The Daily OM for Feb. 17th – Connecting with the Divine

Connecting with the Divine
Puja

by Madisyn Taylor

Performing a Hindu puja ritual is a wonderful way to experience direct communication with the divine.

Forging a spiritual connection with the divine is the ultimate goal of many forms of worship. In our devotions, we transcend the limitations of our humanity using prayers, rituals, and invocations, or we seek the celestial in sacred items such as statuary, imagery, or natural objects. In the Hindu tradition, worshipers bond with the divine through the puja ritual. The purpose of the ritual is to create an atmosphere in which humans and spiritual beings can enjoy communion with one another. Though participants show reverence for their chosen deities, puja serves to bring the former and the latter together on an energetic level. Performing a puja ritual is thus a wonderful way to experience direct communication with the divine.

There are no limits as to whom may serve as the focal point of your puja. You need only choose a spirit guide to commune with and an object to represent them. Preparing for the puja ritual, however, can take some time, depending on the number of devotional acts you will perform. A classic puja includes 16 acts, including meditation, chanting, the reading of sacred texts, offerings of food and drink, and cleansing. You may also wish to present gifts of incense, flowers, and jewelry during the ritual. An altar or table covered by an altar cloth provides space for the representation of the divine and the seat of the puja. To begin, prepare your offerings and place them to the right of the altar. Then center yourself and release any stress you may feel—the puja is meant to be a joyful experience. Typically, the ritual begins with the ringing of a bell and an invitation, and progresses from chanting to the cleansing and dressing of the deity to the offerings to meditation. You can modify your puja in any way you wish.

Though the elaborate puja rituals performed in Hindu temples take place at sunrise, noon, sunset, and midnight, puja performed in the home primarily takes place in the mornings and evenings. When your intention is to invite your spiritual guides into your home and heart, however, the time of day matters little. With practice, you will create a direct path to spiritual oneness that allows you to experience an amazing sense of closeness that reinforces your connection with the divine.

The Daily OM

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Let’s Talk Witch – Karmic Consequences

Witchy Cat Graphics & Comments
Let’s Talk Witch – Karmic Consequences

Karma is a Hindu concept that has been adopted by many Westerners, especially those in the New Age and Pagan communities. While many people talk about karma, not everyone fully understands it. Its effects over several lifetimes are also often misunderstood.

What Is Karma?

Karma is the Hindu law of cause and effect. For every action you take, there is a reaction, although it’s not equal and opposite. When you take beneficial action, you receive a beneficial effect. When you take baneful action, that will come back to you, too.

Your karma is a part of your soul, and it determines, in part, how your life will play out. If you live a just life, you will receive more just benefits. If something negative befalls you, look to your history and see what might have caused it.

Leftover Karma from Past Lives

The karmic backlash or reward for your actions is not always immediate. Sometimes it takes years to feel the full karmic effects of any action. The span of time between an action and its karmic effect can actually stretch over more than one lifetime. The actions you took in your past lives affect your current life to some degree. They might decide your role in this life, or how your life is lived. You can rest assured that really evil people will receive appropriate punishments in their future lives. Hopefully, you weren’t a terrible person in your past life, but if you can’t see any reason why so many things in your life seem to be going wrong, you might be dealing with retribution for mistakes you made in a previous life.

The Hindu concept of time is not strictly linear, so there can also be a karmic influence for an action you’ve not yet taken. Living the best life you can in order to balance out the negative weight on your karma is the best solution for dealing with karmic effects you had no role in creating in this life. A Hindu’s goal in life is to carry out his dharma (duty). If you attempt to serve your life purpose, it will benefit your karma and counterbalance the mistakes of the past or future

Source:
Author: Selene Silverwind
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Your Ancient Symbol Card for Dec. 16th is The Medicine Bowl

Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today

The Medicine Bowl

The Medicine Bowl is an essential shaman’s vessel for preparing and dispensing sacred blends of herbs and other items used to keep both clan and individuals physically and spiritually healthy. Often The Medicine Bowl and the hallowed potions made with it are cornerstones to tribal ceremonies and member’s rites of passage. The Medicine Bowl represents both the practical and spiritual aspects of healing the body and cleansing the soul through the use of natural remedies and the affirmation of your spiritual self. In a broader sense, The Medicine Bowl symbolizes the health of a clan and strengthening of  ties within the clan.

