Flowing Through the Throat Chakra with Saraswati
A while back I finally had my Vedic astrology chart done and was informed I had the goddess Saraswati in my chart as well as the lord Hanuman. I love to sing and chant in my classes and lead Kirtan, so this all made sense to me because Hanuman loves to fly and was known for his love of singing. Meanwhile, Saraswati rules the throat chakra and is the goddess of music, clear speech, knowledge, and communication—things I’m always striving towards.
Leading a retreat in Bali, I had been drawn to statues and images of Saraswati and brought some home. I realized that my own need to balance my throat chakra through chanting was an aspect of Saraswati in me. And if you’re ever in need of speaking your truth or communicating more clearly, invoking the essence of Saraswati can be very helpful.
Saraswati and the Sound of Om
At the beginning of everything, when the Universe was a swirling mass of nothing and everything, Brahma stood staring at the chaos. Brahma, of the Holy Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, was well-known as the Creator and representative of brighter, new beginnings. He stood scratching one of his four heads in confusion. He wasn’t sure how to get started with his task of creating something of a Universe out of a gurgling, swirling, bubbling mass of chaotic energy. Saraswati, who was Brahma’s wife at the time, saw Brahma’s confusion, so she decided to help in her own way.
Brahma heard the sound of a great rushing cascade of water, but looked around and saw nothing. It was from the depths of his being where the water moved and flowed through his throat. A great waterfall poured out of his mouth, and with the waterfall came Saraswati.
She was fascinating and beautiful to behold. Her skin as luminous as the moonlight, her hair as black as night with no moon. She held a stringed instrument in her arms and began playing. And with her music, she spoke. She told Brahma she would give him one sound, which he was to use to create order from chaos. The sound held three syllables: A, U, and M.
The three syllables represent beginnings, middles, and endings, just like the Holy Trinity. When chanted these syllables would set the stage for everything to be born, live, and die. Brahma took a comfortable seat and began to chant over and over the sound of OM. The sound took hold of nothing and began to create everything.
Saraswati and the Throat Chakra
Whether you’re rocking out to Slayer in your car, or sitting in a yoga class chanting, you’re using and moving good energy through your throat chakra.
The name of the throat chakra or fifth chakra is the Vishuddha Chakra, or the purity energy center. This energy center is where we connect to truthful speech and clear communication. If this area is blocked, we experience throat and mouth problems as well as insecurities, indecision, and creative blocks.
Saraswati’s essence corresponds with the throat chakra. If we are ever in need of speaking our truth, committing to our spoken boundaries, or expressing dialogue more clearly, chant. And, yes, a Saraswati mantra is helpful for invoking Saraswati, but I also believe any time you’re singing or chanting you’re invoking Saraswati no matter what. To get specific and focused on evoking Saraswati, chant the following a few times, or 108 times to be precise!
OM AIM SARASWATIYEY NAMAHA
Saraswati and the Water Element
One translation of ‘Saras’ in Saraswati’s name is ‘flow.’ Saraswati’s essence tied to the water element shows up in the flow of creativity and the flow of clear, truthful words from our mouths. She is also the flow of knowledge and how we express it into the world.
Looking at the water in a river or a creek, notice first the water itself. Then you may notice some branches and rocks, or even a fallen tree. What is evident about water as it traverses the course, is it is always malleable. Water inherently knows how to go with the flow. And most importantly, as the water makes its way around the different obstacles, it never loses a sense of its essence. It knows how to be true to its own essence.
Saraswati’s water essence is our thirst for knowledge, the knowledge which creates order out of chaos. It’s how we learn to step into the flow of the impermanence of it all. Without losing a sense of who we are and what we stand for.
Saraswati and the Peacock
Saraswati’s animals are usually the peacock and the swan. The swan is all white, much like Saraswati’s garments. The white represents purity in the quest for wisdom and artistry. And because Saraswati is commonly seen sitting with swans and peacocks playing her instruments, she is also relevant when we speak of Bhakti Yoga.
The peacock is Saraswati’s main choice for getting around. The peacock is beautiful, brave, and a risk-taker. When a peacock is intent on wooing a peahen, it spreads its tail feathers out big and wide. This puts the peacock at risk of being harmed by any predators because it inhibits the peacock’s ability to see on its periphery. The peacock presents itself to the peahen but has to put itself at risk to do so, but to him, it’s worth it.
We learn that evolving on our path is sometimes risky. We need to put ourselves out there (spread our tail feathers) even if we feel some people may not agree. We learn to say ‘no’ with conviction and stay true to our spoken boundaries. We stop living in the ‘shoulds’ (stop should-ing on yourself) and start moving towards our dreams and goals. We gain knowledge and start to recognize what’s important to our individual self on our individual path, and Saraswati helps us speak with passion, conviction, and wisdom.
Inviting the Fierce Feminine Mother Kali Into Your Life
I am particularly fond of participating in or teaching classes themed around the Goddess Kali. