By Saraswati J
Navaratri: A celebration of the goddess, inside and out.
Navaratri is a poignant time in the Vedic Calendar. This ancient calendar is one that is dedicated to nature and her cycles and rhythms, the planets, and most importantly the Moon. In the Vedic Calendar, time is connected to what nature and the cosmos are doing, and these elements are intimately related. Navaratri occurs twice a year—in the gap seasons of spring and fall. These times are considered sandhi times; delicate times that feel like you are neither here nor there. We might call it the netherworld.
This time, though delicate, is considered sacred.
In the spring, Navaratri marks the waking up of the devis or the goddesses; the aspects of natural law that enliven growth, abundance, prosperity, learning, well being, change and transformation. The goddesses Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi symbolize these parts of life and nature, while also being parts of our own innate being. The three of them together represent our wholeness, the trinity of life, alive in and around us. These three goddesses also connect to Shakti, the goddess who gives the spark of life to every being, to nature, and to existence.
Vasant Navaratri, or spring Navaratri, begins this year on March 21st and ends on the ninth day, March 29th. This year the celebrations fall in the gap between the new Moon total solar eclipse on the 20th and the full Moon lunar eclipse on April 4th. This heightens the fragility of this period and invites us to attend to our fragility, our vulnerability, at this time.
It is an excellent time for self care practices, gentle cleanses and rituals for release, renewal and rejuvenation.
Nava means nine in Sanskrit while Ratri means nights. This is a nine day celebration that is divided into three parts. The first three days are dedicated to the goddess Durga. Her warrior spirit cleanses, shifts, uproots, changes and transforms. Think of her as tilling the soil, prior to planting seeds. The next three days of celebration are dedicated to Lakshmi. Her abundance, nurturing, and wealth offer nourishment and support to us on all levels of life. Health is the ultimate wealth and Lakshmi brings this support as well. Finally, we have three days dedicated to goddess Saraswati. She gives us knowledge, understanding, wisdom, creativity and artistry. She is the rasayana, or healing balm if you will, to close this sacred nine day celebration. Together, these three goddesses bring wholeness, renewal, and the life giving offerings of Shakti.
This creative life-force energy is truly what inspires life, living and abundance.
It is at this time that we can connect to these three goddesses most easily—inside of us, and around us. Because of this, Navaratri is considered a very sacred and powerful time of year—one that influences our inner and outer experience of life for months to come. To connect with the goddesses more closely, make special offerings on your altar for them during the nine days. You can also dedicate your actions and intentions to them for greater communication.
Connecting to fire and stoking the internal flame, or agni, can be valuable for the first three days of Durga. You may wish to write intentions that focus on empowerment and action steps for the coming months as well. During the three days of Lakshmi, bring sweets and flowers to your altar, cook nourishing foods for your self, decorate and adorn your self. For the final portion of Navaratri, dedicated to Saraswati, music, art and poetry can be a good way to focus your energy, efforts and intentions.
Use this nine days for treating your self like the goddess that you are and share your abundance with others. May we each remember our abundant true nature, our immense creative life giving energy!
Saraswati J. is a Jyotish Coach and Consultant, bridging ancient Jyotish wisdom with Embodiment and Expressive Art Therapy resources. Her Jyotish work is especially well suited to the extra sensitive artists, mystics and healers—and those who need insights for their dharmic path and personal transformation process. Check out her website and find her on Facebook. You can join her newsletter for special astrological insights or register for her weekly Jyotish Basics classes for an extra dose of healing wisdom. Additionally, she creates unique adornments with the urban goddess in mind. Check out her jewelry at Swati Jr* Jewelry and also on Facebook.
Photo: devi durga via deviantart
Editor: Amy Cushing
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