Navratri

Blue Castle, Blue Castle 2017, Intuitive Red Serpent 9/5 - 17, Lunattune, Lunattune '17

9.9.17 Red Overtone Moon GAP

Navratri is coming, from 9.20 – 9.29, the first day of the upcoming mystic column right at equinox into the middle right at the new moon.  It is nine days of Durga invokation, which resonates with the solar eclipse collage I made with Durga out of the net, as well as with the 9 card I drew for the month . . . which happens to be my ‘number’ . . . I’m preparing to celebrate it, and have been looking into the traditional roots of the festival from where I’ll weave my own pattern . . .

Sat Chit Ananda

The nine nights are divided into three parts:: the first for Durga, who destroyed an evil force represented by the demon Mahishasura, and who destroys human impurities, the second for Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity; the third for Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and art.

Durga, also known as Shakti or Devi, is the protective mother of the universe. She is a protector of all that is good and harmonious in the world. Sitting astride a lion or tiger, the multi-limbed Durga battles of the forces of evil in the world.

In Sanskrit, Durga means “a fort” or “a place which is difficult to overrun,” an apt metaphor for this deity’s protective, militant nature.  Durga is sometimes referred to as Durgatinashini, which literally translates into “the one who eliminates sufferings.”

In Hinduism, the major gods and goddesses have multiple incarnations, meaning they can appear on earth as any number of other deities. Durga is no different; among her many avatars are Kali, Bhagvati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalita, Gauri, Kandalini, Java, and Rajeswari.

When Durga appears as herself, she manifests herself in one of nine appellations or forms: Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta, and Siddhidatri. Collectively known as the Navadurga, each of these deities have their own holidays in the Hindu calendar and special prayers and songs of praise.

Befitting her role as mother protector, Durga is a multi-limbed so that she may always be ready to battle evil from any direction. In most depictions, she has between eight and 18 arms and holds a symbolic object in each hand.

Like her consort Shiva, the goddess Durga is also referred to as Triyambake (the three-eyed goddess). Her left eye represents desire, symbolized by the moon; her right eye represents action, symbolized by the sun; and her middle eye stands for knowledge, symbolized by fire.

Durga carries a variety of weapons and other items that she uses in her fight against evil.

Each has symbolic meaning important to Hinduism; these are the most significant:

  • The conch shell symbolizes the Pranava or the mystic word Om, which indicates her holding on to God in the form of sound.
  • The bow and arrows represent energy. By holding both the bow and arrows in one hand Durga demonstrates her control over both aspects of energy, potential and kinetic.
  • The thunderbolt signifies firmness in one’s convictions. Just as a real bolt of lightning can destroy anything it strikes, Durga reminds Hindus to attack a challenge without losing confidence.
  • The lotus in Durga’s hand, not yet fully in bloom, represents the certainty of success but not finality. The lotus in Sanskrit is called pankaja, which means “born of mud,” reminding the faithful to stay true to their spiritual quest amid the mud of worldly problems . for the continuous evolution of the spiritual quality of devotees amidst the worldly mud of lust and greed.
  • The Sudarshan-Chakra or beautiful discus, which spins around the index finger of the Goddess, signifies that the entire world is subservient to the will of Durga and is at her command. She uses this unfailing weapon to destroy evil and produce an environment conducive to the growth of righteousness.
  • The sword that Durga holds in one of her hands symbolizes knowledge, which has the sharpness of a sword. Knowledge is free from all doubts is symbolized by the shine of the sword.
  • The trident or Trishul is a symbol of three qualities: Satwa (inactivity), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (non-activity). Deva uses these to alleviate physical, mental, and spiritual suffering.

Durga is frequently depicted standing atop or riding a tiger or lion, which represents power, will, and determination. In riding this fearsome beast, Durga symbolizes her mastery over all these qualities. Her bold pose is called Abhay Mudra, which means “freedom from fear.”

The word ‘Lakshmi’ is derived from the Sanskrit word “Laksya”, meaning ‘aim’ or ‘goal’, and she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual.

Lakshmi is depicted as a beautiful woman of golden complexion, with four hands, sitting or standing on a full-bloomed lotus and holding a lotus bud, which stands for beauty, purity, and fertility. Her four hands represent the four ends of human life: dharma or righteousness, “kama” or desires, “artha” or wealth, and “moksha” or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

The cascades of gold coins are seen flowing from her hands, suggesting that those who worship her gain wealth. She always wears gold embroidered red clothes. Red symbolizes activity and the golden lining indicates prosperity. Lakshmi is the active energy of Vishnu, and also appears as Lakshmi-Narayan – Lakshmi accompanying Vishnu.  As a female counterpart of Lord Vishnu, Mata Lakshmi is also called ‘Shri’, the female energy of the Supreme Being.

