“Mother Nature will always nurture our higher self, luring us to be receptive to her divine grace, abundance, fortitude and benevolence.” – Yogini Shambhavi
Do you feel wonder? Does your soul feel nourished in the soil of life? Can you hear nature’s prayer for your divine communion? Becoming familiar with and awakening to the Goddess as Divine Feminine can assist in healing Mother Nature, your relationship with her and your own feminine energy (for both men and women) and infuse your being in incredibly sacred ways. Could the Goddess be the divine answer for sustainable, sacred living on the planet?
Bhudevi: the Earth goddess
In the Vedic tradition, the Earth is so sacred she is Bhudevi, the Goddess, revering Mother Earth as she “hones our intuitive powers to read the subtle messages of the divine through the flow of grace”,explains yoga charya yogini Shambhavi Devi. Applying Vedic knowledge offers you the experience of nature as part of yourself, where you can become the Goddess. Shambhavi explains goddess worship as “uniting with the Divine Being or poweras one’s own inmost nature”. Vedic scholar David Frawley in Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses says becoming the Goddess “contains all of life and all of the universe as flowing through our own nervous system. It is perhaps the ultimate of all experiences, as though experience itself is dissolved into the transcendent.”
Acknowledging the Goddess will change the way you relate to the Earth and hence your daily actions, promoting a more sustainable, eco-conscious lifestyle. David explains, “The Goddess represents what is hidden,secret, subtle and sensitive … She is the mystery and allure of the higher knowledge … taking us into the secrets of eternity-infinity.”
Go deep into natural spaces often and connect from your heart. Here begins the intimate ways of the Divine Feminine.
The Divine Feminine
In the Tantric yoga tradition, the first reference to the Goddess appeared in ancient Vedic mythology during a battle with the demon Durgama over the Vedas (ancient, sacred texts). In battle, the Dasha Mahavidyas — 10 Wisdom Goddesses — arose out of the body of the Goddess. They are the personification of the Divine Feminine.
As the Dasha Mahavidya, the Goddess can appear as incredibly beautiful, gentle and serene; elsewhere, horrific: drinking blood from her own severed head and dancing on lovers or corpses.
The Dasha Mahavidyas
The Goddess is supreme speech, higher knowledge, wisdom, the Vedas, sound, breath, time, birth, death and space. The Goddess embodies love, compassion, pure perception, beauty, peace, suffering, the power of destruction, transcendence, the void, silence and consciousness.
Various forms of the Goddess are useful to transcend difficulties and merge with the One. Honouring her image directly personalises her.
The following brief introductions are sourced from David’s Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses. More detailed explanations and practices are available in his wonderful book.
- Kali is the beauty of terror and thee mbodiment of Time. David advises to empty the mind each day before sleep, as if each day were your last. To honour her, chant “krim” or her name, practise pranayama (yogic breathing) and so ham meditation with the breath.
- Tara is the power of unmanifest Sound. She is the saviour to call during emergencies or life’s crossroads. In meditation while chanting Om, “call upon divine grace to save and deliver all beings, and thereby become Tara oneself”, he suggests.
- Tripura Sundari is the beautiful, blissful, divine love of the universe, a path to connect with divine beauty and the delight of nature. For her, chant “hrim”or “aim klim sauh” (wisdom,beauty/delight, transformation/transcendence).
- Bhuvaneshvari is the Queen of the Universe, Mother Nature personified. She represents the directions, the power of love, space and freedom. Her mantra is “hrim”. As Divine Mother, the mantra “ma” is also used.
- Bhairavi means “terrifying”. She is divine anger and wrath “directed towards the impurities within us, as well as to the negative forces that may try to interfere with our spiritual growth”, explains David. Bhairavi is the powerful woman warrior, not to be aroused unless ready. Meditate on the inner light through the third eye. Sacrifice your attachments, desires and pleasures to her.
- Chhinnamasta is the Goddess with the Severed Head. She represents the joy of transcending the body. “In her ecstasy as the Eternal … she can absorb all the experiences of time, including disappointment and suffering, without forgetting her true nature,” says David.Meditate on the seer, not the object, and merge your mind into the state of seeing, forgetting both the object and the subject, he suggests.
- Dhumavati is the Grandmother Spirit, the ancestral guide. She obscures the known to reveal the unmanifest, and represents life’s misfortunes that reveal the inner reality. Her mantra “dhum” is to obscure you from negativity.Meditate on the Void as Supreme Reality, on the transient nature of all things.
- Bagalamukhi is the hypnotic power of the Goddess. She destroys negativity and grants the ability to overcome negative thoughts and emotions. Pause and reflect during life’s busy moments or difficulties to silence the mind. Practise ahimsa: nonviolence in speech to all living things.
- Matangi governs ideas and thinking processes. She is the manifest form of Song. Matangi rules over the extraordinary and represents the great powers of nature, wherein the Divine word is embodied. She is worshipped with the mantra “aim”, the seed-syllable of wisdom, learning and teaching, and is the voice of the inner guru or guide. Recite and reflect upon sacred texts andc hant the Sanskrit alphabet for her.
- Kamalatmika is the Goddess of Delight. She relates to the Earth and, through devotion, helps you to realise that outer beauty is a mere reflection of that which is within. Offer flowers, scents,incense, lights and food to her image regularly.
Study and reflect upon each of the 10 Wisdom Goddesses, devoting your life to Her energies. Feel awe in nature and contemplate how the teachings apply to your own life. Allow the Goddess to take you beyond suffering to transcendence, to reveal the secrets of the universe for your divine communion. Feel one with nature as your divine mother, chant to her, breathe and give thanks to the divine feminine within. Become the Goddess,find divinity within eco-consciousness, be moved to live a more sacred,sustainable lifestyle and enter into her natural state of bliss from within.
A sequence to channel the divine goddess
This hip-opening sequence offers reverence to many forms of the Goddess. It works on the root chakra in order to ground you physically with the Earth and honours the feminine qualities of your nature,encouraging receptivity, purification, creativity and nurturance to come forth. It brings you in touch with the natural beauty of Mother Earth, Bhudevi as part of your own nature and allows the energy of the Goddess to inspire and heal. Practise outdoors in a place that naturally uplifts.
Seated, set an intention for devotion, for a doorway and opening made accessible by the Goddess into higher knowledge. Be open to receiving and surrender to all that is available to you. Draw on Goddess Kamala to help increase your ojas (juice of life) and increase soma (bliss-nectar) within you. Tripura Sundari allows soma to flow down from your crown chakra. Bring your thoughts to these Goddesses in your intentions for a sacred practice.
Chanting in accomplishment pose (siddhasana)
To begin, sit, one ankle in front of the other, hands lightly resting on knees. Become the Goddess Tara with the chant of “Om”, asking for deliverance for all. Then, chant “hrim”, the main mantra of the Goddess. Hrim honours Sundari and her expressions of wonder in nature.
Next, further revere the Divine Mother as Bhuvaneshvari. On the inhalation, bring your arms out to the sides at shoulder height. With each exhalation, chant the cooling “ma” while simultaneously drawing the hands to rest one on top of the other at the heart centre. Evoke her energies. Feel for the infinite space or void. Breathe. Feel the Divine Mother as an inner embrace, her offering of love and peace to you as her child. Chant to her “ma” as your prayer of love.
Mountain pose (tadasana)
Standing with your feet together, engage the thighs. Engage your bhandas, or energy locks,by lifting the pelvic floor, moving floating ribs away from the hips and the front of the throat to the back of the throat, extending the back of the neck. As taught in Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses, take your time to allow your life force to expand into the whole of nature. When ready, on each inhalation, extend your arms out to the sides and concentrate on absorbing nature’s prana (life force) through all your senses, particularly the eyes, with the in-breath. On the exhalation, allow yourself to feel enclosed in nature’s prana by wrapping your arms around yourself. Continue for at least six rounds.
Half lotus tree (ardha padmasana vrksasana)
Ask to receive Kamala’s energies in this pose. The lotus symbolises inner unfoldment and water is the symbol of spiritual grace, love and communion. Standing, lift your left foot and place in half lotus on the front of the top-right thigh, the sole of the left foot facing up. Turn the left knee out to side. Engage the right leg, imagining tree roots grounding you deep into the Earth. Lift the pelvic floor, move the ribs back and up, away from the hips, place hands in prayer at your heart centre, square hips to centre. Breathe. After a few moments, release and repeat on the other side.
Note: If you are unable to perform half lotus, practise vrksasana, tree pose, bringing the sole of the left foot against the inner-right upper thigh, taking the hands together in prayer above the head. Repeat on the other side.
Fiery angle: the goddess (utkata konasana)
Step the feet one leg-length apart on the mat, turning the feet out to a 45-degree angle. Deeply bend the knees, lining knee height with hips if possible. Lift and straighten the torso, lift the pelvic floor. Bend the elbows to shoulder height, turn your forearms up, palms facing out. Draw the shoulder blades toward each other, shoulders down.
Breathe, focusing on the beauty, abundance and splendour of nature; revere Kamala. Chant “shrim” as you hold the pose. Draw on the divine grace of Bagalamukhi to maintain the hold as you breathe. Slowly release.
Bowed half moon (ardha chandrasana chapasana)
Step left leg back, lining the right heel with the inner arch of your left foot. Bend the right knee, place the fingertips of the right hand on the ground, 10cm away from the little toe. Lift the left leg off the floor to slightly above hip height, straightening both legs. Energise the left leg, flex the toes. Rotate your torso towards the sky. Raise your left arm up until your wrist is in line with your shoulder joint. If comfortable, look up to the sky. Chant “shrim” internally as you hold the pose.
Next, bend the left leg, reach for the left ankle with your left hand. Move the knee back so your thigh returns to a similar position as above. Turn the left thigh out, continue rotating your torso to the sky. Breathe in the support of nature and the Earth underneath you. Feel the bold opening of this pose as the transforming Goddess. Embrace the lunar,cooling, feminine aspects of your nature as you surrender within the pose. Slowly release with grace, and repeat on the other side.
Standing on your right foot, bend your left leg behind you, reach and hold your left foot with your left hand. Stretch the right arm up, energise the right leg, lift the spine up, abdomen back. Begin to move your left leg up and back directly behind you for a deep stretch. Breathe and hold the balance for three to six slow breaths. Become the dancer of Bhuvaneshvari, whose seer is the Lord of Dance, which is the universe. David Frawley says Bhuvaneshvari’s dance “becomes all creation”. Become Bhuvaneshvari through natarajasana; embody her energies. Breathe. Slowly release and repeat on the other leg.
Bound angle (baddha konasana)
Seated on a three-fold blanket, bring the soles of your feet together toward the groin, gently work the knees toward the ground. Hold the feet, lift the spine, breathe. Silently call to Matangi through the chant “aim” as you hold the pose, then listen to the sounds of nature available to you: the bird’s songs, the breeze through the rustling leaves, the whisper along the grass. Matangi is the goddess of musicians, and here the music is in nature. Allow for inner silence of your self-nature as part of your worship of her endless, musical poetry.
Seated angle (upavista konasana)
Seated, take straightened legs wide to the sides. Flex the feet toward you, energise the legs and press the knees down. Inhale, pivot from the hips to come forward with a straight spine, resting the hands in front. If possible, hold the big toes of each foot, maintaining a straightened spine. Breathe. Meditate on the rays of the sun as powers of divine light, life and love pouring into you. “Seeing the spiritual power of the solar radiance sets in motion the process of inner unfoldment, which is Kamala,” explains Frawley.
Gently come back to the centre, lift the spine,then twist from the hips to the right, placing the hands on either side of the right leg. Honour Bagala in this pose by silencing the mind with the breath. Exhale and increase the twist. Continue to work with the breath and mind, come back to the centre and repeat on the left side.
Womb/source hand gesture in resting (yoni mudra in savasana)
The downward-facing triangle is the feminine in yantras (sacred geometry). Place your hands in this shape at the pelvic centre, thumbs at the navel, and allow your attention to rest on the creative power of the womb, the nourishing aspect of the female form. With your legs together and elbows supported under blankets, breathe into the triangular space of the yoni pose, activating gentle and relaxed awareness of the Divine Feminine within.
After a few moments, remove the blankets and move into savasana by resting the hands alongside the body, palms facing up, legs gently falling out to the sides.Worship the Goddess as Kali. With each inhalation, breathe in sa, meaning “to take in”, and, with every exhalation, ha, meaning “to leave behind”. Embrace Kali as your prana, life force. Feel yourself one with the Earth, one with all in eternity, as Divine Feminine, as Goddess, as Om.
First published on wellbeing.com.au