Navaratri translates as ‘nine nights’. The festival is observed twice a year at the beginning of summer and of winter when there are two very important junctures of climatic change and solar influence. These two junctures have been chosen as opportunities for worship of the divine power of the Mother because it is believed that it is the divine power of Shakti that provides energy for the earth to move around the sun, and that this divine power can be honoured as it maintains the correct balance of the universe. At these times of changes in climate, our bodies and minds also undergo a considerable change, and hence, we worship the divine power to bestow upon all of us grace and blessings to help maintain our physical & mental balance and our spiritual unfoldment.
During the Navaratri we invoke and worship the Divine Mother. In Hinduism the energy of the Mother is represented by the goddess Durga. This energy is also referred to as Devi (Goddess) or Shakti (energy or power). It is understood that it is this energy that helps the Divine to carry out the universal play of creation, preservation and destruction.
We celebrate Navaratri in various ways, including the creating of a Yantra symbolizing a particular aspect of the feminine energy. This is usually a Yantra of one of the Maha Vidyas, one of the ten Wisdom Goddesses from the Tantric Tradition. The Yantra can be made with coloured rice or on special occasions we make the Yantra with sprouted wheat grass, in both cases we then charge the Yantra with specific Mantra.
We then recite another Mantra so that during these nine auspicious nights the aspirant can worship the Mother through Sadhana (spiritual practice). We also offer daily Puja which consists of offering flowers and light to the Yantra or Deity. Devotional songs are also offered and Fire ceremony.
Navaratri is a time for celebration of life, and a beautiful way to honour the Divine feminine.