Carrying a Kavadi at the Chariot Festival (at Ealing Kanaga Durga Amman temple, London):
A year ago I decided and made an offering to do this `Kavadi dance’ at this year’s Chariot street procession at the Ealing Durga Goddess temple in London. That divine offering / prayer was fulfilled on 13/8/17.
The day started with a 5am wake up in my tent… and we got to Ealing temple for the big annual chariot festival by 7.30am. The Kavadi procession (dancing with this ritual `mountain’ prop) began around 10am and we returned to the temple after street procession and dancing throughout ..by 4-5pm (culminating with a final dance inside temple).
Personal history: long ago when i was little..I did this with a tiny version of it around a local temple (Sanathy Murugan temple, near Jaffna, Sri Lanka) .. which started my ritual dancing and drumming..which has evolved into my shamanic trance drumming & dancing.. So it’s apt that I’ve come full circle. It’s been a divine privilege..
Next year I will be constructing my own `Kavadi’ ..and hope to do this in 2 different temples (Wimbledon Ganapathy temple, and Ealing Durga Temple again).
Many thanks to my mother Rani Navasothy for accompanying me, providing me with water etc during this 6+ hours of procession and keeping me `safe’ as I completed my promise.. (and in and out of mild dance-trance). Am also grateful to Varathan Uncle for bringing the Kavadi and helping me with initial set-up & preparations.
Ganesh Chathurthi is a special festival that honors the birth of the Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha (Ganapathy, Vinayagar). He is said to remove obstacles and bring good fortune.
Ananta Chaturdashi is the 10th and penultimate day of the great Ganesha Utsav or festival that begins with Vinayaka Chathurthi. At the end of this day, Lord Ganesh is given a grand farewell and the idols that were installed for the festival are carried to the nearby river, lake or sea front and immersed with a lot of devotion and fanfare.
I first did this ceremony last year (in 2015) by the river Thames, in Richmond, London, UK. There were about 5 of us. And a photojournalist friend. And to our pleasant surprise, we found that nearby (about 10 metres away)..a local Hindu community was also doing a much bigger scaled version ..immersing their Ganapathy statue in the Thames.
We waited till they had done their ceremony, then went to the water and immersed our Ganapathy.
So come join us this year (tomorrow).
Date: Thursday 15th September 2016
Time: 7pm to about 9pm
Place: Terrace Garden area, Richmond, London
Here is a map of the area where we will be.
meetup link for this event.
Ganesh in the Water Ceremony (Ganesh Chathurthi)
Thursday, Sep 15, 2016, 7:00 PM
Terrace Gardens (Richmond) Terrace Gardens, Greater London Richmond, GB
8 Woodland Witches & Pagans Went
Ganesh Chathurthi is a special festival that honors the birth of the Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha (Ganapathy, Vinayagar). He is said to remove obstacles and bring good fortune.Ananta Chaturdashi is the 10th and penultimate day of the great Ganesha Utsav or festival that begins with Vinayaka Chathurthi. At the end of this day, Lord Gane…
I attended the Ther (annual chariot festival ) at Ganapathy temple yesterday with my mother, and met a few relatives and friends 🙂 Also managed to to Ganapathy mantra 1000+ times (counting on fingers ..without my chanting Rudraksha was a bit difficult at times.. as we’re all walking..and much was going on.. )
It was amazing, spiritual and absolutely festive as ever. This time around I was able to focus more on the different aspects (forever studying and decoding the intricate ritual aspects and their meanings.. much of it is not usually taught in schools..except to Brahmins who are training to be Hindu Priests).
So here are the tons of photos. You can see full explanations under each photo in my facebook album.. (it’s my intention to preserve the meanings, and share that with those interested).
there are many who honour and worship the Hindu Elephant-headed God Ganapathy (Ganesh). He is a remover of obstacles! In London, this time of the year, the Ganapathy temple conducts their annual festival..which culminates after many weeks of celebrations and special poojas, with the Chariot Festival (Ther).
