Happy Navarathri! The Nine Nights of The Goddess!

800px-Durga_Puja_celebration

Navarathri meaning (nine nights) is a nine night-ten day festival dedicated to the various forms of Goddess Durga. Celebrated on a grand scale in parts of India and Nepal, Navarathri is one of the ritual highlights on the Hindu calendar. Devotees of the Mother typically fast, pray and house dolls of the Goddess in their homes. Large parades and festivals featuring beautiful larger-than-life sculptures of Her are paraded through the streets, flanked by throngs of devotees. It’s a beautiful, colourful and festive time!

There are several different Navarathri phases throughout the year, however, the (current) cycle held in the month of September/October is usually the biggest, grandest one of them all. Generally speaking, using the Vedic Calendar, the major Navaratri period begins the day after the New Moon in Virgo (Kanya ‘Virgin’ Raasi/Sign). (The Western calculation would view that as the New Moon in Libra just past). We call this the start of the month of Ashwin (in some Hindu calendars- there are various, and they don’t all align). The Tamils for instance, consider this the 9th day of the month of Protasi (Purataasi Maasam)

We’ve just begun celebrating Navarathri today (September 25th 2014), which will continue for nine nights and culminate on the 10th day (October 4th 2014)

On each day, a different aspect of the Goddess is venerated, each with Her own sacred symbolism, form and purpose. On the 10th day we celebrate Vijayadashami, also known as Dussehra (or Dasara) – on this day, all forms of the Goddess Unite as one. Twenty days from Vijayadashami, Hindus will celebrate Deepavali/Diwali. This corresponds with the night before the New Moon in Libra (Vedic Calendar) and falls on October 23rd, this year.

I interpret the energy of Virgo as the Rising Woman, the Self-Sufficient Priestess Nurturing Herself and Others. The celebration of Goddess during the Virgo New Moon is a powerful and logical association to make. As we (all) align ourselves to Her vibrations, through fasting, prayer and ritual we set powerful intentions for the next astrological cycle ahead – with the Full Moon in Pisces, six months from now (as per the Vedic calendar). Virgo is to Shakti as Pisces is to Shiva – in my understanding of the Two.

The celebration of Navarathri at this time paves the way to Deepavali/Diwali, the Festival of Lights (October 23rd 2014) – which I will write on, closer to the date.

Each day of Navaratri corresponds to a different aspect of The Goddess. There are multiple ways of conceptualizing these Nine Aspects, so there isn’t ‘One’ Narrative that defines the process. Also, the festival is celebrated differently across the various regions of India 🙂

My preferred interpretation of it is to break it down into three segments:

Days 1-3 are dedicated to the energies of Goddess Durga in her form of Mother/Warrior – Nurturer/Protector. (September 25-27 2014)

Days 4-6 are dedicated to the energies of Goddess Laxmi. She brings Grace, Abundance, Comfort, Harmony and Peace to the world in Material Form and in that sense shares many attributes with Goddess Venus. (September 28-30 2014)

Days 7-9 are dedicated to the energies of Goddess Saraswati. She brings Knowledge and Wisdom and is more associated with the Intellect and the Mind. (October 1-3 2014)

Day 10 is conceptualized in different ways (more details shared on October 4th!). It is said, that through the entire Navarathri period, the Goddess is engaged in battle with a fierce demon known as Mahishasura (the ‘Buffalo Demon’). On Vijayadachami  – literally meaning victory (vijaya) on the tenth day of the lunar month (dachami), she combines her 9 forms, and energies, into One and gains the strength to defeat him. This is why Goddess Durga is also known as Mahishasuramardini. You can hear a wonderful rendition of the Mahishasura mardini Strotam here:

 

In this conceptualization, I interpret the duration of the 9 days to correspond to the natural progression of the human chakra system. We begin with issues of tribal connection and survival in the first three days (defending the self from enemies and nurturing one’s family/tribe). We move on towards a wider understanding of material concerns, and a desire for comfort, attachment and pleasure in its many forms. We finally learn the wisdom of detachment and explore the higher faculties of Mind.

—  till we finally transcend that too — on the 10th day – Vijayadashami – The gifts of each chakra are combined, and the lessons of each integrated. We are finally able to overcome our perceived obstacles. This ‘victory’ is normally depicted as The Mother slaying the Buffalo Demon Mashisura, her eight arms poised at the climax of battle. Another narrative suggests that it was on this day that the gifts of the male gods combined to form the powerful goddess Durga – whom some accounts suggest as the Virgin.

(For those interested you might want to read my take on ‘Reclaiming the Virgin’ to get the fullest implications of using that term – and the astrological energy of Virgo associated with this 9 night, 10 day festival. http://wp.me/p4OUNS-5i )

Personally, I resonate more with this interpretation of how the Mother ‘defeats’ Mahishasura:  that it is not through battle/death, but through her sheer Loving, Powerful Presence for nothing untoward can exist in such Purity. I listened to this interpretation some time ago and will share the link with you when I chance upon it again. It took a while for it to sink it, but when it did – I couldn’t look at the narrative in quite the same way.

Putting it all together, I view these 9 days of prayer as a Pathway to Transcendence, within Material Form. The Rise of Virgo (Goddess / Priest/ess / Divine Feminine) as She Comes into Her Own Power – which includes of course, the same aspect of energy in men.

As we embody the Mother’s Love in Material Form, connecting all parts of our Being …. We learn that her Lessons of Strength and Power come .. at the end of the Day, through the Highest, Deepest, vibration of Cosmic Love.

 

Blessings to All. And Happy Navarathri.

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

 

You can find out a lot more about this festival online. Astrological and spiritual interpretations are my own. unless otherwise stated.

Image Information: “Durga Puja celebration” by Dipankan001 – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Durga_Puja_celebration.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Durga_Puja_celebration.jpg

LETTING THE DUST SETTLE BEFORE A NEW PHASE BEGINS: THE ENERGY OF NOW (22. 9. 14)

Dust tornado

Blessings all,

The die has been cast. The founding brick placed. Steps have been taken which locate you on whatever path or road you will take for the part of your life’s journey. Time will make the implications of your choices unfold, and Time will teach you what you need to know to make the best of them. I suspect the remainder of 2014 and much of 2015 will essentially be about deepening the foundations you have set for yourselves on the paths of your choosing – throughout the trials of the past 10 months.

The Final Grand Cross and Near-Grand Sextile of 2014 have officially ended. I suspect the Cross in particular had one last spanner to throw in the works so to speak before dissipating. The general feeling is one where ‘the dust has to settle’ before taking the next step.

But don’t worry. You’ve already done the best you can do, and what you needed to do through an incredibly intense time. The cosmos has also been sending us much intensity through powerful solar storms, which so many are sensitive to.

Even if it doesn’t look it for some, everyone will have something for which they can take pride in. Even if that measure is purely survival – know that you’ve made it through what has been an excruciating phase of release, shedding and re-alignment through absolute intensity, an astrological crucible of fire.

So by all means, dear Phoenixes and Butterflies, Celebrate!

With the Equinox tomorrow (23rd September) take the time to take stock of what you have chosen, and what you have opted not to choose. This isn’t a time for regrets, but of measurement and evaluation. Many will feel the need to rest or sleep to facilitate integration of lessons learnt and energetic choices made – Think of it as the Caterpillar’s last kip in the Cocoon before the Butterfly comes out to play.

We’ve also got several powerful planetary aspects operating in the skies at this time – these are just brief summaries of their energies as one could write an article on each!:

Mars in Sagittarius squared Neptune Retrograde in Pisces – Assertive energy triggers a wounding, particularly in the realms of the spiritual. The wound-triggerer is likely to represent a male or ‘masculine’ approach to spirituality/philosophy which more closely mirrors ‘the way things have always been done’. If said wound occurs, know that it too has its lessons to teach. Release the need to blame and judge, especially at this time.

Pluto goes Direct in Capricorn – the energy of transformation through crisis changes flow or direction. Outer (external) events are more likely to trigger crisis which lead to transformation and growth rather than inner ones, emanating from the psyche. A situation of crisis is likely to emerge through the seeming ‘pushiness’ of another person who represents the status quo or a figure/insitution of authority.

