On Monday the 30th of August we will undertake the ritual of the dark mother Kali Ma.
Kali Ma Jayanti is the annual Moon of Kali Ma that falls upon tomorrow’s half descending Moon. The Moon will be in the lunar house of Rohini Nakshatra.
Rohini is a blood red sensual star that is found in the eye of Vrishaba (Taurus).
Rohini is the most fertile of all the lunar houses and when worked with by way of invocation, she arouses blood red sensuality and fertility of both body and soul. Rohini brings healing to the rivers of the sexual water ruled Shakti Chakra.
Rohini is the queen of ebb and flow of the tides. She empowers the womb and brings virility and fertility to the sacred temple of creation.
Red & Black
Kali Ma is the consumer of Blood, and like Rohini, is also a woman most red. Kali means the feminine black that consumes time. She is the dark womb and her colours are red and black.
Rohini Nakshatra is ruled by the Moon. She is the favorite and most precious beloved of all the Lunar houses to which the Moon is wed.
Rohini is the Pearl of great price and the lunar constellation where the Moon is most at home. The pearl is a precious gem that is connected to Rohini Nakshatra.
Consider that a pearl is a precious gem that is made of the meeting of opposites.
The pearl is formed from the tears of an oyster when it gets a painfully iritating grain of sand in its innermost cavern.
From the suffering of the oyster is born a much sought after thing of beauty. The beautiful pearl is the oysters attempt to protect itself from pain.
In the end, the pearl leads to the oysters capture and fate.
By meditating upon the journey of the oyster, we acquaint ourselves with the hidden teachings of Rohini. Meditation upon the oyster opens us up to the forces of fertility.
Without the pain there will be no pearl. To mask and deny pain is to cast the pearl of great price away.
The Pearl of Great Price
It was a long time ago when a young wanderer stumbled upon a river that eternally whispered her secrets. He had wandered far, and felt more lost and miserable than he had ever been. He sat down by the river and wept.
The river saw his wounded heart, and out of compassion turned herself into a beautiful Goddess. She rested her warm hand upon his humped back and spoke to him in a soft voice, she asked.
”What is wrong my dear, and why do you weep so terribly?” ”I have lost my way” replied the young man, ‘And what is it you are looking for” she continued The young man searched his mind but could not find an answer. The water Goddess said, ”I have lived here for an eternity and in that time no one has reached this river” The young man then looked at the Goddess for the first time and noticed that something glowed close to her heart. ”What is that you hold to your heart” he asked. ”It is the Pearl of Great Price” she said in a low voice ”Yes!” Replied the young man as if waking from a dream, ”That is what i have been looking for” He continued… ”What is the Pearl of Great Price” ”It is the soul” replied the Goddess ”But what is the price of the pearl” he hesitatantly asked, ”The price is Love” she answered He paused and then asked, ”Does that mean by love I may obtain the pearl” ”Exaxtly” replied the Goddess to the young man and she vanished into the water from whence she came
Symbols of Rohini Nakshatra
The symbols of Rohini Nakshatra are very interesting and worth considering if we are to get an understanding and insight into the red woman Rohini.
While reading into these symbols, let us remember that the word Rohini comes from the root word Rohana. Rohana implies fertility and growth.
There is firstly the bull. The bull of virility is implied – male desire and reproductive desire are enhanced by evoking the Rohana Shakti of Rohini Nakshatra. Rohini Nakshatra is in the constellation of Taurus, which further is signified by the symbol of the bull.
The symbol of the Banyan tree is also given to Rohini Nakshatra. The Banyan tree is a tree that ever keeps growing and is therefore a perfect symbol of for the fertility that Rohini transports.
The Banyan tree is considered a holy tree to the Yogins and is to be found growing in places of power and temples in India.
The Roots of the Banyan tree grow from above downwardly, so it presents a paradox to the usual tree. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna mentions that the Banyan tree is a reversal amongst the trees that reflects the spiritual world within. The paradox that it presents is a subject to meditate and ponder upon.
Ponder upon it…
The Red Fertile Woman
Rohini is the red Star in the eye of the Taurian Bull. It is the star known as Aldebaran.
The word Rohini means fertility and growth, but is also translatable as the red woman, it implies the fertile menstruation process and reproduction. The fertility of Rohini is the red blood of Life.
Consider all the connotations of the colour red that you can, from passion to heat, from blood to birth.
Kali Ma & Rohini
In Kali Ma we see the symbol of blood in a pronounced way. Kali Ma is the Mother of the womb energy. She is the dark cavern of the womb. The creativity of Kali Ma can be seen as being the opposite of Rohini. We are talking about the destructive side of creativity here! Kali Ma is the blood of death. Although life and death appear to stand at opposite poles, they are inseparably interwoven with each other. The process of destruction leads to birth, as birth leads to destruction. We can also say that birth follows destruction. The Tantrics refer to the feminine womb as Kali Mandir – this translates as the Temple of the Dark Mother. The womb clothes the spirit In flesh. It is creative and life giving, yet the birth into form and manifestation that the womb brings, is the death of the spirit from its previous energetic state. How many wombs can you think of that usher something into manifestation? A pen for instance, could be seen as a womb for birthing a book. When death approaches, we again enter birth in the cosmic womb, as we part from form. In this way, birth and death are really the same thing. We might say that they do not follow one after the other, but rather, are ever moving towards each other. Rohini is the side of blood to create, and Kali Ma is the side of blood to destroy. Looking from an absolute vantage point… When creation and destruction are seen as forces that magnetise each other, then Kali Ma and Rohini can be seen as one. But when we envision Kali Ma and Rohini from the perspective of dualistic opposites, they seem Poles apart. There is a teaching story that presents this Paradox of creation and destruction. It is a story that centralises around blood.
Bloody Tales of the Tantric Goddess
The stories of Kali Ma tell of the fate of the near invincible Asura Raktbija. Raktbija epitomises the self perpetuating destructive urge. He would not be defeated and would simply recreate further forms of himself wherever a drop if his blood would spill. Rakt, in his name means blood, and Bija means Seed. So literally, his name means, he who’s every drop of blood is a seed. By this power to reproduce himself, he seemed invincible. In battle, he only grew more and more powerful and numerous. Only Kali Ma had the ferocity to consume his endless duplicates and defeat him by drinking every drop of his blood until there was nothing left of him. Kali Ma is the consuming force that can never be escaped or sidestepped. As the consumer of the seed and blood Asura Raktbija, she is called Rakteshvari. Her infamous bloodlust knows no limits. The story goes on to tell that when Raktbija was consumed by Kali Ma, she became unstoppable and continued to consume life until Shiva intervened as a way to stop the all consuming raging bloodlust that threatened to consume everything including him. The solution was to place an innocent child before her. Kali Ma’s motherly instincts were aroused and in an instant she became the nurturing mother of womb power. This fantastical tale is full of codes. When we meditate upon this story and glimpse behind the ‘outer story’ and into the deeper meanings of the ‘inner story’, we see into the energies of creation and destruction and how they meet.
The Head in her Hand
Kali Ma holds a head in her hand. This is a significant symbol as we will soon see.
As we have already seen, Kali is Rohini in her Destructive creative aspect. Kali cuts the head off and stops the familiar motion of the mind.
Rahu is the North node of the Moon that eclipses the sun. Kali Ma carries the power of Rahu in her Left hand.
Let us pause and Look at opposites for a moment:
Rahu is the separated head of Ketu the South lunar node.
Though they are separate, they can’t really be separated. They are always 180 degrees from each other as mirror opposites. Rahu is the automatic response of habitual consuming consiousness that does not pause to contemplate deeper layers of being. Rahu simply feast eternally and hungrily as everything simply passses through him with no body to retain any of it. Rahu is never satisfied.
That is what Kali Ma holds. She at once has the power of Rahu – (As the story of Raktbija demonstrates) – and she also has the power over Rahu.
Kali Ma is the dark that envelops and eclipses the eclipser of the sun that Rahu is.
Kali Ma is a Darker shade of solar eclipse!
Ponder on this…
Now, astrologically speaking, Rahu is exulted in Rohini Nakshatra. This detail gives away who whole story and decodes the code.
The Nakshatra of Rohini is the dwelling Place of the Creator Brahma. It makes sense that the most fertile creative constellation should house the creator! Kali Ma is the destructive creatress – she can be seen as the opposite to Brahma.
Ponder on this…
The Shakti behind the Shakta
In conclusion, let us consider that in peering into the mysteries of the Dark Mother Kali Ma, we have to bring the poles of Destruction and Creation together if our vision is to go deeper than surface layers.
Tantric practices reunite these perhaps divorced principles. The principles of creation and destruction are the two universal categories into which all things fall.
The deeper mystery is that the meeting of these principles of destruction and creation, creates a marriage where there is only one category for everything to fall into. This category is the wide open mouth of Kali Ma, the creative/destructive tunnel of eternity.
This is the singular Vision. This is the Eye of Shiva that destroys duality.
Kali Ma is the Shakti behind the Shakta that is Shiva. Shiva is the destroyer of time, and Kali Ma is the destroyer of the destroyer of time.
“Oh Mother of the Dark Womb, from which all things come, to which all things return. Hidden by a disk of darkness many may reject you; many may refuse your sacred fear. Those who gaze away from your dark face lose the touch of the feminine. Those who look into the dark find you there. To you we bow.”
The wild woman of sensuality, straddling the beast of the creative force and pouring with the pleasures and wisdom of the earth.
A mysterious mistress of the hearth, of story telling, of herbs and healing.
A queen of the night forces, who equally is empress of green fruitful meadows where flowers abound.
Pouring blood of maidenhood on dry and ancient well.
She be a home for toad, bat and crow.
She welcomes the night forces.
Find her down avenues that lay overgrown, unexplored and feared.
She is the hag that’s thrown to the outskirts, beyond the borders where the sensible would dare to venture. Some call her Kali Ma.
The life is in the Blood
Kali is Mother Nature, the dark goddess who consumes life.
She shows us where and how we give our power into the field of life.
She is the mirror that reflects life back to us.
Her mirror shows us how we consume life, and in turn, how life in consumes us.
Kali Ma is the blood. It has been said that the life is in the blood. Kali Ma is the great Mother Nature. She is the ruthless force of nature that drinks blood. She is at once the blood of creation, and she who drinks it.
Kali Ma is the stream of nature and mother to the innocent.
The innocent are those who trust in the wisdom and way of nature. There may be some things in our lives that we can’t trust, but nature never lies. She may be ruthless and destructive in her bloody laws, but she is ever honest.
The Ritual of Kali Ma
Welcome the age-old ritual that calls upon the Goddess Kali Ma. The Tantrics regard Kali Ma as mother nature herself.
She is the dark womb, the Maha Yogini and the queen of witches.
Kali Ma represents the origin of life and contains the unstoppable power of creation and destruction.
Through the ritual practices of Kali Ma, the Yogin opens the lid that rests upon primal femininity.
Through Tantric ritual the Yogin attempts to open a ceremonious field of magic, creative chaos and birth.
In this ritual, under Kali Ma’s guidance, we will uncover the witch’s cauldron that bubbles within our lower womb of creation and destruction.
Lifting the lid, we shall first stir, and then drink from the deep primal well of Kali Ma.
Savoring the essence that has been brewing for uncounted ages in the womb-pot of power. In that pot, we might meet suppressed emotions and other aspects of our character that we might not have dared to taste thus far.
Divorcing the divine father from the earthly mother, results in the suppression of the feminine aspects of our personality.
We might even ask the question – What does feminine even mean?
On this ritual night, we will work with ancient Tantric practices, with the focus on making contact with, and awakening the power that lays in wait for us in the Womb of Power.
Shaktistaan is the old Yogic name given to the creative center in both women and men. This word literally translates as the Land of the Goddess…
It is to this land we voyage, for it is in this land that Kali Ma dwells.
Kali Ma is all-consuming-time, or rather, she is the consumer of the all-consuming-time. When she is awoken and approached, she starts to consume the line of time. The closer we move to Kali Ma, the more of the line of our time she consumes.
The closer we move to Kali Ma, the more frightening she become, as the familiar line of time is uprooted and the sense of lostness comes upon us. Lostness is a spiritual condition. Lostness is the grey shaded area of uncertainty and fear, cultivating this lostness is a requirement for coming close to Kali Ma.
We might be in the habit of avoiding the feeling of lostness by safely securing ourselves into areas of certainty and conviction. A degree of certainty is certainly required to exist within the system that we live within. But Kali Ma reminds us that we live in a greater spiritual system where certainty becomes a doorway that stands between her and us. Spiritual security is a foreign concept in the land of Kali. In her land, there are no saving sentiments, no guiding testaments, and no certain laws or holy moral codes to resign ourselves to.
The Lost Child and the Mother
While we might believe we should be busy solidifying and securing inner spiritual convictions and beliefs, Kali ma chews up and spits out such psychic sentiments and thought forms. All secure certainties to hold upon are the killers of the child that can approach her. Only the lost child can approach Kali Ma. The lost child is an innocent spirit that is modest and humble enough to not put its stamp of approval upon reality. We could say that to approach Kali Ma, we have to learn to resign psychic certainty. Then again, we could say that to approach Kali Ma, we need to learn to embrace lostness within the infinity of spiritual being. Or perhaps we might best of all say, that we must simply remember what we once knew. There was once a time that we lived in the realm of Kali Ma. There was once a time that certainly of spirit was our least concern. Perhaps as we developed into embracing the certainties that are required to function within the system that we live within, we slowly took a certain grip on the spiritual world too?
Going to School
If we do not get the bus to our school at 8:30 for a 30-minute journey, we will not arrive at 9:00 o clock, and therefore risk punishment or even humiliation.
It is quite certain that if the school-child renounces the certainty of the alarm-clock and wanders freely to the bus stop at 10:00 or 11:00 o clock, that (s)he will not arrive at 9:00 o clock.
When this clockwork-consciousness takes a grip on our spiritual life and fills our inner world with spiritual codes and structures, then we step out of the free wandering child of the spiritual world. We might even take pride that we have prevailed over the inner uncertainty of the spirit. We might think we have learned our lessons in the school of life when we have prevailed over the wilderness of the spirit and replaced uncertainty with certain timetables and certificates of accomplishment. For the Tantric, to lose the infinity of spiritual uncertainty and lostness, is a failure in the school of life. To decode the structures of the inner life and tear up clock-work landscapes, along with the bus routes and school buildings of the spirit, is for the Tantric, the path of learning.
The bus will take its familiar route daily, havoc may even ensue if it is late according to the structures of the system that we live within.
In the spiritual life, there are no roads and routes, there is no bus-stop, there is no school-building and the bus never leaves, because it never comes!
It is possible to navigate within the structures of the system in which we live, while at the same time traveling through the inner uncertainty of the realms of Kali Ma. These two realms are not dependent on one another. There is a great secret and paradox in this statement. Ponder on this.
The left hand Tantric, honours the rhythms of the heart that can’t be confined to a structure. When the heart is confined to a structure, it is the end of creativity in every sense.
Confining the heart and it’s rhythms of feeling may pass as success and accomplishment within the system in which we live, but to say it again, it is the end of creativity in every sense.
The spirit is creative and needs not learn how to create, nor learn what to create, for the spirit simply is creative. Returning to primordial creativity is the step towards Kali Ma.
The Tantrics cultivate the inner lostness, the very nature of Tantric practices puts us in positions of uncertainty and vulnerability. There is no right or wrong way to approach an inner Tantric Mudra for instance, there is simply just approaching it. Take the example of a backbend in the branch of Tantric Asan. The backbend is a dropping into the unknown. The backbend is the looking into the unfamiliar. The back bend softens with time if we cultivate the feeling for spiritual lostness. This is why this is such a central movement in Tantra.
Our inner psychic restraints manifest as rigidities and holding in the backbend. The ability to fall and breath into the unknown of the backbend, reveals the state of our psychic landscape. Sometimes we might push and struggle our way into the bend, hoping for more depth. Sometimes we might stay reserved and not dare to approach the unknown, and therefore just play it safe. This playing it safe, is the deep spiritual un-safety for the Tantric. By playing it safe, we move into rigidity and away from the innocence of infinity. All the sensations and inner realities that the backbend arouses in us are a subject of study, that teach us far more than the teaching of the correct position. The backbend is much more than a bodily motion. It is an inner attitude to enter ‘lostly’ into the great mystery that can never be known. Some call it the unknown, the Tantrics call it the unknowable.
Kali Ma is the goddess who licks at our Karmic cycles. A lick seems harmless enough, but when it’s repeated cyclically and continually it reveals everything. A drop of water repeated repetitiously in sequence, has the power to erode a stone. The cyclic licks of Kali Ma can erode the encasement that surrounds the sacred heart. On the path of Kali Ma we face fear. By facing fear we begin to move towards Kali Ma and thus towards the healing of Karmic cycles. Our Karmic cycles live beneath the covering of fear. When we remove ourselves from fear, we close ourselves off from facing our Karmic patterns and programs… this is the very definition of Tamas. The sense of spiritual lostness that comes from facing fear, turns us into the child that Kali Ma embraces. Fear is the encasement upon the unknown and unknowable. Fear is the uncertainty of spirit that opens the door to infinite potential. Kali Ma is the one who stands beyond and behind the door that is sealed by spiritual certainty.
What has been giving birth to our reality? Who is the mother that is giving birth to our reality?
Approaching Kali Ma is to give up one mother for another.
Kali Ma is the dark mother, she is cited as being the destroyer of time. What does this mean in a practical sense?
When we start to look at the past it is sometimes not easy to accept, and we don’t always have to. The Tantric work that goes into the inner structures of the soul, comes upon our ancestral patterns. Kali Ma, being the mother behind all mothers, requires up to face all the mothers we have known, this includes our ancestry. Working with ancestral patterns can create a deep-rooted energetic shift in us that is not always visible to the mind. The mind can be slow to grasp the lessons that the spirit learns… and the mind does not always immediately follow. The mind can often come later in the maturity of looking upon what the spirit sees…
Forgiving the Mother
There can be reasons that the mind does not accept certain things, and it does not have to. By not accepting certain things, we can be geared towards our destiny. By prematurely forcing oneself to accept what is unacceptable in the name of healing, we can cut away important lessons and leave ourselves stunted.
Tantric work with forgiveness is a heavy affair. To even start approaching forgiveness is a profound thing.
The spiritual path begins and ends with forgiveness, but it can’t always be a fast process. Tantric work with the ancestral realms, can show us the structures in ourselves that hold onto certain things. The ‘things’ that we hold onto are not the real issue at hand. The issue of addressing the structures in us that clutch onto ‘things’ is what Tantric ancestral ritual primarily addresses.
The ‘things’ are secondary and have a tendency to resolve themselves when the structures of our psychic self are looked at and worked with. Ancestral work becomes primary in the path of healing. Yogins have given ancestral work a central place of importance in their spiritual practices.
The lines of influence of our ancestry can make us do many things. It is the ‘ghost in the machine’ that makes us do things the way that we do. These motions are sometimes invisible and taken to be ourselves. But sometimes what is happening in our heart and mind is far from who we really are. Tantrics investigate within themselves, where the familial spirits move. The reality of the psychic world and its structures is delved into in ritualised focus on the Yogic path. It is mainly a practically applied subject with Inner Mudra and the evocation of the forces that move and dance us from behind the scenes. Even further behind the forces that move us from behind the scenes is Kali Ma. She is behind that which is behind.
She Tramples on Time
In the looking into of our inner patterns, we might discover a self that’s not bound up in those patterns. We sometimes start to strip ourselves of the ornaments and clothing of the past, and see that we are sitting between the two choices of our ancestral lines. Tantrics have often suspended all activity to discover the motivation of that which really moves us. Ritual focus is an austere period of suspension. Such times of meditation and suspension are important if we are to look behind the motions of the roles played out on the theatre of life.
The ritual is a way of stepping out of habitual and often favorable motion. In that suspension we discover something in between.
Kali is the destruction of time, she tramples on time, she is time and it’s destruction, ‘and at the same time’ she is beyond, behind and between time and destruction. She destroys the relativity and illusion of motion. To reach her is to reach inside.
The Ashwini Kumar twins are the two human bodied and horse headed gods of all healing arts. They are the twin stars in the constellation of Aries. The first of the constellations. The head symbolism plays out strongly when we look at this constellation and it’s related stories. We see that the constellation of Aries rules the head and relates to the themes of Heads and head chopping that we will soon encounter if we read on. Of note is also that the Sun is the father of the Ashwini Kumar twins. Of note because the sun is exulted in Aries.
Let us firstly go to Greek myth as an introduction to the lessons of Ashwini Nakshatra.
The Greek mythology of the 12 labours of Hercules is an archetypal journey of the soul through the 12 zodiacal houses. The first labour of Hercules is the lesson of Aries. Hercules is possessed of legendary strength and with his strength comes a pride and satisfaction in himself and his abilities. Hercules tended to overestimate himself to the point of blindness of others, as we will see in the the first labour, where the gods sent Hercules to go and tame the flesh eating mares. Hercules easily does it with one arm. Satisfied and full of pride with his easy achievement, Hercules goes off to celebrate his victory, handling the wild flesh eating horses to his best friend. Hercules went off in search of grandeur and merriment. Of course, his friend had not the strength of Hercules. Hercules’ strength was his weakness and lack of clear perspective. Hercules failed miserably at the very first labour and had to abjectly lament the loss of his best friend by a hideously violent death. All the blame was on Hercules and his blindness of reality.
We see the horse theme played out clearly here. We see the destructive side of horse power also, that is, power without grace and heart. The whole constellation of the energies of the first labor of Hercules point to violence and the destructive side of horse power. Without intelligence, there be no grace. Without grace, there is only bravado and violence against the sacred heart. Blindness and its cure is a pivotal theme of Ashwini Nakshatra, as we shall discover upon further reading.
Vision of Horse
The Ashwini Kumar twins are the healing horse gods of the Yogins. These celestial healers actually have the cure to blindness. They are the Celestial horses who open the eyes of the heart by mixing grace with power. Just like Hercules in the story above who got the lesson of Ashwini Nakshatra, when his eyes were opened after seeing the result of the arrogance and pride that lost him his best friend.
There are many stories that tell of how the Ashwini Kumar Twins cured blindness. In the Mahabharat for example, the following story is to be found, slight variants of the same story are scattered though the scriptures.
This is a story about the Star constellation of Ashwini Nakshatra:
Once there was a princess named Sukanya who married and cared for the ancient Yogi hermit named Cyavan who lived deep in the woods absorbed in Samadhi.
Cyavan meditated with his eyes blazing forward in the technique known as Tratak. (this will be part of the ritual meditation) Tratak gives one second sight.
After sitting for long years, the old Yogis body was covered in fallen leaves and ants, only his blazing eyes were visible in their burning focus. The princess Sukanya was wandering in the woods and upon seeing two shining stars, she got curious, and with a stick she found on the ground. She proceeded to prick at the stars to see what they were. Being the eyes of the Yogi, of course she unwittingly caused his blindness. She agreed to marry and care for the now blind old Yogi as a way to recompense her action.
The Ashwini twins happened to be in the woods collecting healing herbs, when they saw the beautiful princess. They wanted to get on with some horseplay, but Sukanya was ever faithful and refused them angrily. The twins are the very pictures of beauty. They are said to radiate health and beauty, and they did not ever experience being refused before. They proposed that they would cure the blind old Yogi and make him young again, but only on the condition that she should identify him after his transformation, but if she chose wrongly, then she would have to get leave with them.
She wanted her old blind husband to regain vision and health, and so both she and the old Yogi agreed to the game. The Horsey healing boys carried the now old decrepit and blind Yogi into the lake after giving him a mixture of some healing herbs. In the waters they did their healing magic. And when they emerged from the water, they all dazzled and glowed with startling radiance.
Sukanya couldn’t tell the difference between them, as all three were just radiating pure power. She felt into her heart and selected one of the three with the prayer that she would select her husband. She of course selected her husband and the story went on to other things such as a bit of horseplay.
It is said that the mixture of healing herbs that the Ashwini twins gave to the old decrepit and blind Cyavan to restore him to power has been handed down the generations as the healing tonic known as Cyavanprash. Every Indian household has known this thick sweet substance. It is both feared and loved by children.
The story has a few notable points. It highlights firstly the eyes, vision and blindness, it goes into super sight, and into blindness, it emphasises the dark and light of vision.
The themes of healing, youth and revitalisation and sexuality are primary points in considering Ashwini Nakshatra as presented in the story above. We will go on now to look into these themes.
Note the eyes that shone like stars. The eyes of the meditating Yogi that the princess poked out, are symbolic of the two stars in Aries of this constellation of Ashwini Nakshatra.
When the princess poked into these stars, she thereafter went through an epic life journey of the major themes of Ashwini Nakshatra. By the end of this text you may do well to note the themes, consider her isolation and devotion that were called forward after the act of poking the eyes/stars. A princess reduced to a reclusive servant is indeed an indicative symbol of Ashwini Nakshatra.
‘This Nakshatra brings a blindness that leads to vision’. Ponder on this phrase.
In the rituals of Ashwini Nakshatra, one pokes at the starry eyes of vision and unfolds vitality and revivification of heart, body and soul.
The Yogin who works with Ashwini Nakshatra, attempts to become the princess who penetrates the stars and is gifted its healing secrets. The princess brought out the secret elixir of Cyavanprash after all!
The South Node & the Ass
Let us consider the 3 Nakshatra’s that are ruled by Ketu to further decode this mysterious energy. Ketu is the ruling Planet of Ashwini Nakshatra, which is the Nakshatra we are presently focusing upon. In Ashwini, Ketu is about going deep into the art of healing.
Ketu is also the ruler of Magha Nakshatra. Magha is the throne of royal power. In Magha, Ketu energy brings us to our seat of power through honouring our heritage.
Ketu is also the ruler of Mool Nakshatra, Mool Nakshatra is ruled by a Nirrti. She is the Godess of destruction, born of Adharma and Himsa, (unhealthy action and violence) Mool literally means the Root of the body. Think of the Root, it is the place of defecation, there is no creativity without destruction, is clear here in the sense of defecation. This is the Base Chakra, the Anal area which is known also as the Ashwini horse point. This is the door of Ganesh. The Tantrics call it Gaja Dhwar, which literally means the elephant doorway. Ganesh has two colours. Firstly he is grey. Grey is the colour of Ketu. But Ketu is also said to be red, and so is Ganesh said to be red. Ganesh is the deity of both Mars and Ketu. When Ganesh sits on the throne of Magha, he becomes the royal red ruby. The chair of Magha is the sexual opening which Tantrics call Shakti Dhwar, literally the doorway of the Goddess.
Rahu and Ketu are also opposites. Rahu is red and hungry. And when Ganesh is Red, he is in action and moving to the realm of Rahu. Rahu and Ketu are inseparable mirrors of each other. Now the deeper connotation here is that the sexual opening is Rahu and the Anus is Ketu. The Nadi (energy channel) receives the smoke of Ketu from the anus and out the sexual opening. Rahu and Ketu are connected to obscuration, eclipse and smoke. This Mudra of drawing in ‘psychic smoke, into the anus is known as Ashwini Mudra. It activates the Ketu energies and brings them into the field of consciousness. Consider that after the horse defecates, it draws the anus in.
In the ritual of Ashwini Nakshatra, the anus is worked with to a rather great degree. Moolbandh is the sexual door Mudra that swings the sexual door open and closed. Ashwini Mudra is the action of swinging between the open and closed door of the Anus. The Tantric learns to switch between these energetic actions and doorways. Deep psychic energy is stored in these centres, by becoming conscious of the contractions and impulses of these doorways by making unconscious sensations conscious, the Yogins awaken the potentials of the Rahu and Ketu axis.
We will next consider the Story of the birth of Ashwini Kumar horse twins. It is a story that points to sexual themes and dual energies. Notice in the story that they came out of their mothers nostrils, one from each. This is an encoded part of the story, that further points to the dual doorways of the anus and sexual openings. The ritual practices of Ashwini Nakshatra involve connecting the nostrils with the lower doorway of the Anus, in what are known as the Ashwini Pranayam practices.
Let us look at the birth and origin of the Ashwini twins. We will consider the fascinating story of how they became the celestial healers, along with the perhaps even more fascinating story of their birth. This will take us deeper into the insight of their power and position amongst the stars.
On with the rather sexy story of horseplay and the resultant birth of the beautiful horsey healing boys who became the celestial healers.
Here we first visit a familiar myth of the Sun and his wife Chaya, the shadow woman:
Once upon a time, the Sun had a wife. She loved him, but he was too hot and overbearing for her with his active radiance and heat. The Suns wife Sanjana, needed a break, and so she ran away to a far off forrest and took to Yogic practices in order to learn how to handle solar heat. She practiced intense Tapasya and Chaya Karana. This is the practice of working with the shadow. At deep levels of this practice, the practitioner is able to get their shadow to move about and do things. Sanjana sent her double of the shadow woman Chaya back to her husband the Sun to stand in for her while she continued with Yogic practices. The Sun suspected nothing as the Shadow wife resembled his wife Sanjana in every which way. Time passed and many things happened. The Sun and the Shadow woman gave birth to Shuni (Saturn), who be the force and weight of Karma itself. Chaya ended up cursing her children, Shuni and Yamaraja, the lords of Karma and Dharma. She left both of them limping with her curses. Consider what this symbol of limping could mean when applied to these terrible two, as they are known. Yamaraja and Yami the twins were born earlier from Sanjana, and Shuni was born of Shadow. When the Sun thought about it, he realised that no mother would curse her children in this way, and so he cast his beams across the earth and saw his wife Sanjana practicing the ancient Yogic devotions in a far off forest. He set off towards her. The wife started get hotter and hotter and realised that the sun had found out, she used her Yogic Siddhi (power) to turn herself into a mare and charged off at lightning speed, so fast was she that the sun was left in the dust. The Sun turned himself into a horse, and darkness descended without his solar light in the world. Then the chase began. As he watched his wife run from behind, his sexual desire reached uncontrollable levels. He leapt through the sky with a mighty neigh and landed inside his horse wife and ejaculated instantly. The horse wife sneezed at the moment that he ejaculated, and out of each of her nostrils were born the Ashwini twins. They were beautiful and powerful with such potent sexual charm, that none could resist them. It is said by Tantrics that the energy of the moment of sexual conception is ever carried in the aura until made conscious. And so, the Ashwini horse boys became the celestial studs in the very truest sense.
We have already considered how Ketu is the ruling Planet of the Ashwini Star boys. And we have looked at how Ketu represents the Anus. In Tantic lore, it is said the Sun in the guise of a horse mounted his horse wife anally, this refers to the Ketu element of the whole horsey constellation. The work with the Anus is primary in working with Ashwini Nakshatra and Ketu in general.
Soon we will see how Venus hung upside down and inhaled the smoke of Ketu. This symbol can also be taken to mean that he inhaled through the Anus. (refer to the section on Venus below) This anal inhalation of the smoke of Ketu, is a Tantric practice of the doorway known as Gaja (elephant), Dhwar (doorway) of the grey Ketu aspect of Ganesh. The symbol of Ketu is inherent in the name Gaja Dhwar. The anus is possessed of the nerve endings that when worked with, can access ones Karmic lessons in relation to Ketu. This ritual night will be a night of Ass, and we are not talking mule!
How they got Healers
The Ashwini Twins grew quickly into powerful healers. They wanted to extend their skills even further and lean the art of Rasanaya Vidya, also known as Madhubala Vidya, which means the wisdom of sweetness. This is the wisdom of making potions and medicines and secret elixirs from even more secret herbs. It was the god Indra who knew this science and carefully guarded it that no one should find out and become as powerful as he. Indra taught it to the Rishi’s Dadachi for his own interests and protection. But he told Rishi Dadich, that if he ever taught any of it to anyone, his head would be chopped off. (Take note of the Ketu symbolism here)
The Ashwini Twins were possessed of profound intelligence and figured out a way to learn the secrets. With their surgical skill, they simply removed the head of Rishi Dadachi and replaced it with the head of a horse. They learned the secrets of Rasayana Vidya and after they got every last drop of knowledge out of the horses mouth, they reattached the original head of Rishi Dadachi with the help of some healing elixir, The old Rishi was good as new. Rishi Dadachi could not really be held accountable, and so he managed to keep his head. In the section of Venus that follows the next, we will further see how Indra tried to make sure that Shukracharia should not get powerful enough to destabilize his throne as the King of Paradise. Another version of this story tells how the Ashwini twins preserved the original head and the horses body. When Indra did chop of the horse head – that told the secrets – on the body of Rishi Dadachi, the twins simply replaced the original heads and found a way to get past the curse of Indra. On account of this tale, Dadachi is also known as Ashvashirsa, which means horse headed.
To Scoff or to Nibble
Though this is a Ketu ruled Nakshatra, we must consider that Rahu can’t be separated from Ketu. After all they were once one being that was split in two. They are ever 180 degrees to each other and move as a mirror. They are the spiritual mirror of the Smokey realms of the soul. Both are linked to smoke, one exhales and the other inhales smoke. Rahu became the hungry head separated from the body, that consumes and looks ever forward, Rahu is never able to retain anything because he’s cut at the neck, Rahu is ever exhaling smoke because things go right through him. Rahu is said to be the exhalation of the Smoke that eclipses the sun.. and so his head expands ever forward and consumes. He is exaggeration. Rahu is a loud energy that makes everything in realty grow and appear larger than it is. He takes away the light and makes one becomes blind to reality. Rahu ornaments things, he is drama and dress, he is the oversized crystal ring and the styling with bling, the ego if you will. Rahu is the head in the hand of Kali Ma. Until the head is taken off, Ketu is not awoken. So Ketu is the body half that is also symbolised as the tail of the serpent. The birth star of Ketu is the celestial serpent of Ashlesha Nakshatra incidentally. Ketu is the reflection of Rahu. He is the exact opposite. The tail portion is the detachment. The Root of Kundalini Shakti. Ketu is a severe force of asceticism. Ketu is solitude and potent detachment. Ketu has not the hungry head of Rahu on his shoulders. His head has been cut off. Ketu is the acceptance of the past. Ketu is the past and the one who retains it, unlike the head who is ever hungry. Ketu therefore inhales smoke. Rahu gulps and bolts his food down and is unaware of the consequences of his actions, because there are no consequences for him, everything simply just passes through him. Rahu is loud and the mouth is ever smacking its lips in search of more, ever hungry and ever tired and never fulfilled.
Ketu on the other hand – as we are told in the stories – is given to fasting and hardly eating or sleeping. He is the aseptic who takes what he gets. Several Magical novels of Hermann Hesse, are very indicative of the the themes of the Rahu and Ketu axis issues. Those wishing to investigate this energy through existential themes would do well to read, The Glass Bead Game (1943), Narcissus & Goldmund (1930) Siddhartha (1922) The Journey of Ketu is down and back .
Venus in Pains
Consider the story of Shukracharia (Venus) He has the wisdom of Mritsanjeevani Vidya. This is the ability to awaken the dead. Shukra means sperm quite literally. He awakens the spirits of the past and gives them life. The spirits and ancestors of the past are known to Yogins as the Pitris. The Pitris ruling planet is nothing but Ketu. Shukracharia (Venus) got this power to awaken the dead by hanging upside down from a tree and breathing in the smoke of a fire that burned beneath him. This is a very strong ancient Tantric Sadhana that a few Tantrics still do to this day.
The reversal of the head under the heart is a symbol to meditate upon here. Shukracharia started to slowly acquire power as he continued his austerity. His nemesis and opposite Indra sent his daughter Jayanti to stop Shukracharia from getting powerful (remember that Indra is the king of the Devas, and Shukracharia is the Guru of the Asuras). Indra’s daughter sprinkled chili-powder into the fire so as to stop Shukracharia completing his ritual austerity, but still he induced and continued. She added more spice until the fire burned noxiously with thick suffocating clouds of smoke. Blood started to pour profusely out of Shukracharia’s swollen head. It came out from his eyes, nose, mouth and ears and landed in the fire which burned poisonously. He breathed excruciatingly as the toxic Rahu laced smoke was breathed in. Pay attention and note that these are the openings in the head, the chili is Rahu and so is the head, but the head is upside down at 180 degrees, which indicates the place of Ketu. Chili powder is also red, this red colour of the chilli powder is a very significant detail, as you will see if you’ve payed attention.
Shukracharia’s head being upside down signifies that he turned around and went from Rahu to Ketu by restraining himself to this austerity. The Rahu energy tried to distract poor old Venus from completing the ritual that would give him the power to raise the dead. The Rahu energy brought spice and drama and all the blood sweat and tears that goes with that. It brought all of this for Ketu to resolve. Did Venus continue. Hell yes he did! Shiva stepped in to overt the potential explosion of the head after years of hanging over the noxious fire. Shiva blessed Shukracharia with Mritsanjeevani Vidya and so the enduring Venus got the power to raise the dead ancestors (Remember that Shukra means sperm). That Shukracharia underwent this extreme austerity with ruthless fortitude is indicative of him aligning to the energy of Ketu, who represents the extreme magical austerity known as Tapasya. This is the skill to turn towards introspection when the fires of heated motion prevail. Ketu is the one who turns action inward. Actions of restless activity, such as searching, looking, moving, doing and scrolling though the endless rows of information are commanded by Ketu. Ketu is extremely stern and able to face deep solitude and pain. Ketu can weather the harshest terrain because he inherently carries the vision of healing.
The daughter of Indra was so impressed by the devotion of Shukracharia, that’s she fell in love with him. Much to the dismay of her father Indra, who now had lost his daughter to his arch enemy. What a story!
Cut it off
The Tantric’s initiate is to cut off at least one head in their lives. Removing their own head of the Rahu within and becoming the audience and not the participants of ancestral Karma and drama. Rahu is the head that likes to add a bit more spicy chili powder to reality. Ketu is the one to release and heal by stepping out of the action of ever consuming the Karma that we are involved in. Ketu is like the isolation, reduction and restriction… this is especially poignant in these times where Rahu is the excess. His motto is more is better, he wants to sprinkle every damn flavor on his plate but is never satisfied and so never steps out of the cycle of ancestral Karmic patterns and never will, his motion is up and out.
When we go down to the ground where Ketu is, then we take to simplicity and healing. (Ketu’s motion is down and in) Ketu is the record keeper of all events, he therefore represents memory. When memory is gone it is a sign that Rahu is in town and has taken over. At its most extreme expression we see dementia. Memory decay and dementia is a symptom of Rahu. He’s so hungry for more of everything that nothing registers and no memory of any action is retained. Sometimes we pick up these ancestral patterns if we are familiar to this. Whatever the excess is, one can be certain that in excess consumption memory will not be. Whether one travels between countries and cultures on the quest for experience, or whether they spend and buy to excess. It is the excess that erodes the Part of the mind responsible for memory. The Mannas, as it’s called, is the mind to the Yogins, it is made up of several faculties, and memory is one component.
Before we move on from the detachment, moderation and introversion of Ketu, let us also consider that he is focus, devotion and the stamina to see things through. But focus, devotion and the stamina to see things through, can be ruin if it’s done in Rahu fashion. Focus, devotion and the stamina done in Ketu fashion is healing, it is introspection, it is the secret to access and heal the memories of the past. A study of our Rahu/Ketu axis is the path of Tantra.
Some Tantrics go so far as to take of a head as a reminder of the divide between the two. We have perhaps heard about the skull of the Yogin. We might be quick to dismiss it as superstition or bad magic if we follow the popular narratives of a shallow culture that is most comfortable with parroted slogans. There is reason why the Skull is the symbol of the Tantra. Ponder on why that may be?
Ketu is symbolised as a flag. The flag at the peak of an Indian temple is placed in honour of Ketu. Ketu is the flag on the chariot of Dhumavati, and also the flag on the chariot of Krishna and Arjuna in the great spiritual battle known as Mahabharat. Ketu is the accomplishment. When the mountain climbers reached the top, they would put a flag to mark the victory, this explains Ketu in a nutshell.
But Ketu is not the champagne and after party only. Ketu is the friends that fell down the rockslide as you climbed. Ketu is the rock that sliced the hand open as you tried to save yourself from falling backwards into abyss, the selfsame hand that went septic with little hope of recovery.
When the right hand of action goes septic, we might turn to the left-hand way of Vamamarg… This is the way of the heart.
Ketu is the tears of loneliness as you realise you’re lost from the team of other climbers. Ketu is headless and can’t see the way, but ’tis he who for that reason, finds the way!
Ketu is for this reason connected to Moksha, liberation and release. To say he is a hard teacher is a grand understatement. But he gets the job done. May you place your flag victoriously upon the Mahabharat mountain of your destiny.
As we move through the year celebrating the tantric festivals we would like to introduce you to a lesser know divinity, and yet a very important one within the Tantric system: Hayagriva. Hayagriva is the Horse headed God, and the full Moon of August is celebrated as his birthday in the ancient Indian festival known as Hayagriva Jayanti, the birthday of the Horse-headed God. Tantric law has its roots deeply at the base of this festival, mapping out the mythological and energetic significance of this day that honours the Horse God.
Tantra goes into practical and magical invocation of the Horse energy by specific Yog practices to awaken our own inner Horse power and raise the Kundalini energy into full consciousness.
The Horse breath is a pranayama (breathing) practice that is practiced upon this ritual Moon. It is s breath that simulates the sound of a horse, this pranayam stimulates the nerves connected to the third eye and assists in giving one insight and vision into the two halves of ourselves (the dark and light parts of each one of us) and how they relate to each other. The Chorrah, or Horse challana (movement), is a Tantric Mudra of moving as if one were upon horseback. There are numerous asanam in which this is done, but mostly it is performed in the squatting position. Along with inner horse Mudra these practices will be woven into this nights ritual. On this night, Tantric wisdom harnesses the planetary energy that is present on this lunar junction. The lunar house named Ashvini is the Horse constellation that is touched upon the astral plane by the August full Moon. It gives us spiritual access to the powers of the Horse. The Horse constellation is connected to the star brothers, the Ashvins, who are the divine healing horsemen.
The Ashvins are two healing twins who ride the starry heavens. When their influence is in orbit, they bring dead parts of us to life. The Horse Stars bring power to those places that have fallen into Tamas (resignation). These Healing star brothers are the representatives of Usha, the Goddess of the dawn who stands for the birth of new things.
These are the energies that we shall be working with upon the astral plane on this coming Full Moon.
The Human & the Horse
The Horse is a powerful solar animal. The Horse has an unparalleled stamina, perhaps for this reason the Horse has been used by humans for transportation. Once it was common practice to own a horse as a form of fulfilling labour duties and providing transport. The grace and elegance of a horse is still something admired and much sought after and represented in the culture by things such as fashion icons or horse racing, dressage, festival parades and such. The beauty and capabilities of the horse may well have been something working in its ill-favour as horses become an often mistreated ‘product’ of selfish human satisfaction. Perhaps this relationship between the human and the Horse mirrors our own inner misbalance between the human and the animal (horse) sides of our nature.
The Horse headed god steps-up upon this ritual festival to reveal the balance of nature within ourselves; the balance between the instinct of nature and the human will.
The constellations are in favour as Hayagriva the Horse headed man opens the portal of balance upon the astral plane at the Full Moon in August.
The human animal in its potential has at once its hands in the ‘civilised’ world and its hooves upon the green grass of nature.
The confining and domesticating of wild animals is something that we see played out in a larger scale. The captivity of animals to exist without their natural climate in which to express their natural instincts is something that in our modern culture we may have got completely conditioned to. We might be so used to it as to even take it as a normality.
It is worth recalling that, the Western project of Enlightenment has been one of domination of Man over Nature, as opposed to living in equilibrium with nature – the objective of ‘Eastern Enlightenment’ and in particular of Tantra.
The reigning in and confinement of instincts is equally paralleled in the human. Our human nature may have become confined within religious and spiritual dictums, or it may have been harnessed to pull the cart of commerce and capitalisation as the authentic human being gets overridden by other gods and myths. Many things we might take to be normal are brought into question when and if natural law unfolds. Tantra is the path of attempting to reveal and unfold Nature’s Laws within ourselves.
THE MYTH OF HAYAGRIVA
Hayagriva is mythologised as a great yogi who acquired immense power, which he couldn’t handle and therefore ended up misusing. The myth tells how of he fell into the shadow of unconsciousness and threatened the very existance of creation. Hayagriva was a black horse headed yogi who had become so powerful that the power went to his head. He was driven by one-sided unconscious forces that were heedless to any effect, for the unconscious shadow was outside of the eye of awareness. Unstoppable was he in his destruction, just like the horse that is able to run at great speed without getting breathless. This is why Hayagriva represents the unstoppable force of Prana. By his unstoppable force he reigned darkness upon the world, so much so that he even caused the sun to fall.
The world threatened to fall into complete darkness as the black horse ran amok in his self-glorifying dance of destruction. In this state Hayagriva represents the unconscious use of power without a balanced natural will to guide him.
From the celestial spheres above Hayagriva was met by the other side of his shadow, his light form, a white horse that had galloped along with him all along, but outside of Hayagriva’s consciousness.
It is sometimes so, that the unconscious shadow-forces possess one and create a darkened life void of awareness.
The black horse suffered for his relentless blindness and held a secret prayer for salvation from his dead ended path. And so the white form of Hayagriva was called forth and into awareness when the mindless shadow rampage had reached the furthest extent of blindness possible. A war and struggle of epic proportions between the two was brought forth until a balance between shadow and light was restored.
Tantricly speaking, once the forces of the shadow become known, they can be gradually and carefully integrated from the unconscious and often destructive levels they play out in our lives. Once seen, known and worked with, our shadow parts can be put to use creatively to unfold in more constructive and mysterious ways of using power in our lives.
The integration of the shadow, the core objective of Tantra, is symbolised in the myth of Hayagriva. Seeing the Shadow in wakefulness and not in a dream state that it so easily casts upon us is a grand undertaking.
The Black Hayagriva represents unconscious forces in the shadow such as jealousy, selfish interest over others and the will to be superior. These being all powers that can’t be stamped out, but powers to be redirected and liberated from unconscious programs and traumas that give them their birth and power. They become creative forces when the two horses, black and white, are unified and work with each other. This is the birth of the Horse god within us.
It is the unified Hayagriva who carries the Sun up each day at sunrise and lets her rest at night. He comes to know both parts equally, light and darkness, and doesn’t try to keep the Sun down in the night nor up during the day. He accepts the natural existence of both and lets them express themselves equally. Representing the strength of our prana and how by balancing the black and white horses of breath – the in and out breath is implied here – we can raise Shakti from the unconscious levels to the levels of awareness. The unified Hayagriva is the inner alchemy of the black and white horse – the objective of the ritual gathering we will undertake on this Full Moon.
The collective deities of Ashlesha are the Naaga serpents. In the course of this text we will be looking at some of the implications of the Naaga serpents. It is a vast and fascinating subject that we will attempt to look at from the stance of this ritual work. There are many mythologies of serpents in the Yogic teachings that carry encoded teachings. Consider that Shiva wears the serpent Vasuki around his neck. Vishnu rests upon the serpent with an infinity of heads who is known as Ananta Shesha. Ganesh wears the Serpent belt around his thick waist. Krishna battles with the venomous serpent Kaliya. Or the serpent. Buddha was sheltered from the storm for seven days and nights by the Mukhalindh. These are just a few serpent teaching symbols and stories of Yogic wisdom. Khodiyar Maa is also a Tantric Goddess connected to the Naaga serpents. You can review a past text about Khodiyar Maa here. http://healinginthewillows.com/khodiyar-maa
The constellation of Ashlesha Nakshatra brings us the teaching of the etheric serpents that the Yogins call the race of the Naaga. These serpents relate to the Kundalini serpent of the central spinal channel in a direct and yet subtle way. The Naaga energies are the basis of reality. They are the etheric matter that informs all phenomena from behind the veils of awareness.
How the celestial serpents relate to our experience of the personal Kundalini phenomena will be a study of this nights ritual. The ritual of Naaga Panchami spans India across many thousands of miles, there are many unique and particular regional celebrations and rituals that mark this festival. The sun is in Ashlesha Nakshatra between the 3-16 of August and this is when the ritual of Naaga Panchami takes place. It is ritualised on the 5th lunar night. Naaga Panchami is a time when snakes are most present and prevalent on earth. It is a time when the snake constellation of Ashlesha spreads its teaching to us on earth. The 5th lunar day is known as Panchami. It is the Moon phase that is sacred to the Naagas, rather interestingly, Ashlesha consists of 5 stars in the head of the Hydra constellation. The 5th lunar day is a day of release and reception of lunar and etheric force. Every Panchami is reserved by Tantrics for work with the snake energy. But Naaga Panchami is the main Panchami of snake power in the Tantric calendar.
Celestial Snakes & the Doors of Perception
The Naagas inhabit the deep subterranean realms that are beyond the reach of Moon and sun. Naaga Lokh is the world of the Naaga. It is a place of unparalleled beauty and is described in the Yogic mythologies as the most beautiful paradisal realm where the most splendid jewels and treasures are to be found. The jewels of Naaga Lokh are described as radiating their own light and thus lighting the dark world of the Naaga from within. How do we respond when we hear of a subterranean realm without light that is inhabited by serpents?
We may make interpretations according to the customs and thought forms assigned to the archetypes of our culture.
This highlighted sentence is central in getting an insight into the energies of Ashlesha. The Naagas are the underlying energy essence of phenomena. Akash is their element and this is the subtle-most ‘physical’ element. Akash is the etheric element that is described by the Yogins as the subtlest of the 5 elements Pancha Bhoot elements. Akash gives sense to phenomena at the most fundamental level. Let us take a practical example of these principles that so easily can start to sound like mere wordy metaphysics:
Maybe we are blessed enough and used to living in a fine house with fresh running water. Perhaps we have a soda-stream machine that gives us access to refreshing sparkling water. Perhaps we even have a refrigerator to tune the water to our exact preferred temperature. Now, if we were to pass a puddle of muddy water in the street, we would not think much of it, and would most probably seek to avoid stepping into it. But the self-same puddle of dirty water would be a prize for someone else. We all know that there are parts of the world where drinking water in very scarce. For someone living in such a situation, the dirty puddle water becomes highly precious. It is still the same puddle, but it has a different value put upon it that is relative to the situation. In the same way, for some, a snake is a terrible creature denoting sin and the very opposite of spirituality, to others it is a sacred creature. Some view the regions below the earth as infernal pits of damnation, but for some, they are regions of beauty and paradise.
It is the thought form that is assigned to the symbol, that creates the symbol.
A muddy puddle can verily be a source of life, or a thing of disgust. The same with a snake, which can be a divinity or a devil, or the underworld can be beautiful or ugly, horror or wonder! The energy that we assign to phenomena is not in the thing itself, but in us. The Tantric’s call this underlying force the Akash element that informs all phenomena and creates phenomena to be what we turn it into. The snake is either a devil or a divinity depending upon the underlying Akash element that we shape in the furnace of the soul. We can think of ourselves as a blacksmith that is ever shaping and creating reality. Knowing that we are giving meaning to everything around us, does not offer us any solutions to extricate ourselves from the meanings we assign to phenomena. We might be disgusted by the same thing that someone else is inspired by, but the energy that assigns disgust or inspiration to phenomena is in the realm of the deep unconscious. It is in the realm of the Naagas, in a realm of no external light, but a realm with internal light that creates from the inside out. Remember that Naaga Lokh has only internal light that emanates from its jewels. We could liken Naaga Lokh to the unconscious underworld workshop of the blacksmith soul that fashions reality based upon unconscious impulses. The Tantric works with the Akashic element that is ever creating reality and assigning meanings to things.
What happens when we un-invest the energy of meaning from phenomena?
What happens when we relinquish our thought forms and see reality without the coloured lenses of the unconscious world?
Here written in his own hand, the 19th century English mystic William Blake encapsulated this in a few verses thus:
When we travel to the underworld of Akash that is deep within the caverns of creation in our soul, we encounter the Astral serpents that live in our soul. The Naaga Akash beings are like astral energies that whisper with lisps, slivering deeply, silvery and silently behind the lens of our life experience. The realm of the Naaga is created by our personal Karmic impressions. Things such as cultural, religious and ancestral energies, travel deeply into the underworld and live in the unseen. Such things enter invisibly into the hidden realm because they are so fundamental to the fabric of our being. Cultural, religious, ancestral and gender energies are often part of the consensual reality that we are woven and intertwined with. But it is a question of relativity of notion, that is nourished by focused attention with no actual basis in naked reality. The established codes of culture and civilisation might even run contrary to nature? The Tantric does attempt to move into the naked reality, while acknowledging and moving within the consensual streams of realty that prevail in the life they live move and have their being within.
The 19th century French Occultist Eliphas Levi had popularised the principle of the Astral light. This is worth mention here because it has parallels to the Subject of the Naagas element of Akash. The Astral light is a term that Levi much popularised in the area of occultism. The Astral light is a neutral substance that pervades and underlies all phenomena. Levi’s system of occultism worked very much with imbuing the astral light with one’s intention through working with one’s Will and Imagination. Tantrics recognise this absorptive quality of the etheric substance to take on the character that we impress upon it. Though we often impress upon the Astral light or Akash element in an unconscious way, it is possible to effect the phenomena of our lives by wilfully manipulating the underlying energy behind manifest phenomena.
The Tantric branches that deal with healing, seek not so much to imbue the Akash element with one’s will, as they do to un-imbue or un-invest it from the energy of will and imagination. Tantra covers a broad spectrum and scale of practices and practitioners, a practitioner of Tantra can be a magician or a healer, or both. In the healing arts of Tantra, the practitioner attempts the healing of the vision through approaching the pure perception that was so beautifully versed by William Blake in the quote above.
Rather interestingly, Levi called the Astral light the great Serpent. He described the astral light as being a serpent like receptacle that is open to receive and reflect back all the deviations and pollutions of consciousness. He describes the Astral light to originally consist of pure energy which can take in all manner of spiritual pollution and distortion of reality, ranging from a slight blemish upon the face of reality to downright toxicity. Once invested of inceptions and deviations from pure awareness, the astral light has the ability to bite back like a serpent and cause spiritual and physical suffering. Levi described the astral light as being a mirror of our consciousness that connects our inner reality to the pure energetic essence. The scale of deviation from the essence reality is vast. Levi said it gives us back what we put into it. Levi also hinted that the astral light takes on collective energies and creates a mass-consensual-reality that reverberates back as psychic and even physical events such as collective waves of consciousness and happenings of collective tragedies such as epidemics.
Without digressing too far off topic, it is worth noting how the Russian Occultist H. P Blavatsky said that the ability to access the universal Akashic Chronicle is dependent upon how good a contact one has with the unembellished form of Astral light. She implies that memory becomes opaque if we do not do the work of purifying the thought forms that live in the personal and collective Astral light with which we are intertwined. The process of extracting ourselves from the thought forms of the astral light is a rather universal theme across the magical systems of many cultures. Even in the Kabbalah, we see the spiritual map of taking back the symbols and moving towards the pure manifest. Those who would like to read further into these subjects are recommended to read any of the books by Eliphas Levi, such as A History of Magic, translated by A. E Waite, and Isis Unveiled by H. P Blavatsky. These books were written a few decades before the close of the 19th century, but they underlie many of the Spiritual notions that have become inherited into the Western spiritual tradition, the ideas presented in these books inform much that came after.
Shedding the Skin
We have looked at the Astral light as an analogy of the Akash element of the Yogins that underlies and informs all phenomena. Let’s look a bit more into how one would go about the act of freeing oneself from the encasements that wrap themselves around the soul.
Through the course of our souls journey, we develop skins, some of which we shed, some which we keep. Costumes and Uniforms around the soul might be a way to navigate the many terrains of existence, We shift in and out of characters to suit the situations we find ourselves in. Some situations in life are restrictive and some give us the liberty and space to be free. Perhaps there is a way to gain the inner liberty to shift between forms without feeling the poles of freedom and restraint? This is a question to ponder.
What would it take to feel unrestricted by situations around us?
Maybe if we are not inwardly restricted, then we wouldn’t feel restricted by ‘outer’ happenings?
To become so predictable as to react to outer situations and phenomena in a clockwork manner, is the very opposite of liberty. Ashlesha can be translated as the restricter. This Nakshatra brings us the awareness of what it is that restricts us from without. The gift and awareness of Ashlesha is to find that the outer restricter lives within the Akash element within us. This Nakshatra presents us with a profound teaching. Some might never look at the outer as being a reflection of the inner. The Tantric’s attempt to look.
Shedding the skin like a snake is no easy thing. When a snake sheds its skin, it is in a state of hyper sensitivity and vulnerability. It is even temporarily blind. It is the time when the snake is most exposed and prone to attack. Losing our skins, even the ones that are comfortable and familiar and yet squeeze the life out of us, is to enter into the nakedness and sensitivity of the snake at the time of shedding. This is a lesson that the snake transports to us. The vulnerable place is a place of power. It is a transitional rite of passage but it’s not only easy sailing and pleasant. Tantric’s approach the vulnerable place. When the vulnerable place is lost. We become encased. The avoidance of the vulnerable place is not strength, but stiffness. When we approach the vulnerable place, the body heart and spirit melt. Stiffness of mind, body and heart mask the wound. The only way to approach the vulnerable place is to have courage.
Shiva has the Naaga king named Vasuki wrapped around his throat. Shiva is the Yogic god who symbolises among many things the awakened Kundalini. Kundalini is a heavily loaded word, Kunda is the pot at the base of the spine that houses the coiled Shakti energy, Kundala is a swinging vibration. When the energy from the pot is freed, it creates a psycho/physical circuit of energy that gives the sensation of a swinging vibration. Some of the Tantric practices create this sensation rather immediately, this inner swing is visited and gradually cultivated, it can become a perpetual inner motion of Shakti. Kundala is also the literal word for the earring that Shiva and many Yogins wear. It is a type of earring that swings side to side when one walks. To wear the Kundala earrings is a meditation technique in itself that some Tantrics practice. It involves becoming aware of the swing and sensation in the ear, and meditating thereon. At advanced levels, the practitioner of the way of the Kundala earring starts to synchronise breath and Mantra with the swings of the Kundala. The Kundala offers a practice of the utmost awareness. By becoming acutely aware of our conscious actions, we gain insight into the underlying unconscious elements that inform consciousness.
A particular weight is selected according to the capacity of the practitioner. The piercing of the ear connects with the sexual Nadi (energy channel) and has a subtle effect upon the Sexual Chakra, which in turn affects the Kundalini.
The Jewel of Ashlesha
The Naaga Snakes of Yogic Mythology are said to be the Keepers of the Naagamani. This is a jewel of great healing power. It is said that very old Cobras have this jewel inside them. Some Tantrics believe that it is in the throat Chakra of the snake, while some say it’s in the crown Chakra of the snake. It is said to be a stone with magical healing powers that is very rare to come by. Some have postulated that the jewel is the dried venom glands. Others say that it glows in the dark. Some have taken the jewels to be the innermost power of the Chakras. In the following section, we will apply a meditation of looking into the Jewels within.
The Kundalini rises as the Jewels of the Chakras are polished and refined. The polishing of the Chakras is the healing of the Akash element from its inceptions and energy investments. The Chakras carry skins that are sometimes blocking the opening of the Shakti in the pot. This Shakti in the pot is known as Kundalini. By looking at our Chakras and studying the psycho/physical energies of these power stations, we get insight into the coverings that might be obscuring the self-illuminating radiance of the Chakric jewels. Tantric’s speak of the 3 Granthis which are sometimes called the 3 cities, or the 3 jewels. Untwining the Granthis is the un-obscuring of the jewels.
The realm of the lower Chakras, which are linked to the creative force and is called the Brahma Granthi. This is the knot upon the creative force. When untwined, the Kundalini force moves from this point.
The heart region, is the preservational force which is linked to Vishnu and is called the Vishnu Granthi, this is the knot upon the heart. When untwined, it opens the heart.
The throat/head Chakras, which are the realm of Shiva the destroyer. Known as the Rudra Granthi. Its untwining is the destruction of all formulated realities.
Meditate on these 3 areas in your body and spirit. Look into the 3 jewels by way of contemplation, and ask yourself the following questions by letting your psychic vision unfold the teachings of the 3 jewels.
What is the condition of your base, creative and solar plexus Chakras. How does the jewel of this realm appear?
What is the condition of the Heart Chakra. How does this jewel of the heart realm appear?
What is the condition of the jewels in the realm of Shiva, spanning the throat to the crown Chakra. What does the Jewel that has the power to destroy reality have to tell you?
The many bites that destiny delivers to us are our lessons. Some bites can be mild, maybe even pleasurable. Some bites can inflict venom and be paralyzingly painful. The outer bites might come to us in many forms and mediums. Outer bites become inner bites and cause us to bite back until we have our teeth well sunken into the realm of the Naagas, and be chewing away at a corner of personal reality. Personal tragedies can be like a sharp bite to the heart. Financial, existential or health struggles can be like gnawing, chewing bites. Accidents and injuries can be like sudden bites. In this here reflection, identify 3 bites that destiny has delivered to you.
Identify a bite first on the physical level. Perhaps you have a physical symptom or had an accident or operation that causes you discomfort.
Next, identify a bite that destiny delivered to your heart. Maybe a personal loss or any other cause for heartfelt lament.
Identify a Mental bite, meditate deeply on the things that move through your mind. Maybe regular thoughts or phrases, maybe you labour under a conviction that might be causing you suffering. It might not be so easy to separate the mental from the feeling level, but try in your own way to access your mental body and discover your mental bite.