I will be attending this, and walking with the deities with the large chariots ..along the side roads.. to gain full divine blessings of Lord Ganapathy.
You are most welcome to do so.. (even if it is only for part of the journey).
Buses will be diverted in that area.. Please check TFL website for updates.
Nearest Tube: Wimbledon (District line)..Then bus 200 goes closer to Effra Road. `Colliers wood’ and `south Wimbledon’ are also nearby tube stations (Northern line) ..from which you will need to either walk 30 mins..or take buses to get to Effra Road.
125-133 Effra Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 8PU.
The Chariot Festival will begin at 8.30am in the morning,.and conclude around 1pm…Then deities will be taken inside temple..fore more prayers / poojas..
(I aim to be at the temple by 8am. On this occasion, I will NOT be waiting to collect / organise anyone…as following early morning shower/ purification and meditations, I will be observing silence and get to the temple asap..to begin worship).
As some are already aware, last year (2015) in Autumn, I began organising/ facilitating `Hindu Magic Rituals’ in outdoor venues…
There has been a little gap. With this Ganapathy festival, I will be re-starting a full set of Hindu Magic rituals.
Hi All, apologies for not doing this 6 months ago.. I have put together this list for Hindu auspicious dates/ rituals take place in 2016. (dates collected from various online sites, as well as the booklets published by some of the major Hindu temples in London that I frequent). As many know, Hinduism is just full of so many events, fasting days, auspicious dates.. So this is just a part of that spectrum.. (one’s that are of interest to me at the moment..where I do Hindu magical works). Note that this list is also published as a page under my main menu (submenu under Hinduism) so you can always find it there. Bright Blessings. -Mani
1st July- Prathosham – special day for Shiva worship (bi monthly)
7th July- Sathurthi – special day for Ganapathy (monthly)
15th July- Ekathasi – special day for Vishnu (monthly)
17th July- Prathosham
22nd July- Kodi etram at Ealing Durga temple (hoisting of flag- annual event)
24th July- Kodi etram at Wimbledon Ganapthy temple (hoisting of flag- annual event)
29th July- Ekathasi
31st July – Prathosham
6th August – Sathurthi
7th August – Wimbledon Ganapathy Ther festival (Chariot through streets)
12th August – Varaluxmi Pooja – sacred day for worshipping of Luxmi (Lakshmi) Goddess of Love & wealth (equivalent of Venus). She was born of the churning of the seas, and God Vishnu marries her.
14th August – Ekathasi
14th August – Ealing Durga Temple- Chariot Festival
15th Aug- Prathosham
25th Aug – Krishna Jayanthi
28th Aug – Ekathasi
29th Aug- Prathosham
4th September– Vinayagar Sathurthi (Chaturthi)– Birthday of God Ganapathy / Ganesh celebrated .( It falls on the fourth day after new moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada)..The festival begins with the installation of huge elaborately crafted statutes of Ganesha in homes and podiums, which have been especially constructed and beautifully decorated. It’s forbidden to look at the moon on this first night as legend had it the moon laughed at Lord Ganesha when he fell from his vehicle, the rat. On Ananta Chaturdasi (the last day), the statues are paraded through the streets, accompanied by much singing and dancing, and then immersed in the ocean or other bodies of water. (see below for blog).
12th Sept- Ekathasi
14th Sept- Prathosham
26th Sept- Ekathasi
28th Sept- Prathosham
1st October – Navarathri begins. Nine nights of the Goddess festival/ rituals for Durga, Luxmi & Saraswathy. (see below for blog)
2nd Oct- Wimbledon Ganapathy temple- Chandi Omam
4th Oct- Sathurthi
9th October- Saraswathy Pooja.
10th October- Vijayathasami (vijayadhasami) – the 10th day after Navarathri festivals is celebrated as a day of victory and special day (also said to be when Lord Raman returned to his kingdom, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, after having been exiled in the forest for 14 years). see below for blog.