As a daily card, The Medicine Bowl suggests that now may be a good time for you to take a holistic approach to ensuring both your physical and spiritual self are in top form. If there has been strife within your core social circle lately, the appearance of The Medicine Bowl suggest the time is right for your group to reaffirm their basic connection to both the group as a whole and the individuals within it.

Calendar of the Moon for October 14th

Calendar of the Moon

14 Gort/Puanepsion

Durga’s Day

Color: Red
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon a red cloth place many sticks of incense, bowls of saffron rice, spears, and the figure of Durga riding her tiger.
Offerings: Acts of courage.
Daily Meal: Indian food.

Invocation to Durga

Hail to Durga, Warrior Goddess
Of the Hindu people!
Uma the Maiden gives way to Parvati the Mother
Who then give way to you!
Slayer of Demons
Inaccessible One
Who defends her children
Shasthi, Queen of the Mothers
We call you on this day
To protect mothers and babes.
For she who knows how to live can walk abroad
Without fear of rhinoceros or lion.
He will not be wounded in battle
For in him rhinoceri
Can find no place to thrust their horn,
Lions no place to use their claws,
And weapons no place to pierce.
Why is this so?
Because she has no place for death to enter.
Tiger rider, many-handed one,
Your serene gaze comforts women
And causes oppressors to quail
Before your feline steed.

(The hour should end with drumming and dancing with spears.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Your Ancient Symbols Card for October 8th is The Open Door

Your Ancient Symbols Card for Today

The Open Door

The Open Door signifies the presence of new opportunities. However, to reap the benefits of these prospects you will have to move beyond where you are now–forsake the comforts and safety of your current life and head out in new directions. Moves like those symbolized by The Open Door require courage, because fresh opportunities signify the chance of gain, but do not guarantee they will be realized. Regardless of the benefits that may be reaped, with the transitions like those required to explore these new found opportunities, something is always lost. Before launching on a voyage down new paths it is a good idea to objectively assess your current state of being and decide whether what you have now is worth jeopardizing.

As a daily card, The Open Door indicates a time that is primed for you to pursue new goals and dreams. For you opportunity exists, but there are no assurances that they will lead to a richer life. Weigh your current circumstances carefully, and if you feel there is a more fulfilling path for you, then this is the moment for you to begin your walk down that path–the moment for you to walk through The Open Door before you.

What is Reincarnation?

What is Reincarnation?

Reincarnation is the concept that souls are continuously reborn in different bodies at different times and places. Many belief systems around the world embrace reincarnation, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, and a variety of New Age religions. Each religion professes different beliefs about the cause and purpose of reincarnation, but some facts remain consistent. In most every case, reincarnation is a natural and very important part of the development of a soul; it is the process of struggling against some negative force, such as desire or karma, toward a higher state of being; and it applies to all human beings, if not all living creatures.

Calendar of the Moon for August 6

Calendar of the Moon

6 Coll

Ganesha’s Day

Color: Yellow and green
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of yellow and green place a figure of Ganesh, Indian incense, two yellow candles, and a small stuffed rat. Around the altar have many drums.
Offerings: Saffron rice.
Daily Meal: Indian food, including saffron rice.

Invocation to Ganesha

Call: Hail Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, writer of the Upanishads!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, abundant one who sees that bellies are well-fed!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, protector of your mother!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, beheaded by a lost father!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, lesson of the proud Shiva!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, bringing Shiva to his knees in remorse!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, you of the elephant head!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, you who teach us to look beyond appearances!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, rider of the rat!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, winner of the race by common sense!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, you who teach us to do no more than is necessary!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles;
May you clear our many paths for us!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!

(This ritual should end in a drum circle that lasts until Akte.)

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for August 5th

Calendar of the Moon

6 Coll

Ganesha’s Day

Color: Yellow and green
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of yellow and green place a figure of Ganesh, Indian incense, two yellow candles, and a small stuffed rat. Around the altar have many drums.
Offerings: Saffron rice.
Daily Meal: Indian food, including saffron rice.

Invocation to Ganesha

Call: Hail Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, writer of the Upanishads!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, abundant one who sees that bellies are well-fed!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, protector of your mother!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, beheaded by a lost father!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, lesson of the proud Shiva!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, bringing Shiva to his knees in remorse!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, you of the elephant head!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, you who teach us to look beyond appearances!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, rider of the rat!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, winner of the race by common sense!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, you who teach us to do no more than is necessary!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!
Call: Hail Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles;
May you clear our many paths for us!
Response: Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha!

(This ritual should end in a drum circle that lasts until Akte.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Deity of the Day for August 12 – Scathach

Scathach

by Almut Wille
Scathach (“the shadowy one”), is a warrior queen and mistress of a school for young warriors. The school is located in Scotland on the island of Skye, reputedly named after Scathach; other sources say she’s living in the Alps. She initiates young men into the arts of war, as well as giving them the “friendship of her thighs”, that is to say, initiating them sexually. She grants three wishes to the hero Cuchulainn, because her daughter Uathach, being in love with him, has told him how to make her do it. The three wishes are to train him in the arts of war, to marry her daughter Uathach and to tell his fortune which she does by using imbas forosnai(“charm of the palms”), party foretelling the events of the Tain Bo Cuailgne (Cattle Raid of Cooley) in dark terms.
Scathach is said to be the daughter of the king of Scythia. Aoife, another fierce warrior queen, is reputed to be her sister, while Uathach, her daughter, is a fellow teacher at her school. She also has two sons named Cet and Cuar from an unnamed man and trains them within a secret yew tree. Another source tells that she is mother to three maidens named Lasair, Inghean Bhuidhe and Latiaran, the father being a man named Douglas.

Calendar of the Moon for August 3

Calendar of the Moon

3 Tinne

Parvati’s Day

Color: Red
Element: Water
Altar: Upon a red cloth lay a great bowl of water, incense of lemongrass and vetiver, wreaths of dried flowers, and bowls of colored rice.
Offerings: Food. Coconut milk. Meditate on the nature of asceticism and love.
Daily Meal: Indian food.

Invocation to Parvati

Hail Parvati, dancer in the dawn,
Mother of Ganesha, wife of Shiva,
Living body of Shakti.
Parvati the sensuous one
Who knows the paths of self-denial,
Parvati the embodied one
Who knows how to leave the body behind.
When Parvati fell in love with Shiva
And yet he would not love her in return,
Being bound to his rites of meditation,
She danced before him in a dance
Beautiful enough to shake the world,
And yet he did not relent.
So she went to the top of another mountain,
Cast off all her fine raiment,
And meditated until her mind
Became one with the cosmos
And shone so brightly in the paths
Of the universe that great Shiva
Could not help but be awed by it,
And Shiva fell in love.
Lady who is the bridge between
The sensuality of the flesh
And the asceticism of the mind,
Help us to achieve that balance,
And never to fall fully to one side or the other.
Give us your blessing, Parvati,
Mother of Ganesha, dancer in the dawn.
Chant: Mother of Fortune, Parvati, Parvati,
Holy dancer, Shakti, Shakti
(Let there be drumming and dancing in a circle during the chant.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for Tuesday, July 3rd

3 Tinne

Parvati’s Day

Color: Red
Element: Water
Altar: Upon a red cloth lay a great bowl of water, incense of lemongrass and vetiver, wreaths of dried flowers, and bowls of colored rice.
Offerings: Food. Coconut milk. Meditate on the nature of asceticism and love.
Daily Meal: Indian food.

Invocation to Parvati

Hail Parvati, dancer in the dawn,
Mother of Ganesha, wife of Shiva,
Living body of Shakti.
Parvati the sensuous one
Who knows the paths of self-denial,
Parvati the embodied one
Who knows how to leave the body behind.
When Parvati fell in love with Shiva
And yet he would not love her in return,
Being bound to his rites of meditation,
She danced before him in a dance
Beautiful enough to shake the world,
And yet he did not relent.
So she went to the top of another mountain,
Cast off all her fine raiment,
And meditated until her mind
Became one with the cosmos
And shone so brightly in the paths
Of the universe that great Shiva
Could not help but be awed by it,
And Shiva fell in love.
Lady who is the bridge between
The sensuality of the flesh
And the asceticism of the mind,
Help us to achieve that balance,
And never to fall fully to one side or the other.
Give us your blessing, Parvati,
Mother of Ganesha, dancer in the dawn.
Chant: Mother of Fortune, Parvati, Parvati,
Holy dancer, Shakti, Shakti
(Let there be drumming and dancing in a circle during the chant.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Indian Paganism

Indian Paganism
image
Author: Kalaratri

A long time ago, what we call Aryans came from northern Europe to India to bring their faith all along their way. This happened maybe 1500 or 2000 years before our era, and changed the face of India forever.

