Deyuvaaca - The Goddess Said...
In This Issue:
Pancha Ganapati
Why Donate?
New Class! Western Shakta Tantra
Gayatri Mantra
Our Community Welcomes You
Kali Vidya...Wow!
Jai Maa!
Meet an Inner Council Member
Blessings of Maa for the Holidays and New Year!
Contact Info

Pancha Ganapati

By: Sanatani

The first time I encountered the charming idea of Pancha Ganapati was in a book of my husband's, Dancing with Siva by Satgugu Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.  It was described as a five-day festival of love and gift-giving in honor of Ganesha and His Saktis...from December 21 to December 25 in the Western calendar.

The book didn't go into much more detail than that, but I was sure it had to be something that had been made up for Westerners.  After all, it wasn't even connected to the lunar calendar!  Years went by and I didn't think anything more of it.  But recently, as a member of the Sha'can tradition, my fondness for Ganesha has grown, and I've also started seeing more references to Pancha Ganapati here and there on the Web, so I decided to track down some information.

If it were something created just for the West out of whole cloth, there would still be some decent reasons behind it.  Ganesha, like Jesus, is the beloved son of God (Lord Shiva in our case) and the Queen of Heaven (Parvati):  like Jesus, He is a generous and loving being who helps us through our trials:  and also like Santa, He is a jolly round fellow who likes it when people leave Him cookies and milk!  The syncretism of "Yeah, well, we have a big holiday then, too!  And it happens that we can do the stuff from your holiday that we like!" will be familiar to most modern Pagans.

But as I researched, I learned that although Pancha Ganapati is indeed a holiday invented for the West (by Subramuniyaswami, some 20 years ago, for his lineage but to be shared with other Western Hindus), it does have a perfectly legitimate Hindu lineage as well.  As it happens, there is a tradition in Sri Lanka that the entire month of Markali (the lunar month from December into January) is a festival in honor of Ganesha as Pillaiyar, the "Noble Child."  It is a particularly important time for meditation and, to use a term from the wrong season, "spring cleaning."  Since the Christmas season falls right in the middle of Markali, it is a natural transition for the Western lover of Ganesha to marry Christmas to Markali Pillaiyar and get Pancha Ganapati!

The festival runs from December 21 to the 25th, and each day focuses on a different level of Ganesha's power and blessings, each of which is represented with a different color.  It is considered to be a home- and family-oriented event rather than a temple-oriented one.  On the first day, the color is yellow, and there is a focus on building love and harmony within the family and the home. 

On the second day, the focus is on harmony with neighbors, relatives, and close friends, and the color is blue. 

On the third day, the color is red, and it is a day for showing appreciation to co-workers, merchants and workers generally (tip your barista!) and nurturing your ability to love the general public. 

On the fourth day the color is green, and the focus is celebration of the arts.  The last day's color is orange, and the love that has been built up is now extended to all three worlds...and yes, you can open your presents now.

You can read more about this festival's origins and how to celebrate it in the archives of Hinduism Today.

Join us in exploring the season...
Best wishes to all for a blessed Yule, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukkah, and of course, Pancha Ganapati!

Learn more about upcoming offerings at our mandir >>

Why Donate?

You are a force of transformation.
Your love of creation gets you out of bed
in the morning.
You align your spirituality and devotion
with personal and planetary healing.
You see spirituality as a source of
social justice.

By transforming yourself, you help transform the world.

Your contributions make all the difference as we work to keep spirituality and a unique spiritual expression of service viable in the world. At SHARANYA, our Goddess Temple survives because of you, because of your support. For all of the ways in which you love the Divine and make Her manifest, we are deeply grateful.

There are many ways for you to be a part of our mission and vision. You can come join with us for worship. You can be with us in community. We also have many ongoing projects fostered and facilitated by the generosity of our growing community to which you can contribute or make a tax-deductible donation. Read about our work and consider volunteering a special talent, skill, or making a tax-deductible offering today. Even if you can't be with us in person, you can always join our puja in spirit through a contribution of flowers or Maa or Shiva...

If you are able to contribute $25 or more,
we'll gladly send you a red "Jai Maa!" wristband to proudly wear in celebration of your devotion.

Thank you for your commitment to making spirituality a vehicle for social justice and life-affirming change. Thank you for helping the spread of Maa's love in the world. Jai Maa! Looking forward to seeing you at a puja, class, or commuity event soon!

Donate Now >>

New Class! Western Shakta Tantra


Devoted to Mahadevi
(The Great Goddess):
Ritual Practices of Sha'can and Shakta Tantra
An Introduction to Worship & Devotion of the Divine Mother
in a Western Tantrick Tradition

This three-part course is an introduction to worship and devotion of Mahadevi, the Great Goddess of Hinduism, the all-pervading Shakti, and Kali Maa, Dark Mother, the Supreme Goddess of Shakta Tantra. Participants will learn the context and content of worship in the living goddess tradition of Western Shakta Tantra called Sha'can.

Puja basics, including how to honor Devi (Goddess) Kali at home, will be taught. This offering may be particularly rewarding if you are considering Daughters of Kali (open to women and men), are looking to incorporate Kali worship or worship of other forms of the Divine Mother from the Hindu tradition into your existing spiritual path, and/or are seeking a fuller experience with your dedicated worship in community.

Join us to gain an understanding of Devi and Her various manifestations, powerful and often mis-represented, through ritual, myth, historical perspective, lecture, authentic Tantrick practices, readings and group discussion. This series will culminate in a puja that participants co-create from their recently-learned Sha'can perspectives as infused with devotion born of personal sadhana (spiritual practice).

Let this course be your own mythic journey into and out of the underworld...let the Goddess of the Crossroads take your hand and guide you into an unfolding awareness of your Self as seen through Her eyes. Classes require reading and participation to enhance the experience. Come ready to engage Her mysteries!

Learn more about this and other class offerings... >>

Gayatri Mantra

This mantra is used daily in our practice as a blessing and invitation to reconnect to Spirit beyond conception, that which permeates all things.

It is a powerful and sweet, sattvic (high vibrational) mantra that brings us into harmony with Goddess in all the worlds. It recalls the breath that moves through us, carrying the vital energies of prithvi (earth), apas ('jalam' or water), agni (fire), vayu (air), and akasha (ether)...

Read more and listen to the mantra >>

Our Community Welcomes You

Come sing and worship with us!

Interested in lending your love of Maa, your creativity, your inspiration to Kali Puja?
Feel free to bring us your ideas and energy. We have many ways for you to become immediately and directly involved in a vibrant and growing spiritual community, and look forward to your unique expression of joy in Her name. We welcome your suggestions too; your experience, expertise, and desire can inform many of the ways we do Her work in the world!

Click here to learn more about joining in the celebration of Her through SHARANYA!

And of course, stay in touch with us! Were you forwarded this newsletter by a friend?

Click here to receive your own newsletter! >>


Monthly Calendar


Kali: Goddess of Social Justice (12/31) on Voices of the Sacred Feminine with Chandra Alexandre (interviewed by Karen Tate); 6pm. Listen...>>


Purnima (1/10) Full Moon - Evening of dhyana (meditation), spiritual teachings, and/or ceremony (Closed community celebration; extended spiritual family and guests welcome. Let us know if you would like to come:

Community Meeting (1/12) SHARANYA's organizational gathering, open to everyone, to discuss business, logistics, planning, and fun!

Yogini Chakra (1/17) (Closed circle for initiates)

Devoted to Mahadevi (The Great Goddess): Class One (1/22) (Open class... >>)

SHARANYA's Kali Puja (1/25) Open to everyone. Come join us in worship of the Divine Mother, Goddess Kali Maa, by all Her names! RSVP requested (and you can donate online to help support our regular public ceremonies and Goddess Temple project).

Amavasya (1/26) 7-9pm New Moon - Evening of dhyana (meditation), spiritual teachings, and/or ceremony (Closed community celebration; extended spiritual family and guests welcome. Location: Terra's Temple in Oakland. RSVP requested.)


And join us in the creation of ritual, art, poetry, and other forms of Magick and inspiration in Her name! We look forward to being with you in person, on line and in spirit in 2009. May the blessings of the Goddess be forever in your heart!

