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…
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. 🙂
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).
Few days ago, I went looking online for some upcoming rituals in Wimbledon Hindu temple. I found the temple’s official website. More importantly, I found the wikipedia entry..which had a notice of `lack of notability and possible deletion’. This was quite worrying. Wikipedia as many know is a living entity, billions of people use it as reference, millions add entries (woffles, bables, chatty)..and possibly a select thousands work at making those wiki articles as professional and precise as possible..(with references, citations, proper formatting and all that).
Well, I spent a few hours digging stuff in google for any references to the Ganapathy Temple in Wimbledon, and found some great references – from BBC, Guardian, Scouts, Merton Council etc.. So I put them all in, as well as a few new sections, added external links and so on.. and the wiki entry started to look a bit better. (still long way to go yet, and am sure many others can now add similar `good and notable contents’)
Already I see that another nice person has formatted the contents I put in and made it look better. So here is the entry as it looks at the moment.
The point behind this ..to let people know that anyone with a basic internet technical skills can edit / add to wikipedia entries …for a subject they have an interested in and have experiences/ knowledge thereof. It all adds to the content and quality of wikipedia.. modern repository of our knowledge. 🙂
Wikipedia entry for Shree Ganapathy Temple, Wimbledon (on 20Jan2015)
**** Note: Sections in blue (below) are original before I added other content ****
Shree Ganapathy Temple, Wimbledon, is a Hindu temple in south-west London, England, that was established in the 1980s. The main deity in the temple is of LordGanesha. There are also deities of Goddess Durga (Parvati), Lord Hanuman, Krishna etc. The Sai Mandir was opened in 1981 and is a prayer hall dedicated to Sathyanarayana Raju.
During the temple’s early years, the realisation came that there was an urgent need to educate the younger generation about Hinduism. Furthermore, the temple wanted the children to fully understand the faith at a deeper level than previously. Therefore the Sai Mandir has been running classes for many years, teaching the children spiritual education, Sanskrit prayers, how to sing Bhajans (devotional hymns) in addition to learning about other religions too. Voluntary activities take place in affiliation with local authorities and Age Link groups.
The temple provides classes dwelling on teachings of Hinduism, music and dance classes, and yoga to name a few.
4 External links
Shelter for Refugees: Refugees from Sri Lanka have been given temporary shelter at the Temple in 1986. The BBC recorded this info as part of their DomesDay Project in 1986.
Scouts – 23rd Wimbledon: This temple became Europe’s first Hindu temple in the UK to be home to a Scout Group. The 23rd Wimbledon  was established by Scout Leader, Geetha Maheshwaran in Autumn 2012 .
School trips – Religious Education: The school is listed in Merton Council Directory as providing Hindu religious, social and cultural services for all ages, especially for schools to visit as part of their teaching of Hinduism in their Religious Education Curriculum.
The Ganesh temple has been using a building that was formally a Church and a Community Centre. Hence the interior has been a basic square shape. Reconstruction work began in early 2014, and is nearing completion in January 2015. It will be based more on the style of the traditional South Indian temples.
^“BBC Domesday Project 1986 entry”.
^“Feature on Scouting Magazine (Uk)”.
^“School Visits at Temple”.
^“Young Reporter-Local Guardian – Wimbledon”.
Family Service Community Directory – Merton Council
Local Guardian -January 2014- Wimbledon Hindu Temple renovation Article
Places of Worship – listing at Kingston University London
spiritual-scouting – Article in Scouting Website
Video of Omam at Ganapathy Temple (by London Hindu Temples)
Omam – Hindu fire ritual – blog by QuantumPhoenix
BBC site Domesday Reloaded article- Refugees housed in Hindu Temple
ps. Here are those actual links related to Ganapathy Temple 🙂
Do you have a talisman that you have created, or a ring, or a pendant that is to serve as a special protection for yourself? Now here’s a thing- Unless the item was made by you (creatively, in a state of magical state over many hours or even days..while holding psychic focus), it is not going to be having any sort of `special powers’. The only exception is if the item was made by another Priest / Priestess/ Ritual Magician or Witch..and charged with a special intention.
One further exception will be when the item or artefact n question is simply a natural object obtained from a magical or sacred place.. say a pebble from the grounds of a Temple, a twig from a sacred site etc [Note: Do not willfully damage any part of said temple or sacred grounds for the purpose of obtaining such trinkets – for that’s what the item becomes no sooner had you obtained it in any such manner. Whatever nature spirits or divine energy therein ..is not quite going to `come with you’ if you obtained the item by stealth or by damaging the source / venue.
So how then do you obtain the material?
Well – you obtain it- as I said – from the floor, from the grounds or nearby in an unobtrusive undamaging way.. (walk around nearby woods to find a pebble or twig!) THEN take the item to the sacred place..to be cleansed and charged. This way is much better.. In this manner, you are inviting the sacred and protective energies of that place to enter into the item and charge it for you 🙂
Okay.. so you have your artefact or an item, or a ring or a pendant or a talisman (even one that is bought from a new age shop or a high street jewellery place. as they make symbols and items…!)
Now either visit a sacred place (woods, temple) or create sacred space in your room (using cleansing, then casting a circle and calling the quarters / 4 elements to be present and bear witness).
Familiarise your self with the word `Om’ (universally used by so many magical or esoteric people now all over the world.. though it originates from the Indian subcontinent, mainly from the Hindu religions). There are different ways to draw `Om’ (depending on which language you use.. either Sanskrit or Tamil. I have used the Tamil version in the photos here).
Practise making the sound `Om’ for several minutes. Even the person who has `no concept of chanting’ can practise it for few minutes, and find that their breathing gets better, deeper, and the sound coming becomes clearer, crispy..).
