Invoking the principles of Courage, Compassion, and Creative Clarity with R.R. Shakti, PhD.
Maha Navaratri is one of the most celebrated Indian holidays, occurring every year on the new moon in the Vedic month of Ashwin, near the autumnal equinox.
Nine nights are dedicated to the feminine principle.
The archetype of Durga is honored during the first three nights of Navaratri. She is the “invincible” one, who slays the demons of ego delusions, ignorance, and self doubt. Like Kali, who is actually an incarnation of her, Durga is a great destroyer. She rides a lion into victory and symbolically guides all spiritual warriors into the first phase of the alchemical journey to help establish courage and compassion in the face of fear and confusion.
For the next three nights, the Lakshmi archetype is honored. Lakshmi means “goal” in Sanskrit and she symbolizes abundance, beauty, and the enjoyment of worldly delights. She guides you along the spiritual path to awaken santosha (deep fulfillment). Her image invokes gratitude, creativity, and an unconditional love for life.
The final three nights of Navaratri are dedicated to Saraswati, whose name, when translated from Sanskrit, means “essence of Self” or "truth of Self." Saraswati carries a book, mala and a musical instrument. She is the archetype of the arts—learning, knowledge, and wisdom. She provides the creative clarity to realize your true nature as an expression of Infinite Consciousness.
These feminine principles are honored in this particular order because only after you have passed through the first two initiations of courage and compassion can you be ready to access your heart’s full awakening into creative clarity—the realization of who you really are!
This celebration is an opportunity to recognize the divine feminine principles within YOU!
1. Read a written copy or listen to an audio recording of the Devī-Māhātmya
The Devī-Māhātmya is a celebrated Indian text. It provides a Goddess revolution that emboldens the non-dual traditions of Hindu Tantra. It forms the foundation of the Navaratri Celebration. The story is recited during the nine nights of celebration and each of the nine goddess images hail from the mythic vision of Devī.
2. Decorate your altar with the three images of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.
The first three nights will provide an invocation to the fierce warrior goddess, Durga.
Nights four through six will honor Lakshmi, and the final three nights will celebrate Saraswati.
You will want to change the images and offerings on your altar to reflect the particular invocations of each day.
3. Light a candle or small, safe fire.
A fire burns continuously for the entire Navaratri celebration. If you can secure a flame to burn SAFELY for all nine nights, this will serve as a beautiful reminder of your awakened consciousness. It also signifies your commitment to tend the fire of your heart with nourishing food, self-care practices, and continued learning.
4. Prepare soups and teas.
It is traditional to fast during the nine nights of Navaratri. Fasting does not have to mean going completely without food, though. Especially during vata season, it is recommended that you keep your body nourished to stay balanced and grounded. Navaratri is a perfect time, however, to enjoy a cleanse from sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and meat. See how amazing—detoxified and hydrated—you feel after nine days of warm vegetable soups and herbal tea.
5. Listen to mantras and chants to the God/dess
Here are a few of my favorite tracks that honor the feminine principle:
Navaratri Mantras & a prayer for you.
Om Dum Durgayei Namaha
Om Shrīm Mahalakshmiyei Namaha
Om Shrī Saraswatiya Namaha
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
Salutations to the God/dess archetypes of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.
May you face all your shadows with the courage and compassion of a love warrior.
May you realize the sacred beauty of the human experience, delighting in each moment with creative freedom.
May you awaken to the divine wisdom within you, realize balanced wholeness as a sacred marriage of all opposites in your life, and remember your Self as a radiant expression of Infinite Consciousness.
And may you know peace.
R.R. Shakti, PhD
About The Author
R.R. Shakti, PhD
Founding teacher of Inner Power Yoga®, Shakti is a Contemplative Mythologist, ritual facilitator, and writer who presents a Tantrik approach to personal empowerment and social action. Through contemplative story-telling and mind/body practices, she offers a vision of deep peace and radical freedom.
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