood and beyond.
A great field of influence exists through the parents to the child through the chakric system, especially that which the parent does in the younger years of the child, bears heavy influence upon the child energetically.
THE WOMB OF LIFE
The seven Mothers are the creators of life in the womb. They reveal 7 types of the creative fire of Tejas in the wombs of the 7 chakras.
The 7 stars of the Pleiades are a celestial form of Tejas that is revealed and honoured by Tantrics on the August Dark Moon. The seven stars reveal themselves by a bluish diamond-like glow.
There are other points in the year when these Star Goddesses come into their power. We shall come to those days later in more detail upon the respective ritual days.
August is a time of maturing and the first beginnings of harvest. The Matrikas play their role in this fruitful development. This beginning of ripening applies to fruit and harvest as well as to human life. The time of harvesting the fruit of the astral forces and their influence on physical life is now. The ancients who lived so much in natural rhythms, as to be able to feel and see the influence of celestial and planetary currents, chanted mantras to match the vibrations of the stars and set up ritual conditions for the spirits of the 7 mothers to me welcomed and pleased.
When the 7 mothers are offended by us going against nature ‘and our own nature’, they are said to bring disharmony in the area of birth.
This applies to physical both as well as the birth of our visions.
The mothers are pleased when we extend ourselves through tapasya (yogic technique and effort) to touch the stars.
Women who have problems conceiving children would be directed Tantricly, for example, to balance the bodily elements through the learning and chanting of the corresponding Bija mantras.
The Bija Mantras (seed syllables) of the 7 mothers have connection to the nadis (energy lines) that articulate the 7 dhatus (bodily substances) to and from the womb and areas of reproduction.
The 7 Matrikas care for children by shining favourable fortune upon them.
Children are still in the range of influence of the celestial currents as they are not so fully incarnated from the spiritual to the earthly yet through the passage of development and time.
If the parents are out of balance with any of the Matrika elements, either physically or psychically, then the child reaps that unbalance because of their close connection to the parents.
The prayers of Mothers for the well-being of children is the conventional interpretation of this ritual day.When looking at this New Moon festival from the Tantric perspective, we see that this ancient balancing ritual is done for the welfare of children.Hence it is called the Mothers Moon Ritual to tantrics – Mata Amvasya Puja.
It is Tantricly carried out by both men and women, both child-full and child-less people for the pleasing of the seven protective Mothers, the ritual arouses innocence and heals both the inner and outer child.
This ritual has as a root the practice of formulas for adults to set up favourable spiritual conditions in their psycho/physical mechanism, so that the children and children to come would be freed from ancestral karmas, shadows and ill-favoured imprints.
Ritual practices and Healing at this time focuses on freeing oneself of their own ancestral karmas so that the child in us can relinquish itself of inner battles.
By establishing good connection with the 7 Motherly spirt energies of the Matrikas that exist within us – reflected and empowered on this day by the Star forces that rule them –
As we move through the year celebrating the tantric festivals we would like to introduce you to a lesser know divinity, and yet a very important one within the Tantric system: Hayagriva. Hayagriva is the Horse headed God, and the full Moon of August is celebrated as his birthday in the ancient Indian festival known as Hayagriva Jayanti, the birthday of the Horse-headed God. Tantric law has its roots deeply at the base of this festival, mapping out the mythological and energetic significance of this day that honours the Horse God.
Tantra goes into practical and magical invocation of the Horse energy by specific Yog practices to awaken our own inner Horse power and raise the Kundalini energy into full consciousness.
The Horse breath is a pranayama (breathing) practice that is practiced upon this ritual Moon. It is s breath that simulates the sound of a horse, this pranayam stimulates the nerves connected to the third eye and assists in giving one insight and vision into the two halves of ourselves (the dark and light parts of each one of us) and how they relate to each other. The Chorrah, or Horse challana (movement), is a Tantric Mudra of moving as if one were upon horseback. There are numerous asanam in which this is done, but mostly it is performed in the squatting position. Along with inner horse Mudra these practices will be woven into this nights ritual. On this night, Tantric wisdom harnesses the planetary energy that is present on this lunar junction. The lunar house named Ashvini is the Horse constellation that is touched upon the astral plane by the August full Moon. It gives us spiritual access to the powers of the Horse. The Horse constellation is connected to the star brothers, the Ashvins, who are the divine healing horsemen.
The Ashvins are two healing twins who ride the starry heavens. When their influence is in orbit, they bring dead parts of us to life. The Horse Stars bring power to those places that have fallen into Tamas (resignation). These Healing star brothers are the representatives of Usha, the Goddess of the dawn who stands for the birth of new things.
These are the energies that we shall be working with upon the astral plane on this coming Full Moon.
The Human & the Horse
The Horse is a powerful solar animal. The Horse has an unparalleled stamina, perhaps for this reason the Horse has been used by humans for transportation. Once it was common practice to own a horse as a form of fulfilling labour duties and providing transport. The grace and elegance of a horse is still something admired and much sought after and represented in the culture by things such as fashion icons or horse racing, dressage, festival parades and such. The beauty and capabilities of the horse may well have been something working in its ill-favour as horses become an often mistreated ‘product’ of selfish human satisfaction. Perhaps this relationship between the human and the Horse mirrors our own inner misbalance between the human and the animal (horse) sides of our nature.
The Horse headed god steps-up upon this ritual festival to reveal the balance of nature within ourselves; the balance between the instinct of nature and the human will.
The constellations are in favour as Hayagriva the Horse headed man opens the portal of balance upon the astral plane at the Full Moon in August.
The human animal in its potential has at once its hands in the ‘civilised’ world and its hooves upon the green grass of nature.
