skip to Main Content

The Nine Nights Of The Goddess – Navarātri

Yoga and tantra provide maps and paths through the maze of complex existence. They aim to transform the body-mind from raw, mundane states of existence to refined, exalted states of experience and realization.

Within many yogic and tantric traditions, certain seasons, months, and times of the day are given special importance.

They are ‘auspicious’ times when cosmic energies are heightened and, as such, support psycho-spiritual practice. These auspicious moments in time assist us in achieving positive results. For example, dawn and dusk are said to be ideal times for yoga and meditation.

The festival of Navarātri or Nine Nights (‘nav’ is nine and ‘rātri’ is nights) is one of the great ceremonies in the lives of Hindus in India. The exact time of this celebration varies according to the lunar calendar. It begins on a dark moon in the Indian autumn (in the month of Ashwin, usually in October) and ends ten days after. In 2020 Navaratri starts on the 17th of October (depending on which part of the world and time zone you live in).

This period of The Nine Nights is devoted to invoking The Great Mother Goddess, The Divine Creative Power, or Shakti, the creator and supporter of the universe. She is most closely identified with Durga, an exquisitely beautiful goddess who rides a lion, and who wields in her many hands’ awesome weapons, including the ‘shul’ (pike), ‘chakra’ (wheel), ‘parashu’ (ax), and ‘talvar’ (sword).

Durga is said to be the manifestation of the power of all the goddesses that, long ago, faced a terrible and irresistible demon called Mahishasura.

Mahishāsura is a mythic representation of the human ego in its demonic form

Many yogis do not see Navaratri as a religious process, but rather as a psycho-spiritual one, and a unique opportunity for yogic practice. 

They adopt certain practices and rituals to understand their psychological shadow and to confront their egos.

Read more

Embodied Enlightenment

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

Carl Jung

True enlightenment requires grounding and stability. Without these, we lose touch with our bodies, the material world, and the elements that make us successful humans.

The spiritual seeker often tries to detach from problems and people. He or she may resent the need to attend to practicalities and prefer to retire from the chaos of an ever-changing, ever-challenging world.

When obsession for enlightenment controls the personality, imbalance occurs.

The ego goes autonomous. The seeker loses touch with reality, which threatens their ability to survive, let alone create a good life.

What follows is a crisis – the sharp descent back to material existence, the thing the seeker most hoped to escape.

Now they must face the realities of life and the gorges of their abandoned darkness. The seeker needs to recognize that he or she cannot just live in the light all the time. They need to manage their darkness in order to find the light again. It is a hard road, but not an impossible one.

Eventually, there is the realization that authentic enlightenment comes from excavating the darkness.

Read more

Yoga Tantra Advanced Study Group

8 x 90-minute classes, every fortnight, starting on August 30th at 9 am (Sydney, Australia time).

Hi everyone, we hope you are well and safe in these difficult times.

Many of our students have been requesting guidance in developing a practice program that’s in line with their needs, especially regarding health, psychological growth, and spiritual evolution. As a result, we are starting an online study group for advanced students of yoga, tantra, and meditation.

The aim of the group is to empower and illuminate the yogic path through knowledge and practice; to provide live online teachings, access to deeper theory and practice, and opportunities for discussion.

  1. The first part of the teachings will focus on how to use yoga to develop a strong balanced ego structure, a strong sense of self-esteem, and the ability to better achieve your goals.
  2. The second part will focus on growing your relationship with your deepest Self and exploring the mysteries of the psyche, unconscious, and higher dimensions of being.

This is an opportunity to deepen and upgrade your understanding of the philosophies and techniques from Yoga, Tantra, Sāmkhya, and Vedanta, and to practice meditations and techniques derived from these philosophies.

Selected texts will be recommended. For example, we will explore the Upanishads, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, and various Tantras (sacred texts).

Topics

Topics include consciousness, energy/shakti, light; mind, karma, elemental forces; mantras, yantras, initiation, psychic symbols (Ishta devatā); spiritual practice (sādhana), peace, silence, stillness; community (sangha). Many other topics will be incorporated into the teachings and discussions.

You will also learn principals from both Eastern and Western psychological approaches to self-development and self-realization.

You will have the opportunity to clarify and discuss issues in health, mental strength, and spiritual life. This does not include personal medical advice.

Pre-requisites

Read more

How To Failproof Your New Year’s Resolution – And Any Other Goal

“New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

— Mark Twain

The new year is a time to think about what you want to achieve and to set new goals accordingly. Proceed carefully, because unless you’re in the minority of people who succeed, your new year’s vision will soon cloud over and nothing will change.

A 2018 YouGov poll found that one in 5 Americans stuck to their resolutions. Other research suggests the same stats, 80% abandon their resolutions in the first quarter. More radical resolutions fail faster. The reason cited is lost motivation. The remedy: Find tools and tactics to keep you motivated — a productivity app, accountability buddy, or motivational coach.

If you suspect that motivation is your issue, it could be wise to try these remedies. Personally, I’m not for externally imposed motivation. It takes me back to catholic girls’ college and cantankerous nuns killing all manner of fun.

But it’s not only my personal experience (trauma) that makes me reject external motivational. When it comes to falling short of a goal, I believe something more fundamental sends our desires sideways or to the back-burner, or into oblivion.

Reduce Excess

“As there is no worldly gain without some loss, so there is no worldly loss without some gain.”

– Francis Quarles

We, humans, are acquisitive creatures. The archaic drive of the hunter and gatherer also powers modern lives. But unlike our lean-living, itinerant ancestors, we inhabit a world of oversupply and stagnation. We tend to sit, dig in, and hold onto things long past their use-by date.

Just as planet earth suffers from human excess, we individually bear this burden. While the bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up and zen-living gurus showed us — room by room, object by object — how to live with less, our less-visible hoardings still collect dust year after year.

Projects, skills, jobs, relationships, behaviors, and habits would also benefit from the life-changing habit because if we’re at full capacity with things set in motion in the previous years, piling on more won’t upgrade our quality of life or bring success — only the opposite.

Read more
Back To Top