As the Moon shifts into the first tithi of the waxing Moon cycle, late evening on Tuesday, September 19th, the sacred nine day and night celebration of Maha Navaratri begins.
Nava means nine and ratri means night in Sanskrit. Each day and night of this powerful junction point, correlates to the epic battle between the goddess Sri Devi Mahatmyam and the demon Mahishasura. Maha Devi Mahatmyam is connected to both Durga and Shakti, powerful forms of divine feminine energy that awaken, clear, transform and heal. Sri Devi is understood to be the supreme creation power of the universe, the Tridevi, or triple goddess, as she expresses the creation, sustaining and destructive energies that perpetuate all forms of life. In the sacred text known as the Sri Devi Mahatmyam, composed between 400 and 600 CE, the many forms of the goddess are expressed.
"She is presented, through a language of praise, as the one who dwells in all creatures, as the soul, as the power to know, the power to will and the power to act. She is consciousness of all living beings, she is intelligence, she is matter, and she is all that is form or emotion." - Via Wikipedia
During the nine day and night Navaratri celebration, the battle between light and dark forces enlivens, ending on the 10th day with Victory Day, Vijaya Dashami. This battle between light and dark, good and bad, masculine and feminine, transformation and healing, is taking place within all beings at this sacred junction point. It is a time to heal and integrate polarities within.
The Navaratri celebration is an expression of what is taking place within Nature, through the Laws that govern Nature, marking an important transition within us and around us. These important junction points (know as a gap, or sandhi in Sanskrit) happen multiple times a year, however, the Shardiya, or Maha Navaratri, junction point is considered the most powerful. This is a death cycle for both Northern and Southern hemispheres. As life is being called into silence in the North, and called into action for the South. In either case, doors are opening and closing.
Align with Nature and Her powerful energy of change and transformation during Navaratri. Ritualize your connections with Nature- in order to land more closely to your own inner wisdom, to Her wisdom. Strengthen your connection to self and Spirit.
Navaratri is a poignant time in the Vedic Calendar. This ancient calendar is one that is dedicated to Nature and her cycles and rhythms, the planets, and most importantly the Moon. In the Vedic Calendar, time is connected to what Nature and the cosmos are doing, and these elements are intimately related. Navaratri occurs twice a year- in the "gap" seasons of spring and fall. These times are considered sandhi times; delicate times that feel like you are neither here, nor there. We might call it the netherworld. This time, though delicate, is considered sacred.
In the spring, Navaratri marks the "waking up" of the devis or the goddesses; the aspects of Natural Law that enliven growth, abundance, prosperity, learning, well being, change and transformation. In the fall, Navaratri invites in destruction, removal, change, transformation and healing. The goddesses Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi symbolize these parts of life and Nature, while also being parts of our own innate being. The three of them together represent our wholeness, the trinity of life, alive in and around us. These three goddesses also connect to Shakti, the goddess who gives the spark of life to every being, to Nature, and to existence.
Fall Navaratri, or Maha Navaratri, is by far the most potent as it brings deep transformation and the ability to remove, destroy, release and transform, our darkness into light. The holy trinity of goddesses supports this process and allows us to let go of what needs to be released in order for greater nourishment. As we let go of our darkness, an increase of light and wisdom can take its place. This process is marked by Durga's powerful battle against the demon Mahishasura. On the 10th day, she destroyed him and was victorious. This day is called Vijaya Dashami (Dashami is the 10th lunar day of the Moon cycle, connected to dharma).
The dates for this year's Maha Navaratri celebration are Wednesday September 20th to September 29th. Vijaya Dashami occurs on September 30th.
This year, Maha Navaratri begins on September 20th in the USA- as the Moon enters the first tithi and begins to wax. The celebrations start just as the sacred fifteen day celebration of the ancestors, Pitru Paksha, ends. (This year Pitru Paksha is September 5th to 19th). The final day of Navarati is September 29th, as Moon moves through the 9th tithi (phase), Navami. Vijaya Dashami (Victory Day) is September 30th, during tithi 10, Dashami. Though the entire Navaratri celebration is dedicated to Durga and her many forms (including shakti), many honor the expressions of her power through Lakshmi and Saraswati as well.
This is a nine day and night celebration that is divided into three parts. The first three days are dedicated to the goddess Durga. Her warrior spirit cleanses, shifts, uproots, changes and transforms. Think of her as tilling the soil, prior to planting seeds. The next three days of celebration are dedicated to Lakshmi. Her abundance, nurturing, and wealth offer nourishment and support to us on all levels of life. Health is the ultimate wealth and Lakshmi brings this support as well. Finally, we have three days dedicated to goddess Saraswati. She gives us knowledge, understanding, wisdom, creativity and artistry. She is the rasayana (or healing balm) if you will to close this sacred nine day celebration. Together, these three goddesses bring wholeness, renewal, and the life giving offerings of Shakti. This creative life-force energy is truly what inspires life, living and abundance.
It is at this time that we can connect to these three goddesses most easily- inside of us, and around us. Because of this, Navaratri is considered a very sacred and powerful time of year- one that influences our inner and outer experience of life for months to come. To connect with the goddesses more closely, make special offerings on your altar for them during the nine days. You can also dedicate your actions and intentions to them for greater communication.
Connecting to fire and stoking the internal flame (or agni) can be valuable for the first three days of Durga. You may wish to write intentions that focus on empowerment and action steps for the coming months as well. Using self development tools to transform negative thoughts and mental body stories, will be well supported at this time. During the three days of Lakshmi, bring sweets and flowers to your altar, cook nourishing foods for your Self, decorate and adorn your Self. This is a time to focus on self care diligently. For the final portion of Navaratri, dedicated to Saraswati, music, art and poetry can be a good way to focus your energy, efforts and intentions. Use creativity, artistry and embodiment resources for grounding and landing in your intentions. Use one of my Creative Rituals for support with this process.
On this first day and night of Navaratri, notice what's arriving. I have experienced that the first three days of Navaratri initiate the changes and transformations you are working with in this release cycle. Often you must confront challenges and obstacles as a result. More nourishment and support is coming, but you can't receive it without this important step. What is arriving? What parts of your personal mythology are showing up as a mirror for you? How can you clear more space within? Let Durga's fierce warrior energy initiate and provoke awareness.
Emotionally, you may feel anger, pain, frustration or sadness emerge in the coming days. Physically you may need more rest or silence. Mentally you may need more inward reflection as well as time for meditation. Spiritually, you may need time with nature and rituals that help you land in deeper presence. Understand that this is a part of the change and transformation process. Where can you land into deeper presence with your needs?
As you deepen your intention for this Navaratri celebration, find meaningful rituals for yourself that bring you closer to spirit. Spend time in nature and in meditation. Listening to Durga mantras right now is excellent for inviting in her presence. Traditionally, listening to Chandi Path recitations is also encouraged.
During this sacred and potent time, treat your Self like the goddess that you are and share your abundance with others. May we each remember our abundant true nature, our immense creative life giving energy!
Read more about Navaratri from Vaidya Rama Kant Mishra, renowned Shaka Vansya Ayurvedic Doctor.
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