The confining and domesticating of wild animals is something that we see played out in a larger scale. The captivity of animals to exist without their natural climate in which to express their natural instincts is something that in our modern culture we may have got completely conditioned to. We might be so used to it as to even take it as a normality.
It is worth recalling that, the Western project of Enlightenment has been one of domination of Man over Nature, as opposed to living in equilibrium with nature – the objective of ‘Eastern Enlightenment’ and in particular of Tantra.
The reigning in and confinement of instincts is equally paralleled in the human. Our human nature may have become confined within religious and spiritual dictums, or it may have been harnessed to pull the cart of commerce and capitalisation as the authentic human being gets overridden by other gods and myths. Many things we might take to be normal are brought into question when and if natural law unfolds. Tantra is the path of attempting to reveal and unfold Nature’s Laws within ourselves.
THE MYTH OF HAYAGRIVA
Hayagriva is mythologised as a great yogi who acquired immense power, which he couldn’t handle and therefore ended up misusing. The myth tells how of he fell into the shadow of unconsciousness and threatened the very existance of creation. Hayagriva was a black horse headed yogi who had become so powerful that the power went to his head. He was driven by one-sided unconscious forces that were heedless to any effect, for the unconscious shadow was outside of the eye of awareness. Unstoppable was he in his destruction, just like the horse that is able to run at great speed without getting breathless. This is why Hayagriva represents the unstoppable force of Prana. By his unstoppable force he reigned darkness upon the world, so much so that he even caused the sun to fall.
The world threatened to fall into complete darkness as the black horse ran amok in his self-glorifying dance of destruction. In this state Hayagriva represents the unconscious use of power without a balanced natural will to guide him.
From the celestial spheres above Hayagriva was met by the other side of his shadow, his light form, a white horse that had galloped along with him all along, but outside of Hayagriva’s consciousness.
It is sometimes so, that the unconscious shadow-forces possess one and create a darkened life void of awareness.
The black horse suffered for his relentless blindness and held a secret prayer for salvation from his dead ended path. And so the white form of Hayagriva was called forth and into awareness when the mindless shadow rampage had reached the furthest extent of blindness possible. A war and struggle of epic proportions between the two was brought forth until a balance between shadow and light was restored.
Tantricly speaking, once the forces of the shadow become known, they can be gradually and carefully integrated from the unconscious and often destructive levels they play out in our lives. Once seen, known and worked with, our shadow parts can be put to use creatively to unfold in more constructive and mysterious ways of using power in our lives.
The integration of the shadow, the core objective of Tantra, is symbolised in the myth of Hayagriva. Seeing the Shadow in wakefulness and not in a dream state that it so easily casts upon us is a grand undertaking.
The Black Hayagriva represents unconscious forces in the shadow such as jealousy, selfish interest over others and the will to be superior. These being all powers that can’t be stamped out, but powers to be redirected and liberated from unconscious programs and traumas that give them their birth and power. They become creative forces when the two horses, black and white, are unified and work with each other. This is the birth of the Horse god within us.
It is the unified Hayagriva who carries the Sun up each day at sunrise and lets her rest at night. He comes to know both parts equally, light and darkness, and doesn’t try to keep the Sun down in the night nor up during the day. He accepts the natural existence of both and lets them express themselves equally. Representing the strength of our prana and how by balancing the black and white horses of breath – the in and out breath is implied here – we can raise Shakti from the unconscious levels to the levels of awareness. The unified Hayagriva is the inner alchemy of the black and white horse – the objective of the ritual gathering we will undertake on this Full Moon.
Naaga Puja is also known as Naaga Panchami. A time honoured Indian festival, both for orthodox worship and the Tantric lines, it is a ritual time of working with the spirit of the snake.
Practices of the Snake Night
Upon this night, Tantrics engage in inner and outer snake mudras and ritual practice to balance their energy involvements upon the astral plane. The junction of celestial energies upon this festival day makes it a most favourable time for working with the astral forces. Bija mantras relating to the snake are chanted along with the antar (inner) Naag Mudras. Various asanam are practiced to help assist one in opening the astral portals in the psycho/physical constitution.
In Tantric practice, there are many particular physical snake mudras which help free our perception and vision from astral interference. For example, Naagini mudra is a radical position of body and mind that embodies the snake quality strongly in our system, it establishes a strong connection to the world of the snakes. In fact it refers directly to a woman who is both human and serpent at the same time. Working with inner and outer eagle practices also forms part of the Tantric Naagas Panchami ritual as the eagle and snake are intimately connected.
The spirits and energies of the Astral plane are of numerous kinds. Those that live in the most unconscious recesses are known to Tantrics as the Naagas. The Naagas are spirits and energies that can have deep effect upon our consciousness. They link to us and live and operate from the most unconscious level of our being.
Naaga Lokh – realms of the underworld
Naaga ‘Lokh’ (realm) is one of the many dimensions of the astral world. We might think of it as a parallel universe where we exist perhaps only in a semi-conscious or unintegrated state. The work of the Tantric Naaga Puja Ritual is to find the part of our human consciousness that dwells unconsciously in the World of the Naaga and bring it to a state of awakened awareness.
The Naaga realms are places where our Shakti is invested in a semi-aware state of consciousness particularly in relation to base and sexual chakra themes. These can be places where we have blind spots and lose our power. By becoming aware of our unconscious investments and the patterning we have within ourselves, we may relinquish the invested Shakti.
Naaga Lokh exists in the underworld. This is not a ‘hell’ as might be understood by the term underworld, although it can be depending on what kind of relationship we have to the Naaga spirits within ourselves. The underworld is known as Patala to the yogis. It has seven divisions and each semi division corresponds to one of the seven chakras. Naaga Lokh is the deepest of them all. It is a deep ‘heaven’ and is said to have more beauty than the upper world, with the Naaga as keepers of its most precious jewels, the Naagmani.
Some say that it is mere myth that a cobra has a jewel underneath its hood. Many speculations have ensued around the Naagmani, and many commercial ventures of selling such pseudo-Snake stones are undertaken in the name of Naagmani.
Real Naagmani’s are very rare and can never be procured easily. Only very specific and extremely rare snakes carry the precious stone. Some tantrics may gain such a stone by very special procedures that involve a deep degree of magical knowledge and accomplishment. The Naagmani is sometimes handed down as a power object among the Siddha’s in their initiations.
The 3 worlds and their 7 divisions
According to the Tantrics, there exist three worlds. The first two are portals to the astral world:
Patala – the underworld of seven divisions, connected to the seven chakras and connected astrally to the earth;
Bhumi or Pritvi – the Earthly world which includes the stars and physical manifestation of planets. This physical world we live in has seven divisions of manifested energy which are expressed through the chakras. These chakras start at the terrestrial base levels to bring and go all the way up to the ultra-terrestrial chakras in the head that are finer the frequencies. Individuals and collectives in the physical world may live in all manner of energy constellation of the seven realities of the chakras. Naturally we move between these seven states of being according to many factors, one being the influence of Lunar currents upon our constitution.
Swarga – the third world – is the upper world beyond the physical that is connected to us on earth through the portals of the stars. Again this is divided into seven levels – each of which corresponds and intersects with the manifestations of Chakras within us on earth.
We could think of the Swarga realms as the fruit and flowers of the tree, the earth could be likened to the shade of the tree along with the taste and scent of its offerings. The Patala underworld would then be the roots.
These worlds are given various names according to the district or the bent of the school. For example in left hand Tantra (the way of the Heart): The realm of Patala is the world of the Crow – Kah. The realm of Swarga is the world of the Swan – Hamsa. Bhumi is the Earth Goddess who stands between their flights, she is the place where the birds meet and depart in the ever swinging dance between moondark and moonlight.
At the Full Moon, the upper Swarga World of the Swan is most active, as it is in the ascending half of the lunar month. At the Dark Moon, the underworld of the Crow…Patala is most active, as it is on the descending half of the lunar month.
By balancing and addressing our being in one of the worlds, we balance and address the reflection of that world in all its 3 levels:
1) The unconscious 2) The physical manifest level of the body 3) The level of consciousness
These 3 layers interrelate and are inseparable. By addressing unconscious areas we bring the corresponding shift of power to a change in our consciousness and the body changes in the way Praan (breath) and Shakti relate to it.
We often have a familiar station of residence that is our main chakra of issue with which we are concerned. Through this chakra we may predominantly express and live out our life.
The Chakras are stations or even whole worlds we could say and Tantrics are travellers between the worlds. Tantrics start at the base underworld levels. They work also with much physical Mudra and spiritual astral vision techniques, but a lot of the focus of the Tantric pursuit comes back towards opening and untying the knots of the unconscious Granthis in the underworld.
The rituals of Tantrics take into account atmospheric, celestial, lunar and seasonal shifts of energy and the portals that these movements create in relation to the 3 worlds. What drives a person to such Tantric travels of traversing and connecting unknown territories? is a question well worth pondering!
Shiva and the 3 Worlds
Shiva is the one who is free of the shadows of the unconscious, or rather free of the overshadowing of consciousness. The state of Shiva that is our potential is to become aware on all the spiritual planes, waking from dreams and integrating and disentangling ourselves from unconscious energy ties to the numerous astral realms.
Mythology often tells of competitions between the Gods. In one such instance Shiva revealed the extent of his power, burning through the three worlds with the power of his awareness.
This fire of awareness and psychic power is known as Tejas. It is strong when the things that belong to the upper world of consciousness are gathered and extricated from the places they are intertwined in the underworld of the unconscious. The myth tells how the beam of Tejas extended to infinity beyond the underworlds and the upperworlds, it’s end was sought hopelessly but never to be found. Shiva himself was the beam. The great Lingam of energy.
Ling refers to the Male generative power and Gam to the Female creative power. Shiva was the pinnacle of both of these forces in balance in all three worlds.
Shiva revealed himself as a vast beam of Tejas fire which shot out 12 snakes from the 12 Naaga Granthi (snake knot) portals of his body. These 12 portals relate to the body’s 12 snake meridians.
The 12 snakes of Tejas fire were attracted to 12 magnetic places of power on the earth – marked by the 12 Jyotirlingam temples spread across India. Jyotir means ‘sacred flame’. Each of the 12 temples is related to one of 12 forms of Shiva and these 12 forms are also names for the 12 (Naaga) Granthi (energy knots) of the human organism, with the the temples located diametrically upon the human body. Each temple has a Bija mantra known to Tantrics which can open the related places energy knots in the psycho/physical system. Sophisticated Tantric methods of bodily asan along with Mudra and inner psychic work unties the Granthis and brings the human into a balance in and between the three worlds.
A particular magnetic place of power upon the earth can open the particular corresponding Granthi in the body. Obstinate karmic blocks and both psychic and physical impediments can be healed by going to the corresponding places of magnetism. Such places of power can equally disrupt psychic and physical forces in the human system.
The 7 Stars of the Saptrishi
As discussed in a previous newsletter, Sapt means ‘seven’ and Rishi means ‘Seer’. The 7 stars of the Saptrishi constellation are connected to the 7 chakras and represent portals through which the 7 types of human soul are incarnated.
