Intense Retrograde Cycle Ahead

Many of my clients and friends have been writing to me about all the retrograde energy coming on us. Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto are already retrograde and Mercury will join them in retrograde from April 28 to May 22. It is actually somewhat rare to have five planets retrograde at the same time; according to some astrology researchers, it only happens about 4% of the time. I say “five” as I am a Neo-Vedic astrologer using the outer planets and Pluto is one of the retrogrades in question.

SFPageHere are some quick bullet points from my own astrologer’s notebook to help us sort it all out:

  • According to Martin Schulman in Karmic Astrology: Retrogrades and Reincarnation, “retrograde planets break the time barrier” meaning that they can represent parallel or past-life issues that are unresolved and in need of balancing or healing. This is in relation to retrogrades in a natal chart but can also apply to transiting planets in their retrograde cycle when they are aspecting planets or points in a natal chart, thus triggering a need to examine and even root out unsettled karmic patterns from any time in the past, this lifetime or others.
  • A retrograde planet’s energy is turned inward and is not less potent as some say, but its personal qualities can be experienced as more subjective, whereas its external effects can and will be slower to manifest.
  • To really understand a retrograde planet and determine whether or not it is auspicious or inauspicious, we have to analyze its house and sign placements, lordships and the yogas it forms in a natal or mundane horoscope.
  • Retrograde planets create confusion and a lack of clear understanding even among some astrologers because they are vakri, making a conflicted movement because they are appearing to move backward from the point of view of the Earth (geocentric), but are actually moving forward from the view of the Sun (heliocentric). This very fact is a secret for working with retrograde planets. We can get all hung up and worried about them, but the truth is when we follow the dharma, the path of the Sun which is unfolding the inner light of the Divine Self, the lila (divine play) of retrograde planets is simply another marvelous illusion in Mother Maya’s web.
  • Depending on what a transiting retrograde planet is triggering in a natal chart, we can be prompted or tempted to relive the past and in the process, hopefully, to heal it. Things or people can come back to us to allow us to heal. We may have to repeat our past actions or make them right somehow.
  • For instance, with Pluto retrograde now, depending on how it activates a natal chart, some of us will be intensely purging an unresolved past-life or current-life issue.
  • Mercury retrograde can be a time when we experience maddening events like miscommunications, travel and transportation difficulties, and the breakdown of equipment. Note where Mercury goes retrograde over a natal planet or sensitive chart point as this will reveal where problems can occur. By observing the planet and house in a natal chart that is affected, one can be prepared to hopefully minimize any potential difficulties.
  • Mercury on April 28, 2016 will station retrograde at the 29+ degree of sidereal Aries, so some with chart points or planets at 29 degrees may have a health issue or other difficult challenge ahead. The 29th degree is important in general as it has to do with some event or relationship that we thought was completed that is not, which is coming back to be reviewed or reassessed yet again. In general, with Mercury retrogrades we have an opportunity to revisit and complete unfinished business. Retrogrades can be awesome for reflection and retreat, a good time to regroup, reassess, and reconsider not only the past but also, our plans and dreams for the future.
  • The outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto move quite slowly so that their retrograde cycles may not be apparent unless they make a close aspect with a natal planet or angle cusp in the natal chart, in which case they can be quite a hornet’s nest.
  • It helps to remember that when we have this many retrograde planets, the world may appear or feel crazier than usual. Key word is “erratic” as retrogrades do not follow the traditional path, but that can be a good thing in terms of developing deeper insight and differing points of view to help us create new and innovative solutions to problems.
  • Keep in mind that we might be prone to changing our minds several times during these intense retrograde cycles, so this requires added caution and flexibility in decision making processes.
  • Mercury (the mind, communication, travel, business) will station and retrograde in the sign of enemy Mars in the potentially restless, violent, impatient, and aggressive sign of Aries, in Krittika nakshatra whose nature is fiery and cutting, then moving back into Bharani nakshatra whose nature is nothing if not “extreme” in every sense of the word. So yes, the world will look crazier than usual as the pancha-maha-bhuta (five elements) go a bit out of whack and we have so much Mars-ruled energy descending.The mental faculties will generally have a tendency to be overheated and agitated. It can be helpful to take cooling herbs and foods, and also to rub pure sandalwood or jatamansi essential oil on the brow a few times a day to calm and cool the mind.
  • Imbalances will come to light within us and within the world in these coming months of Saturn, Pluto, and Mars retrograde, but it may be especially difficult from now through May 9. On May 9, Jupiter will station direct and move out of the retrograde cycle where he has been in since January 2016. This is a positive thing when the planet of luck, grace, purpose, and wisdom starts moving forward, and should help to ease up some of the other retrograde frustrations.
  • I personally feel that chakra clearing work is a great remedy for retrograde intensity. In addition, it helps to go within, listen, purify, and recharge with Source energy. Cultivate patience and mindfulness. It is not a time to take risks in these coming months (especially while Mars is retrograde through June). Sit back and wait for the clouds to clear if you are confused about a choice you think you need to make. Be cautious and above all, apply common sense to all matters.
My friend, astrologer Tres Devas of wrote this amazing piece about the grace of Mercury retrograde, a term which he has cleverly coined “Mercury Retrograce”:
When Mercury Retrograces
Retrain all your thoughts,
they are endless reincarnations,
reawaken, realign to divine reverberations,
recommit to recombine all your studies and realizations,
recompute and reconcile remedy your tribulations,
reapprove, reunify and restore all your relations,
refortify and re-engage reinduce your aspirations,
reforest and recharge the deserts of imagination,
re-execute re-explore and re-enlist your revelations,
refocus and reforge retrofit your affirmations,
re-plan and redraw reaffirm your destinations,
reacquire, reconsign recover all your validations,
replenish, and relight reconfirm visualisations,
reword, rewind and resist old temptations,
rejoice, redistill and recite invocations,
redesign to revive and renew your cultivation,
to replant the garden of your dreams
M31 Adromeda Galaxy

Musing on Fire

It’s Saturday night (April 23), and I’m thinking about fire, the literal fire brightly burning in my candles on my desk, and also fire as the principle and element of Spirit. Fire is the transformative power associated with willpower and creative force. It links with the season of summer and the essence of passion, purification and vitality. The fire element relates to what astrologer Marc Edmond Jones called “experience centered in personal identity.” Western astrologer Stephen Arroyo describes it as the “universal radiant energy that is excitable, enthusiastic, and which through its light brings color into the world.”

indexIn Vedic tradition, fire is associated with the god Agni. In Ayurveda, fire is known as Pitta dosha. In Yoga and Ayurveda, we learn about Tejas, the fire of life that is the power of transformation that comes from cultivating the inner fire.The fire practice according to Vedic traditions is used for strengthening a connection with spiritual light, and my guru Haidakhan Babaji said that our sadhana (spiritual practice) is incomplete unless we are regularly engaging with external fire practices that help us embody Lord Shiva’s transformative and creative power.

Agni_god_of_fireI usually discuss the elements with my clients when I analyze the balance of fire, water, earth, and air (and ether) through the astrological birth chart. I always use the sidereal zodiac in my astrological work, and in my experience, it seems to be more accurate than the tropical “western” zodiac in revealing the true balance of elements in an individual. I am a Polarity Therapist/RPP and am specifically trained and practiced in element/energy work, so this is actually a favorite topic of mine. This image below is taken from one of Dr. Stone’s textbooks (he was the founder of Polarity Therapy).

v1b1c04cRegarding the elements, some have too much of one and not enough of another, and some lucky ones have it all in a natural balance. For those less “lucky,” there are various remedies to balance or enhance the elements. The fire element is especially important as it represents our power and energy, and is what we need to “stoke the fire of our inspiration.” When it is too weak or too strong, there can be a tendency for certain recurring trials and tribulations.

The fire element is really on my mind now as we have a pile up ahead in Mars-ruled signs. Mars is the main significator of the fire element, and many planets are lining up in his signs. The Moon, representative of the water element and manas, the feeling mind, has just come into its debilitated (weak) and deep-feeling sidereal sign of Mars-ruled Scorpio, where it will transit for the next 2.5 days. For some, this monthly transit can often feel extra sensitive or emotionally vulnerable, and this is especially so while Mars and Saturn also transit in Scorpio through the next many months. Later in the summer we will have a pileup of grahas in Leo, sign of fire as well. So I am sorry to say it is going to be an intense fire season this summer.

The Moon will cross the tense Mars-Saturn conjunction later tomorrow and the next day. Mars is very strong now in his own constellation of Scorpio, but is also somewhat afflicted by conjunction with enemy Saturn (which I have discussed before). The Moon transit ignites this conjunction which is called Agni-Maruti Yoga, where the fiery energy of Mars can be excessively fanned by the wind of Saturn. Again this is happening now and through the summer months, through much of September until Mars leaves Scorpio.

It’s interesting that on April 25 early in the morning, the Moon will be exactly conjoined Mars while at the same time, Venus (relationships, vitality) will transit into hotheaded Aries, where it will join Mercury (thinking mind/communication) and the Sun (vitality, identity, health). Aries is also ruled by Mars, so at the time and until the Moon leaves Scorpio on April 26 in the morning, we will have six grahas in fiery Mars-ruled constellations…and, Pluto is in Sagittarius and Rahu-Jupiter are in Leo, which are fire signs…so, that is a lot of fire. The three grahas in Scorpio represent fire moving in the water element, which raises emotional intensity quite a bit.

