Tuesday, October 13th 2015 marks day one of Maha Navratri. Day/night one starts with the worship of Shailputri, whose name means ‘daughter of the mountain’. The first form of the Goddess Durga worshiped during Navratri, she is considered to be one of the earliest forms of Shakti. She is also known as Parvati, wife to Lord Shiva and mother to Ganesha and Kartikeya.
When the goddess was born to King Daksha as Sati, she married Lord Shiva, who her father vehemently disapproved of. It was during a ritual sacrifice that Dhaksha insulted her husband Shiva so horribly that Sati sacrificed her own body and threw herself onto the sacrificial fire. She was eventually reborn as Shailputri, or Parvatri.
Shailputri is associated with Muladhara Chakra. It is said upon awakening this shakti, one begins their journey towards spiritual awakening and to their purpose in life.
As the story goes, after Sati sacrificed herself, Shiva was so devastated that he entered into eons of deep meditation and spiritual practice (sadhana). Even when she was reborn as Parvati and approached Shiva, he was unmoved from his deep sadhana. With immense devotion and effort, she demonstrated her love of Shiva and he eventually awoke from his meditation. She represents universal love and is glorified as the Goddess of Awareness.
She is also known as Paktriti, and looks after all living organisms.
Traditionally the color Yellow is worn on this day.
On a personal note, I’m not connected to any specific tradition or formal Navratri practices, and I don’t know the “proper” way to worship her. To me, these nine nights become an opportunity to celebrate life as the Goddess. Taking the small piece of knowledge I have of each goddess, I am most concerned with what those basic symbols represent for me in my life, even if it doesn’t fall in life with the traditional worship of a certain goddess. I invite everyone to see how these different energies come and go in their lives, and to take special care over the next nine nights to dive deeply into reflection and spiritual practice to explore their own relationship to the eminent Goddess in all her forms.
AUM Devi Shailputryai Namah!