Juno in Cancer trined Vesta in Scorpio – The flow of Divine Feminine energy combines powerfully and amplifies the energies of the Priest/ess who tends the Sacred Flame. Powerful memories from lifetimes of service will be activated for many at this time, irrespective of Gender. We will be drawn to situations, people and events that connect us – at a more profound level – with the energy of the Feminine. These may not always be positive, uplifting events, particularly with Vesta involved – but potentially deeply karmic ones that pose powerful challenges. Remember the importance of sacred, sexual, intimate, and energetic boundaries at this time, and your Right To Say No if one seeks to erode them.

Vesta in Scorpio squared Lilith in Leo – Powerful men and women representing the Rise of the Feminine will be challenged to reconcile the call for Service and Sacrifice on their Paths, alongside the desire for recognition and appreciation for what they do. Here, a balance of Ego and Heart is Called For. Power can give rise to a false sense of superiority or authority, and the feelings of powerlessness to a false sense of inferiority. The idea of ‘sacrifice’ or ‘spiritual service’ can be distorted if either, both of these are present. Know that you cannot be bullied or coerced into either without the idea of ‘sacrifice/service’ losing its original meaning…. It has to come from the Heart. And don’t be put off by the word ‘sacrifice’ – nothing morbid – it can refer to time, energy, etc.

Jupiter inconjunct Chiron Retrograde – The Teacher (Guru) triggers the Soul’s Wound. Potentials of wounding through a judgmental figure that considers itself an authority of some kind, possibly on matters of philosophy or faith. The lessons of the wound make you question the role, scope and necessity of the Guru in one’s life. Some people work better with structured guidance, and others do not. There’s no ‘One Path’ that works for everyone. Bear that in mind if you feel the need to tell someone how they should approach their path – or before allowing – someone else to do the same to you. By all means speak your views about your understanding of Self-Spirit, but know that there is a difference between expressing yourself and seeking to ‘convert’ or influence another to adopt the same road as you.

Uranus Retrograde inconjunct Ceres – Radical, abrupt transformations in inner consciousness trigger perceptions of care-giving and entitlement to care. These changes in thoughts can be triggered through sudden or unusual communications, particularly through electronic media, from friends or members of your Soul Group. Roles surrounding ideas of motherhood, the mother-daughter bond, appropriate boundaries between parent and child are also given special emphasis. (Equally applies to fathers who play the traditional mothering role)

and of course — Jupiter trine Uranus Retrograde (September 26)

The Guru/Teacher harmonizes with and amplifies the Inner Awakening Process. Opportunities out of the blue are likely, ones which can expand your sense of awareness and facilitate experiences that help you Re-Member your Soul’s Essence, Purpose and Make-up in Material Incarnation. This is likely to come through an unexpected communication (often through electronic means), potentially a friend or a member of your Soul Group.

This is a Big Event. And a powerful kick-start to the new energies that have already begun to build, just as we have – and are continuing to release – older energetic alignments.

Remember – all this is happening around/as part of the build up to – the Equinox (Sept 23rd) and the Libra New Moon (Sept 24) whose effects last + / – 3 days.

The remaining shake-ups and wake-ups in this period are helping you make your understanding of Balance more concrete. You’re going to be able to better articulate your intentions – particularly as they relate to notions of equality, justice, fairness, partnerships, collaborations and bridges built between yourself and others. And just in time! For the Libra New Moon.

For those of you who work with the Hindu pantheon and/or the energies of Goddess Durga – Navaratri – the largest Hindu festival dedicated to Her will begin on the 25th. The ‘Nine Nights’ of celebration are ones which involve fasting, prayers, colourful dolls and parades (in parts of India) celebrating different aspects of Her.

Who better to start off a new phase of growth than the Mother-Protector Herself?

Lots of Love to All

Smile! Big things are coming

Blessings,
Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

 

Image Information: By NASA/JPL-Caltech/J. Bally (Univ. of Colo. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons