Five months ago, I picked up Sally Kempton’s new book Awakening Shakti. I had heard a Sound’s True podcast, Invoking the Goddess, where she introduced the material and I was excited to see what the book had to offer. I was excited to dive into some practices to explore the pantheon of Hindu goddesses in that way seemed accessible and pertinent to my life experience. When I first picked up this book, I had to make a commitment to myself to read it slowly. Through the book she has 13 chapters that focus on 13 different goddesses and I truly wanted to take the opportunity to explore each one of the goddesses for at least one month.
I spent the month of April and part of May with the goddess Durga. I have always felt a strong resonance with this fierce goddess, often pictured riding her lion mount. Along with Kali, I have always thought of Durga as one of the more fierce goddesses. She is often depicted with a numerous assortments of weapons and her mythology speaks of her slaying armies of demons.
When I started working with Durga, I was exploring setting boundaries in my personal life and how I could strongly ask for what I wanted to, while still being compassionate to the experience of those I was interacting with. Durga became a model for that fierce compassion. Durga is often associated with the energy of protection and is known not only for her strength, but also for her firm mothering energy.
I started working with Durga through many of the practices Sally offers in her book and also committed to chanting to Durga for that 1.5 month period. Sally offers this simple Durga chant, to invoke the goddess’ energy:
Aum dum durgaye namaha
[Ohm doom Door-gai-yey nuh-mu-hu]
“Om and Salutations to that feminine energy which protects from all manner of negative influences.”
If you’re feeling the need for protection and boundaries in your life, I recommend making the commitment to explore this mantra for the next month. Below is a link to an excellent article written by Sally about working with Goddess Power. She brings a great deal of insight to Durga and Lakshmi in her article, Goddess Power.