If you made it through the 3 hardest days connected to Durga which requires us to calm our fears and eliminate subconscious grunge and stay on top of our addictions. With Sun going into Libra and a deep point of debilitation, the energy is particularly intense. it is also a dark time still but Venus moves into Libra into Thursday and is strong by Friday and the lighter energy of the Nine Days starts coming to blossom. My yoga teach Indu Aurora has beautifully written about each day and the goddesses of each day and I am paraphrasing her below:
Day 4, of the Nine Days are connected to one aspect of Lakshmi known as Kushmanda, She Who Brings Happiness and Warmth, and the connection with the value of a soft smile in relation to the heart chakra and how Durga inspires us to remain in our hearts as we interact with each other. My yoga teacher, Indu Auroa describes as follows:
“Kushmanda Ma-“Kushm-anda” means the Creator of the “Brahma-anda”-the Universe. “Ku” means little. “Ushma” means warmth and “anda” means cosmic egg. Devi Kushmanda resides in the heart of the sun and creates the Universe merely with a Divine smile (Ku-ushma). We often underestimate the power of a smile, softness and gentleness…Devi Ku-ushma-anda resides in our hearts as Anahata Chakra, (heart chakra) which receives its energy from Heart Chakra, (solar plexus) also called as the Surya (sun) Chakra. Sun is not just determination, courage, fierceness, aggression but also light, brilliance, warmth and life. We often have fear to be established in the heart… we often fear to be taken for granted by being gentle, humble and kind…but there is the presence of Sun-like strength in this softness…Today the Devi inspires us to be nourished by this Sun, to be like the Sun, to stay in our heart. Reside in the Sun and yet be smiling with light and not burning with the heat of it. She rides a lion, which symbolizes “Dharma.” As we ride on our righteous paths, may the rays of the warmth and gentleness of smile allow us to touch millions of hearts and establish a spiritual family wherever we go…world as one family!”
DAY 5: Another example comes from Skandamata, Mother of Skanda, The Destroyer of Tamas and Materialism, celebrated on day 5 and associated with the Shakti Skanda Mata, the fifth form of Durga, the wife of Shiva and mother of Skanda. The Devi on the fifth day rises from the Manipura Chakra, the solar plexus, with a fierce light and clarity, residing in the Vishuddhi Chakra, the throat chakra, the undiluted force of mind, to warn us to be mindful of what we ask for in life when we invoke the power of our spoken word. The Vak-Shakti, power of speech, that made the Demon Tarakasura ask for a boon to be slaughtered by the son of Shiva and Parvati, rose as Devi Skanda Mata residing in Vishuddhi Chakra and gave birth to Skanda who became the destiny of Tarakasura. This also symbolizes that the undiluted Shakti of mind in each one of us gives birth to that powerful spirit, Kartikeya, that can put an end to our own malicious, tamasic, desires, or Tarakasura.
Skanda has 6 heads that symbolize the 5 senses (eyes, nose, ears, tongue, and skin) and mind. Once we give a re-birth to our senses by internalizing them, their powers combine like a laser beam and become Skanda, the chief of the strongest army against negativity.
The symbolic growth continues with the Devi Katyayani, the Nurturing Mother aspect of the Divine Mother. She embodies the values of sharing and caring. Young girls pray to Devi Kathyayini for a good husband. Marriage comes with a sense of security, commitment, togetherness, team spirit, and belongingness. She signifies the finer qualities of being in a relationship. The ultimate relationship is the union with Oneness with the soul.
DAY 6: The Shakti focus on the sixth day that is associated with Devi Katyayani travels from the Vishuddhi to Ajna Chakra, the third eye. This Shakti was born from the anger radiated from the eyes of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to slay the demon Mahisha-asur, a buffalo-headed demon. The demon symbolizes tamas or inertia, laziness, dormancy, and slothfulness. The fire out of which Goddess Katyayani was born is sattva-rajas: the fire of pure intent and right action. The moment this Shakti awakens, we are ready to face the demon of tamas within and this moment of birth of Devi Katyayani within us is insight. The moments we allow ourselves to be fed by tamas is the very same moment we allow the nourishing of the demon Mahishasura within us. It is always a choice to feed the Devi or the Demon within. This is a constant dance between the Gunas of sattva, rajas, and tamas within. It is according to our Viveka-khyati, discernment, that we choose one over the other!
Let your practice lead you from tamas to sattva from moment to moment. The battle is not going to be easy but rewarding for sure!
Special thanks to Indu Aurora for her insights into the goddesses.
DAYS 7-9: DEDICATED TO SARASWATI OCT 23-25
The seventh day is celebrated in recognition of the goddess Kalaratri, a powerful avatar of the goddess Shakti, in the form of the Goddess Kali, the fiercest form of Maa Durga. The symbolic message of the day is one of peace.
As you join Durga on her journey, you may find yourself struggling during the last few days. I have to go back to the metaphor of the challenges of rebirth and the difficult process of moving out of the womb. I have been discussing the nine days as a process of the child being reborn from the womb of the mother and we are getting closer to our new rebirth.
The eighth day is connected to Maha-Gauri, the White Pearl and Mother of Full Grace and Beauty and Serenity, radiant like the moon. It’s a day where we look into the darkness, examine our challenges, and seek to muscle the energy and power to transform and move beyond our limits. Like the moon in the darkness, Maha-Gauri is always providing light and nurturing us in the darkest of times, but she beckons us to grow beyond our limits and that requires looking deep into the darkness and making changes.
This day is continued movement into the darkness and marking difficult choices and changes. We must muster additional courage and know that the Blessings of Mother will support us with her light even in the darkest of times before we are going to emerge from the womb. Everything is possible if we are ready with unblemished intention and strong will to transform our deepest problems. We have to muster the self-esteem and confidence to know that we are worthy of our highest good!
It is a time to reflect on our darkest situations and let the light of Divine Mother’s moonlight shine within us. It’s a great day for healing, inner reflection, and transformation. Divine Mother will be there if you are willing to let her light shine into your darkest crevices and to realize that the darkness is only an illusion. Once the light is there, you wonder why you agonized and analyzed and gave so much power to the darkness. Blessings for a wondrous day! Rebirth shortly at hand!
The ninth and final day is reserved for a special deity. The Gift of Centeredness Amidst Change. Ma Siddhi Datri is the ninth goddess and an embodiment of Goddess Saraswati.
Her name means the “giver of Boons/accomplishments.” She blesses those who practice yoga and meditation regularly due to discipline. She reminds us that if we are regular in our spiritual practices, then nature will support us with the fulfillment of our desires. She teaches us that hard, discipline, and dedication are necessary to create enough clarity of mind in order to fulfill our desires.
Ma Siddhi Datri is an embodiment of the highest quality of Venus, healthy relationships, and her deep friendship with Saturn, and the blessings of elders. She bestows intelligence and health. She is a reminder if we learned from Lakshmi, that wealth is not just physical cash, but good health, wonderful relationships, and a quest for the Divine.
While her name, Siddhi reminds us of Patanjali and the perfections of walking on water or flying through the air, she actually teaches us to remain balanced and grounded in the most difficult situations. The value of meditation and yoga is that it centers us in our Self and so no matter what problems arise, we have the poise and invincible strength to deal with it. There will always be problems with the changing nature of the physical body and ups and downs with the material world, but can we have the fortitude and centeredness like Ma Siddhi Datri to be 100% secure amidst change? This is grace and is one of the greatest gifts of Mother Divine.
Be kind to yourself, keep the Divine spark warm for growth — toward something higher, and be patient. This process happens one, small step, at a time.
The call to action is to be regular with your spiritual practice so that you can have the strength and courage like all the goddesses riding tigers to conquer your deepest fears and move forward through the darkness into the light and rebirth!
The celebration ends with Victory Day on Oct 26th.
Special thanks to Indu Aurora for insights and beautiful writings on the Nine Days.
You can sponsor into ceremonies at www.puja.net or visit your local temple. This is a very special time for deep purification and a chance to increase all aspects of wealth in your life.