This Ritual is the first part of a three part series, which includes the two subsequent rituals dedicated to Shakambhari. This series will be all about honouring the beginnings of this cycle of nature that is climbing with the New Year year we are in.
By honouring nature, she in turn honours us and brings life to the seeds that lay in our subterranean soul levels.
In this set of three Growth rituals, we will focus in on nature’s atmospheric vibrations. With this natural support, we shall engage in ancient and magical Tantric ritual formulae – helping us to bring growth to all the flowers and vegetation in the garden of our lives. Lohri is the first of these three January rituals.
Loh means light and gives its name to this festival day of welcoming back the light (read our Blog Post to learn more about this ancient and almost forgotten ritual).
Lohri is also a pagan Goddess that stands between the thresholds of Darkness and Light.
This is an ancient Indian pagan ritual festival that is celebrated on the first dark Moon of the ascending year. Some of the traditions and festivals of Tantra became assimilated into the widespread arena of religion while others remain more obscure or only regionally acknowledged. Lohri, very much a tantric pagan ritual, belongs to the latter, of tribal, shamanic & Shakti traditions
Tantra still thrives in an underground form in the North of India, where many of the ancient natural pagan rites are adhered to, such as Lohri.
What many people commonly do to celebrate the Winter Solstice (21 December) is basically done by Tantrics on Lohri. Fires are built at sunset and circumambulated. Solstice, instead, is seen in Tantra as 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.
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, which is why they wait to meet Lohri to light the fire – that is, the New Moon phase of the New Year, and not before.
Lighting a fire
on the Winter Solstice
equals to rejoicing
for the guest leaving
while the guest
is still in your home.
Tantrics 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.
The festival of Lohri therefore reveals much to us about our relationship to the Dark and the ways in which Modernity has demonised the dark feminine womb power. 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.