Chaitra Navaratri – Sadhana Retreat
Navaratris are cycles in the year that create the most auspicious times to retreat together, and we celebrate Navaratri by combining traditional tantric practices of ancient India from the Sri Bhairavanad tantra lineage along with Yoga practices, philosophy and devotion.
One of the main aspects to Navaratri in our tradition is the creating of a Yantra which invokes a particular aspect of the feminine energy. This is usually a Yantra of one of the Maha Vidyas, the Wisdom Goddesses from the tantric tradition. During the Navaratri we invoke and worship the Divine Mother in this form. Yantras are often made with coloured rice, yet on these special occasions we make the Yantra with sprouted wheat grass, in both cases we then charge the Yantra with specific Mantra. The spouted wheat grows over the retreat days as an embodiment of the Goddess herself.
Navaratri translates as ‘nine nights’ and the two main cycles are observed twice a year at the beginning of the India summer and beginning of the winter when there are two very important junctures of climatic change and solar influence. 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.
These two junctures have been chosen as opportunities for worship the energy of the Mother, Shakti, because it is believed that it is the divine power of Shakti 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 nature.
At these times of changes our bodies and minds also undergo a considerable change, and hence, when we retreat in these auspicious periods we are able to connect more with beneficial energies that help to maintain physical and mental balance and support our overall spiritual growth.