Navaratri Special Copy
Navaratri is the yogic festival in honour of the Goddess. This happens twice a year, in the space where the seasons are changing. There is Spring Navaratri which is the waking up of the Goddess within, coming into a space of growth, abundance and wellbeing. And then there is fall Navaratri which is more potent and a bigger celebration. It is about inviting in the destruction, and deep healing and transformation.
There are different ways of celebrating this festival. In some traditions, you honour a different form of the Goddess Durga every day, as I explained here. And in others, you spend three days with Goddess Durga, then Goddess Lakshmi and then Goddess Saraswati. Either way, it’s all Shakti, it’s about waking up parts of ourself, whether we are a man or a woman, so that we can live with more fullness of being.
From the tantric perspective, that’s the ancient philosophy (not the sex stuff), there is Shiva (Divine Masculine) and Shakti (Divine Feminine). The masculine is everything that just is, the absolute which doesn’t move. The feminine is all energy, everything that moves, the elements. All the goddesses are an aspect of this Shakti, and they are in all of us, parts of us we can call on and wake up.
Durga means the fortress. She is courage, strength, devotion, all fired up on the power of love. She is the activist, the warrior. The nine nights of Navaratri represent the battle that Durga fights against Mahisha, an asura (demon) who wished to kill the devas (goddesses). It was on the 10th day that she killed him. I kind of just ruined the ending of the story, but I am sure you got that it was going in that direction. The detail is what makes it relevant though.
I love to share stories, and myth is so powerful, as we can learn about ourselves through hearing the story. What’s brilliant as well is that we are every character in the myth, and so as much as we might want to associate with Goddess Durga, we can also recognise the ways in which we have or could be like Mahisha too
In the Navaratri class that I did a few years ago, I told the story of the Goddess Dugra and this battle, and where the Goddess Kali comes in. I recorded it so that you can listen to it in your own time, and we did a mega chanting session after. It’s complete with giggles and sound effects.
If you just want to listen to the story, it’s the first 20 mins, and then we chant four goddess mantras for the 30 mins after.
We honour Durga, Kali, and Shakti.
Kali gets a bad rap sometimes as she is fierce in a different way. She comes out of Durga’s third eye in the battle. I used to resist her when she rocked up, illuminating and stripping away things I wasn’t ready to let go of. Now I call her in. The most grotesque presence of the goddess, fierce fearlessness. Dark and blazing. She is true authenticity. She slays every part of the limited self, and gets us down to our most raw radical truth. She is the untameable wild power of the self, she slays with discernment, truth and power. There is no space for playing nice or dishonesty around her. She has no patience for the stubbornness of the surface mind. She goes straight for the root of the issue. She slays our inner and outer demons with great love so we come into our most vulnerable self, where we can dance in our own hearts the song of love. She is freedom. She is liberation. She is true love.
Om Para Shaktiyei Namaha x 108
Om Dum Durgayei Namaha x 108
Om Klim Kalika-yei Namaha x 108
and then we sing the more melodic softer mantra in honour of the goddess, Alli Shafer‘s Anjali Mantra.
Hey Ma Hey Ma Hey Ma Hey Ma
Hey Ma Hey Ma Jai Ma Durga
Chamundaye Viche Swaha
Chamundaye Jai Kali Ma
To listen to the myth and the manta, see the download.
(the sound quality is good but the volume limited, so headphones recommended when you listen)
To read more about Navaratri – http://www.amisha.co.uk/2014/09/25/navaratri-honour-goddess-energy-within/