Also familiarise your self with the actual symbol visually.. Look at it for several minutes…and try to copy it/ draw it on a piece of paper several times to get it right. Remember that this is not just a random symbol. It is a letter (well two) from a particular language. If someone who did not know the English Alphabet were to get a few strokes or curves incorrect, say for the letter R…it is not going to be an R.. 🙂 Get the symbol correct, for its powers to manifest better.
Now begin the magical task!
1. Hold the talisman/ item that is going to be charged – in the palm of your left hand. (left hand receives)
2. Clasp it with your right palm and close it. (Right hand projects energy).
3. Close your eyes.
4. Chant `Om’ several times first (to surround your self with the divine energy it generates). Visualising the symbol `Om’ large and in front of you ..growing and glowing.
5. Now this next part is tricky. Chant (it will be quite) `Om’ with an *In-breath*, while `breathing in’ the large `Om’ symbol that has been created in front of you (It’s all visualisation, with eyes closed). This energy now fills your lungs, body, head and mind..!
6. Now, with your out-breath, propel that `Om’ energy through your hands (from your body) into the Talisman clasped inside the closed palms. You can also propel the `Om’ energy into the talisman/ item by projecting that energy out through your 3rd eye or Solar plexis chakra (or the heart chakra). A variation is…to chant the name of a particular deity in the out-breath- whereby the in-drawn energy of Om is transformed into a particular Deity energy by the very calling of that deity name.
Repeat this whole process many times!
I have personally found this to be highly effective in charging talismans or pendants..
God & Goddess names have power in themselves.. whether they do exist or not no longer matters – because for thousands of years, millions of people have believed in them and thereby have created those very powerful god & goddess thought-forms. So when using such names, you are tapping deep into such collective energies (of the archetypes).
I shall share some more tools & techniques in these blogs soon.. (It is part of a `promise’ I have made with certain deities…to share such knowledge / experiences.. – well …call it a `Calling’ 🙂
Happy Thai Pongal Greetings to all my Blog Readers & Followers, Family & Friends…!
It’s the first day of the Tamil Calendar.. `Thai’ is the name of the first month of the Tamil Calendar.. And pongal is the milk-rice food that is traditionally made on this day.. as the first food item..
People tidy up, make special offerings to the Sun God (leave the food items on an outdoor altar where Sun light is shining),.. and honour nature! And luckily, it’s a sunny day in London today.
It’s also traditionally when farmers get prepared ..to get back to the paddy fields..to start work for a new cycle!!
The day after Thai Pongal (15th January) is dedicated to honouring the farm animals (and tools) ..as these are the next most important things to Sunlight, rain and the Earth.. for farming!
ps. What do ya know..This happens to be my 350th blog post.. 🙂
In Tamil, it is spelt, `Deepavali’..where `Deepam’ means flame/light, and `Vali’ means path…so it reads…`path of light’
Today Hindus all over the world are celebrating Diwali – festival of light.. Some say it was the day Lord Rama returned to his Kingdom after 14 years of exile..Other myths say it was when God Murugan defeated a demon.. whichever the case, it seems to symbolise the return to personal form and victory over adversity.
Wishing all Love & Light as we go into the darker winter months!
ps. Special heartfelt thank you to all the regular readers & guests who visit my blog Quantumphoenix.net. Today the numbers reached 50,000 views. I hope I can continue to share ideas, thoughts, astrology insights and much more.. Best wishes. -Mani
On this day of Diwali, Hindu festival of light, my best wishes to all.. I think if we keep focusing on the beauty and creativity within, and not the monsters, we might just find that the monsters are just protective shells of yet more vulnerable and wonderous creatures within…waiting to be loved.. and lost inside their own shells, unable to break out!
Today is Vijayathasami – the 10th day after Navarathri – the nine days and nights of the Hindu Goddesses Sarawsathy, Luxmi & Dyrga.
What happens on this day?
here’s a blog extract I wrote..
The 10th day is the day of victory, and culmination of all the prayers and festivities. Such deeply significant religious festivities have variations of purpose and underlying mythology, as India is a vast land with many religious sects (even within Hinduism – which is a collective name, and not a specific one).
Ramayanam- Hindu epic of Lord Rama (shown here slaying the demon Ravanan)
Myth of Ramayana: As such, some celebrate the return of mythical Hero Rama (crown Prince) who was exiled with his wife Sita into the forest for 14 years, by some trickery of his step-mother. In his time in the forest, Rama’s wife Sita is abducted by a demon (Ravanan) and taken to an island and kept in prison. Rama gathers an army of forest beings – monkeys, apes, wild boars and even squirrels, constricts a mighty bridge to travel to the island of Lanka (now known as Sri Lanka) to wage war, defeat the demon and rescue his wife from her prison. By this time the 14 years have passed (supposed terms of the exile) and Rama returns to his father’s Kingdon, and takes up his rightful place on the throne. `Vijayathasami’ (great tenth day) symbolises this day of Victory and return to power.
Either on the ninth night or 10th day (morning) a special prayer / pooja called `Ayutha Pooja’ (Prayer for weapons) is conducted. This is when tools of the trade for all those of a household – pens, books, pencils, cheque books, house keys, financial ledgers, as well as the mote traditional items of agricultural equipments, machinery are symbolically decorated, placed on the foot of the stepped altar and worshipped. The idea is to seek the blessings of the Goddess Shakthi upon those tools of trade and life. Then those are taken and used. Many teachers/Schools in India / Sri Lanka (southern Indian nations) start teaching Kindergarten children on that day- first by taking them to the temple, and having the priest guide their fingers in writing the alphabets on a plate of rice grains!