One star type may be reflected or represented more strongly in a particular culture, group of people or individual. Though astral forces of like-kind, as well as like-kind types of being do tend to group together and create a defined line of consensual reality, this is not a clear cut subject with hard and fast rules.
A Tantric practitioner attempts to know all 7 worlds of the 7 Stars of the Saptrishi and may attempt to move out of their comfort zone and familiar port of residence – discovering worlds shaded from view by unconsciousness and worlds far beyond their star of origin. When the voyage has gone so far and all astral worlds are made a home of…then the Yogi becomes one of the Natanaaga, the celestial dancers.
The Turtle Star
‘Kacchaapa’ refers to one of the Saptrishi star constellations and means ‘turtle’ in reference to its elliptical turtleshell-like shape.
Mythology tells that the Turtle Star Rishi Kacchaapa fathered 84 crore (Indian numerical measurement) of all manner of species of astral spirit, earth creatures and plants including the Naagas. From the very monstrous astral ghouls known as Rakshasas to the very Benign Gahandarvas. Even Garuda, the King of Birds himself is his son. All such being relate to the earth or water elements, even if only as an opposite, as in the case of the bird (sky) relating to the snake (earth) and each came through this one (turtle star) in a previous Manvantara (age).
The Turtle Star is an astral portal to the earth plane for the Naagas, connecting them to us energetically and physically at the level of the base and sexual chakras. It is to be remembered that a snake is a creature that is close to the earth, it can swim, much in the same way a turtle is versatile in these two elements. Hyper aware in their world, paradoxically, the Naaga spirits that incarnate on the earth can be profoundly tamasic (sleepy) and revolve in the themes and shadows of these first two chakras. They are usually astral brings and realities or illusions depending on the insight of our vision. Just as a Naaga may incarnate in the human realm, so a human on earth may enter the Naaga worlds through work with the chakras as star portals worlds.
Awakening Garuda, King of Birds
Garuda is often known as the vahana (vehicle) of Vishnu. Garuda is half human and half eagle. Known commonly as the enemy of all serpents, his Tejas (spiritual fire) is not dimmed or put to sleep by their slippery world. The astral world of the Naagas is seen in awareness when the Tejas is relinquished and brought to flame.
Two fires recognised by the Tantrics are worked with and brought to their rightful balance. Tejas – cooling and creative. Agni – hot and destructive.
This very principle of the human bird represents the becoming conscious within the unconscious worlds of the Naagas. A human with the possibility of flight, represented by the wings of Garuda. He is one who has penetrated the world of unconsciousness in an awakened state, able to see the dreams that steal Shakti from the Astral plane and bring her back.
By flying spiritually into the astral plane with the sharp vision of the eagle Guruda we are able to awaken from unconscious dreams of ‘illusory reality’ in the worlds of the Naagas. For Garuda the Naagas are no threat, his vision and direction are one pointed (Dharana). He represents the ascent of Kundalini.
Awakening Garuda within ourselves means disentangling our energy from the illusions that bind it in the astral plane, with the skill of an eagle. Garuda is also known as Ellh in Tantra, and finds his expression in the Ellh Mudras (eagle locks). The Tantric becomes Garuda when working with astral illusions, dreams and shadows. The sharp penetrating vision of the eagle is needed for such a venture of insight.
Taking the Dance of Shiva
In many depictions, Shiva wears snakes at all the major energy junctions of the physical locations of the Granthis, even wearing the snake necklace. He wears them as ornaments because he is friend and lord of the snake spirits of the astral plane, and therefore called Naaganath. The Naaga spirits are no longer knots upon the energy centres of his physical and astral body. Shiva is one who has awakened from the dream of the Naagas.
Legend has it that when we attempt Tantra, we are taking the dance of Shiva. Through the astral levels of dreams. Shiva lives in us as the lord of dreams, awake in the dreams and illusions of variegated astral realities.The path of Shiva reveals to us where we are yet unconscious.
Shiva is he who opens the doors of Tantric practices. To the locked doors of the Granthis – it is Shiva who gives the keys when we undergo the courageous voyage to face the world of our dreams and illusions. Shiva is the fearless one inside us. Shiva is ever on the path of dreams and reality. He is at once, human and animal, angel and demon, man and woman, dark and light…..and at the same time Shiva is beyond these things. Shiva is the soul within us that is empowered upon the day of Nag Panchami to voyage through the astral.
A focused state of awareness and Kundalini awakening occurs when one de-invests themselves of unconscious patterning. Tantra is such a path of deprogramming. In order to awaken the Queen Shakti of Kundalini, the yogi brings their Shakti back from the realms of the unconscious. On the Path of Kundalini, one confronts the deep layers of oneself and becomes conscious of the spiritual forces within and behind their inner states of unconsciousness.
The portal to the world of the Naaga is opened by the celestial currents on this day of Naaga Panchami. Naaga spirits can give both benefic or malefic effects according to the level of our awareness of the astral planes and relation to Shakti. For example – if we were to walk through a stretch of forest known for its wild dogs with an open basket full of meat, chances are we would be pursued for the aforementioned food. Travelling in a more conscious manner however, we might know how to protect our goods or even befriend the dogs and walk with them as allays.
By denying ourselves access to the realm of the snakes altogether because of its alleged ‘danger’ or difficulty, we deny ourselves access to the reflection of that realm in the upper-world, the world of the Birds.
The Naaga astral planes cannot be shut down or denied, but our relationship to those worlds and spirits changes according to the way we relate to them. Naagas that cause us suffering are brought into a different constellation of relationship with us as we become conscious of previously unconscious uses of Shakti energy. Tantrics see how the path of denial or repression leads to a diminishment of life power. Turning one’s gaze in an easy and pleasant direction and holding it there takes a huge amount of Shakti and can close off our great potentials. Some spiritual paths might work in this way, but Tantra is inclusive of all realms. Sitting in the courageous seat of Shiva, the Tantric comes to know all of existence.
As one becomes familiar and aware of the world of unconsciousness, the journey becomes one of waking up from dreams that shade our power. Shakti is then raised from her latency of being. She lives in the unconscious in varying degrees… intertwined in the unseen half of the reflection of life. Our vision broadens to see the underworld – which is brought to awareness by the exploration that the Tantrics know as the healing path.
Unresolved sexual and base karma themes within the first two chakras of our being are what tie us unconsciously to the world of the Naagas. By bringing our sexual power back from the unconscious places of investment there, we heal deeply rooted imprints – even ancestral sexual imprints that we carry. We naturally and gradually awaken Kundalini as the great amount of invested astral Shakti is brought back to our centre.
For Kundalini to awaken it is as simple as healing the bonds that disempower us and take our powers away with them. Simple yes, but a profound venture to undertake.
This coming New Moon (Monday 20 July 2020 )is under the rulership of Soma. In Tantra, Soma refers to the Moon and carries several connotations.
Soma refers to the sacred and Healing Moon fluid. It is subtle psycho/physical compound that is the essence of Tejas: the cool fire of psychic and spiritual power.
The opposite of Tejas is the hot fire of Agni. Tantra is concerned with bringing both the cooling and the heating fires into a balanced dance with each other. Soma vivifies and creates, whereas Agni consumes and destroys. Both of these fires are needed in the correct proportions in the constituents of our body and spirit.
A balance of colling and heating forces (fires) is required to open the subtle portals of awareness. An abundance of Agni fire in our psycho/physical mechanism is the ill of modern times.
PASSIVITY The forgotten Jewel
The overemphasis of Agni not only consumes the finer currents of awareness but creates stress in the system and ages the body. Soma on the other hand is the juice of eternal youth. There are many forms that Shakti (life energy) expresses herself as, and there are many forms that we live out and are occupied by in the fabric and weave of our lives. We might be expressing or being impressed upon by a particular form of Shakti at the expense of another. This depends on the karmas (actions) that we are involved in and creating. Some forms of Shakti consume Soma and some forms of Shakti vivify the Soma fluid of the Moon within us. Heating pursuits and emotions, extroversion and over activity consume Soma. Introversion, rest and slowing down the currents of being nurture Soma. Noise and speech create Agni – which is hot and active. Silence and stillness create Soma – which is brewed in passivity.
Passivity is a quality that might have disappeared from our lives and a rare jewel of even rarer inaccessibility. Passivity is a secret Moon-type state of consciousness that the Yogis venture to know in the midst of the fires and actions of life.
The Yogis prize Soma and are cautious and careful to nurture, cultivate and preserve it. Soma is psychic power. Soma is the cool healing fire that melts the obstructions in the way of our Shakti life energy. The cool fire of Soma is not as obvious as the active expression of Agni. Soma lives internally and signifies and is experienced as a magical inner life. Perhaps even independent of external factors.
By awareness and being awake in the astral layers of our inner life, we are able to undo knots of karma and unconscious shadows in the Granthis.
Granthis are the psychic and physical energy knots that the Yogis open by the science of a Tantra. The Granthis are tightened by Agni and loosened by Soma. That is why Soma is known as the soft fluid. Cultivating Soma creates liquid softness in both the body and the psyche. Over-stretching Agni creates heat and dryness.
It goes without saying, that an overemphasis on heating practices popular with modern styles of Yoga consumes Soma.
The yoga practices for a woman are radically different than those for a man, as the constitutions are different energetically. The man has a different relationship to Agni and Soma than the relationship a woman has two these two fires. This line of Tantra addresses the subject profoundly.
In present times we live in the Agni fire burns strong and stands in a predominant place. This makes the cultivation of Soma most applicable and most important.
SOMVAAHR The Day of SOMA
In the Tantric calendar, the year is divided into two. We are presently in the half that brings lengthening nights, this half of the year follows the solstice. It is the half of the year that belongs to Soma – as nature is on her introverting darkening journey towards the next solstice switch. This coming new Moon is the first new Moon embedded within the darkening half year of lengthening nights. It is the Moon of Soma and falls on Monday which is known to the Tantrics as Somvaahr, literally: the day of Soma. Giving strength to the God of Softness and simplicity that Soma is. Soma is cultivated in simplifying our lives.
Somnath is a name of Shiva the eternal Yogi that wears the moon in his hair. Somnath lives in the spirit of all souls who tread the path of shining in the dark. The path of the Magic Moonlight.
CHANDRA PARAMPARA New Moon Sequence
Like the moon that shines brightly in the night sky, Soma is cultivated in the dark.
The practice of Kechari Mudra has several preparatory stepsand we will practice some on this ritual. It is initiated and practiced when the Soma Moon is at its strongest. This is a secret science of Mudra that activates points of energy in the system that releases Soma in the form of a hormonal substance that creates profound softness and trance. The new Moon sequence of Chandra Parampara supports this and is ritualistically practiced by the tantrics at this Moon junction.
Chandra Parampara is the Yog sequence of practice that among all the practices of Yog creates the greatest softening and flexibility in the organism, both psychically and physically.
Prayer and ritual under the Soma Moon is a time of opening body and soul towards the deepest levels of softness. Simplification is the way to Soma… and the way of Soma.
“Guru Purnima is a sacred night in the Tantric calendar of giving honour to the teachers and the elders who guide us on the path of wisdom.”