SFPage SFPage2Be careful around fire in the coming days. God forbid, we may hear reports of extreme fires burning out of control in many locales from this point on through late September. There will probably be some metaphoric fires to put out, too as the summer heats up in the Northern Hemisphere. The inhabitants of Scorpio and Aries are in a 6/8 inconjunct (quincunx) with each other, reflecting perhaps the need to make some “adjustments” in how we kindle the fire of our minds. It’s important to think about this now as these transits are coming on strong, and additionally, tomorrow (Sun-day) is the day of Surya the Sun God, who is also a significator of fire and very powerful now as he is in his exaltation (full power) in sidereal Aries.



Day Ten Navaratri Parana, April 2016: Kamala, Lotus Goddess of Delight

Om Shrim Shrim Kamalatmika Shrim Swaha!

Om Shrim Shrim Kamalatmika Shrim Swaha!

Om Shrim Shrim Kamalatmika Shrim Swaha!

kamla-yantraThe tenth day of Navaratri is called Navarati Parana which means the end of the Navaratri celebration and fast. It is the 10th dashami tithi, 10 days after the New Moon and a day of victory. What a great time to embrace this sweet power rising out of the Devi’s victory over darkness just as Mars, planet of war and conflict, is slowing down to his intense retrograde station on Sunday morning, He will retrograde until late June in sidereal Scorpio, where Saturn is already retrograde. Retrograde malefics like Mars and Saturn become more difficult than usual. That means it’s time to be focused and vigilant and hold fast to our highest principles and practices. Everything that challenges us is teaching us to open our hearts and be in a state of unconditional love no matter what! If we can remain truly heart centered kings and queens of love, we are home free.

231839-bigthumbnailAnd, speaking of love, the 10th Mahavidya Goddess to whom I am dedicating my last day’s Navaratri contemplation is Shri Kamala Devi, also known as “Kamalatmika, She of the Lotus.” Kamala is the ultimate manifestation of the Devi in the world. When you are in the immense and often mind-blowing, heart-bursting beauty of nature, that is Kamala in action. She is goddess of not only love and beauty but also comfort, safety, wealth, happiness, and the bliss that comes in knowing one’s own true being (ananda swaroopa). Kamala’s other name is Shree (Shri) which means “Auspicious.”

“With a smiling face, her beautiful lily-white hands hold two lotuses, and show the mudras of giving and dispelling fear. She is bathed in nectar by four white elephants and stands upon a beautiful lotus.” (Todala Tantra) The lotus represents purity and divinity; and the elephants symbolize the four directions, elements, and purusharthas (dharma, artha, kama, and moksha) which are all brought forth and supported by Shri Kamala Devi. 

the_ten_mahavidyas__kamala_wi84Kamala is the consort of Sada-Shiva, the protector of the world who is much like Lord Vishnu who upholds the Earth. She is associated with the lunar mansion called Rohini in Taurus constellation, which is the Moon’s favorite wife (nakshatra). Rohini symbolizes sensuality, grace, and beauty. She is the youngest sister of oldest sister Dhumavati who lives in Jyestha/Scorpio which is directly opposite Rohini/Taurus. Kamala is like the highest frequency of Lakshmi. She came out of the great churning of the ocean known as Samudra Manthan, and she is the source of Satva Guna or spiritual essence.I feel that Kamala is the Alpha and Omega of the Devi, for everything comes from love. We propitiate Her to enhance and strengthen Venus, symbol of vitality-love-comfort-wealth in the Vedic horoscope.

Jai Maa Kamala Devi! We bow before you on this tenth day of Navaratri Parana and give great thanks for all Your blessings and boons that have come through our Divine Mother devotions, and for those which are still yet to come. We open to receive ever more of your Supreme Comfort as it flows like nectar onto our Earth and all sentient beings. May we fully know and experience Your peace, wisdom, and divine love in this Earthly realm. Jai Maa!



Day Nine Navaratri, April 2016: Matangi, Goddess of Royal Elephant Power

Om Hreem Aim Shreem

Namo Bhagavati Ucchisthachandali

Sri Matangeswari Sarvagyanavashamkari Swaha

220px-Matangi_yantra_colorThe ninth day of Navratri is known as MahaNavami. It is Ram Navami, the day of Lord Ram’s birthday which is celebrated as the victory of light over dark. The Todala Tantra (Ch. 10) correlates Lord Vishnu’s ten incarnations with the ten Mahavidyas as follows: “Tara Devi is the blue form; Bagla is the tortoise incarnation; Dhumavati is the boar, Chinnamasta is Narasimha; Bhuvaneshvari is Vamana, Matangi is the Rama form; Tripura is Jamadagni, Bhairavi is Balabhadra; Mahalakshmi is Buddha, and Durga is the Kalki form. Bhagavati Kali is the Krishna murti.” So today is devoted to Lord Ram and also the Goddess Matangi. It is also the day of Saraswati, who is related in some ways to Matangi.

matangi devi fierceIn fact, Sri Maa Matangi is considered the Tantric version of Goddess Saraswati and is said to rule over music, art, sound and learning. She is associated with living outside the normal bounds of society which symbolically refers to the sound current before it manifests in the world. Matangi is worshipped for power over enemies and for other kinds of mystical powers including attracting money and love as well as attaining the highest knowledge. She is often depicted as the color of emerald, with three eyes, wearing a crescent moon on her head, holding a hammer, noose, goad and shield in her four hands. Like Lalita she sometimes has a parrot with her. Matangi is propitiated for any issues related to the Sun in the Vedic horoscope, as Matangi is the shakti of Lord Ram the Sun God.RamThe elephant, king of beasts, is the mount of kings and symbol of royal power, the power of domination. Indra, the king of heaven, is shown riding on an elephant. Siva, as the world ruler, the  dispenser of justice, the embodiment of kingly virtues, the destroyer of evil, is known as the Elephant Matanga. After the terror of the night appears the reassuring sunlight. The demons are defeated. Matangi, the Elephant power [consort of Matanga] establishes the rule of peace, of calm, of prosperity.” (The Myths and Gods of India, Alain Danielou, p 283).




Day Eight Navaratri, April 2016: Shri Maa Bagalamukhi, Goddess of Ultimate Power

Om Hleem Baglaamukhi Sarva Dushtaanaam Vaacham Mukham Padam Stambhay Jihvaam Keelay Buddhim Vinaashay Hleem Om Phat

Om Hleem Baglaamukhi Sarva Dushtaanaam Vaacham Mukham Padam Stambhay Jihvaam Keelay Buddhim Vinaashay Hleem Om Phat

Om Hleem Baglaamukhi Sarva Dushtaanaam Vaacham Mukham Padam Stambhay Jihvaam Keelay Buddhim Vinaashay Hleem Om Phat

bagala2“I bow to the two-armed goddess who with the right hand grasps the tongue of her enemy and with the left hand torurures him. She holds a mace and is clad in yellow.” Bagalamukhi Tantra.

Bagalamukhi or Bagala is the eighth Mahavidya. Her name has been broadly translated and interpreted as “the crane faced one, one who checks the mouth, and one whose look has the power to stun, compel and control.” In Northern India, her name is Pitambara Maa, which refers to the yellow goddess. In her depiction, she is rarely dressed in yellow garb but her devotees are instructed to wear yellow or use yellow/gold mala beads to recite her mantra, and some interpreters have wondered if the yellow color refers here to Her aura of bright light being like the brilliant light of the Sun which is the ultimate power of consciousness.

BagalamukhiAnother name for Bagla is Brahmastra Roopini, referring to Her supernatural power which is a weapon against evil and ignorance: “The mantra of the goddess Bagalamukhi has the power of the Divine weapon Brahmastra instilled in it and the goddess simply strikes terror in and paralyze the enemies of her devotees. Repetition of her mantra is enough to stop even a terrible tempest.” (Mantra Maharnava) In her iconography, She is shown beating and pulling out the tongue of a demon. This is said to symbolize Her power to help us destroy all our inner and outer demons.

Bagla is often propitiated through mantra, ritual, and yagyas for those who are in dangerous or troublesome situations including legal matters. She is also invoked to attain all kinds of worldly power or happiness as well as to attain vak siddhi, the gift of speech and oracular power, a great boon for astrologers who are asked to make predictions about the future. She is one of the most powerful goddesses in my experience for overcoming inner darkness, depression, and mental or emotional unrest; and to strengthen courage, and to develop inner and outer stability including material prosperity.

Interestingly, just as Bagla is one of the most powerful of the divine warrior goddesses, She is also connected to the planet Mars in Vedic astrology, who is called the Army General or Overseer of the planetary family. Mars is planet of valor, energy, will and strength of character; he is the ultimate yogi and divine warrior. We can propitiate Bagla for any and all Mars problems in the astrological chart.

Some devotees of Bagla invoke Her by following a specific ritual while reciting a hymn from the Rudrayamala Tantra. Lord Rudra, the fierce Shiva who is the God of Storm, is Her consort. This is a small excerpt of the hymn:

I bow before Baglamukhi, who is seated on a gold throne, with three eyes, wearing yellow clothes, blissful, with limbs as bright as pure gold, wearing a garland of champak flowers, with the moon as Her diadem, with Her hands holding a club and a noose which binds the opponent. Her limbs are decorated with jewels, and She is the All paralyser of the three worlds.   Sitting on a golden throne in the midst of an ocean of nectar, where Her canopy, decorated with diamonds, is situated and her throne is decorated with jewels.