12th Oct- Ekathasi
13th Oct- Prathosham
26th Oct- Ekathasi
27th Oct- Prathosham
29th October – Deevali / Diwali (Deepavali – Tamil for path of light) – major Hindu festival of light.
31st October – kanthashashti fasting (viratham) begins – sacred time of worship for Murugan, god of war (brother of God Ganesh)
3rd Nov- Sathurthi
5th November- Kanthashashti / *Sooran Por (demon war) – Murugan defeats the Demon.Sooran Por (skanthashashti) – final day of the sacred rituals for Murugan.
6th November – Thirukalyanam– wedding of Murugan.
12th Nov – Prathosham
26th Nov – Prathosham
3rd Dec- Sathurthi
10th Dec- Ekathasi
11th Dec – Prathosham
12th & 13th Dec- Karthikai Villakeedu – Day of light for all hearth & homes. Homes are decorated with many small lamps on doorways, entrances.
As much as I like to `resign’ from Life, Universe and the internet :-p there’s just too much crap going on in the world…for me and anyone with Gaia-consciousness to stay on the sidelines and look for Himalayas to retreat to.
THIS is our battle.. to keep the divine faith in our souls, hopes in our hearts, stay cautiously optimistic, unconditionally positive, challenge any and all ill-doings elsewhere and everywhere.. and stand up for a better world – no matter how gloomy things may look.. and how close the Four Horsemen seem to be. This is where our warrior-energies are need… not to fight, to hurt, maim or kill a fellow human..but to put to flight the welling darkness and rising illusions and delusions.
This battle is not fought with side-arms & arrows, mace or missiles – but with patience, endurance, inner strength and a strong belief within.. Doesn’t matter what god or goddess or divine being you believe it…but believe it.. and make him/ her/ it be your peaceful power and strength.. !
The inner child may be afraid.. and throws tantrums, seeking attention. But it is seeking safety, support and love. Not just yours or mine..but all the Inner-Children of the billions of people on Earth! As adults, we can exude positivity, assurance, offer support, emotional acceptance and understanding.
This is the time for all of our Love, light and compassionate, nurturing, empowering thoughts, feelings and deeds to rise to the surface and spread.
This year, Navarathree (Nine nights of the Goddess) takes place between 13th -21st October, with Vijayathasami (Victory Day) on 22nd Oct.
We’ll be getting together in October, to participate in our own Luxmi ceremony.. for wealth, love and abundance).
he many Hindu Temples in London will have 10 days of celebrations, rituals, Abishekams, Poojas and prayers. I thought it would be lovely to hold our own Ceremony in the park in a natural setting.
It will be lovely for all of us to post ideas and co-create this special event. (Many years ago I facilitated a very simple Luxmi chant / event in Trent Park).
About Goddess Luxmi – she is the Hindu deity born of the Sea, married to Lord Vishnu, and symbolises Love, wealth, material foundations.. Usually seen as seated on a red lotus flower. She has similarities to Venus.
What we will be doing / ceremony:
Once we have gathered everyone at the Fountain area, we’ll all walk up to a nearby quiet area…along the Serpentine lake.
–For most part we’ll be seated on the ground.. so bring cushion/ ground sheet/ blanket etc..
• –Altar set-up: A Luxmi altar will be set up on the ground.. Feel free to bring your own deities/ritual/ ceremonial items to place on altar.. Flowers welcome. we’ll have holly ash (thirnoor), sandal wood paste and kungumam for annointing our selves (on forehead). Incense sticks will be lit..as well as candles in lanterns.
• –ceremony begins with bell ringing 3 times.
• –Chanting of Luxmi name 108 times (`Om Luxmi Namaha’). During this time (may take 10-15 minutes), we shall all still our minds, attune and connect to Goddess Luxmi.
• – Arti / flame offering & consecration:
• Arti is the ritual waving of a flame (camphor block burning on a censor) over the deity and ritual offerings and tools. This flame is then said to carry the energy of the deity..and it is offered to all participants..for consecrating themselves (touch flame and place hands to eyes or forehead).
• All attendees may also do the arti to the deity (careful: the metal censor will be hot).
• -Various Luxmi chants/ other chants. (15-20mins)
• -Flowers will be offered to Luxmi.. during chants.
• Bell rung 3 times – ceremony ends.
• -picnic & social
venue: (confirmed).- Hyde Park, Italian Gardens.
We’ll meet by the Italian Gardens.. near the central fountain on the edge of Serpentine River . Then we’ll move to a more secluded spot (to be decided on the day for the ceremony).
Time: ** Please be at meeting point between 2pm- 2.15pm. Some of us have evening events..so we will start this Luxmi Pooja promptly at a chosen location at 2.30pm. Best come join us from the start…
The date – now confirmed – saturday 17th October’15
Dear all, I am organising this ritual tomorrow in Richmond.. Details below.. All welcome.. No prior knowledge of Rituals or Hindu ceremony / magic required as I will give a full explanation .. Best wishes & Blessings. Mani
Ganesh Chathurthi is a special festival that honors the birth of the Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha (Ganapathy, Vinayagar). He is said to remove obstacles and bring good fortune.
This year, the festival begins on 17th September and culminates on Sunday 27th Sept, which seems ideal for us to meet for our own outdoor special event.
I had previously witnessed participated in `Durga in the water’ event in London (Putney) over a decade ago, and was inspired to start river Thames-based seasonal rituals (Tamesa London Circles). Those then evolved into Thames-Isis rituals (and still continue.. ).
However it’s been a long term wish to return to the the roots…and do a Hindu ceremony.. so here we are! 🙂 For this ceremony of `Ganesh in Water’, I will be creating a new Ganesh sculpture out of Willow tree branches & bio-degradable strings..
It (he) will then be used in our special water-side ceremony by the river Thames. It will take place in a `clean/ clear’ section of the river Thames (Richmond area).
I will begin making a Ganesh figure tomorrow morning and will bring the figure (probably 1′ x 1′ x 1′ – bulky to carry).
On the day, `he’ will be placed on the altar..and we can all add items, leaves, twigs and other bio-degradable decorations.. while Chanting & prayers take place.
Then we will place Ganesh in the Thames and send him on his way.. 🙂
Date: Sunday 26th Sept’2015
venue: Riverside at Richmond, London (closest landmark: Terrace Gardens, Richmond)
Time: Please gather at ritual spot by 3pm.
Map to ritual spot
ps. This is a mirror event from my `London Hindu Magicians’ meetup group. All are welcome of course. 🙂
Dear all, it gives me great thrills to announce the launching of a new meetup group – one that I have been thinking about and planning for almost half a year. Well, now seems the right time! I’ve named it `Hindu Magicians’ as it’s a blend of many things – the devotional activities that Hare Krishnas often do (chants, jubilant, devotional singing), my roots in Hinduism, Vishnu worship, and recent 20 years of Western Magical/ Pagan ritual magical practices. I’ve scheduled 4 great special events/ socials to start us off.. and will add / develop more… Some events will be meditative, walks in parks, simple ceremonies of worship & celebrations, while others will be extensive (I have some friends who are experienced in Sanskrit, Yoga and a variety of Eastern / Hindu matters). The first one is on 31st July – a Social on the date of the Blue Moon (because this is the first group of it’s kind, as well as the most obvious one of colour Blue being associated with Lord Krishna of course) 🙂 Below are graphics for each of the events (so far).
Blue Moon social & visit to Krishna Temple
Luxmi Pooja (Navarathree)
The current blurb for this meetup says..
