Over forty people gathered last evening in celebration of Maa Kali and Lord Shiva. We came together, new faces and regular attendees alike, to fall even more deeply in love with the Divine.
Our regular venue, the Cultural Integration Fellowship, hosted us on this rainy night as each of us found breath awareness and connection to the grounding energies of Earth. We inwardly began articulating and igniting a sacred intention in our hearts before entering the worship space lovingly created by initiates and those in Daughters of Kali, as well as through the grace of extended community and family who lent a hand with preparations. Our intentions set, we crossed the temenos, the sacred threshold between realities, and stepped through cleansing sacred smoke into the mandir.
The syllables, “Om Maa!” vibrated throughout the temple as we chanted in unison, our circle organically growing as one-by-one we entered the room. Our main altar glowing with candlelight, the beauty of sacred images and flickers of anticipation were reflected in our eyes. The scent of red roses and carnations filled the space as we sung Her sacred names from the world’s traditions. We readied ourselves for the work, experience, inspiration and devotion of the evening.
If you have been to one of our pujas, you know what happens next! Through connection to our own inner light and inspiration, we create sacred space, invoke the directions, welcome in helpful guides and spirits, ancestors, and deities. We call out to Lord Shiva and Maa Kali through mantra and song, allowing the longing inside to be expressed, witnessed and felt.
Last night, our yearning was augmented as we sang to Shiva (click here to learn more about Shivaratri) and made space for the offering of special prayers. Shiva was sung to as Brother and Father; community added words as devotions; and we stepped together into the land of Mahadeva, Great God, through ancient Sanskrit mantra. Singing together, “Shiva Shiva Shiva Shambo – Hare Hare Hare Shambo – Mahadeva Shambo,” abhisheka (pouring blessing) was performed with milk and honey. Everyone made offerings of yellow flowers to the white marble lingham-yoni, a symbol of Shiva and Shakti, at the center of the mandap (place for meditation in front of the main altar). We took our time, allowing the energy of the Sacred Male, the Divine Masculine, to be with us and in us…we shared in the blessings of Shiva, Lord of the Dance, He Who Grants Liberation, on this evening of celebration!
Devotions to Maa followed, the offering of hearts and souls to Her embrace. “Om Krim Kalyai Namah!” we chanted, allowing ourselves to drop into meditation…
your body slowly, like your breath, entering the depths
where the waves no longer catapult you from side to side.
In this place of stillness you are held beneath the flows of your attachments,
weightless in the dark, and the holding is strong.
Here, you are forever alone. Do you feel it in the silence?
Here, the swift blackness awakens like a sword severing sounds
from the alphabet of sacred syllables and you become the diffused center
of all that ever was, is and will be. Her sacred gift, you are potential.
Your offering accepted, you are complete and you are free?????
liberated from this world and its encumbrances.
Here, you may choose anything in the universe of possibilities. Even to stay.
There is richness beyond what you hear and see, taste and touch and feel.
There is the uncovering through the action of Her red tongue,
flicking past desires and ahamkara, the smallness of our selfish I-ness.
If nothing else, know you are embraced as you remember the feeling
of your toes entering the waters of awakening.
Celebration and incantation, resounding chorus of “Jai Maa!” echoing, a feeling of delight and mystery at the opening, even deeper, into ourselves. Do come and join us next month!