The Rituals are the second & third part of a three part series, which commenced on the 13th of january with the pagan celebration of Lohri. This series will be all about honouring the beginnings of this cycle of nature that is climbing with the New Year year we are in. By honouring nature, she in turn honours us and brings life to the seeds that lay in our subterranean soul levels. In this set of three rituals, we will focus in on nature’s atmospheric vibrations. With this natural support, we shall engage in ancient and magical Tantric ritual formulae – helping us to bring growth to all the flowers and vegetation in the garden of our lives.
Shakambhari is the great nourishing Goddess of Compassion. Her name translates as ‘the bringer of vegetation’. She is twilight blue in colour and she brings the gift of herbs, fruits and vegetables to Earth. She is the revealer of nourishment and growth. She is the great mother of nurture who brings magical solace to the garden of our Soul.
Read our Blog for a full account of the myth & meaning of Shakambhari Navaratri.
PART 1 | Compassion for the Drought of the Human Soul
20th of January, Rising Half Moon
The very first rising half Moon of the rising year signals growth, and is ritualised as the beginning of Shakambhari Navaratri, the nine nights of Shakambhari. For Tantrics, these 9 nights are a time of studying deeply the order and disorder of our inner garden.
Shakambhari is depicted with a thousand eyes from which she waters the garden of our Soul, her nourishing tears pour for tge 9 nights of Shakambhari Navratri, which initiates upon the rising half moon for nine nights. Shakambhari’s tears nourish and reach even into the most dry cracks and corners of our soul. She brings the latent seeds of our secret innermost life into flower.
The Story of Shakambhari is connected to a time of extreme drought which affected the whole of creation, the story reflects the inner dryness that can come on our spiritual life. Shakabhari’s tears are the loving tears that nourish us in all the 3 worlds: conscious, unconscious and earthly. The story tells that drought came into being because the people had stopped to give honour to the spirits and fallen into ‘dryness’, forgetting the Law of Reciprocity which is central to Tantra: if you do not give, you cannot receive.
On this ritual night we shall study the state of our own waters and soul gardens – and the flow of reciprocal nourishing force that is Shakambhari.
The first night of Shakambhari Puja is a ritual of accessing flowing and nourishing forces, aligning to the currents of the year’s first rising Moon. We shall venture inwardly to look with compassion to the state of our inner garden, looking at the areas of latent seed that hold the potential for life. We may even discover patches that have dried up over the course of our life – for want of reciprocal flow.
In this night’s ritual, we will bring healing to the vegetation of our soul through working with inner and outer nourishing mudras. Soma is the nourishing fluid that pours from the 1000s of eyes of Shakambhairi and brings life. The actual practices will invoke the nourishing Mother through calling her name and mantra. Working with receptive aspects of asan and mudra and accessing the fertility of receptive power.
NOTE | Those attending this course will be given a Nuskha (home ritual practice) from the Pantheon of Tantric ritual formulas. It will be a practice to do at home and in daily or nightly life, over the 9 nights of Shakambhari Navaratri. It is a simple yet powerful Tantric practice all about nourishing the life of one’s own inner garden.
PART 2 | Bringing Life Back to the inner Garden
28 January, Full Moon (Purnima)
Shakambhari is the ancient mother of nourishment and growth. The first full Moon of the year is hers. She brings fresh growth to the garden of our souls. This lunar time invites an investigation into the growth of our inner garden.
Her name translates as ‘the bringer of vegetation’. Or bringer of growth – and indeed she is.
Shakambhari’s powers culminate on the 9th night, upon the Full Moon, when she is in her full power, on the day known to Tantrics as Shakambhari Jayanti. At this time, celestial forces are conspiring to begin awakening nature after her yearly sleep. Being ourselves part of nature, these forces act upon us and afford us an opportunity to tend our spiritual garden.
Tantric cosmology tells of how the world of spiritual forces, intersects with the physical plane by a Law of Reciprocity. The spirits depend upon us for sustenance as we depend upon them. If we dissociate ourselves from the spirits then we fall into psychic and physical famine as the story points out. (see blog)
Shakambhari is the great balancer and nourisher, she balances dryness and moisture. The balance of dryness and fluidity in the human mechanism is of utmost importance to Tantrics. Tantra has a whole science of practices connected to working with dryness and moisture, by honouring the fluidic movements of the Moon.
When the psychic and physical nerves become dry there is not the capacity for the human organism to contain Shakti. On this ritual night we shall work with the 3 fluids that comprise the life-giving fluid of Soma that penetrates and nourishes the three worlds.
On this ritual night we will pray deeply to restore the connection with the spirits and honour them through a Soma practice that will bring nourishment across all planes of existence.
Shakambhari’s ritual night is one of fluidity. Working with pouring the healing fluid of Soma into our body and spirit, her mantras bring life and moisture to the gardens of our soul.
This year’s first Full Moon ritual is the time of tasting inner fruit – a night of growing fruits and receiving the scent of blooms. This is indeed the ritual time of receiving, but also a time of pausing and looking into that which is unfulfilled – discovering what it truly is which we hunger and thirst for while investigating the reason for the thirst and hunger itself. For this we shall delve deep into the roots of our souls garden.