Sri Vidya, the highest tantrik knowledge of the Devi, is something that I have been exploring for a few years now. I had gotten familiar enough through readings and workings that I was fairly confidant in my knowledge, although certainly recognizing that I was still in the beginning stages of the approach to the slopes of Mt. Meru.
A chance encounter with a physician in Bombay taught me more in 10 minutes than all the books I have been pouring over. While it was not his intent, my interaction with him was like a direct introduction to my own mental blocks and ignorance. I will not go into details here, but lets just say it was a surprise and a blessing to meet him and interact with him, even if so briefly. My eyes have been opened.
The biggest stumbling block, one of the most persistent kleshas, is knowledge. Or rather, ones self assessment of what they think they know. Stay open, stay awake, stay aware. She comes to you unexpectedly, shy glances that you might catch out of the corner of your eye and then in a flash she is hiding again.
Later the next day went for a walk in the sweltering heat and humidity, only to chance upon this shrine to the Goddess that was setup along the roadside next to a banyan tree (visible) and a neem tree (out of frame).
I am grateful for each chance encounter. Bhavani tuam!
An exciting announcement from my friends Mike Magee and Phil Hine!
Announcing Yakṣiṇī Magic
I’m very pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of a new book by Mike Magee, Yakṣiṇī Magic.
Yakṣiṇī Magic is the first extensive treatment of Tantric texts dealing with practices that relate to the Yakṣiṇīs, an ancient class of female spirit beings often described as “fertility deities” and said to inhabit wild places, plants and trees.
Beginning with an examination of Kubera, the treasurer to the gods, who is often held to be the leader of the Yakṣiṇīs, Mike examines and elaborates on existing scholarly accounts of the Yakṣiṇīs, and traces their appearance from the earliest Indian textual sources—the Vedas through to Buddhist, Jain, and Tantric literature. He highlights the importance of astrological timing in Yakṣiṇī-related magical practices, and discusses how the magical elements of the tantras have been sidelined.
Drawing on a wide range of tantric textual sources, many of which are presented here for the first time summarised into English, Mike examines the various practices through which a tantric practitioner could propitiate these powerful, fierce, and sometimes jealous female spirits. Yakṣiṇī Magic affords us a fascinating glimpse into this hitherto unexplored aspect of the tantric world—a world populated by hosts of spirit beings whose favour was sought through offerings of mantras, as well as a wide variety of other substances.
Mike Magee has been providing translations and summaries of tantric materials for many years, earning him the respect of practitioners and scholars alike. He is the author of Tantric Astrology (Mandrake 1989) and Tantra Magick (Mandrake 1990). He has also translated key texts such as the Kaulajnananirnya Vamakeshvarimatam and Matrikabhedatantram.
With illustrations by Jan Magee and Maria Strutz. Foreword by Phil Hine.
This first edition of Yakṣiṇī Magic will be published by Twisted Trunk as a limited hardback edition of 108 numbered copies, priced £30 plus postage. To reserve a copy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Parvati, Daughter of the Mountains and spouse of Shiva, shown here in her South Indian form. Bronze cast from Tamil Nadu c1550CE
Temple Yogini from Kanchipurum, Tamil Nadu, 900CE. Earrings are a severed hand and a snake. Four arms, with a kapala (skull bowl). One arm is broken off which had her taking offerings to her mouth
A yakshini is a female tree spirit. In addition to scaring the occasional lone wanderer at dusk that happens to inadvertently stroll under her tree, they are fond of grasping the tree branch and giving the trunk a kick to make the tree flower. Shalabhanjika (“breaking the branch of the Sal tree”) yaksinis are auspicious guardians entrusted to protect the gateways to palaces. These first two are from Madya Pradesh around 1-100CE. The last one Uttar Pradesh from 100-200CE.
The Song of the Vajra
CHÖGYAL NAMKHAI NORBU
Yet continuing without interruption,
Neither coming nor going, omnipresent,
Immutable space, beyond definition,
Perfect state without any obstruction,
Existent from the very beginning,
Self created, without location,
With nothing negative to reject,
And nothing positive to accept,
Infinite expanse, all pervading,
Immense, and limitless, unbound,
With nothing even to dissolve
Or from which to be liberated.
Present beyond Space and Time,
Existent from the beginning,
Immense dimension of inner space,
The radiance of clarity is like the sun and the moon,
As indestructible as the Vajra,
As stable as a mountain,
As pure as a lotus,
Strong as a lion,
Beyond all limits;
Peak of the Dharma,
Light of the Universe,
Perfect since the very beginning.
From “The Song of the Vajra”, An Oral Commentary by Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche,
Edited by Gina Perini
From the 26th Dynasty of Egypt in Thebes, the Priest of the god Mentu, Ankh-ah-na-Khonsu, created the Stele of Revealing (although it was not called this until much later).
It is from the translation of the hieroglyphics on this Stele that the Song comes from, the supreme mantra of Thelema (Aleister Crowley referred to this mantra as the “holiest of all” in Book 4).
a ka dua
tuf ur biu
bi a’a chefu
dudu nur af an nuteru
“Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the gods and death
To tremble before Thee –
I, I adore thee!”
An effective and simple method of rapidly establishing an active current of Light in the sphere of sensation is to use the Egyptian mantra in conjunction with a Middle Pillar type practice, incorporating the Four Worlds map of consciousness. In this method, each line of the mantra is associated with one of the Four Worlds, thus:
A ka dua
Bi a’a chefu
Dudu ner af an nuteru
The entire paraphrase in english is a powerful micro-ritual in and of itself, serving as an effective invocation of the Light also along the lines of a modified Middle Pillar ritual, in that each stanza may be associated with one of the 4 Worlds, utilizing the Gate Sephiroth
of Kether, Tiphereth, Yesod, and Malkuth to rise through the different levels of consciousness as one ascends the Tree, or bring the current down the Tree to ground into matter.
Standing straight up, hands to the sides, visualize your sphere of sensation filling with radiant white light, with a barely perceptible field of blue light at the outer perimeter of the aura. With this current of energy coursing through your system, say:
I am the Lord of
Thebes, and I
The inspired forth-speaker of Mentu;
For me unveils the veiled sky,
The self-slain Ankh-af-na-khonsuWhose words are truth.
I invoke, I greetThy presence, O Ra-Hoor-Khuit!
Next, proceed to establish the Middle Pillar with the following actions:
Kether. Visualize Divine white brilliance above the head at the sahasarachakra as a radiating luminescent sphere.
Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the gods and death
To tremble before Thee: —
I, I adore thee!
Tiphereth. Bring a current of white light down from the Kether sphere to the anahattachakra at the chest, where a brilliant rose-gold solar sphere of radiant fire appears.
Appear on the throne of Ra!
Open the ways of the Khu!
Lighten the ways of the Ka!
The ways of the Khabs run through
To stir me or still me!
Aum! let it fill me!
Yesod. The current of white light extends down from the chest to the genitals at the svadhisthanachakra, as a sphere of brilliant luminescent violet light emerges.
The light is mine; its rays consume Me:
I have made a secret door
Into the House of Ra and Tum,
Of Khephra and of Ahathoor.
I am thy Theban, O Mentu,
The prophet Ankh-af-na-khonsu!
Malkuth. The scintillating column of white light descends from the genitals to the feet representng the muladharachakra, where a sphere of brilliant citrine light appears.
By Bes-na-Maut my breast I beat;
By wise Ta-Nech I weave my spell.
Show thy star-splendour, O Nuit!
Bid me within thine House to dwell,
O winged snake of light, Hadit!
Abide with me, Ra-Hoor-Khuit!
Now pause to see the four spheres of radiant light, and the central column of brilliance connecting them all. From this point, one may wish to go into meditation, invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel, or other forms of ritual and meditative Work.
This practice is incorporated into several other techniques that are described in my book.
Recently, I came across an evocative musical chant of the Song of the Stele.
Check it out here