The next ritual in the Panchabhoot series of the 5 element animal practices brings us to the festival of Naaga Panchami on the 13th August, the 5th lunar day following a full or new moon (Panchami).
All the Panchami days of the Tantric calendar year are the days connected to the reception of etheric vitality as there is a lunar suspension of force upon these days. All panchami days are connected to the Naagas. The main panchami of the year is upon Naag Panchami when the Moon is in the lunar house of Ashlesha. Naag Panchami takes place when the sun transits through the Nakshatra of Ashlesha, between the 2nd and the 17th of August.
Ash-Ley-Sha is the lunar house of the snake and translates as the constrictor or the embracer. It is pronounced with Snake-like sounds. All panchami days are connected to the Naagas, but the main panchami of the year is upon Naag Panchami, when the Moon is suspended to its utmost, it is a day of receptivity to the world of the Naagas.
This ritual of Naag Panchami is connected very much to invoking the Nakshatra (lunar house) of Ashlesha. Ashlesha is the lunar house that is also known as the Naag snake star. Its equivalent in Western terms is the constellation of Hydra – this constellation has 5 stars in the head of the snake that link it to the Panchami days. The 5 stars together are active on Panchami days, they are instrumental to the feeding-in astral forces to assist the lunar suspension upon this 5th lunar day
Ashlesha is the most mystical of all lunar houses and rules the etheric or Akashic element of the Naagas. Upon Panchami rituals, the 5 stars of the Ashlesha constellation are connected with, upon the astral plane by way of invocation. We will work on this ritual night with inner Star work, known as Antar Tara Mudra, which literally translates as inner-star-focus.
Akash is the element of ether and space. Akash is the most subtle element of the 5 Panchbhoot elements and is linked to the junction from the Heart Chakra to the throat, the element Akash is connected to sound and rules the throat Chakra.
The Naaga are the underworld snakes of the ether in astral plane. When we look at the representation of Shiva, we see that he has always a snake wrapped around his throat and standing erect. The symbol of Kundalini is explicit here.
The throat chakra is an expression of the sexual chakra where Kundalini Shakti resides. We shall investigate the link between these two chakras in the context of snake practices. This ritual is concerned with release and creating space for Kundalini to spread out unrestricted. In fact we see that this ritual is a Panchami ritual (5th Moon day). The fifth moon day is a junction of release and releasing into etheric space.
On this annual festival day of Naag Panchami, that is dedicated to the Snake energy, we shall be practicing the various Snake Mantram and various of the physical snake Asanam and Mudras. The snake is a primary feature in Tantric practice. The snake represents the Kundalini spinal energy and the great Tantric undertaking of shedding the skin that unfolds the secrets of being – hidden beneath the skins of the self. This will be a ritual of stripping away so as to reveal the most subtle layers of ourselves.