Today is the last day of the Navratri celebrations and puja throughout India. Navratri [Nav- nine, ratri – night] as the name suggests this is a festival that goes on for nine days and nine nights. In Hinduism, we acknowledge the presence of One omnipresent God, who manifests in many forms (33 Crore to be precise.) During this time of Navratri, we worship the nine forms of “Shakti” or the divine feminine.
One of the most popular stories associated with this festival [from my memory] is the legend of Goddess Kali, when fought a demon for nine days and nine nights. But with every drop of blood she drew from the demon a hundred new demons would sprout. So finally she began to decapitate the demons and suck them dry of their blood. By the end of the nine nights she had killed them all, she danced in ecstasy drunk and high on the blood of her slain victims, wearing their heads in a garland around her neck.
Her archetype is of the Dark One – foreboding, foreshadowing, drawing one into the surrender of the darkness. We cannot kill darkness as long as we see it as something separate and external. To be ‘kill’ darkness one must dare to consume and engulf it in the sacred fire within that can burn all impurities. This is fearlessness one needs when confronting ones own demons, to not fight the external but dare to ‘drink’ and accept them wholly in ones being where they can be transformed into light.
Also, just a couple of days ago, a book ‘Dancing in Flames’ caught my eye. Turns out it was about the
was about ‘The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness.’ Written by Jungian psychologists Marion Woodman and Elinor Dickson, they talk of the various myths of the ‘Dark Goddess’ across cultures and religions including Kali and Isis and the Black Madonna. No coincidence then that it is during Navratri that I picked it up. Or that I write this while sit by a fire right now watching the flames dancing, filling the air with that sweet smoky smell of burning embers and frankincense and myrrh.
As a child this was my favorite festival. I would sit and watch my grandfather would sit deep in meditation going into a trance at times. The whole puja was extremely mysterious and magical, with no one wanting to “say or explain” much to a child. As a Scorpio Rising you can imagine I was mesmerized and spellbound. But then how does one speak the Unspeakable? Only now I understand the magic that I was witness to in that room. Below is an excerpt from a blog I wrote two years ago – describing my experience; one that lingers in my being as present today as it was in that eternal moment.
On the 10th lunar day we celebrate Dassera which “concludes the festival of Navaratri, and the holy day also commemorates the triumph of good over evil.”
I’ll be back with the astrology for the week ahead later tonight or tomorrow. Currently, the Moon is still in Capricorn due to make a conjunction to the North Node around 1:40 AM EDT and will ingress Aquarius at around 6 AM EDT.
More soon and Happy Dassera…
Priya Kale, Penetanguishene, Ontario
“Among Maharashtrians, every year we perform the Ashtami Puja on the eighth lunar day. From early childhood, this day and ritual has held a deep fascination for me. My maternal grandfather would sit down in meditation in front of the altar while the rest of us stood around in silence just observing. The air would be thick with fragrant white smoke from the dhoop burning. And then, I can’t really explain what happened in that room other than it was like being witness to the unsayable. My grandfather was still sitting there, but it wasn’t him anymore.
“There were times ‘he’ would cry out almost in pain, [but his face never looked more peaceful] with tears flowing from his eyes. I remember being a child, right from the age of two or three and asking my mother and grandmother what was going on. They would never say, and I could not understand why. Then we would in turn make offerings of fruit, and chant shlokas and perform the Aarti. Finally he would open his eyes, and we would go to him one by one, and he would hand out little packets of sacred ash, and give us each a special message in a soft sacred whisper.”