Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Festival of Sarasvati - Ritual for Inspiration and Wisdom

The Festival of Sarasvati is traditionally held in India on the New Moon that falls closest to January 12th, or on January 12th itself. The festival is known as The Besant Panchami, or Duwat Puja. Since Sarasvati is the Goddess of Learning, Writing, and book-keeping, it was traditional to clean the ink stands and pens. Since last night was the New Moon, with January 12th just around the corner, when I found this ritual I knew it would be perfect for me! I was born on January 12, Sarasvati's Festival day.... is it a coincidence that I love to write and learn? I think I have been blessed by this Goddess throughout my life... though it took me 30 years to find Her.

Often depicted as a beautiful woman with 4 arms, she rules over the arts of civilization such as all branches of learning, writing, communication, the alphabet, math, and calendars. She is often called upon to bring inspiration, knowledge, wisdom, and to clear away sluggishness of the mind and ignorance.
The ritual I found is from the book, "Moon Magick" by D.J. Conway. (Can you tell I love this book? I'll probably reference it often throughout the year, it's so fabulous!) The book suggests honoring Sarasvati at the time of the New Moon in January, after New Years Day, but I think it could be held at any time you want some inspiration and help from Sarasvati. Here I will outline what I did for last night's ritual.

I actually started on the 3rd, by cleaning out my computer desk. I cleaned out the paper caddy on top of the desk and put important papers into files and threw away the junk. I cleaned out three desk drawers on the 3rd, doing the same thing - filing the important stuff and throwing away the junk. This was actually an important part of the ritual for me... and I found it very fitting to do this so close to the New Year... getting a fresh start with paperwork, so to speak. On the 4th I continued and completed my project of clearing out the desk. I had books that needed to be put back in place, scraps of paper to be thrown away, things to be filed.... but I did it and it feels great!! The book also suggests organizing and dusting your book shelves, and dusting/cleaning your computer area and keyboard. Basically clean up any area that you use to read, write, and learn.
Next, I set up my altar. I have The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr, and I found that the equivalent of The High Priestess in this deck is called Wisdom and depicts Sarasvati. Since I don't have a statue of Sarasvati to put on my altar, I used this tarot card. If you don't have anything, you can perhaps print a picture of her from the internet, draw a picture of her, or at least write her name on a note card to place on your altar. I surrounded her with flowers, and I laid out a fresh clean peice of paper and a pen, and a white candle. I also added the two tarot cards that relate to the current moon cycle - Death for the New Moon in Capricorn and The Chariot for the upcoming Full Moon in Cancer (Capricorn's polarity). Since I was already using The Goddess Tarot, these cards brought into attentance the Japanese Goddess Nyai Loro Kidul and the Celtic Goddess Rhiannon. I am sure I will be blogging about them at some point this month, but the focus here was on Sarasvati!

After my altar was set up, I prepared myself by taking a bath, shaving my legs, brushing my hair, and getting dressed. It was probably 9:00 at night, but I dressed myself as if I were going to a job interview. I figure that when you are invoking a wise Goddess such as Sarasvati, you can't just show up in your bath robe and slippers! Conway suggests that you should light the incense and candle, and meditate for awhile in front of your altar, chanting the OM. But in my research of Sarasvati I found something I thought would be even better... I found a Mantra specifically used to invoke Sarasvati! So I turned this lovely video on from my computer, and chanted/sang the Mantra while facing my altar until I could feel myself vibrating and I truly felt that I was having an audience with Sarasvati!
Sarasvati Beej Mantra

Candles lit, incense burning, wine poured, I spent some time in meditation, chanting the mantra and thinking about how Sarasvati has blessed me with a strong desire to learn and a passion for writing. Then I prayed this prayer from the book;

"I stand at the center of this spiritual universe,
within the heart of the sacred mandala.
Gentle Sarasvati, I come to you for aid and blessings."
On the piece of paper I wrote down some goals that I have... asking for assistance with my organization and help keeping important papers straight in my home. I wrote down that I would like to be inspired to write in my blogs; to learn more, share what I learn, and teach others. I asked for clarity in my writing, clarity of thought. I filled the page with several wishes, then laid the paper back on the altar and prayed;

"Beautiful Sarasvati, Goddess of Light and Inspiration,
Reveal to me the knowledge I need.
Grant my requests in a manner that benefits me.
Thankyou, lovely Goddess
I made sure my candles would be safe for the night (placed on fire proof holders, nothing too close to them, banished the cats from the room, etc.) and I went to bed. This morning when I rose, I lit another white candle, chanted the mantra again a few times, and meditated some more, then I burned the paper in a metal pan and watched the smoke swirl around my altar and the image of Sarasvati. When the ashes cooled, I took them outside and scattered them to the wind, thanking Sarasvati for the Knowledge and Inspiration I know she will bring me.

1 comment:

  1. This is absolutely beautiful, inspiring, and very moving. Your altar is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing this. Love and blessings )O(