The Full Moon of July is known to the Tantrics as Guru Purnima, ‘The Celebration of the Teacher’, and it has been reserved since aeons to give honour not only to the personalities of one’s teachers, but also to the principle of devotion and effort that the teacher represents.
The Guru is the inner quality that we all possess. The quality of attention to detail and unwavering voyage into the depths of a single subject.
This effort to surpass oneself and attain the hights of wisdoms is said to come from the GuruTatva. Tatva can be translated as ‘element’. The Guru Tatva implies ‘weight’ and ‘heaviness’. The word Guru is often defined in various ways according to modern custom, but the root of the Sanskrit word means ‘ heavy’, whereas the word denoting the aspirant means ‘light’.
A great weight is required to ground wisdom.
To follow the austerity to accomplish any profound skill in a single subject takes weight, and so the Guru represents a weighted immovable force that stands above all for the subject that is represented. The element of devotion exists within all as the Guru Tatva. This is the element that drives us to achieve successes and overcome obstacles, but the Guru Tatva is more than just this. The true essence of the Guru Tatva is a one pointed focus on a branch of wisdom. A wisdom that stands outside of rewards of personal satisfaction and a learning and devotion which differs from the drives of sentimental ambition.
The Guru Tatva aligns the human instrument to very subtle layers of reality.
The art of the Guru is often learned and devoted to from early childhood, passed down the ages in unbroken lines. Our society may give credit to all manner of attainments and skills. The contemporary development of contest shows and a culture of awards to actors and musicians may make it seem like a common place thing to honour those within developed ranges of skill. The difference being that the Guru represents someone who passes on a line of teaching and has as their main interest the passing on of the wisdom and the development of the students art. This is quite a difference of focus to taking credit for or indulging in praise at the accomplishment.
In India it is said that a true Guru lives for his student, which defines his role as teacher.
Shiva is known as the Adi Guru and is legendarily revered as the first Guru. Adi meaning ‘first’ or ‘origin’. He had been absorbed in Samadhi for unknown ages and was discovered in a small Himalayan cave by 7 Seekers of Truth. When they approached Shiva he roused from the trance to be asked what he was doing. He replied he was listening and watching and then he went back into his meditation. 84 years passed until Shiva roused once more only to find himself in the company of the 7 seekers of truth who had been there all along attempting to imitate Shiva. He was pleased at their effort and granted them the secrets of Yog.
The seven seekers became the Sapt (7) Rishis of legend who are said to have spread the yogic arts and inspired the scriptures.The seven Rishis are reflected in the seven stars of the Big Dipper constellation and are activated by the full Moon of July.
It is the drive of the Guru Tatva within us than urges the 7 stars of the chakras to balance within us through the yogic art of listening and watching. The overseeing Guru Tatva is brought to its full power on this Moon Phase and provides the opportunity to develop the gift of devotion. The Guru Moon has passed the halfway mark in the lunar year to shower it’s Moonlit gifts upon us. A gift that is at once saturated in sweetness and also a certain ruthlessness that is required to delve into the twilight regions of wisdoms constellation.
Esoterically the Sapt Rishis represent the 7 chakras within us. The 84 years refer to the 8.4 million different forms of life that are said to exist in Indian philosophical thought.
The myth reveals how the Rishis who represent the 7 chakras came to know all levels of existence through the art of listening and watching that was imparted to them by the Adi Guru Shiva. In the same way the 7 chakras within is come to know of the vastness of existence when we take up the art of listening and watching.
The festival of Guru Purnima takes place annually in the Star constellation of Uttara-Ashada. The Nakshatra (lunar house) of Uttara-Ashada gives the teaching of enduring focus.
Its focus is singular and unwavering – this is the quality of the Guru. The Guru is an uncompromising force that endures in the vision for the very deep and enduring truth at the foundation of being.
Guru Purnima is an age old festival that honours the Guru – the festival occurs when the Full Moon is in Uttara-Ashada. In a world of beliefs, opinions, likes, dislikes, dualistic information and endless modes of self expression of all of these, we risk the very opposite of what Uttara-Ashada wishes to show us. Uttara-Ashada is the very opposite of light dispersing action.
Guru is an adjective that means heavy, just like the Elephant energy that is the prominent earthly expression of his Nakshatra. Just like the weight of memory possessed by an Elephant. Uttara-Ashada gives power to memory and reminds us of the heavy foundations at the roots of being.
The Guru is an elder, Guru Wisdom is the elder base of Wisdom. It is grounded power and maturity. We live in a culture where the elders themselves perhaps do not strive to be elders but rather to emulate the tones of youth.
A mass cultural fabric that does not honour the heavy weighted wisdom of age may indeed be a culture that banishes the Guru altogether. The much needed weight of mature vision is something that is needed in all branches of life and is not exclusive to Tantra.
Politics, technology, agriculture and both secular and spiritual life are places where the Foundation of being is as much needed as in any branch of life. When we banish the roots of being, the fruit fails.
THE ELDER VISION
The Guru is a reminder that the fruit and the root belong together. The Northern node of the Moon is known as Rahu and the Southern Lunar mode is known as Ketu.
The Ancient stories of India mythologize that they were once a single being. The cut that divided them turned them into head and tale, regarded as inauspicious energies, they have much to teach us about the nature of Wisdom and the lunar opposites.
Rahu is the head that consumes all and anything without any regard, it is never satisfied and it does not discriminate between the quality of the quantity that it takes in. Of course the consequences are registered by Ketu the tail.
Neither are inauspicious energies when we learn the maturity of adequate intake. When adequate intake is a hallmark of our lives then the reception at the tail end of lunar influence is another matter than bearing the consequences of indiscriminate consumption. The consumption of ideas, of beliefs, of principles and of course of food, all follow the laws and consequences of nutrition.