Some bites might be slowly poisoning and venomous, some might be drinking blood quietly in the background unnoticed. When we silence inner and outer happenings by applying contemplation or Tantric practices, we sometimes get an insight into the bites that live behind the surface. Silence and contemplation has often been a key component in Tantric practice. Silence and contemplation offers a route to sink behind the surface layers and gain vision of that which lives in the undercurrent of our being. Sometimes the wish for, and the seeking after many external waves in our lives is an attempt to escape the undercurrents of the soul. Deep healing of the soul and spiritual empowerment comes from traveling to the undercurrents.
To join the ritual on Friday the 13th of August 2021
Rudra is the teacher who teaches us to contain, and to spiritually empower ourselves with the Primal rage of existence.
Ardra Nakshatra is the lunar house of the raging god Rudra.
Destruction and Re-creation are both themes of Ardra.
This Star is connected deeply to the water element, Green is the colour of Ardra, we can take this green colour to mean the growth that ensues after the moisture fertilizes the soil of the soul.
It is the star Betelgeuse in the shoulder of the hunter, in the constellation of Orion.
This is the celestial warrior Orion, whose name is most probably derives from the Greek word Arion which means hunter.
Ardra actually means moist. The symbol of this star is a teardrop, a teardrop of emotion and the rains of life.
The lessons of this star is given by considering how the rains bring growth and life, while also considering how the rains can also flood and ravage.
Ardra also contains the word Rudra and is also simply called Rudra Nakshatra.
The rain of Ardra is a furious thunderous storm and not a sprinkling twinkling shower. The water of Rudra is not a sweet refreshing freshwater stream in the height of summer, but rather it is a tempest of crashing screaming waves in the bone splitting coldest and darkest corner of the ocean.
The Primal Scream
Rudra arrived in the world howling and roaring like comic thunder.
Rudra in fact, means the howling screamer. He was born androgynous, purple and wild.
Creativity takes destruction and combustion to ensue, like a cloud that opens its waters for the sake of growth and nourishment. Creation takes death and transition. Death is implicit in every act of creation. Rudra is that death.
Rudra is Shiva in his primal aspect. Rudra is the furiously red lord of Tantra who becomes the cool blue Shiva, after immersing himself in Yogic practices.
Shiva is the mastery of the raging Rudra energy. Shiva contains the root Shva, which implies death, calmness and stillness. Rudra brings the death of rebirth. Rudra is the transitional maneuver twixt the poles of tension and suspension. Rudra takes us from one state to another.
That becoming Shiva, is representative of the transition between storm and calm. Rudra to Shiva is the path of integration of the stormy forces of the heart.
Rudra is the teacher who teaches us to contain, and to spiritually empower ourselves with the Primal rage of existence.
When the storms of the heart are brought forth. Rudra can and does shift back from his Shiva state and unto his raging Rudra state of wild and destructive force.
We will now look at some stories that highlight this transition between Rudra and Shiva.
The Birth of Rudra
The stories tell us how the desire of the creator to populate creation gave birth to Rudra. This will be a simplification a longer more detailed tale, but we will bring out the most poignant points. At first the creator had a desire to populate the creation. And so some children were birthed. But the children were so calm and detached, that they had any desire to do anything of the sort and refused to populate the creation. Instead, they wanted fly the starry sky in meditation of the great mysteries. These were the 4 Kumar brothers who are perpetually young little boys, they never reach puberty and fly around the skies naked. They were not interested in the least about the creation, but rather just wanted to be left alone, so that they could meditate of the mysteries of the great beyond. The creator became furious that these children defied his will. The creators anger built up in his third eye Chakra. A frown knotted his brow and built up to such an extreme, that it erupted as a storm. And so Rudra was born of the rage and frustration of the creators third eye Chakra. Rudra was born bright purple, it’s significant that Rudra is a mix of opposites. He contains both male and female and the colours red and blue. Rudra roared and screamed so forcefully that his rage threatened to erode and crumble creation. His rage was so destructive that it had the potential to create.
Rudra then exploded into half. He became Rudra and Rudrani the red. They further exploded into 11 furious forms and continued to populate creation. Rudrani is the female half of Rudra. Rudrani finds her expression in her various incarnations of the Urga (fearsome) Devi’s (Goddesses). The fearsome goddesses such as Nrritti and Matangi are two such manifestations of Rudrani. The male Rudra also has his incarnations, Hanuman and the serpent Ajaikapad, for example, are two of the manifestations of Rudra.
The Rudric forms that started to populate the creation were at the same time destroying it. The creator told Rudra that there is a way to manage this destruction if he would do Yogic practices and Rudra was very interested in the proposal.. And so the creator taught Rudra the Yogic art and science of yore. Rudra went far into the wilderness and mountains and there spent aeons mastering Tantric Yogic wisdom. Rudra developed the Yogic wisdom to levels far beyond what even the creator had taught him or ever even conceived of. Rudra broke on through to the other side, far beyond the known borders of creation. That is his secret magic trick that he brings to us. Rudra destroys the known order, in order to create something yet unknown.
Rudra is the ultimate Yogi who works with the forces of destruction. When Rudra came down from the mountain, he was Shiva. He had worked with the malefic destructive force and appeared as the ultimate benefic mellow Yogi that is Shiva. Now the creation had another face and destructive force could be balanced.
Consider some of the key points of this story in the list below and meditate upon the symbol of Rudra going up the mountain and coming down as Shiva. What connotation could the upward and downward maneuver imply.
The calm firstborn children 4 Kumaras who had no desire for to populate creation.
The androgynous Rudra splitting into the male Rudra and the female Rudrani.
Rudra, going up the mountain to work in solitude with his anger.
Coming down the mountain as the calm Shiva.
Rudra is an out cast, he doesn’t see within the known bounds, this is the power that his star brings to us. The time-honoured conservative, along with his precious structures, is torn to bloody shreds by the bare hands that gleam in the starlight of Ardra Nakshatra. These be the Hands of Rudra.
The story of Rudra and Sati is a central Tantric tale that tells that the princess Sati was in love with the wild Rudra who lived in the wilderness. Sati was determined to unite with Rudra. This destiny of hers caused great storms with her father Daksha who was a highly honoured master of ritual and magical creation of forms. He was a royal king of high prestige, possess of profound pride stubbornness and arrogance.
Daksha was the ultimate patriarch who was concerned with royal appearance, dominance and prestige. Rudra on the other hand couldn’t care less for outer appearances, he was too far-sighted beyond the surface of the appearances of things. Rudra saw into the depth into a place where there was no form to cover the naked essence. Rudra is verily that deep essence. He has no need for anything because he has everything in his vision that sees the indivisible pure essence behind all forms.
Sati is the link between wilderness and propriety. She is the one who stands between the worlds of wilderness and propriety as we will see. Sati had a hard time getting Shiva’s interest, as he was often deep in trances of visiting the realms of pure energy behind the surface of appearances. Locked in Samadhi, (meditational absorption) Shiva would sit on the earth but hardly be interacting with any of its endless infinity of forms. Sati did prevail in her wish to be with Shiva, and she joined him in the ways of the wilderness. They both stood far outside and beyond civilisation, Rudra initiated Sati ever deeper into the ways of nature. Rudra didn’t dress or wash or even comb their hair. His friends were the earth bond spirits and ghouls. Shiva indulged in ecstatic trance and kept warm by the fires of the funeral pyres where he would befriend the lost and wandering ghosts. Sati was of high class aristocratic stock, but she found more jewels wealth in her time with Rudra. Sitting in Yogic wonder beneath the dark star-sprinkled night, Sati found real royalty. But Sati wanted to do things properly and formally, and so she told her father Daksha that she would get married to Rudra. Her opulent honourable father hated Rudra to the core. In Rudra, he saw his very opposite. To him, Rudra was a filthy outcast who didn’t know the appropriate way to behave in proper society. Sati’s father Daksha, time and again brutally opposed the marriage. This is an important point in the story that points to Sati’s role as the bridge between two worlds of the wilderness of Rudra and the aristocratic propriety of her father Daksha. Sati prevailed and she brought Rudra Home. Of course, within moments, Rudra caused outrage and scandal. In the royal court, Rudra was quite a sight to behold, naked with matted hair, accompanied by hoards of ghoul and ghost. When Daksha entered his own royal court, everyone stood to acknowledge him as was the custom for such an esteemed dignitary as he. Everyone that is, except Rudra. Insults and outrage ensued and Rudra stayed self-contained and walked away. At this point Rudra had already been doing the sacred Yogic practices for aeons.
Hearts will Burn
Time passed magically in the wilderness for the two lovers, when one day Sati wanted to go and see her family, she had developed a profound disgust and hatred for her father. She had been the youngest favorite daughter but bitterness had ensued since her willfulness to go and live with Rudra the wild one. Rudra tried to stop her from going as he knew what would happen, but of course the forcefully willed Sati went ahead anyway. In the royal palace, argument ensued between Sati and her father. Rage shook Sati as insults were hurled between her and her father. Sati shouted out at her father that all would witness how his arrogance, hate and pride will disgrace him, and that he shall forever-after be known as the epitome of patriarchal ignorance that resulted in his daughters death. And so Sati sat down and prepared to say the Mantra which would cause her to combust into flames. Some variants of the story said she jumped into the sacred sacrificial Yanja fire. A Yajna is a ritual fire to which sacrificial offerings are given. Sati burned to death right in front of everyone in the palace.