I write this essay because I felt that a lot of Pagans are aware of eastern spirituality, know something about chakras or yoga, but do not go further. I will try to clarify the knowledge we have as westerners about real Hinduism, Yoga or Sanatan Dharma (the eternal religion) as they call it themselves. I am not a specialist about the subject, never been to India and if there is errors in the text just tell me I will be happy to correct them.

First of all, the world religion comes from Latin religare, and that means to link. The word Yoga means the same.

The fact that white skin people colonized India is important to make the connection between the two civilizations at this time. Actual historians claim that our ancestors were just a draft of civilization.

I am furious about this; my personal history studies confirmed me that intelligent and spiritual people were dwelling on earth more than 300 000 years ago (time of the first known grave).

So the known history of India begins there; the writing of the laws of Manu, an old moral and spiritual code from the colonization time, that sadhus (initiates) hold in high regard, just precipitate the unification of India under the same religious fever. But before the invasion, what were the religious practices in India?

The coming of Aryans defined the four casts, the highest being the Brahmans or priests. They had power over the Indian people for these 4000 years; the same way Christians had power over us in the West. Gandhi was a great man because he tried to destroy this system that kept women and untouchables outside society. A lot of people tried to do this before him, but he did and this was one of his great works.

The Vedas are a corpus of religious texts. We count four Vedas written during a dozen of centuries, and a plethora of treatises are linked to them. They would cover an entire library on their own. The Rig-Veda is the oldest one and the most “tantric” of them (1500 before our era); it mentions the use of Soma, or ecstatic beverage.

Tantrism is the oldest tradition that survives the patriarchal domination of the Aryan invasion. I will not cover the history or the differences between the sects of tantrism. To define Tantrism is almost to kill it. It is the way yogis and yoginis lived their spirituality outside the boundaries of accepted dogma.

They were often nude, doing strange rituals at night, in the forests or in the cremation grounds, or worshipped deities in ways not accepted by the Brahmans. For them, sex, as alcohol, drugs, meat or fish, were sacred because it was the body of the Goddess.

This created hate from the Brahmans community, who lived with a lot of restrictions. Tantrikas had to hide themselves in forests or lost temples; they lived the same persecution as the Inquisition.

Their Goddess has more than a thousand names. The most common are Devi (Goddess), Durga (She who is hard to attain), most revered in Bengal, Kali (Black Time, the destroyer), Lakshmi (the radiant) and many others that I will not list there.

The legend tells that Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are at Her feet; She is all the manifest world, matter and space. Kali is a powerful goddess. Shiva is Her consort; He lies under Her feet, maybe because without Her, He is a cadaver (shava).

The current image of Kali was drawn from a vision of a sixteen-century saint, who saw a girl bathing in a river. She was nude, and when she saw the intruder she lift her tongue and in a moment, he saw the goddess in her. He thought this would be a powerful goddess image.

She has eight or ten arms, dark blue skin and a necklace of skulls (meaning the fifteen syllabs of Sanskrit). She has three eyes, one white, one black and a red one. She always takes care of Her devotees and often goes straight to them, like myself. The Goddess as Kali came into my life when I did not have any interest about Indian culture.

Not all tantrikas are Kali devotees. But they always see Shakti the goddess as Manifest Universe (what they call the Tattwas, or Elements) and Shiva as the Pure Non-manifest God. They have a corpus of practices very effective like Ishnaan, or cold showers, Kundalini Yoga, or awakening of the shakti/goddess energy, or specific mantras that will awaken the energy into the body.

The goal is to destroy the boundaries between the matter and the spiritual, the self and the non-self, the divine and the mundane. Because for a Tantrika, everything is sacred and the ultimate divinity manifested

They worship in different ways; the most common is Puja. The Puja is like a ritual to celebrate the deity. There is thirty millions gods in India. All spiritual devotees have a specific deity, whom they choose and dedicate in their life; this is called Ishtadevata.

I see it as Pagans often have a favorite deity that has a deeper meaning for them; they choose to worship it more often or dedicate their life to, like Hekate, Zeus, Morrigan, Odin or Isis. They recognize other deities as the ultimate divinity with another form, as we see the God and the Goddess for others Pagans.

So Tantrism is still alive and maybe more than ever, because the Goddess still want Her devotees to know her, with all their desires, needs, and dreams. Some Indian Gurus and Initiates came to the West to teach what they knew here, because of the New Era. They say that in this Era, not only the Truth and the teachings will be open to everyone, but they will be shouted from the roofs, and nobody would hear them (excerpt from Kundalini Yoga, Michel Manor) I can not get tantra teachings were I live, so I hope you will try to get some if you can, and I really hope you will open your mind reading this essay and find your Way in this life.

If you want to know more about Tantrism, you may search about any of the Indian goddesses, Ramprasad, Ma Ananda Moyi, Shree Ma Sarada Devi and Ramakrishna, Shree Rajneesh, Dadaji, Devi, Durga, Kali, or Shiva, or Kundalini Yoga.

Today’s Affirmation, Thought & Meditation for February 20th

Have a Good, Great Week Pictures, Images, Comments, Graphics
Today’s Affirmation

I am lighthouse rather than lifeboat. I do not rescue, but instead help others to find their own way to shore, guiding them by my example.

 

Today’s Thought

I have give you words of vision and wisdom more secret than hidden mysteries. Ponder them in the silence of your soul, and then in freedom do your will.

Bhagavad Gita (1st or 2nd Century)

 

Today’s Meditation

Dressage

This is a disciplined form of horse-riding in which the horse responds sensitively to the rider’s wishes. The object is to achieve harmony between horse and rider. Imagine yourself as a dressage rider:  focused and present, you engage n seamless communication with your horse. Translate this into your relations with yourself. Be at one with yourself, full aware and able to choose how you respond to the world in each moment.

Today We Honor The Goddess Kali

The Goddess Kali

Kālī, also known as Kālikā is the Hindu goddess associated with power, shakti. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Kali means “the black one”. Since Shiva is called Kāla—the eternal time—Kālī, his consort, also means “Time” or “Death” (as in time has come). Hence, Kāli is considered the goddess of time and change. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation still has some influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatārini (literally “redeemer of the universe”). Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess.

Kālī is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing. She is associated with many other Hindu goddesses like Durga, Bhadrakali, Sati, Rudrani, Parvati and Chamunda. She is the foremost among the Dasa Mahavidyas, ten fierce Tantric goddesses.

Kali is portrayed mostly in two forms: the popular four-armed form and the ten-armed Mahakali form. In both of her forms, she is described as being black in color but is most often depicted as blue in popular Indian art. Her eyes are described as red with intoxication, and in absolute rage, her hair is shown disheveled, small fangs sometimes protrude out of her mouth, and her tongue is lolling. She is often shown naked or just wearing a skirt made of human arms and a garland of human heads. She is also accompanied by serpents and a jackal while standing on a seemingly dead Shiva, usually right foot forward to symbolize the more popular Dakshinamarga or right-handed path, as opposed to the more infamous and transgressive Vamamarga or left-handed path.

In the ten-armed form of Mahakali she is depicted as shining like a blue stone. She has ten faces and ten feet and three eyes. She has ornaments decked on all her limbs. There is no association with Shiva.

The Kalika Purana describes Kali as possessing a soothing dark complexion, as perfectly beautiful, riding a lion, four-armed, holding a sword and blue lotuses, her hair unrestrained, body firm and youthful.

In spite of her seemingly terrible form, Kali Ma is often considered the kindest and most loving of all the Hindu goddesses, as she is regarded by her devotees as the Mother of the whole Universe. And, because of her terrible form she is also often seen as a great protector. When the Bengali saint Ramakrishna once asked a devotee why one would prefer to worship Mother over him, this devotee rhetorically replied, “Maharaj, when they are in trouble your devotees come running to you. But, where do you run when you are in trouble?”

According to Ramakrishna, darkness is the Ultimate Mother, or Kali:

My Mother is the principle of consciousness. She is Akhanda Satchidananda; indivisible Reality, Awareness, and Bliss. The night sky between the stars is perfectly black. The waters of the ocean depths are the same; The infinite is always mysteriously dark. This inebriating darkness is my beloved Kali.

-Sri Ramakrishna