The real elder vision does not seek to emulate any pervasive cultural ideas, the elder vision does not strive for expressions imbued with the power of youth and ideology.
The elder vision is the vision that unifies the North and the South once more after having learned of the consequences of having separated cause and effect – or consumption and consequence. This is the lesson that brings Rahu and Ketu into a unified and whole being. They had to be parted to learn the lessons of the laws of consequences, this is the law of Karma in action – written and reflected in the stars.
How do we unify these forces? By slowing down the vision to an ‘Elder Perspective’ that through the viewing of the passage of time, pauses to look at what we are doing and creating. Tantric ritual is an attempt to move to the elder mature vision and not stay only in the leaps and springs of youth.
The leaps and springs of youth have their necessity and power, but when they endure as a measure of being for too long, they outstay their use – then the elder vision is lost and maturity can not ripen in the garden of the soul.
This will be the mood with which we will approach the practice on the Guru Purnima Full Moon ritual. Upon the Full Moon of July we come to the time honoured tradition of Guru Purnima. Upon this day the astral forces are strong for setting the Guru Tatva within us into motion. It is a day for remembering the elders and those that have given to us the gifts and fruits of their labours.
This will be a three day ritual & initiation course of three hours per evening. We will work with the very fuel of the Tantric journey: Desire.
The story of Kamakhya goes that there was once a king who worshiped the Goddess Adiparashakti who represents the original feminine essence. Adi means origin, Para means beyond, and Shakti means Goddess.
By his yogic austerity the king was able to call forth the Goddess who granted him a wish. He wished that she would take birth in human form as his own daughter. Adiparashakti agreed to this on the condition that she be honoured in whatever she did. She said that if she were ever insulted by him then she would take up her spiritual form and abandon him.
This symbolism reveals how the Feminine must be honoured and allowed her freedom if she is to give her blessing and being, and if she ever be dishonoured then she no longer can exist, it shows how the Feminine must stand for itself and can only give her presence where it is received in its entirety.
The Tantric quest is the seeking to nurture the ground so that it’s a fertile place for Shakti to grow and bloom. The birth of Adipatashakti on earth represents the manifestation of the feminine on the earth plane. In time the daughter was born and named Sati. Being the manifestation of the Goddess she sought union with a God and she only found this manifest in one rare man. This man was Shiva, who was her equal opposite.
However Shiva was ascetic, reclusive and remote. He was too austere and beyond any interest in human affairs.
Adiparashakti had come down from the spiritual world to the human manifest level, Shiva stood in the human world but travelled far beyond into the spiritual dimensions. They were opposite poles.
Nothing that Sati could do would grab Shiva’s attention. Shiva lived in the mountains, occupying a small cave from where he was transported to the realms beyond the human during his states of Samadhi. As a human Shiva was cold and disinterested, but Sati had as her mission to bring the masculine divine quality to earth to join her in the dance of Shakti and Shiva. And indeed the Tandav dance did begin through her efforts to unite as we shall soon see. Once Sati entered Shiva’s cave with her full femininity on display, but the austere sage did not shift from his concentration.
Shiva’s Yog was so concentrated that he was far away from human sentiments.
Sati hatched a plan and summoned Kama, the raw force (and god) of Desire. Kama swept into the cave certain to arouse the interest and passion of the ascetic Shiva. Usually the mere fragrance exuded by Kama would be sufficient to arouse desire in the most ardent ascetic, but Shiva was so far beyond the human he was dwelling in Adiparaparush (the great soul beyond). So Kama resorted to his sugarcane bow and magical arrows and shot Shiva with five of them.
Kama’s arrows represent the desire of the 5 terrestrial Chakras of the body and they are represented. Kama’s arrows represent the desire of the 5 terrestrial Chakras of the body. The upper two centres in the head are the abode of Shiva and are portals beyond the terrestrial world. Ea h of the 5 bodily arrows is represented a flower.
The first arrow that Kama shot Shiva with was a Lotus and represents the Base Chakra. Having struck Shiva in the Mooladar Chakra it had no effect. The second arrow was the Asoka flower, the tree of which is sacred to Kamakhya. It is a fragrance connected to the second chakra, the Shaktistan, and Kama shot the arrow straight in Shiva’s lingam, but again it had no effect. The third flower was a Mango, representing the desire of the Solar Plexus. Yet shooting Shiva in the Manipurchakra did nothing to awaken Shiva from his Samhadi. Next Kama shot the Jasmine flower straight into the Heart Chakra, which again caused not reaction in Shiva. Kama drew out the Blue Lotus flower and aimed it at Shiva’s throat. The Blue Lotus had never failed to arouse desires, but it failed on Shiva. Having failed for the first time ever, Kama’s two wives stepped up to the task. Rati and Priti, each one representing pleasure and longing. Caressing Shivas half naked body Rati was surprised she could not get a reaction out of the ascetic yogi. So Priti stepped forward and put the palm of her left hand across Shivas heart. The longing found its way into Shiva’s Heart Chakra.
In the space between the beats the longing entered inside Shiva’s heart.
This brought Shiva out of his Samadhi for a short moment, during which he opened his third eye and cast a burning gaze upon Kama, burning him into flames and reducing him to ashes.
Kama (desire) was no more and creation was in peril, yet Shiva refused to concern himself with such matters. Sati wept tears believing she would never know Union and wandered why she had ever come down to the manifested plane from her Adiparashakti form.
Shiva proved cold as ice in the Himalayan abode upon his seat of snow. Yet, as he heard the tears of Adiparashakti (the essence of woman beyond the visible) he began to melt from his immovable Samadhi and the Adiparaparush awoke on the earth plane to find Union with Adiparashakti.