The shame and guilt of his youngest daughters death was on Daksha. But he was soon to meet a foe far worse than any of this. The ghosts of Rudra informed Rudra what had happened, and his wrathful side was evoked. Rudra tore at his Jutta (locks of matted hair) and threw them on the ground in rage, from one of the Jatta appeared the giant Bhadravira, the potent force of Rudras rage, Rudra as Bhadravira charged the galaxies like a raging storm that went tearing its way through creation. Meanwhile, in the royal palace, insults were hurled between ghost and saint. The storm clouds rumbled through creation and the royal assembly felt the terror in the pit of their bowels. When Bhadravira arrived in his raging form of Bhadravira, the full force of his primal screaming rage set lose, eyes were squeezed out of heads, wise old beards were yanked clean off the face, most probably with half the flesh of the face. Pushan the milk drinking god had his teeth smashed out. (Note that Pushan is the god of Revati Nakshatra, you may review the text here.) http://healinginthewillows.com/revati-nakshatra
Heads will Roll
Before going further with the story, let us consider the ruling planet of Ardra Nakshatra, which is Rahu. Rahu is the headless North lunar node as pictured above. He is considered as one of the Navagrah, (9 planets of the Yogins) Rahu moves out and forward and is ever consuming hungrily what ever he can. He represents the future and also the results of ones past actions. It is interesting to look at how the head symbolism plays out very strongly in Ardra Nakshatra. This will be our next line of study. But first a little more on Rahu. Though Rahu is often described as being male, he is also said to carry the energy of the ultra destructive feminine. The destructive Goddess Nirrti carries a Rahu energy, she is the Goddess of Mula Nakshatra, she is a Rudrani. You may review the text on that which was sent in the newsletter on the 24th of June 2021. (Please request it if you have not got it and wish to read it.) Nirrti’s Nakshatra is ruled by Ketu which is the South lunar node, she is a destructive goddess who moves between the past and the future, she is Rahu personified yet works with the root and uprooting. Her Nakshatra Mula literally translates at the Root star. Ketu represents the roots of the past, all things ancestral and of heritage.
Rahu are the ultimate Asuras, they were once one being that became divided.
It’s interesting also that Rahu is the planet that causes the eclipse of the sun by literally gobbling it down. Interesting because Daksha was the great solar patriarch who worked with fire in his rituals. He was a master at manipulating fire for magical purposes. The name Daksha can also be taken to mean the great skillful manipulator. We could say that the Rudra force of Ardra Nakshatra backed by Rahu, came and gave Daksha the result of his past actions of disregarding and insulting his daughters feelings and harboring hatred for Rudra, not to mention the rebound echo of beheading so many animals for the magical rituals in which he was engaged. Daksha lost his head quite literally in the Story.
The Daksha aspect of Rahu is represented in the hunger and want of Rahu. Daksha is ever on the quest for more power and prestige. He is like the Rahu head without body, ever consuming and yet is never satisfied. The Rudra aspect of Rahu is the eclipsing of the fire and shading things into obliteration. Daksha along with his dear Yajna fire was obliterated. Sati as Rudrani combusted to a charred body without its previous glow. This is what Rahu does, he is a planet that works on different octaves of eclipsing. The story shows these different octaves of Rahu force in the form of Daksha, Rudra and Sati.
And so finally, for the grand finale, the head of Daksha was wretched screaming from his body and the headless patriarch was born. Some accounts tell that Rudra wielded the Moon sword known as Chandrahas, and decapitated the head from the body of Daksha.
Daksha was a master of ritual and was given to the sacrifice of animals for magical gain. There is such a branch of magic still in existence where the etheric force of sacrificed animals is gathered and put towards the fulfillment of the desired ends. Though it is a powerful form of magic, it carries rather costly Karmic consequences. There are some parts of India where even orthodox priests still adhere to this practice to fulfill requests. Religion is a big business in India, one can pay for such rituals. Obviously there are other rituals that do not involve animal sacrifice. There are many types of practitioners that come under the title of a Tantric . Some are doing rituals for others, those in the line of teachers of the techniques are more on the side of teaching others how to do their own rituals. Some Tantrics believe they find loopholes to get out of the Karmic repercussions of actions like animal sacrifice. Some of the branches of Tantra deal with healing and study of the soul, but not all branches do. Some of the modern Western branches of Tantra deal with drinking strong chocolate and masturbating their clients on a massage table while New-Age music plays peacefully in the background. The spectrum of what is considered Tantra is indeed broad. Dasksha was of the side that indulged in ritual for material gain. He was a powerful manifester. His name in fact means he who is highly adept. Daksha is a Prajapati, which means he is one of the progenitors of creation. He it was who gave birth to the 27 sisters who are the Nakshatra’s. He was arrogant, haughty and proud. To him, beauty form and manners were paramount. Daksha is the energy that cares for what people think. Daksha is the energy that cares for facade and appearance. Because of this love of external form and obsession with order and cleanliness, Daksha dispised the wild natural Rudra who lived outside the principles of convention.
It was the Daksha Yajna story that really highlights the meeting of the two worlds of raw natural impulse and exterior edifices of propriety. The Yajna had invited everyone apart from Sati and Rudra. But Sati had gone anyway and as we have seen, met her end. The story is very detailed and has many subtle meanings woven into its narrative, right down to the directions where the many events happen are poignant and give teaching of the qualities and powers of the directions. We are here dealing with the main points. One such detail of note, is that the Bhadravira form of Rudra could not kill Daksha so easily. Daksha was protected by the rituals he had been conducting for aeons in his own place of power. Rudra’s form of Bhadravira saw that there was one place where Daksha was not protected, and so he dragged the pitifully screaming Daksha to the place where he had been sacrificing animals. He placed Daksha on the sacrificial altar and… Off with his head!
Off with his head!
Oh! but there are a few other heads that come off in the story of Rudra, there are several stories and variants of heads being withdrawn from their bodies when we look at Rudra. Note again the Rahu connection. Rahu also once had a body before his head sliced from it . He was once an Asura who drank the elixir of immortality. Vishnu steppers in and cut the head with his spinning Chakra weapon. The head and body were hurled into the celestial expanse, where the head became Rahu at the north of the Moon, and the Body became Ketu at the south of the Moon, forever they became immortalised at the cosmic shadows upon Moon and sun.
Let’s look at another head of interest that was dispensed from its body. The sacrifices of Daksha are known as Yajna. And Yajna is also the name given to the one who does the sacrificing himself.
Yajna saw the storming Rudra charge the palace in his Bhadravira form. Yajna trembled in fear and knew he had to escape. Transforming into a Deer, he leapt from the palace, but with the force of a steaming thunderbolt, the giant Bhadravira grabbed the head, yanking it clean from the body, he threw it into the starry firmament. That head became the Nakshatra of the Deer head. Known as Mrgasirsa Nakshatra. This Deer star is beside Ardra Nakshatra.
Mrgasirsa literally means Deer headed lunar house.
To review the writing of Mrgasirsa, you may refer to the text on the website with this link.
The events of this particular part of the tale occur in the Nakshatra of Ardra. This story gives us an insight into what the energy of Ardra Nakshatra represents.
A Time to Cry
On with the story!
After a sufficient amount of bodies were made headless. Rudra picked up the dead burned body of his beloved Sati and proceeded to freak out in primal rage and trample his way all over creation.
His tears do water the land. Rudraksh means the tears of Rudra. Rudraksh is a sacred seed that is carries a potent force, Yogins recognise many types of Rudraksh, the seeds have segments which are called Mukhi (face) each different number of faces on a Rudraksh gives it a particular quality and so different types of Rudraksh have different effects. This is a wisdom kept by Yogins. It’s a very detailed subject that assigns different types of Rudraksh seeds to different planetary forces and deities. Sometimes medicines are prepared from the beads in the Siddha secret medicine of the Yogins. There are many stories both written and unwritten that tell of how the sacred Rudraksha came to earth and it’s significance for Yogins. Let us consider one such story here. The Tantric wears a bead necklace of 108 beads to represent the 108 tears that Rudra cried as he howeled his way through creation in utter distress, carrying the burned rotting body of his only love Sati. Each time a part of the dead body of Sati fell off, Rudra wept a tear as she faded further from him. Where his tears fell with the body part of Sati, that place became one of the 108 Shakti Peeths. The Shakti Peeths are places of magnetic power of the temples of the Goddess in her different aspects. Each Shakti Peeth carries a different power. For example, where the Yoni and the Womb of Sati fell, that place became the Shakti Peeth of Kamakhya Devi. Kamakhya Devi is the Goddess of menstruation and desire. Kamakhya’s Shakti Peeth is located in Assam. In some of the lines of Tantra, the wandering Tantrics wander the land in the footsteps of Shiva, and give honour to the Shakti Peeths. For example, on the Moon of Bharani Nakshatra. Some Tantrics travel to the Kamakhya temple in Assam for connection to the mysteries of the Goddess. Shakti Peeths are astrologically aligned to the Nakshatra’s and transport their teachings. Bharani Nakshatra is the lunar house of the celestial Yoni. You may review the text on Bharani here. http://healinginthewillows.com/bharani-nakshatra
Water and Fire
Rudra is the storm god of water, we have seen how his Nakshatra is symbolised by a teardrop. The word Ardra means moist. But Rudra also symbolises fire. The story of Rudra shows how he came in a storm to the royal Yajna of Daksha and took the still burning body of Sati away with him. There are some accounts that say that his houses and ghoul companions had pissed of the sacrificial Yajna fire and created noxious gasses that caused abject suffering for those who breathed them in. This contention between Fire and water is very poignant to Rudra. When a Nakshatra spans two signs between water and fire, then that junction becomes what is an own as a Gandanta point. It is a place of steam. Steam is rain, this is the steaming moisture of Rudra. A Gandanta point carries Karmic lessons and is a place of learning though the art and style of Rudra, often with tears and fire. The whole movement of a Rudra storming into the fire ceremony of Dasha’s Yajna, is a portrayal of the Gandanta point. Rudra verily is the Gandanta point. He came in a storm and left with fire in the form of Sati’s still burning body. It is known that Rudra lives in the cremation grounds where he warms from the funeral fires and befriends wandering ghosts. Rudra wears the ash of the funeral pyre, this is a custom that some Yogins still follow. Ash is the place where fire and water meet. Let us look further into the implications of the fire and water that Rudra represents.
Rudra has two other Nakshatra’s that further point to the principle of him ruling the Gandanta points. The 2 Bhadrapada Nakshatra’s of Purva (origin) and Ashadha (maturity) are the two Nakshatra’s of Rudra that are ruled by him in his form as the incarnations of the celestial serpents of fire and water. The first serpent form of Rudra is called Ajaikapad who the fire serpent and ruling deity of Purva Bhadrapada. The second serpent form of Rudra is called Ahirbudhyana who is the water serpent and ruling deity of Uttara Bhadrapada. They are two aspects of Rudra, and are both the fiery and watery incarnations of Rudra. In the human body the Gandanta points are called the Granthi’s. These are the psycho/physical knots where Karma is tied up. Rudra is the one who releases the Knot, He offers 11 incarnations, which are the teachings of releasing Gandanta. The Ritual work with Rudra of Saturday’s dark Moon will further develop towards the home meditation of working with the 11 faces of the Primal Rudra. The primal Rudra is the primal rage.
To join the ritual on Saturday the 7th of August 2021