Are you ready to TAP the POWER of Maha Shiva Ratri on Feb 18? Then, prepare for this momentous event by understanding how to engage your spiritual practice on this auspicious night.
The word “rātri” means night, so this is the night of Shiva. Technically, it occurs once a month on the day before the new moon, so there are twelve such nights each year. Maha means great! The Great Night Of Shiva, which often occurs in February or March, is exceptional. In a nod to Tolkien, it is a night to rule them all.
The night and the moon have a special place in spiritual practices associated with Lord Shiva. For those who have a solid connection to feminist spiritual traditions, like Wicca or Paganism, it would be refreshing that a male deity is associated so strongly with the full moon, usually with goddess worship.
Shiva has a strong feminine side to him. He is also ardhanari, the half-lord, who is half-woman, featured with one breast and posturing an effeminate stance. This integration of male and female anatomy in a deity is also an excellent symbol of GBLTQ culture and spirituality. With the pain experienced by trans children and youth, we might want to offer special prayers for those who are gender fluid in our time, seeking the love, appreciation, and acceptance into a society that all humans crave in our need to belong.
According to tradition, Shiva absolves the sins of those who fast on Maha Shiva Ratri. Apart from fasting, there are rituals, including Shiva Puja (making offerings to the Shiva lingam) and Rudra Abhisekham, an elaborate ceremony done in temples that we also study, practice, and perform in our Yogic Mystery School.
For simplicity, the practice of Maha Shiva Ratri is continuity of awareness, an unbroken connection of one’s loving intention towards the sacred masculine as the embodiment of pure consciousness. One can chant Om Namah Shivaya all night long, dance ecstatically, or do kirtan (devotional singing).
The most potent practice of Maha Shiva Ratri is the Sri Rudra pārāyanam. In Shiva temples, the chanting of Ekadaśa Rudram—eleven rounds of the Namakam followed by one Camakam from the Yajur Veda. There are more involved forms of recitation, such as Laghu Rudram (eleven rounds of Ekadaśa), Maha Rudram (eleven rounds of Laghu), and Ari Rudram ((eleven rounds of Maha Rudram).
The result of such chanting on the night of Maha Shiva Ratri is the gift of awakened consciousness and a sense of blessing that floods the soul in a way that lasts for a significant amount of time.
Shiva Ratri comes and goes each year. You can build on the momentum of your practice by carrying the experience forward through this year with deep inner work and healing around the sacred masculine (our Yogic Mystery School process), Shiva Puja and Rudra Abhisekham (holy rituals), and Rudra Parayana (reciting mantras).