This past week marks the beginning of the Hindu festival of Navratri which is celebrated with prayers, fasting and dance. The word ‘Navratri’ literally means nine nights in Sanskrit (Nava= nine and Ratri=nights). During this time, different forms of female divinity are worshiped.
At Coaching for Inner Peace, I love to share tools that can inspire and uplift my clients – so they can fully realize and experience their innate potential for health, well-being, and peace of mind. At times, it is helpful to have external symbols that can serve as a bridge for us to connect to our inner resources. A celebration such as Navratri offers us an opportunity to connect to the creativity, strength, and inner abundance and fullness symbolized by the different forms of feminine divine energy. This can be a wonderful healing experience for women as well as for men- because these are aspects we all want to cultivate in our everyday lives.
Navratri is separated into three sets of three days:
The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga, the Goddess of power (shakti) and energy.
The photo above has been part of my temple at my home for more than thirty years. Durga is portrayed as a beautiful goddess with eight arms – with which she holds weapons such as bow and arrow, and a sword, as well as a lotus flower and a white conch. One of her hands is raised in a pose of ashirwad, or blessings. Her serene and loving countenance is in stark contrast to the ferocious roar of the lion- her vehicle of transport. This photo is dear to my heart because it has provided me with much comfort and solace during challenging times. It so clearly conveys that the feminine energy can be peaceful, wise, compassionate- yes, but it can be so grounded and powerful too! ?
Practice: Where in life do you need inner strength or shakti to face a challenging situation? Invoke the presence of Durga to meet this challenge with a steady mind, courage and resilience. You are not alone. You are protected, loved and supported at each step of the way.
The next three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Recently, one of my clients was facing issues with not having sufficient finances to support her longstanding desire to serve with an educational mission that would take her overseas to her birthplace in Japan. During one of our sessions, she shared that as a young girl, she loved to collect coins- not because she was aware of their worth or value, but just because it felt joyful for her. ? An image of Lakshmi came to mind so I shared a picture with her. My client absolutely loved and resonated with the image of coins flowing freely in the photo. To me, this symbolizes the ease of wealth, abundance and prosperity flowing forth from the divine feminine energy. Over the course of the next few weeks, my client found that financial support for her mission ‘showed up’ in unexpected ways from within her workplace and her spiritual community. We both felt that her connecting to this image perhaps helped to focus and activate an inner opening – to receive support to pursue her lifelong desire to serve students in Japan. This then was reflected in outward financial support. ?
Practice: Where in life do you feel a sense of lack? Lack of time, lack of energy, lack of discipline, lack of material resources, or lack of support? Any lack comes from the ego mind and yet you are not this ego. Invoke the presence of the Goddess Lakshmi to help you know the Truth of your Reality – where you lack nothing. You are a beautiful child of the universe and can be denied nothing. Remember, the healing we are going for is a state of mind first- that then is reflected in our outer external life circumstances- often in ways that we cannot predict or even imagine! Have fun with this and open to receive all the abundance that awaits you. ?
The final three days belong to Goddess Saraswati who is worshiped to cultivate both inner and outer knowledge.
With two of her four hands, Saraswati holds and plays a veena (a classical Indian instrument) which represents the art of music. The beads in one hand represent spiritual knowledge. The book in the fourth hand symbolizes learning and education. The brilliant light that emanates from her represents the power of knowledge and education to destroy the darkness of ignorance. Invoking her energy can help students in their study, and also inspire writers, musicians and artists to connect more deeply with an abundance of creative energy.
Practice: If you are a student preparing for exams, or a parent or teacher of a student, invoke the presence of the Goddess Saraswati. Ask her to grace you with a clear mind, and a sense of calm and ease that allows you to perform to the best of your capacity. If you are a musician, a singer or artist, invoke her blessings that your innate creativity may flow- blessing you and blessing all whose lives it touches. Allow yourself to be like an instrument, or a hollow reed – through which her inspiration may flow freely.
If you feel inspired to explore other goddesses from different traditions and cultures around the world, check out a beautifully illustrated book by Kris Waldherr titled The Book of Goddesses. Here you will find beautiful paintings with descriptions and stories of 26 goddesses from around the world. This is a beautiful book to share with the children in your lives as well. ?
You can read more about this book here.
There is also a beautiful collection of instrumental music inspired by this book created by musical artists known as Troika. You can listen to a sample here on Amazon. No matter how many times I listen to this music, I always feel inspired, nourished and revitalized.
But are these real…?
Many times, we can debate whether these goddesses exist or not. But I think if we were to get lost in speculation, we would miss the purpose. Gods and goddesses are simply way-showers that can inspire us to allow our innate potential for creativity, peace and happiness to flow forth freely. It is like the finger pointing to the moon. Once we can see the moon, we no longer need the finger. Yet while we are still walking this journey of healing and awakening to our True Self, having mighty companions in the form of goddesses can be very sweet indeed. ?
Enjoy! Happy Navratri to all!
May the divine feminine energy bless you with an abundance of creativity, prosperity, health and well-being for you and all your loved ones.
***Goddess images from santabanta.com. Resource: Navratri Manchester Festival. Special thanks to Sean Mulcahy for technical help with pictures.
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