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.
In the fall, Navaratri invites in destruction, removal, change, transformation and healing.
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.
Fall Navaratri, or Maha Navaratri, is by far the most potent as it brings deep transformation and the ability to remove, destroy, release and transform, our darkness into light. The holy trinity of goddesses supports this process and allows us to let go of what needs to be released in order for greater nourishment. As we let go of our darkness, an increase in light and wisdom can take its place. This process is marked by Durga’s powerful battle against the demon Mahishasura. On the tenth day, she destroyed him and was victorious. This day is called Vijaya Dashami (Dashami is the tenth lunar day of the Moon cycle, connected to dharma).
This year, Navaratri begins on the evening of October 12th in the U.S.A.—as the Moon enters the first tithi and begins to wax. The celebrations start just as the sacred fifteen day celebration of the ancestors, Pitr Pakshu, ends. The final day of Navarati is on October 21st, as the Moon moves through the ninth tithi, Navami. Vijaya Dashami (Victory Day) is on October 22nd. Though the entire Navaratri celebration is dedicated to Durga and her many forms (including Shakti), many honor the expressions of her power through Lakshmi and Saraswati as well.
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) 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. Using self development tools to transform negative thoughts and mental body stories, will be well supported at this time. During the three days of Lakshmi, bring sweets and flowers to your altar, cook nourishing foods for your Self, decorate and adorn your Self. This is a time to focus on self care diligently. For the final portion of Navaratri, dedication to Saraswati, music, art and poetry can be a good way to focus your energy, efforts and intentions. Use creativity, artistry and embodiment resources for grounding and landing in your intentions. Use one of my Creative Rituals for support with this process.
During this sacred and potent time, treat 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!
Read more about Navaratri from Vaidya Rama Kant Mishra, renowned Shaka Vansya Ayurvedic Doctor.
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Author: Saraswati J.
Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Image: Author’s Own
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