Two elephants are often shown standing next to the goddess and spraying water. This denotes that ceaseless effort, in accordance with one’s dharma and governed by wisdom and purity, leads to both material and spiritual prosperity.

On the full moon night following Dusshera or Durga Puja, it is believed that the goddess herself visits the homes and replenishes the inhabitants with wealth.

Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and arts, represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness. She is the mother of the Vedas, and chants directed to her, called the ‘Saraswati Vandana’ often begin and end Vedic lessons.​

Saraswati is the daughter of Lord Shiva and Goddess Durga. It is believed that goddess Saraswati endows human beings with the powers of speech, wisdom and learning. She has four hands representing four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego.

In visual representations, she has sacred scriptures in one hand and a lotus–the symbol of true knowledge–in the opposite hand.  With her other two hands, Saraswati plays the music of love and life on a string instrument called the veena. She is dressed in white–the symbol of purity–and rides on a white swan, symbolizing Sattwa Guna (purity and discrimination).

Nine ways to call in the Goddess for Navaratri

Navaratri is the Hindu festival celebrating the power of the Goddess. For nine nights, as the light of the moon grows brighter, the power of the Divine Feminine will magnify in your life.

Here is some information to help make the best use of these auspicious days, calling in the power of the Goddess in her Nine Forms.

Shakti is the supreme energy that runs through the entire universe and is said to be the dynamic force behind all of existence. It is the primordial feminine force of the “Divine Mother,” Durga. It is said that when a God is not able to kill an overpowering demon, it is the goddess who must be summoned because her Shakti is all-pervading and unsurpassable.

The goddess can give clarity and positive direction in life. She is the intelligent energy of consciousness and she has the power to dispel self-doubt and confusion. Her energy is called on to clear away deeply entrenched negativity and stubborn diseases. During the nine nights of Navaratri we can invoke her Shakti to propel us forward in life.

Navaratri (Nava=nine/ Ratri=nights) always begins the day after the new moon and is celebrated five times a year. The most important and widely celebrated is the Maha Navaratri – the Navaratri of Autumn (Sharadiya Navaratri) which falls in October this year.

Kali – Laksmi – Saraswati
September 20, 21, 22
The first three nights are in honor of Kali, the “terrible” form of the goddess who destroys the demons of ignorance, disease, ego and selfishness. She gives strength and motivation and empowers us towards spiritual growth.

September 23, 24,25
The next three days are in honor of Laksmi, the goddess of wealth. She gives abundance and good health and opens the heart to gratitude and generosity. She gives clarity to envision our future goals.

September 26, 27, 28
The last three days are for Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and art. She inspires us through science, art, music and education. She expands the ability to understand systems and to create beauty. She dispels ignorance and gives wisdom.

Each night of Navaratri is in honor of a different form of the goddess. These Goddesses open particular channels of Shakti on their lunar days (Tithis). These days can be used to focus on specific life issues. They have specific planetary rulers and there are particular colors that can be worn to enhance the energy of the day.

Tithis are the lunar phases as they change day by day. Navaratri begins on Prathama Tithi and ends on Dasami Tithi.

Sept 20, 2017 (Prathama Tithi)
This is the day to invoke the Goddess Shakti and must be done in the daylight hours.

Goddess Shailaputri – “Daughter of the Mountains.”

The Awakener.

She ignites the beginning, initiates, and gives stability and power to create.

The daughter of the mountains is Shiva’s beloved Shakti – Parvati. Like Shiva she rides the bull, carries a trident and wears the crescent moon in her hair.

This is an auspicious day to begin a project or commit to an action. She can remove problems that block the successful rise in life.

This Goddess is ruled by the Moon.
The color is GRAY.

Sept 21, 2017 (Dvitiya Tithi)

Goddess Brahmacharini – “The One who Renounces”

She gives self-control and helps one to keep promises and stay determined. She gives the power of success in tapas (self-discipline) and is invoked to ensure perseverance and spiritual growth.
Like a sadhu (a renunciate) she walks with bare feet, carrying a prayer rosary and a pot of nectar, symbols of devotion, simplicity and self-containment.

This Goddess is ruled by Mars.
The color is ORANGE.

Sept 22, 2017 (Tritiya Tithi)

Goddess Chandraghanta – “The Goddess of the Half-Moon, like a Bell.”

This fierce goddesss destroys your deepest fears and negative self–beliefs.
She is the destroyer of demons who cause fear, depression, and anxiety. She gives courage and clarity, and protects us from theft and anything that robs us of our vitality and power.

She is sometimes pictured with 10 swords surrounding her and wearing a bell. When she is invoked her bell immediately begins to ring, frightening away all negative entities and filling the subtle atmosphere with her protective waves of shakti.

This Goddess is ruled by Venus.
The color is WHITE.

Sept 23, 2017 (Chaturthi tithi)

Goddess Kushmanda – “The One who is inside the Sun, or is Radiant as the Sun”

She is adishakti – the Divine Mother who is said to have created the universe with her smile.

“Ushma” means energy/warmth
“Anda” means egg

Kushmanda is the “cosmic egg,” which sits in the center of the sun and radiates life-giving light.
She is the warmth of the shining sun that gives happiness in love, wealth and good health. She also gives youthfulness and vitality.

This Goddess is ruled by the Sun.
The color is RED.

Sept 24, 2017 (Panchami Tithi)

Goddess Skandamata – ”Mother of Skanda”

Skanda (or Kartikeya) is Mars, the chief of war who battles the demons of ignorance and misfortune – and Skandamata is his mother.

Skandamata is the power source of the spiritual warrior, she inspires us with courage to take decisive action. She protects us from inner and outward violence, gives victory over enemies and self-sabotaging behaviors.

Skandamata leads us to empowerment and prosperity. She is also said to be the shakti that cures skin ailments.
The child’s six heads represent the six stars in the constellation the Pleiades (the nakshatra of Krittika) who nursed him as a babe.

This Goddess is ruled by Saturn.
The color is DARK BLUE.

September 25, 2017 (Shashthi Tithi)

Goddess Katyayani – The fierce form of the Goddesses who annihilated the terrible demon Mahishasura.

As one story goes, Mahishasura – the water-buffalo demon – had unleashed a reign of terror that no one (not even Shiva, Vishnu, or Brahma) could stop. After calling on the Divine Mother for help, Katyayani appeared.

When Mahishasura saw Katyayani, he demanded her hand in marriage, but she told him he must first win her in battle. After a fierce fight, Katyayani conquered Mahishasura and her victory returned balance and harmony to the universe.

This Goddess is often prayed to by those searching for love and companionship. She re-harmonizes and balances relationship dynamics by lifting resentment and loneliness and opening the heart. She heals marriages and removes obstacles that block commitment in partnerships.

This Goddess is ruled by Jupiter.
The color is YELLOW.

Sept 26, 2017 (Saptami Tithi)

Goddess Kalaratri – “Dark Night”

She is the Goddess who rescues those lost in darkness. She transmutes the “shadow aspect” of our personalities into higher spiritual wisdom and compassion. Her terrifying form frightens away all demons and ghosts that cause fear, ignorance, pain, and suffering.

“Kala” also means “time” reminding us of the inevitable passing of time and the impermanent nature life. Kalaratri can dissolve the fears of aging and death.

This Goddess is ruled by Mercury.
The color is GREEN.

Sept 27, 2017 (Ashtami Tithi)

Goddess Mahagauri – “Lustrous one”

In contrast to the darkness of her previous form, this is the extremely bright form of the Goddess – The wish-fulfilling Mahagauri of the white snow-peaked mountains.

She is radiant, “very fair,” and like Shiva she rides a bull, carries at trident and plays the damaru (drum).

The white brilliance of her image symbolizes purity and the natural innocence of a child. Her motherly influence is said to be as nurturing as milk to a baby.
She grants unfulfilled wishes and gives stability to family and community.

This Goddess is ruled by Rahu (North node of the Moon).
The color is PEACOCK GREEN.

Sept 28, 2017 (Navami Tithi)

Goddess Siddhidatri – “giver of siddhis (magic/occult power)”

Siddhidatri means “giver of Siddhis.” Sometimes translated as “perfection,” Siddhis are powers that thin the veil of illusion and free us from its entanglement.

The mystical healing powers given by this Goddess are ideal for healers and energy workers. She opens doors of consciousness, enhances intuition and gives spiritual insight.

Siddhidatri is worshiped by gods and higher dimensional entities. Around her are pictured the celestial beings, Dev, Danav, Gandharva, Kinnar, Yaksh, Manav.

This Goddess is ruled by Ketu (South Node of the Moon).
The color is PURPLE.
Sept 29, 2017 (Dasami Tithi)

Vijayadashami : The final day of celebration of Durga in all her forms and the triumph over malefic forces, including the most terrible demon Mahishasura.

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