The shakti if Bagla is stambhana, the power to stop, restrain or paralyze. More superficially, She can help us stop and overcome our enemies. I frequently recommend Bagalamukhi yagyas for clients who are having legal, custody, or tax problems, or for those who are being stalked or attacked in any way (such as with libel or defamation), and these yagyas are often extremely helpful.

At the deepest level, stambhana refers to achieving a still point within the world of duality, resting in the sushumna nadi which is the Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient Source of Divinity existing beyond all polarities. Here, Bagla shuts down the world of Maya and all opposites are resolved in Oneness and Truth. Jai Maa Baglamukhi, I bow before you this night and pray that you will once again “stop the world so I can get off,” figuratively speaking of course. Jai Maa!


Day Seven Navaratri, April 2016: Dhumavati, Goddess of Letting Go

Dhum Dhum Dhumavati Svaha

Dhum Dhum Dhumavati Svaha

Dhum Dhum Dhumavati Svaha

220px-Dhumavati_yantra_color“Perceived as the void, as the dissolved form of consciousness, when all beings are dissolved in sleep in the supreme Brahman, having swallowed the entire universe, the seer-poets call her the most glorious and the eldest, Dhumavati. She exists in the forms of sleep, lack of memory, illusion, and dullness in the creatures immersed in the illusion of the world, but among the yogis she becomes the power that destroys all thoughts, indeed Samadhi (death and liberation) itself.” ~ Ganapati Muni

Dhumavati (or Dhoomavati) is the seventh of the Mahavidya goddesses. She signifies a formidable aspect of the Divine Mother and can be quite intimidating to those who don’t understand Her emblem as the personification of the wounds of the earth, known as ksataviksata-privthi (Alain Danielou, The Myths and Gods of India, p 282). Portrayed as a haggardly ugly widow, Dhumavati is often depicted riding a crow or on a horseless chariot, but also usually she is shown offering blessings. She is the only Mahavidya without a consort, so widows often propitiate Her. As Sati, she was actually married to Shiva, but he could not satisfy her and she ate him, and later disengorged him and She became Dhumavati. Part of the legend of Sati and Shiva speaks to Dhumavati’s core principle as the destroyer of the “body of the world” (Danielou).

220px-DhumavatiDhumavati means the “smoky one.” She is said to take the form of smoke which has a highly protective quality for her devotees who like to offer her cigarettes and incense. Dhumavati is said to hang around murky places like foggy bogs, dark forests, smoky fires, smoldering volcanos, and cremation grounds. Her aspect in the form of smoke conceals the world of illusion and reveals the truth of the mystery of life behind the façade of the divine play of the world.

The mythologist Joseph Campbell once said, “Where you stumble and fall, there you will find gold.”

That’s Dhumavati. I have called on Her during some of my darkest times, and She always gave the gold.

Dhumavati_molaramPer Vedic astrology, Dhumavati can be propitiated for all issues related to Rahu and Ketu. Her essence is of the crone, the great grandmother spirit, the dark Moon, and the deep waning cycle of the Sun. She is connected to Jyestha and Mula nakshatras, which are home to the ancient dark goddesses named Jyestha and Niritti (also known as A-Lakshmi, without radiance)), in the tail of the Scorpio constellation and near the galactic center, a place of profound, shadowy, and sometimes even dangerous power.

scorpio-mwJai Maa Dhumavati. I bow before you on this night and let go into your deepest wisdom.


The Sun’s Aries Ingress, April 13, 2016: Mesha Sankranti

Today at 10:17:27 AM ET (14:17:27 Universal Coordinated Time), the Sun enters sidereal Aries, known as Aries Ingress or Mesha Sankranti or Sankramana, which is celebrated as the solar new year in the Vedic astrological tradition and in many of the rich and varied cultural traditions of India. The astrological chart for Mesha Sankranti is read with specific rules by mundane astrologers in forecasting the year ahead.