The meeting and union of opposites is finally expressed and all was brought to fulfilment. Sati implored Shiva to restore Kama to life for the longing without desire is the deepest form of sorrow: the state of Pardesi meaning the ultimate lostness. Shiva promises it to be done and in due course it is. But first he must suffer the curse of Pardesi himself, as we shall soon see. The one who longs with no object of desire.
There are various ways the story can be told, but the basic detail is that Sati brought Shiva to her father who could not accept this wild untamed creature who stood outside of royal convention – a yogi half naked with matted hair and a mysterious unfathomable aura that intimidated the King.
A fight ensued and Sati felt deeply insulted by her father who became possessed by anger and broke the promise of honouring his daughter.
True to her promise of staying only if honoured, Adiparashakti departed and left her physical form. The lifeless body of Sati fell to the ground and into the ritual fire that was meant to mark the divine marriage.
As the Goddess departed she cursed the fire and the masculine element of light to never be able to show the way alone. She returned to the original void that is the dark womb of the Goddess from whence she came.
This curse reveals how the masculine fire element should not burn so bright as to make the Feminine invisible or incinerated. Interestingly, the chief mode of worship amongst the Male lineages in orthodox Indian religion has been the ritual fire. For the Tantrics, orthodox convention means very little and many orthodox taboos are traversed in giving honour and balance to the Feminine within Tantric lines.
The story could end there but the longing of Shiva had been aroused and he became maddened by the events. He took Sati’s burned body and wouldn’t let go of it. He becomes a lost wanderer roaming in longing endlessly. Full longing with no place for his desire, Shiva went half mad with rage and begun the dance of Tandava.
The Dance of Tandava comprises 108 yogic moves that when put together become a dance. They are very vigorous dynamic moves practiced carefully and secretly by tantrics.
Rudra is the howling, raging form of Shiva. the Rudra Tandava is a hath Yog practice that brings latent subconscious anger into motion. Tantrics danced it at the time of Kamakhya Puja.
Shiva’s rage was so great it left his body as he tore out his jatta (matted hair) from whence two fierce forms rose and wreaked further destruction: Bhadra Kali and Veer Bhadra. These represent ‘rage’ and ‘pain’ so deep that they tear the soul apart. Together they form the male and female destructive forces known as Manobadra and are the pinnacle of destructive polarities within the soul.
When the situation goes so far as to bring Manobadra there is little hope for balance, for they both seek the mana pralaya, which means the utter annihilation and dissolution of life.
Veera Bhadra sliced off the head of Sati’s father and Bhadra Kali sunk her teeth into it and consumed it with several crunches.
The gaze of the Manobhadra fell on the body and caused the headless father to run amok in the worst state of suffering a soul can ever know.
Shiva danced so long that he became Bhairav, his most terrifying form. The dance of destruction was near to consuming all of creation and there seemed to be no way back.
The rotting body of Sati was flung around the mountains, parts of it falling on 108 places. These 108 places are the Shakti Peeths where there temples of the Goddess can now be found.
Conventional Hindu religion recognises only 51 of these temples, but the Tantrics know of the lesser known ones which compromise 108 in all. They are places of power that relate to points of magnetism on the earth plane. One can experience profundities by simply being there.
Some of the Shakti Peeths are dangerous to go to if unprepared, as the magnetism and energy there can overstimulate the system. The spirits at these places can be very strong and require ritual to prepare for or the guidance of a siddha.
Hence the secrecy surrounding many of these temples.
The main Kamakhya Tempe is a Shakti Peeth, where the Yoni and womb of the Goddess Sati landed as Shiva danced the Tandava.
Indian temples normally stay open all year round, but unique about the Kamakhya Tempe is that it closes its doors with the dark time and honours the Feminine rhythm of nature.
It closes three days a year for the menstruation of nature after the longest day bleeds into darkening nights, the lengthening nights become the menstrual flow of nature. The temple is in the hands of priests as the orthodox religion is high class and male driven.
Tantric legend says that one day it will go to the hands of women shamans and be reversed so as to open in the night time hours instead of the day.
The temple seems small but it is very deep and extends far underground with many secret chambers. Little is known about this side of the temple and those priests who work rituals there are able to obtain siddhi (powers) such as to extend the life beyond the standard measure as the influx of energy is profound in the temple.
There is a stone yoni upon which a natural spring pours.
It is said that the water turns to blood at the time of the menstruation of the Kamakhya festival.
The river surrounding the temple known as the Brahmaputra river magically turns red for the three days that the temple is closed. It is said to be the menses of Kamakhya.
And so the Story continues, Shiva’s Tandav was so extreme that it broke the boundaries of the physical world and tore the fabric of reality, taking its destructive hunger into the spiritual worlds. Shiva was burning and becoming himself the accursed fire. His suffering and rage were beyond measure. As the dance continued for endless ages the headless father in his torture pleaded to Adiparashakti for her mercy for breaking his oath as a father. Adiparashakti watched from beyond the veils. She still longed for Union as it is the force of nature that she was. She therefore took birth once again as Pharbhati, the daughter and light of the mountains, and in the coldest regions she prayed intensely that she could ground the full Adiparashakti force upon the Earth-plane.
Fearlessly she went to the crazed Shiva and sat upon his lingam and in her ice coldness she appeased the fire of suffering. The story then found completion as the polarities between the beyond and the manifest unified in all ways. Kama was brought back to life as Shiva had promised. Desire and longing united and healed the soul. Some even say the headless father was redheaded. Others say he can still be seen running amok and headless.
Through the Union of Shiva and Adiparashakti, order was restored.
The Manobhadra melted away as Love grew. The Garden bloomed once more with magical flowers.