>Navaratri = Nine Nights

>As I'm typing this a group of adorable children are chanting and walking through the ashram blessing it will holy water. Yes, another day in the life of a wannabe Yogi in an ashram in the middle of nowhere.

The celebration (can't get enough of them) completes the Hindu Navaratri (Nine Nights). Every three nights the Hindu tradition honors God in female form. Each night the ashram has a puja or offering ceremony to that particular goddess (Durga, Lakshmi, and Sarawasiti - pardon my spelling, I'm too distracted by the chanting to look it up). I enjoy the chanting and singing, but most of all the prasad (something sweet) after the ceremony. Even more entertaining to me is that the male form of God only has a one night in his honor.

Honoring the feminine traits in all of us, the nights are about each part of a Divine Mother who creates obstacles, then shows us the way is not about desire, finally brings us to wisdom. Durga rides a lion and is the "Destroyer/Warrior/just plain tough" and sticks her tongue out as a sign of her toughness. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and my most inspired form is Saraswati - goddess of wisdom and the arts (apparently I'm a reincarnate of her - or so I tell myself). ;) My favorite by far has been the motherly advice every few nights on what to focus on. They've been real doozies - my last one was "To use the lessons learned here to transform my spirituality through practice in life." Um yes, thank you. ;)

Although I would enjoy the ceremonies a bit more if we could stop singing the names of the goddesses after the 4,576th time instead of 7,988th time. No matter, as long as I get my prasad I consider it a wonderful Nine Nights.

Today I'm grateful for homemade banana bread, chocolate, and my journal.