SFPageFor each of us, regardless of our heritage and background, this is an important day as the Sun represents the Self, our soul purpose, path and life force, and now as it rises in the constellation of Aries (where it will be for the next month), it is once again beginning its yearlong journey around the zodiac! The Sun is exalted in Aries, where it gives some of its best results, thus manifesting potentially as new initiatives, and more focus, drive, courage, strength, and clarity of thought.

imagesToday is a wonderful day for new prayers, intentions and affirmations if you feel so compelled. And then again, on Friday, April 15, we have the precious day of Ram Navami on the 9th day of Navaratri, which is celebrated as the birthday of Bhagwan Shri Rama (or Ram) who is deeply celebrated as the solar logos and the power of victory of good over evil. In this classic depiction below, Lord Ram is shown worshiping the Sun god Surya.

ram praying to suryaRam Navami (the 15th) is called an Abuj Muhurat day, which some Vedic astrologers (such as myself) feel is a great day (all day) for beginning any important new venture, as the entire day is very blessed and powerful not just because of its connection to a holy day or festival but because the ancient divine ones of the Vedic tradition chose these special days based on their alignment with important astrological and bioenergetic cycles.

Day Six Navaratri April 2016: Chinnamasta, the Great Cosmic Wisdom

Aum Shrim Hrim Aim Vajra-Vairochaneeya Hum Hum Phat Swaha

Aum Shrim Hrim Aim Vajra-Vairochaneeya Hum Hum Phat Swaha

Aum Shrim Hrim Aim Vajra-Vairochaneeya Hum Hum Phat Swaha


Jai Maa Chinnamasta! Jai Jai Jai Maa! Today and tonight I bow before the Divine Mother in her aspect as Maa Chinnamasta, Goddess of Awakening Wisdom, and I pray The Great Invocation:

The Great Invocation

From the point of Light within the Mind of God
Let light stream forth into the minds of men.
Let Light descend on Earth.

From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into the hearts of men.
May Christ return to Earth.

From the centre where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide the little wills of men–
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.

From the centre which we call the race of men
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.

Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.

Who is this Goddess Chinnamasta and why would I pray to Her to restore the plan on Earth? Well, quite simply, She is the Pure Absolute Wisdom which transcends the illusion of Maya. She is the pure light that descends from on high. As such, She is also the embodiment of a fierce immensity: “Her left foot forward in battle, she holds her severed head and a knife. Naked, she drinks voluptuously the stream of the blood nectar flowing from her beheaded body. The jewel on her forehead is tied with a serpent. She has three eyes. Her breasts are adorned with lotuses. Inclined towards lust, she sits erect above the god of love, who shows signs of lustfulness. She looks like the red China rose.” Chinnamasta Tantra

Chinnamasta1800Parvati became known as Chinnamasta, the Self-Decapitated Goddess who represents the transcendence of material identification and the sacrifice of ego as wisdom transcends the lower nature in the awakening of kundalini Shakti. Her ferocious iconography also represents the continuous cycle of samsara/sex, life and death in the play of duality.

Chinnamasta’s name is also seen as Chhinnamasta and Chinnamastaka, and in Tantric Buddhism she is known as Chinnamunda. This phrase in Her mantra (above) – vajra-vairochaneeya – refers to Maa Chintamasta’s gift of spiritual awakening. She explodes like thunder and lightning as Her kundalini pierces into pure consciousness. Per Vedic astrology, we can propitiate Shri Mata Chinnamasta for any matter related to Rahu and Ketu including karmic curses, anxieties and fears, as well as health, money and relationship problems,

Her stotra of 108 names is as follows:

