Monthly Archives: April 2011

“we stand at the threshold
learning to be
hard and soft at the same time
how to hold ourselves
and still keep our arms open”
-lisa kagan, 2009

Lalita Devi is a strange name for a pagan but what can I say…it was given to me by my first spiritual teacher and it stuck. I was given the name by Swami Durgananda when I was 19 and living in an ashram. First, she did ceremony where we chanted my mantra (om sri durgayai namah) until she felt the vibration was sufficiently resonating. Lalita Devi is the goddess of play and bliss. Sometimes I feel far to serious for such a name and then remind myself that I probably ought to lighten up and having a name like this makes for a really great reminder of that.

The name is one of the names of the goddess. One of my favorite of all hindu scriptures is the Lalita Sahasranama. The text is a long hymn, 1000 salutations to Her and it is absolutely beautiful. Chanting the Lalita Sahasranama is supposed to give the devotee divine bliss, protection, health and abundance. I don’t chant it that often (reading sanskrit ain’t easy, folks!) but I do adore reading it. I love even more that I am named after divine creation. It reminds me how effortless it is to have relationship with the Gods when you are open, devoted and full of love for them and you and me and us (all one!).


water- the gift of Yemaya

Being that I work on sea-level rise and how we can become more resilient to its impacts for my job, the power of water is something that I think on a lot. Is it something we can even contain or understand? Why even try? How can this great shift in the waters of the world be a gift to us—to embrace that power within us. To become more fluid, more adaptable.

The power of water is all encompassing. It is the power to envelop, to be held, to be adaptable, to be gifted with the luminosity of the moon’s reflection. Imagination is watery– picture the complexity and mysteriousness of the depths of the ocean, coral reefs. Water is persistent. It shapes mountains with small drops, subtle yet insidious movements. Sometimes, it causes massive, abrupt destruction. Those who live near the ocean always feel simultaneous awe, wearieness, fear and inspiration at their proximity to those crashing waves. Waters’ power is one that regulates life on earth: our climate, our clean air, the food we eat, the nature of our shorelines. Did you know that there are vital micronutrients found in Amazonian soil that come from the sands of the Kalahari? Carried on ocean spray and wind across the ocean.

The oceans sway over me is constant, and at times overwhelming. I often image my body as the earth; my blood the rivers and oceans that carry nutrients and regulate the other systems. I feel overcome with emotion, overtaken by the flow. That’s the trouble with water–it goes everywhere and doesn’t like to be contained. It gets stale.

But the flow, the health, the capacity of water to meet its full potential is entirely dependent on the other elements. Air for movement. Earth for filtration. Fire to allow it to change forms. One dependent on the others. That’s the important thing to remember: water does not/cannot exist on its own. It’s power comes from its elemental nature– yet contained, enhanced, facilitated–by the others. I always need to remember this when I feel too “inside” my Pisces moon. I need to feel my Libra rising, my Leo sun and mercury. I need to remember that these qualities are what facilitates the power, intuition, imagination, sensuality of water to shine.

Here are ways I work with water to understand and embrace its power– above me, around me, within me.
–When practicing yoga, I feel the flow of blood and energy in your body. I try to feel when it is constrained by certain poses and how that helps facilitate movement, flexibility, inner strength. I try to imagine facilitating this flow of energy through different movements and poses.
–When I’m in the shower, and in a really bad mood I imagine the water pouring over me as white, purifying energy. The water pours this info me, and down the drain goes my negativity. There are lots and lots of way I use water for purification. When I’m feeling really depressed about the state of things, I do a water purification ritual and pour that water into a water body, sending intention for the healing of the waters of the world.
–I love to swim and imagine I’m a mermaid in the ocean 🙂 I used to go lap swimming all the time, which I called my mermaid practice.
–I think of the Nine Sisters of the Northern Seas: the different energies, their complexity. I give them gratitude in different ways, and to Ran and Aegir. I also say prayers to Yemaya, great Goddess of the waters.
–I observe water in its many forms. In bottles, in rivers, as vapor, as boiling water that burns me.
–I love to take luxurious baths where I add food coloring to make the water aquamarine, and add sea salts too. If you ever want to get in touch with your intuition, its a good way to do it!