Kali Puja for Home Use

Categories: Musings

Kali Gayatri: Song to Kali

This sacred mantra asks for the blessings of Kali. Read and listen here. Recite three times:

pronunciation: AUM ma-HA kalyai cha vid-ma-hey shma-shah-nah vah-sin-yai cha dhee-mah-hee tahn-no kah-lee pruh-cho-duh-yaht
(Om Great Goddess Kali, the One, She who resides in the Ocean of Life and in the Cremation Grounds that dissolve the world, we concentrate our energies on you, may you grant us boons and blessings)


This is the time to focus on the ritual intention and give thanks for all that Kali has brought to one’s life, remembering that what we deem both good and bad all serve Her higher purpose. Utilize the mantra om, silence, or a personal meditation/ visualization to help focus the mind and gain clarity on any issue or difficult situation that immediately comes to awareness. After several minutes, write down a prayer. Use of a Tibetan “singing” bowl or a bell to begin/end the meditation may help shift the energy of the work. One may choose to repeat the Kali Gayatri again at this point.


Next, the sacred substances are passed around to cleanse, purify and open the senses to the divine will. These substances are symbolic of the pañcha makaras, the five “m’s” of the Tantras: matsya (fish), mamsa (meat), mudra (the exact nature of this substance is unknown, but it is thought to be parched grain from which altered states arise upon consumption), madya (liquor/wine) and maithuna (sexual intercourse). In the Kamakhya Tantra, it says the following:

“The true devotee should worship the Mother of the Universe with liquor, fish, meat, cereal and copulation.”

Some Tantrick schools, mostly those of dakshinachara (right-hand) path (cf. vamachara, or left-hand path), have assigned alternative meanings to these. The wine, meat, fish, and so on are replaced with coconut water, goat cheese, ginger, rice and honey. One may wish to ascertain the deeper meaning of this part of the ritual by reading of the Tantrick tradition or by intuitively working with the energies of these substances. For the purposes of this ritual, the five substances are tobacco, beer, wine, honey, and a prayer for peace and union.

Sprinkle salt water over the tobacco, the wine, and other substances to purify and bless them. Take some of the tobacco first (and pass around). Smell it, inhaling deeply and/or one may choose to smoke it, rolling a ritual “cigarette.” Next the wine, drinking three times around the circle if time allows, followed by the beer and honey. Then, prayers may be folded (with tobacco inside if it wasn’t smoked already) and along with the red flower, anointed with red vermilion or simply touched to the forehead as an acknowledgement of gratitude.

Chant and Worship

The prayers are then offered with a chant – one can use those offered below, which were created for this purpose; or use others that come from the heart and speak to the offering:

Cerridwyn, Om Kali, Lilith we sing to you;
Black Goddess, Dark Mother
Take in our love for you!


Om Kali, Kali! Om Kali, Kali!
Namostute, namostute, namo!
Namostute, namostute, namo!


Ananda Ma Ananda Ma Kali
Ananda Ma Ananda Ma Kali
Ananda Ma Ananda Ma Kali
Om Kali Ma!

While the chant is being sung in repetition, participants come forward one-by-one, bowing before the altar in prostration, with forehead on the floor between the palms (this is recommended for the offering). Each person takes as long as necessary– this is meant as a private time with Kali, or with any Dark Goddess to whom one wishes to pray.

Sacrifice (Boli)

Once the chanting is finished and all have offered their prayers, recognition of the things humanity (either individually or collectively) must sacrifice on the path is solidified with the fruit bought for this purpose. The fruit is also a symbol of renunciation, as we may at times consciously choose to give up the fruits of our labors for something greater. Take the fruit and with a marker, write on it something to be given up at this moment. (There is no need for the literal writing to appear clearly…it is the action that solidifies the intention.) When this is done, take a ritual knife and cut open the fruit. Place one-half face down, and in the other half, work into the flesh a votive candle. Light the candle and place any remaining red flowers alongside it, finally resting the fruit on or near the altar. Again, recitation of the mantras for welcoming Kali may be done.

Union Prayer, Prasad, Blessings and Opening of Circle

Finally, the culmination of the ritual sends hope out into the universe and offers the prasad (blessed food) for sharing. This can be done while chanting an ancient Vedic prayer for the peace that comes with wholeness and the search for truth. Read and listen here.

(From untruth to truth, from darkness to light, from death to immortality, lead us)

Any final blessings may be offered around the circle with the passing and sharing of the honey, and a final chant of choice may be sung as the circle is opened and the food is shared. One may then thank the spirits who have been engaged for the ritual. Feasting and sharing of personal experience can continue as the community of participants sees fit.

Blessings, and Sa’ham!