  • Chinnamasta
  • Mahavidya (great knowledge goddess)
  • Mahabhima (great fierce one)
  • Mahodari (great bellied one)
  • Candesvari (fierce goddess)
  • Candamata (mother of fierce beings or the fierce mother)
  • Candamundaprabhanjini (killer of demons Canda and Munda)
  • Mahacanda (great fierce one)
  • Candarupa (fierce form)
  • Candika (fierce one)
  • Candakhandini (destroyer of Canda)
  • Krodhini (wrathful one)
  • Krodhajanani (creator of wrathful beings)
  • Krodharupa (wrathful form)
  • Kuhuh (new moon day)
  • Kala (skillful one)
  • Kopatura (afflicted with rage)
  • Kopayuta (filled with rage)
  • Kopasamharakarini (destroyer of rage)
  • Vajra
  • Vajravairocani (adamantine one)
  • Vajrakalpa (competent with a vajra)
  • Dakini
  • Dakinikarmanirata (involved with the work of dakinis)
  • Dakinikarmapujita (worshipped as the work of dakinis)
  • Dakinisanganirata (delighted in the company of dakinis)
  • Dakinipremapurita (filled with love of dakinis)
  • Khatavangadharini (holder of a khatvanga)
  • Kharva (mutilated one)
  • Khadgakharparadharini (holder of a scimitar and a skullcup)
  • Pretasana (feeder of pretas [hungry ghosts])
  • Pretayuta (united with pretas)
  • Pretasangaviharini (plays or dwells in the company of pretas)
  • Chinnamundadhara (holds a severed head)
  • Chinnacandavidya (fierce mantra of the one with the severed body)
  • Citrini (having variegated forms)
  • Ghorarupa (terrific form)
  • Ghoradrsta (terrific to behold)
  • Ghorarava (having a terrific roar)
  • Ghanodari (firm abdomen)
  • Yogini (practices yoga)
  • Yoganirata (practitioner of yoga)
  • Japayajnaparayana (absorbed in sacrifice and recitation)
  • Yonicakramayi (possessing yonicakra)
  • Yonih (embodying the yoni)
  • Yonicakrapravarttini (arising from the yonicakra)
  • Yonimudra (has the yonimudra)
  • Yonigamya (accessible to the yoni)
  • Yoniyantranivasini (abides in the yoniyantra)
  • Yantrarupa (has the yantra form)
  • Yantramayi (possesses the yantra)
  • Yantresi (goddess of the yantra)
  • Yantrapujita (worshipped with a yantra)
  • Kirtya (renowned one)
  • Kapardini (has matted hair)
  • Kali
  • Kankali (emaciated)
  • Kalavikarini (constantly transforming)
  • Arakta (being slightly red)
  • Raktanayana (having red eyes)
  • Raktapanaparayana (quaffing blood continuously)
  • Bhavani
  • Bhutida (gives prosperity)
  • Bhutih (prosperity)
  • Bhutidatri (bestows prosperity)
  • Bhairavi (formidable one)
  • Bhairavacaranirata (engaged in the practice of bhairavas)
  • Bhutabhairavasevita (served by fierce beings)
  • Bhima (formidable one)
  • Bhimesvaridevi (goddess who is lord of the formidable one)
  • Bhimanadaparayana (having continuous formidable sounds)
  • Bhavaradhya (praised by Sankara)
  • Bhavanuta (worshipped by all)
  • Bhavasagaratarini (crosses over the ocean of existence)
  • Bhadrakali (a form of Kali)
  • Bhadratanuh (having a beautiful body)
  • Bhadrarupa (beautiful form)
  • Bhadrika (goodness)
  • Bhadrarupa (embodies goodness)
  • Mahabhadra (magnanimous)
  • Subhadra (wonderful goodness)
  • Bhadrapalini (protectoress of goodness)
  • Subhavya (exceedingly beautiful)
  • Bhavyavadana (having beautiful face)
  • Sumukhi (good face or mouth)
  • Siddhasevita (served by siddhis)
  • Siddhida (gives siddhis)
  • Siddhanivaha (has the collection of siddhis)
  • Siddha (accomplished one)
  • Siddhanisevita (honoured by siddhas)
  • Subhada (gives auspiciousness)
  • Subhaga (elegant)
  • Suddha (pure)
  • Suddhasattva (has pure sattva)
  • Subhavaha (bearer of auspiciousness)
  • Srestha (excellent)
  • Drstamayi (embodies the right view)
  • Devi
  • Drstisamharakarini (capable of destroying by her gaze)
  • Sarvani (Siva’s wife)
  • Sarvaga (omnipresent)
  • Sarva (complete)
  • Sarvamangalakarini (creator of all auspiciousness)
  • Siva (pacifier)
  • Santa (peaceful)
  • Santirupa (embodiment of peacefulness)
  • Mrdani (gladdened)
  • Madanatura (indomitable by Kamadeva)


Day Five Navaratri, April 2016: Bhairavi, The Power of Death

Mahapadmavanantasthe Paramanandavigrahe, Shabdabrahmamaye Svacche Vande Tripurabhairaveem…Mahapadmavanantasthe Paramanandavigrahe, Shabdabrahmamaye Svacche Vande Tripurabhairaveem… Mahapadmavanantasthe Paramanandavigrahe, Shabdabrahmamaye Svacche Vande Tripurabhairaveem

Bhairavi yantra“Softly smiling, you shine with a crimson glow that may be compared to a thousand newly risen suns. You wear a silver veil and a garland of skulls. Blood smears your breast. Three voluptuous eyes adorn your lotus face; the Moon is your diadem. Your lotus hands show the gestures of victory, wisdom, the granting of boons and the allaying of fear.” (Tripura-Bhairavi Tantra)

Bhairavi or Tripura-Bhairavi, like Kali-Durga, is a warrior goddess. She represents the transformational kundalini fire. The name Bhairavi is derived from Bharana (to create); Ramana (to protect); and Vamana (to eject). Just as Bhuvaneshwari protects life, Bhairavi transforms it.  She is often associated with the Mahapralaya, the great dissolution at the end of the world, and her name is also a title for a female adept in Kundalini Tantra. In Vedic astrology, Bhairavi is propitiated to strengthen and heal issues related to the lagna (ascendant or rising sign) of the horoscope, which refers to all matters for an individual, whether body, mind or soul.

