2.29 am GMT today: Autumn Equinox. New Moon Approaching. Blessings.
I have been ritually honouring the turning points of time ( beginning of a new month, cross-quarters , Equinoxes and Solstices ) on the wheel of the year since an early age – my teens! – in a very spontaneous and nearly religious way, that was dictated only by that inherent connection with nature that we all have as kids.
All transitions in and out of the season are cardinal points of the year and carry a special energy. We can consciously decide to embrace and embody these transitions ( Vinyasas of the Sun and the Moon !) as a ritual, to honour the cosmological flowing of time. Or we can decide to ignore this intelligence built into the cosmos and isolate ourselves from it, going against the grain.
Nature is intrinsically intelligent. Consequentially if we learn to attune our inner clock to its universal micro (hourly/ daily/weekly/ ) and macro cycles ( season/yearly/solar and monthly /lunar) we maximise our chances to live our lives to the fullest, in a happy, enriching and harmonious fashion.
Autumn calls for renewal in the form of letting go. We are urged to reorganise our inner and outer space as thoughts , routines, relationships, and projects . This season calls for inner focus and organised effort, we get to gather all our inner strength and skilfully prepare to approach the end of the year.
As this is quite a turning point we get an extra boost of power from the mighty Durga, The Invincible, that represents the courage that comes from staying connected to one’s heart, the impulse to protect ourselves from negative habits and the force to eradicate them and replace them with good ones.
This is the right time to act with more integrity and resolution to and to embrace change if change is needed.
As Durga’s body was forged as coalescing Light to protect the world from the demon of Illusion , she invites us to shine our inner light from within and not as a mere reflection of someonelse’s light ( on the form of thoughts , beliefs) . This symbolic story of how she came in to existence is told in the Markandeya Purana.
Durga: Goddess of Autumn, kills the demon Mahishasura
“Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu assembled forth together and from their anger emerged rays of light were combined onto other flames with other Gods light. The rays of light were combined onto other flames as well. The rays of light issued forth together and took shape of a woman. The lady had a fair complexion, locked black hairs and wearing an old dress, all Gods presented her with new red clothes, jewelry, a crown, a lion for her vehicle, weapons, makeup and many others. The lady put on makeup to make herself look pretty, she had uncountable hands. Shiva gave her a trident, Vishnu gave her a discus, Brahma a waterpot and rosary, Marut gave her a bow and arrow, Indra gave her a thunderbolt, Wind God gave her a conch shell, Fire God gave her a spear, Rain God gave her a conch shell, Sun God gave her his powers of the bright 10,000 suns inside her most powerful body, Rudra and Veerbhadra both gave her a shield, sword and scimitar, Lord Yama gave her a lasso, Vishwakarma and Kuber gives a battle-axe, lotus, weapon made out of thorns, spear, longsword, vajra, spade, baton, beating stick, cleaver, javelin, snake and Wind God gave her a noose. She also rides on a lion as her vehicle that King Himavan had given her. The Gods kindly asked her to destroy the evil demon Mahishasur, Lord Vishnu gave her the name of Goddess Chandika. By hearing this name, she spoke out to the Gods that she will annihilate the evils in many forms.”
We might gain power without staying true to ourselves or a higher ideal and as a consequence we get into illusion. Devi Durga is Adya Shakti Deva, that primordial urge that we have within to come back to our Reality and closer to our true self, our centre.
I believe all the goddess’ weapons are above all tools of discrimination that help us rid our selves of unwanted and unhealthy habits. Durga is an inner call to stay grounded, down to Earth and to remember our nature as Light.
As a simple, yet powerful ritual to step into Autumn, and as a Pre-Navaratri Sadhana, you can journal briefly and identify:
- what is important for you to carry into the last quarter of the year.
- What are ( if any) the obstacles that are you encountering and what do you want to let behind now.
- Stay centred, essentially true to yourself and replace one of more habits that are no longer serving you with more positive ones.
- List these new fresh habits and try to commit to renewal incorporating them in your daily routines.
If that helps have an image of Durga, mounting the lion and wielding her bristling weapons, on your altar. You might want to offer red flowers or wear red clothes to consciously invoke her qualities of fierce determination and inner revolution in your actual life.
May you find renewed vigour in this Sadhana.
Fierce Autumn Blessing!