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.
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.
“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 (5th 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 ( at the end of this email you will find a reference to the myth of Shiva and his devoted disciples).
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.
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. If you would like to join our online ritual…
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.
This will be the mood with which we will approach the practice on the Guru Purnima Full Moon ritual…