“This is a very new meetup group for all interested in Hare Krishna & Hindu Magic as the focus. It’s envisioned as a relaxed group gathering for enjoyable socials & spiritual work – such as picnics, meet & greet, drumming & chanting in parks – simply for the joy of it. The Hindu- Magic part of this is about exploring some of the myths, adapting special Hindu festivals & Rituals such as Navarathree, Shivarathree, Luxmi pooja and such – and perform lighter adapted version of them in natural places (woods, parks) practices, creating yantras / charms for personal empowering purposes. You can effectively think of them as mini-poojas in parks & woods.
(Important note: It is NOT the intention to have an intense group that is steeped deep in sanskrit ceremonies – we leave that to trained and highly experienced Priests & Brahmins in Temples and Ashrams all over the world.. Instead, we are down to earth explorers adapting ceremonies, mantras, interpretations).
Hindu spirituality has been around for thousands of years, and in the modern world, it has spread and permeated into many civilisations, countries and cultures and other mystery traditions. It’s now common for a wiccan/ witch to do a `chakra opening’ before doing a full moon ritual, millions doing Yoga workouts in fitness centres, thousands exploring Tantric rituals & sexual unities. Also common are many a Western psychic to wear a turban, trendy youngsters with some earth spiritual affinities sporting `Om T-shirt’, and millions of psychics & mystics to light an incense stick bells that were made in India or Nepal.
It is pleasing that Hinduism has spread so far and wide – even if many don’t realise it. But it’s also sad there is quite a bit of the underlying depth getting `lost in translation & interpretations’.
I’ve been a Hindu all my life, and have lived in London for some 35 years. I am experienced (20 years) in Western Pagan / Magical religions and practises. I’ve been re-exploring Hindu ceremonies and realising the magic within much of it..and am on a personal journey of blending the two together in my own life. Last time I checked, there seems to be nothing like this in Meetup (not for 100 miles around me in London). So I’ve started this.
Let us meet & greet – as equals with extraordinary souls, in the parks, in the woods, in the forests, gardens, by rivers and streams.. at dawn, at dusk, at noon and nights, in rain and shine, to be..just be.. and if we must do something.. to praise, sing, drum, dance, chant and be merry – in the names of the divine Gods & Goddesses, the Great Spirit within us all..
Let’s meet, and see where it takes us..
*Om Shakthi * Hare Krishna * Bright Blessings
So if you like the sound of all this, and like to join in.. either as beginners or as experienced person looking to do more of these with like-spiritual-souls.. You do not have to be heavily involved in Hare Krishna or steeped in Hindu cultures or religion to be part of this. This is not a study group or missionary one that aims to preach or convert. If you are a fan of the great Hindu epics – Mahabharatham & Ramayanam – if you are new to it or have been interested for years / decades…all that is fine.
Here is the extended version of what I recently wrote on my facebook wall, about Hanuman. He is a monkey – who is supposedly an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Hanuman is the son of of Vayu (God of Air) and a mortal Lady Anjana. He can also fly.. well he’s a monkey and is able to leap over mountains and stay up in the air.. (Son of Vayu..god of Air). Another ability that Hanuman has is to grow into a giant form.
In the epic story Ramayanam, Lord Raman and his brother travel through the various forests looking for Rama’s wife Sita who has been abducted by a Demon King called Ravanan. Raman comes across a Monkey-Prince who is living in fear in a cave with his close ministers and confidants (one of whom is Hanuman). Once the brutish and most powerful Monkey Lord Vali has been defeated by Rama, Hanuman and other monkeys choose to help Rama help with the search for Sita.
It is Hanuman who leaps across the oceans, lands in Lanka (kingdom ruled by the demon King Ravanan) and eventually finds Sita ..who is imprisoned in a forest prison. Hanuman manages to meet Sita, pass message from Raman, takes a message from Sita, and eventually returns to Rama.. Great war ensues and Raman & his army defeat Ravana and free Sita.
Three events that are worth highlighting..