Learn more about the tradition that inspires our worship... >>

Kali Vidya...Wow!

Our opening course, Devoted to Devi at Kali Vidya is currently waitlisted.
Thank you to all who are participating this first time around!

If you would like to join our class, please sign up
and we will contact you for the next offering

Join us as we come together at Kali Vidya to explore through writings, poetry, reflection, discussion, devotion, spiritual technologies and individual sadhana (spiritual practice) the goddess-worshiping branch of Hinduism known as Shakta Tantra, the earth-based spirituality of Witchcraft, and the synchretism of faith called Sha'can...A Western Shakta Tantra.

Our courses are designed to help all spiritual seekers contextualize the ancient and living goddess traditions within the socio-cultural and psycho-spiritual framework of today's world, creating lived spaces for the Divine in all Her forms...including those of the Sacred personal practice and devotion.

If you seek community and want to learn more about SHARANYA's spiritual path, we welcome you to our first community offering, Devoted to Devi: Embracing Tradition, Walking the Path. Join this class in our open source, interactive online forum!

Click here to register >>

Jai Maa!

Answers to some of your most frequently asked questions... >>

Meet an Inner Council Member

We recently sat down with Nancy Leatzow, a Board Member, to talk about her participation in SHARANYA and wanted to share her thoughts and insights about the community, her service, and upcoming adventures for 2009 with you:  

How long have you been on the Board of SHARANYA?

I joined in February of 2002. 

What attracted you to this position and the organization?

I remember very well when Chandra invited me to be a part of SHARANYA's Board, the Inner Council.  I asked her, "Why me?", and she replied, "You are a wise Elder, Nancy."  It was a profound moment for me of realizing that I had, in fact, reached an age where I was moving into the elder position. I began to consider the joys and responsibilities of this period of my life...that next stage after householder.

I was honored to become a part of the SHARANYA Board, as I had been drawn to this work from my first meeting with Chandra (we met on pilgrimage in Turkey). Her story and vision were an inspiration and an invitation that I continue to cherish. Being part of the Inner Council both supports the deepening of my personal quest...pondering the meaning of life and my love of Maa...and provides an opportunity to be of service. And also it's a joy!

What's your favorite part of being in the community?
I love being a part of the SHARANYA community. I experience the Daughers of Kali to universally embody the qualities of both youth and wisdom.  The personal connections are sweet and the monthly pujas enhance my life and spiritual practice. It is an opportunity to express my devotion to Maa in a way that feels completely authentic, heart-felt, and held in the beautiful container of the community.

Can you give us a preview of what the future holds? 

I am excited about what's currently happening at SHARANYA. It seems the seeds have been well sown, and, to continue the metaphor, the flowers are blossoming and expanding. In 2009, SHARANYA will be offering a series of courses and workshops to the public locally as well as expanding teachings via the Internet through Kali Vidya, an on-line wisdom school. It is beautiful that seekers who love or are curious about Maa are now able to enroll in SHARANYA courses from anywhere on the planet. 

And it's exciting that there are even more offerings in the Bay Area. As someone who lives in the East Bay, I'm really looking forward to the monthly full and new moon circles, many of which will be happening in Oakland. Thrilling!  

Are there any other thoughts you wish to share?

SHARANYA is an authentic embodiment of the wisdom of East and West. 

Its lineage is clear and strong. Its membership is devoted and committed.  Its expansion is inevitable. I am so happy to be a part of this inspired vision. Jai Maa!

Thank you, Nancy Maa, for all you do in service to your vision
 of Maa in the world. Thank you and gratitudes for your
leadership and support in community!

Learn more about the Inner Council and Advisors...>>

Blessings of Maa for the Holidays and New Year!

Jai Mata Kali ki Jai!

May All Beings be Blessed

lokaha samastaha sukhino bhavantu...>>


SHARANYA: The Maa Batakali Cultural Mission, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit Devi Mandir (Goddess Temple). All donations are tax-deductible. For more information about upcoming events, please visit or email All are welcome!

Jai Maa!


SHARANYA: The Maa Batakali Cultural Mission, Inc. • 2063 42nd Avenue • San Francisco • CA • 94116

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