Archives: July 2009
Tue Jul 28, 2009
Jai Maa! Sunday's Kali Puja
The devotion, the mantras, the songs, the ceremonies allow us to see Her, touch Her, and experience Her within our own hearts. She is a part of us. We are a part of Her. The entire Universe, the cycles of Nature, and the yearning of our soul is Her wondrous dance, loving weaving all things into being.
- Jaratura, reflecting on Sunday's Kali Puja in Community and with the Kaula
Gratitudes to the kaula, community, and our extended family for supporting and creating Sunday's (7/26) Kali Puja. What a sweet celebration of Her mysteries!
The air was cool on this evening as we gathered, the weather a perfect complement to the fire in our hearts as we created our personal and collective sankalpas (sacred intentions), chanted Sanskrit mantras, and welcomed in the Divine. Familiar faces and new ones accompanied those in Daughters of Kali who are in the last weeks of their walk toward initiation into the Sha'can tradition, our (r)evolutionary Shakta Tantra devoted to our beloved Dark Mother. Song and spirit filled the room and each of us had the opportunity to spend some time in meditation with Her. Darshan, the gift of receiving Her through sacred sight, allowed everyone to fall more deeply in love...and we spent special moments together in a collective deepening before Her altar.
Aarati was offered to the resounding syllables of "Jai Maa Jai Maa!" and the gifts of our community near and far received by Her. Red flowers touched to her lotus feet, we experienced the run of energy that makes the fulfillment of our intentions possible, guided by the alignment of ours with the Divine Will.
A special thank you to those whose offerings from places near and far helped us shower Maa with flowers and Her devotees' love in the wonderful space rented to us by the Cultural Integration Fellowship. Know that if not with us in person, you were with us in spirit!
We look forward to seeing you in circle next month. Join us on Sunday, August 30th at 5:30pm in San Francisco, or contribute to the energy of the puja by doing your own meditation or other circle work at that time with us. We look forward to deepening, opening, and celebrating with you.
Donations for prasad, flowers, and other offerings are most appreciated, and everyone who wishes is called into our sacred space to be part of the ceremony. Upon request, we will gladly send you blessed flowers from the puja in which your offerings were received.
- Frederick Douglass
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Thu Jul 23, 2009
New Moon & Solar Eclipse Reflections
Tuesday was both the New Moon and Solar Eclipse. Personally, I really did not know what to expect. Often, the New Moon energy is not something with which I am comfortable; I always feel the dark, void, or emptiness...which is not within my comfort zone.
On Monday, I had started some hypnotherapy work with my therapist focused on significant relationships in my life and how they felt energetically, as well as how I could do some healing around making necessary changes. With this in mind, I really was looking forward to Tuesday's ritual/meditation in the SHARANYA sanctuary as it was the New Moon and this would complement my work by bringing in love. Then, I find out that it is the Solar Eclipse at the same time! Again, I really didn't know what to expect with these two energies happening simultaneously, but all I yearned for was being in community with others, those whom I truly love and feel safe with.
There was some talk prior to our meeting about doing some scrying, that ancient art of visioning past the seen realms with the help of a mirror, water, crystal ball or other object. I thought to myself, "Great, at least I can get some real answers."
So we meet. I can feel the love of Maa in the temple with us. We move into meditation and then to scrying. I attempt to work with various scrying tools, and I don't 'get' any answers. I take a breath and am so drawn to a picture of Maa in the form of Tara on the altar that I just gaze and somewhat fall into her eyes. She then gives me the answer:
With this I close my eyes and really focus on my breath. She continues to tell me: "I am always here for you and that from within is where the transformation has already begun. Continue to go inward, when in doubt or in fear, breathe." I am now realize (not on just an intellectual level, but on an emotional, embodied level too) that all my life I have always been looking outside myself for answers, approval, acceptance, love, etc...and I now know why I have never really found it. It all starts from within. Jai Maa...Jai Tara!
- Offered by Doreen, a member of Daughters of Kali and the SHARANYA community
Let us know if you had a special experience during yesterday's auspicious amavasya (new moon) and solar eclipse. Did you feel the energy?
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Wed Jul 15, 2009
Pilgrimage: Walking in the Footsteps of Goddess
Pilgrimage--a sacred journey--has the capacity, should we choose to engage it, to take us to the heart of our beingness. Every year, I set out for India, land of the ancients, homeland of the Divine Mother and the one to whom I have dedicated myself, Kali Maa. On these trips, I do my best to open to the possibilities and to the realities; for India is a place of shattering, and I am no stranger to the perils (both seen and unseen) of each voyage.
I go knowing that what happens there is ultimately good--the challenges of this world only serve to amplify the potentials open in the realms of intuition--and I remind myself over and over again that faith is but courage tied to yearning. So I deal with all with which my senses must contend, and I open wide my eyes to the harshness of the legacy of colonialism. All the while, I stare at Her, she who has been kept alive in the hearts and minds of the people for millennia. Certainly, there were valiant attempts to shut Her out; but to no avail. Active is Her worship, alive and well, potent and ubiquitous on the subcontinent.
My visits these past eleven years have focused on the most holy of Tantrick shrines, the sacred seats of the goddess where shakti, the universal feminine force, dances before your eyes in the diyas (ghee lamp-lights) offered in devotion as much as in the spark of Her eyes in the temple. At Kamakhya, Kalighat, Tarapith and the other shakta pithas (the 51 sacred seats of goddess), She is revealed in the grace of both beauty and harshness, catalyzing transformation.
This year, my practice having settled into a new place, I asked myself why I go. "Maa," I whined, "if you are everywhere, why do I traipse half-way around the world to be with you?" The answer I found lay in the footsteps of the men and women carrying more than their own body weight up the hilly alleyways of Kolkata for a meager meal and insurance of another day of living:
"My power," She said, "lies in the simple acts of faith that move us into life rather than away from it. You who reside in the West forget too easily what it means to be alive, what a responsibility it is. Here, where my roots are strong and deep, you are reminded of the fight; of how important is the struggle; of what it means to climb out of the hole of despair because you must. You are reminded, but only if you pay attention, of how truly reflective my world is of yours and how much you live in denial of this truth. Here, you wake up just a bit more whether you are ready or not...and that is my gift to you. "
Have you been on pilgrimage? What have you learned or experienced that has made a difference, been a catalyst for change, or propelled you to new adventures?
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