1. Burning of Lanka: After secretly meeting Sita in the forest prison, Hanuman causes problems and is caught (he allows himself to be caught) by Ravana. When his tail is wrapped in fabric and it is set on fire by the demons, Hanuman escapes…takes up his giant form..and using the lit tail as a burning torch, he sets flame to many parts of Lanka… before leaving….(to go back to Rama & Lakshman and tell them he has located Sita).
2. Carrying the healing mountain: During the war itself, at one point, due to magical trickery, both Raman & his brother Lakshman are mortally hurt and appear to fall in battle and die. A special healing herb was required to help them.. So Hanuman leaps off to find the herbs that only grow in a certain mountain range. As he was unsure which was the correct her, he uproots the entire mountain..carries it to the battle zone…where upon the essence of the herbs waft over the fallen Raman & Lakshman…and they awake. (Hanuman then returns the mountain to its proper place).
Hindus worship Hanuman as a powerful demi-god in his own right, and Hanuman is often depicted as flying with the mountain in his hands.
3. Giant Chariot in War: In another moment during the war, Raman’s chariot is destroyed by the demon king Ravanan. And Raman is left standing on the grounds of the war zone. Hanuman immediately assumes his giant form, and carries Raman and Lakshman on his shoulders, so that they may continue to fight the war on equal footing.who helped Raman & Lukshman win the war against Ravanna the Demon. In one of the stories, Hanuman opens up his chest to reveal his heart..where an image of Rama & Sita could be found. Hanuman is the Son .
Hanuman and Sani (Shani) or Saturn:
It is also said that Hanuman rescued Sani (Saturn) from the clutches of Ravana (when Hanuman was bound up by Ravana and set fire to his tail..)
Perfect Devotee of Raman :
In one of the chapters of Ramayanam, Hanuman opens up his chest to reveal his heart..where an image of Rama & Sita could be found. In another section, (after Raman & Sita return to their kingdom), Hanuman is given a gift of pearl necklace. He then set about pulling the necklace apart, and breaks each pearl. When asked why he was destroying the pearls, Hanuman answers that he was merely looking to `see’ if he can find Raman & Sita inside each pearl.
These two incidents illustrate Hanuman’s devotional nature towards Raman & Sita. All he wanted to do ..during and after the war was to worship and serve Raman & Sita.
Tale of monkey tail (meeting Beeman)
In the other great epic Mahabharatham,, one of the pancha-pandavas (5 brothers on the side of good) was going through the forest when he comes upon an old monkey sleeping on the side of the path..with his tail across the path. Beema (being the strongest man in that story) demands the monkey move. The monkey refuses but says that Beeman may pass if he can move the tail aside. Aggravated, Beeman tries to brush aside the monkey’s tail..then lifting it.. He fails…and realises his own ego.. And the monkey reveals himself to be none other than Hanuman. It transpires that Beeman is also the son of Vayu (God of Air). So the brothers embrace. Beeman then asks Hanuman to help the pandavas in the coming war. Hanuman says he is tired of wars and will not fight again, but promises to watch over their welfare.
The lead archer Archunan (one of the 5 brothers, the Pandavas) rides in a chariot (piloted by none other than Lord Krishnan himself..another long story). This chariot flies a flag that has the image of Hanuman.. and this is the `blessings’ that Hanuman had promised Beeman.
Well, I grew up reading the Hindu epics Ramayana (and Mahabaratham) ..so Hanuman is one of my favourite Gods.. The above are things I have written from a long term memory ..(it’s been over 30+ years since I read the hindu epics).
It is worth saying, that I am now starting work on an art/ writing project connected to hindu epics, and so will be re-reading Ramayanam & Mahabharatham (in tamil) soon.. Watch my blog for updates in the coming months 🙂
ps. I have used when possible, the Tamil pronunciations for the various Hindu epics and characters. Tamil versions usually end with an `m’ or an `n’..where as the Hindi / English way of writing ends with an `a’. For example, Ramayanam (Ramayana), Mahabharatham (Mahabharatha), Raman (Rama), Ravanan (Ravana).