Happy Ganesh Chaturthi everyone!
In India, today marks the first day of the festival of the elephant-headed Lord Ganesh, who is known to be “the Remover of Obstacles.” Given today is Ganesh Chaturthi below is an article I wrote for Planet Waves a few years ago on the significance of this festival and how it is celebrated in India.
Also in big news today Uranus in Aries squared Pluto in Capricorn late last night — this is very interesting, given it coincides with the Ganesh festival who is known to be “the Remover of Obstacles.”
Although the Uranus-Pluto square last night and over the coming three years is due to not just ‘remove obstacles’, but more likely to blast them off with a vengeance. Over the coming days and weeks, expect the effects of this square to intensify and reverberate. The first aspect between these planets occurred on June 24, 2012, the second early on Sept. 19, 2012 and the planets will square each other five more times between now and 2015, marking a pivotal point in our global and personal history.
This energy is fiery, explosive, volcanic and at the very least revolutionary. And no matter where in the world you live, you can see this aspect manifesting in the news: politically, economically and culturally. And by the time of the Aries Full Moon on Sept. 29, 2012 we are all due to feel it in a very personal way.
Especially if you have planets conjunct the early degrees of the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn) this is going to be a hugely transitional time for you. If you don’t know your chart, you can look it up for free here at www.astro.com or you can of course schedule a personal Astrology Reading with me or an astrologer whose work resonates with you.
Old facades are crumbling to make way for a new awakening of one’s raw individual power and a new reality and world. But before something new can be born, there has to be the death of the old. Like a wildfire, that makes way for new life after it has burned through its cycle of destruction.
The heavier and raw emotions – like rage, fear, subconscious desires to manipulate or control a situation and subconscious past cultural, social and parental conditioning are likely rearing their ugly head. But in awareness there can be a recognition of the truth and the ground that lies beneath.
Currently the Moon is in Scorpio, another agent of deep emotional transformation; which can only come through surrendering darkness and walking into the light. And in truth darkness is does not exist, darkness is only the absence of light. And it takes one small flame to light up a dark room. So perhaps the lesson here is, no matter what we are going through — keep the flame within burning…
Happy Ganesh Chaturthi again…!
Millions of Hindus all over the world celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi today. Ganesh as many know is the pot-bellied, elephant-headed God of Wisdom, heralded as “the remover of all obstacles.” He is the God we pray to before we start any new ceremony, or before we pray to any other God.
Paris’s Indian and Sri Lankan community celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi. Photo by Danielle Voirin.
Although celebrated all over India, the celebrations are the most magnificent, vivid and vibrant in the states Maharashtra and Goa. Mumbai truly comes alive during the Ganapati festival during this time of the year. It’s quite a trip to watch 20 foot high clay idols of an elephant-headed God, rolling down the main road in rush hour traffic on the back of a truck.
“Chaturthi” in Sanskrit translates to the “fourth day” of the lunar cycle and this festival begins each year on the fourth day after the Virgo New Moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapad.
On this day, people bring home idols of Lord Ganesha made of clay for a varying period of 1 1/2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 or 21 days (I’m hoping I got this correctly,) and on the final day of the festival is the immersion ceremony. At this time Ganapati returns to the sea (his mother Parvati) with people chanting for his return next year.
We perform one main “puja” on the first day, to mark the beginning of the festival and then we perform an “aarti” two times a day, every day after. As I write this, I know my parents are on their way over to my grandmother’s house. My father will read the shlokas while my Mama (mother’s brother) performs the Puja. Meanwhile, my mom and aunts will be gathering together the offerings needed for the ritual, while my grandmother makes moduk’s (and I help.)
Moduks are Ganapati’s (and mine) favorite food so we offer 21 moduks along with a specific menu of his other favorite food at the time of the puja. Every offering is chosen and selected with care and precision; Ganapati liked Durva — a kind of grass used in most vedic rituals. But we only offer a specific number of blades of grass, with only a specific number of leaves per blade (generally three or five, but in odd numbers). I am not sure of the meaning behind it, but its on one of those things on my list to ask grandmom the next time I speak to her.
Its definitely times like these that I miss being home the most. What I have always loved about all the Indian festivals and pujas is that the rites are performed with such a sense of devotion. It is more than just the idea of some form of idol worship, but rather a way of bringing us completely in the present moment. Asking for total attention and concentration in the here and now, where God dwells.
Getting back to the astrology, today Mercury enters its shadow phase — yes, it’s that time of the year again. Pay attention to the conversations you are having now, these are bound to undergo a more thorough examination over the coming weeks, especially when it comes to relationships. It seems we all need to learn a thing or two about how we communicate with each other. Do you feel heard? With Mars on one side and Venus on the other, it seems like we are vacillating between love and fury. Perhaps we need to just get our heads out of this one.
Also today the Sun makes its annual conjunction to Saturn — we are growing up. But don’t take yourself so seriously that you can’t hear life beckoning you. It’s indeed time to shed the past, learn the lessons but leave behind the baggage. An important part of growing up is we gain wisdom and the wisest are those who are children at heart.
Ganapati Bappa Morya!
Priya in NYC