“Shakti Bhava, the divine grace of the Mother Goddess, allows her unstoppable power to flow into our lives as bliss and abundance. The yoga practitioner who can access this Shakti Bhava develops a deeper consciousness and can learn to unravel the mystic symbolism of life through Bhakti (devotion), Tantra (understanding the cosmic rhythms), and Vedic Astrology (the great science of time and karma), bringing light to the subtle nuances of all our experiences.”
Hindu Tantra teaches the worship of the Goddess, the feminine aspect of Divinity, by unfolding her presence and dynamism within us. Tantra views the feminine as the ultimate embodiment of wisdom, receptivity, compassion and nurturing as the very energy of consciousness, while the masculine force manifests as being, will, acuity and perception.
Vedic Astrology and Hindu Tantra are part of a comprehensive yogic science for understanding the outer world and the inner psyche as well as how they interface together. Along with Ayurveda, Vedanta and Vaastu Shastra, they all reflect the pranic force or Kundalini, the transcending energy of consciousness and its ability to unfold our higher potential in life. The sacred key to this transformation rests in awakening the Shakti force in whatever we do, and acting with grace, decisiveness and the determination born of a motivation to reach the ultimate.
“Hindu Tantra teaches the worship of the Goddess, the feminine aspect of Divinity, by unfolding her presence and dynamism within us.”
The Goddess possesses all forms of beauty and bliss in the world of nature through the Shaktis or innate powers of the mountains, the flow of rivers, the glittering dance of the stars in the heavens, and the delight of the Earth’s flora and fauna. Her beauty and mystery hold the alluring attraction of the unknown which draws us into the vast domain of her eternal secrets. Shakti represents what is gupta or hidden, not what is evident or easy to see. A special vision and effort are necessary to pierce beyond her veil to her luminous core. As the divine word or yogic knowledge, the Goddess endows us with a sharper focus through which we can discern her many leveled teachings that reveal the whole and the essence of all that we encounter. Her mantric language expresses a Tantric symbolism through the elements, qualities, beings and forces that interact and interrelate in the subtle currents behind our outer existence.
Devi (Mother Goddess) is the Vidyut, the lightning energy or electrical force that arises from the numinous light, Jyoti or Prakasha of the Supreme Shiva. This Jyoti light is also Surya, the Sun or the cosmic light principle, not simply the luminary of our particular solar system. The Devi Shakti is inherent in all forms of light, and through her benign grace she allows us to access the energy of light and its benevolence through our entire being. The Mother Goddess is the source, the sacred origin, the core of the living universe and the indomitable spirit beyond.
The Goddess as the Power of Time
Special transitional moments in time are called sandhis, junctures of invisible energies, and their greater periods are called sandhyas. Devi in the form of the Goddess Kali carries the Kala Shakti or power of time which brings about birth, growth, decay, death, bondage and liberation of the soul. This Kala Shakti dwells in such sandhyas or transitional periods like sunrise, noon and sunset; new and full moons; solstices and equinoxes; eclipses; special planetary conjunctions; and in special aspects and configurations in the birth chart. The key to efficacious action in life is to know these moments of transformation and how to work with their energies that color the entire cycles of time that arise after them. Yet whenever one connects to the Devi as the power of time, it is a sandhya or time of transformation in one way or another.
Worship of the Devi grants us the Kala Shakti, or power to understand the movement of time necessary to uncover the astrological mysteries that envelop our lives. Every practicing astrologer should honor the Goddess as the power and influence behind the energies of the stars and planets. Time is not merely an abstract principle, a numerical chronology; time is the manifestation of the power of consciousness, drawing us back to our eternal essence. A sensitive astrologer knows how to harness that Kala Shakti of the Devi both for predictive and healing purposes, helping us to understand not only what is likely to occur to us in life but how to bring the healing powers of the stars into our own minds and hearts. Vedic Astrology helps us understand the Shakti of time and the unique power of special moments and planetary combinations within it. Some of these occur in our particular birth chart. Others are shared by many people or even entire generations.
Communing with the Cosmic Powers, we understand the forces of time that govern all things and the planets that constitute an integral part of the Divine creative power which reflects the eternal order of karma and dharma. Planetary Devas or deities can help the seeker or devotee, granting a sacred protection for overall well-being, innate wisdom and higher inspiration.
“Special transitional moments in time are called sandhis, junctures of invisible energies, and their greater periods are called sandhyas.”
Vedic Astrology provides us the layout or “karmic code” as Vamadeva Shastri (Dr. David Frawley) aptly coined, allowing us to follow our karmic dharma with skill and grace. Jyotish provides us the tools to unravel this karmic code as well as the remedial measures to synchronize our energies with the universal forces necessary to take our karmas to a higher level, ultimately beyond karma itself. The Vedic astrological chart throws light on our deeper destiny as a soul as well as our worldly desires, physical and psychological capacities, and how these unfold through the various stages of our lives.
Planets and the Goddess
In Tantra to reach the Devi or Mother Goddess, we must first honor and invoke the blessings of Lord Ganesha. Shri Ganesh represents the Cosmic Mind or Mahat and its power to bestow the fruits of all action with wisdom, compassion and justice. Lord Ganesha is the ruler of the powers of karma and time, making him the primary deity of Vedic Astrology, its calculations and indications. He helps remove the obstacles born of karma, providing us with the humility and integrity to honor all beings and to respect what our karmas have to teach us. Among the planets, Jupiter, the planetary guru, relates most to Lord Ganesha, similarly providing us the skill and the wisdom, as well the grace and abundance to fulfill our inner purpose in life.
Astrologically, the Goddess energy relates primarily to the Moon, which has many phases, aspects and manifestations as the Cosmic Mother in her various roles and functions. The Moon also governs the element of water which is feminine in nature as the matrix of all life. Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Kali are the three aspects of lunar energy as creative, nurturing and transforming in effect. Sarasvati energy is strongest when the Moon is young and waxing. Lakshmi energy is highest when it is full Moon. Kali energy reflects the waning dark of the Moon, though there are also seasonal variations in their forces.
The Devi’s benefic forms follow the waxing Moon, particularly the full Moon. Her Tantric or more powerful forms relate to the mysticism of the waning and new Moon, particularly the chaturdashi or fourteenth tithi of the dark Moon, when the inner Shakti of the Goddess and her secret knowledge is most powerful. The Moon is brighter and higher in the sky on winter nights, with the winter solstice full Moon being the strongest. Her mystery shines more at that time as well.
“Unless we are aware of and honor the phases of the Moon, we miss the key to how the higher grace moves into our lives.”
The Moon is also Mahadevi Parvati as the wife of Lord Shiva, who himself works through the solar light. Devi Parvati represents the rhythmic flow of Mahaprakriti or Great Nature, influencing the animals, plants and waters, as well as our own bodily fluids, emotions, mental currents and aspirations. Living in harmony with the rhythmic flow of the Moon and its phases, one comes in sync with the ebb and flow of all life, reaching to the ocean of consciousness deep within the heart. Parvati in her various aspects of Shakti (power), Sundari (beauty), Gauri (the luminous word), Durga (protective grace) and Kali (death and transformation) manifests as the supreme Goddess of the Moon. Unless we are aware of and honor the phases of feeling and perceptivity, than merely the mind’s thought and analytical prowess. It opens the Crown chakra within us which Tantra regards as the seat of the Moon and the higher light of bliss.
“Ma Durga rides a lion, the vehicle of the Sun, and carries a solar energy of protection and exaltation, indicated by her many powerful weapons.”
Earth Yet there are Devi forces and Shaktis that relate to all the planets, which can be contacted on a personal level through invoking and interacting with their associated Goddess forms. The Goddess Sita, wife of Lord Rama, is born of the Earth and carries the Earth energy along with its power of nurturance and forbearance. Mother Earth is well-known to all cultures as our most intimate form of the Goddess. We can do nothing without first acknowledging her as the ground on which we live and move. There are many forms of the Earth Goddess, particularly Bhumi Devi, who personifies the Earth in all of its abundance. Our connection to the Earth astrologically is mainly indicated by the Lagna, ascendant or rising sign, which is the foundation for the reading of the entire astrological chart.
After the Moon, the Goddess is closest to the planet Venus (Shukra), which indicates the feminine nature, especially as the wife and lover. Among the Devis, Venus relates to Lakshmi, Indrani and Parvati, encompassing womanhood as the ultimate conserver, nurturer, muse and wife. Mahalakshmi as the consort of Lord Vishnu represents fertility, abundance and well-being. Indrani manifests as the ruling power of Shakti, perception, beauty and delight. The youthful forms of Parvati reflect Venus, as she lures Lord Shiva towards her through her ascetic practices and her dance.
The Sun relates to Prana, and Shakti is the flow of Prana that follows and informs the movement of time. Ma Durga rides a lion, the vehicle of the Sun, and carries a solar energy of protection and exaltation, indicated by her many powerful weapons. She is the queenly solar form of the Devi who spreads her brilliant light over all.
Mercury and Jupiter
In the process of spiritual learning, the Goddess becomes the muse who inspires us and the High Priestess who guides us to her higher wisdom. The planets Mercury and Jupiter reveal the flow of grace through wisdom in the astrological chart. The buddhi or higher intellect, logic, intuition, philosophical bent of mind, grasp of the shastras, education and its power of expression rests in the blessings of Jupiter and Mercury in astrological parlance.
Mercury bestows on us all forms of learning in astrology, astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, and education in general. Mercury gives us all the mercurial skills of clear expression in the written and the spoken word. Mercury relates to Sarasvati Devi, particularly in her youthful form, granting us the power of speech, literature, poetry, communication, music and dance. The Goddess Matangi is the Tantric aspect of Sarasvati, indicating sacred sound and eloquent expression as a yogic path, the spoken word as well as all art forms. She holds the inner Shakti of Mercury and the power of the Word through which we can understand the languages of all creatures. The Hindu Goddess Tara embodies ‘Shabda Shakti’ or the power of sound manifesting the highest spiritual wisdom which relates astrologically to the planet Jupiter. She is the power of OM as the Taraka or force that takes us across the waters of ignorance. Jupiter represents the Guru, bestowing dharmic insight, benevolence, abundance and spiritual grace through its expansive, optimistic, noble and fiery power. Jupiter gives one the higher attributes of mind and soul, the ability for higher reasoning and right judgment, as the eternal verities.
Martial, forceful, intense and impetuous Devi forms like Chandi and Bhairavi relate to the fiery force of Mars and bestow one with the power of motivation, work, action and change on both an inner and outer level. Mars energy grants courage, valor, aggression, physical strength, arrogance, dominance, and leadership, which the Devi Shakti can turn into a spiritual force.
The Goddess Bhairavi represents the fierce, fiery form of Shakti within us as the power of transforming Tapas or heat. Tapas holds the heat or fire of all spiritual aspiration through a deeper seeking. Bhairavi represents the supreme power of speech through her fiery expression as the Kundalini, its
raw energy before any sound or mantra arises.
Shakti connects especially with Saturn (Shani), particularly through Ma Kali. Saturn is also Kala or time as the indicator of longevity and death. The word Kali means “She who puts an end to Kala, or time.” Mahakali is the destroyer of kala as time or death.
“Shakti connects especially with Saturn (Shani), particularly through Ma Kali. Saturn is also Kala or time as the indicator of longevity and death.”
Shanideva (Lord Saturn) can be said to be the inner guru as Jupiter is the outer guru. A blending of their energy is necessary for any real inner growth in life. Shanideva offers us experiential jnana or wisdom, making sure we learn all life’s lessons at the deepest level. As the lord of time, Shanideva represents the true form of all that is experienced through the cycle of birth and death.
The Goddess Chhinnamasta, who is depicted as cutting off her own head, reflects the dissolving of our minds into pure awareness. She sets us free from the limitations of the mind allowing our consciousness to realize its true nature beyond the bondage of life and death. This sacrificing of the mind is symbolized by cutting off the head, freeing our inner being from the shackles of body consciousness synchronizing our mind with the cosmic consciousness.
Such severed heads like Chhinnamasta, who represents the opening of the Third Eye, relate to Ketu (the south node of the Moon or Dragon’s tail), which is also the sign of astrology as well as of one’s ultimate liberation. Ketu holds the grace of the deeper wisdom of the Self through all secret learning – Vedanta, Tantra and Mantra. Ketu affords us the insight of detachment from worldly illusion, astute clarity, sacred pilgrimages, renunciation and profound silence on an inner and outer level.
Yet Shakti also works through Rahu (the Dragon’s head or north node of the Moon), which grants beauty and mystery, as well as fear and disorientation, the Maya of the feminine. Rahu represents allure and delusion – we live in Rahuvian times where our existence is caught up in the web of Maya or illusion through mass media and its technological wonders. The Goddess Nirriti is the ruler of Rahu who represents karmic bondage, disease and death. She is better understood as the grandmother form of Ma Kali known as Jyeshta or Dhumavati, the Goddess of smoke and clouds. Propitiating her we can overcome all disease and karmic tribulations, piercing the confusion and darkness of our outer lives.
Durga as the Devi of Supreme Light
The divine Mother Durga has the power to master the influence of Rahu, holding the supreme golden light of truth. She draws the power of illusion into the magic of Divine grace and freedom. Through her we can conquer all the disturbances born of the planets. Working with Ma Durga’s benevolent grace protects and nurtures us on all levels. The beautiful Raksha Mantra works gently to allow the divine grace to flow through her protection.
Om Hrim Krim Dum Durgayai Svaha!
Jyotish (Vedic Astrology) is a complete yogic astrological system practiced through the ages that allows us to understand our karmas or the cycle of our actions and their cause and effect on our existence. As a study of the light emanating from the Sun, Moon, stars and planets, Jyotish involves a precise mathematical calculation of planetary positions in the heavens impacting our birth time, affording us a blueprint of our karmas in our natal chart.
The Devi also allows the remedial measures of Vedic Astrology to work. One must place a Shakti in the mantra, ritual or gem or whatever other remedy we employ or it can have little effect. This requires knowing how to bring the Devi into the remedy which rests upon devotion and cannot be done mechanically. Worship of the Devi is itself one of the best remedial measures as her power can take us beyond time and karma, particularly in forms like Kali that govern time, or those relative to the specific planets that one needs to strengthen in the chart. The Devi Shakti Bhava is not just the presence of the Devi in a particular moment of time but recognizing her as the power behind all time and space!
“The divine Mother Durga has the power to master the influence of Rahu, holding the supreme golden light of truth.”