mahavidya_bhairavi_hk53Water Color Painting on Paper by Kailash Raj(Mahavidya Bhairavi Water Color Painting on Paper by Kailash Raj)

Bhairavi is the shakti of the awareness of death and beyond death. Her name means “awe-inspiring,” and refers to one who has transcended death, which is a tremendous state of awakening. The Dalai Lama has said, “Awareness of death is the very bedrock of the path. Until you have developed this awareness, all other practices are obstructed.” In Rebirthing (Sacred Breath) practice, which I do personally and as a practitioner, we often talk about clearing the “death urge” which is the sense of identification with a separate limited ego. For some lucky ones, who are blessed and guided by a truly awakened guru (of which there are few), this can involve a great initiation called diksha-mrytu which is an initiatory death experience that clears this death urge. After this is given, one lives in a state of transcendence, free from the suffering of the temporal world.

I bow to the liberating power of consciousness
Who bestows enlightenment as she rises
Through the subtle bodies of purified souls,
You are the queen of the life force.
You radiate bliss.
You who travel the subtle path, please bless me.
With deep reverence, I bow to Mother Kundalini.
Please lift my limited awareness
From the empty hovel of my egotism
To the thousand-chambered mansion
Of divine consciousness.

Excerpt from Kundalini Stavah: Prayer for Awakening Consciousness (The Living Goddess: Reclaiming the Tradition of the Mother of the Universe by Linda Johnsen)

Day Four Navaratri, April 2016: Bhuvaneshwari, Lady of the Spheres

Om Hreem Shreem Kleem Bhuvaneshwaryei Namah…Om Hreem Shreem Kleem Bhuvaneshwaryei Namah…Om Hreem Shreem Kleem Bhuvaneshwaryei Namah

bhuvaneshvari yantra“With the Moon as her diadem, with large breasts and three eyes, smiling, She shines like the risen Sun. Her hands grant boons, allay fears, and hold an elephant hook and a noose. I bow to the fear-inspiring Lady of the Spheres.” (Bhuvaneshwari Tantra)

cosmic_goddess_bhuvaneshvari_the_creator_of_the_os36Bhuvaneshwari, Lady of the Spheres, the Power of Knowledge, Queen of Queens, Goddess as World Mother, consort of the three-eyed Shiva Tryambaka, who is the reflection of Divine Wisdom, whose body is the whole cosmos, I bow before You on this fourth day of Chaitra Navaratri and ask for Your prayers and blessings for all sentient beings and for Gaia, our beautiful planet Herself, for peace, well-being, harmony, and compassion to reign again in this realm.

Goddess Bhuvaneshwari — Bhuh (earth), bhuvah (atmosphere) and svah (heavens) — is a prototype of Mother Earth, Prithvi, according to the sacred hymns of the Rig Veda. She is the Vedic Aditi, infinite and indivisible Divine Cosmic Mother. She is akash, the source river from which all other rivers flow, the eternal matrix that creates everything.bhuvaneshwari(Bhuvaneshwari print by Pieter Weltevrede from Sanatan Society)

Aditi is Mother of the Sun and all solar deities (adityas). The Sri Lalitha Sahasranama describes Bhuvaneshwari as the protector of the 14 worlds (bhuvana). She is also known as Siddha-ratri, the Night of Realization, which is like a veil of knowledge that surrounds the whole universe. Bhuvana also means water, so She is considered as the protector of not only the land but all waters. She is also considered as the Mother of Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Gayatri, and according to astrology, She is invoked and worshiped to propitiate the Moon.

Sally Kempton in Awakening Shakti writes about this aspect of the Divine Mother:

“Bhuvaneshwari is the Goddess whose body is the space of infinite possibility. She is ananda—infinite, creative wisdom/love. She’s the matrix, the eternal mother energy who spins the universe out of her own body the way a spider spins a web—and then lives in it…Bhuvaneshwari is a wonderful goddess to access in meditation, guaranteeing you that even in the most formless state of awareness, you’ll feel a subtle, motherly embrace. When you invoke her presence in meditation, she can gather you into a space that feels like a vast, spacious, cosmic womb. Bhuvaneshwari’s subtle meditation presence is formless, detached, an oceanic awareness that you can float in. It will hold you, support you, and renew you. When I want to practice letting go of anxiety or fear, it’s often Bhuvaneshwari whom I invoke. Her spaciousness seems to swallow whole whatever needs to be cleared. You can offer her whatever you’re holding onto: guilt, loss, emotional upheaval, or just an excess of thoughts. She will take it in, dissolve it, and offer it back transformed. She is the cosmic womb, the great expanse within which all things are held, and out of which they are born.”

In simplest terms, to access Maa Bhuvaneshwari, just expand, and let go into Her bliss. Jai Maa!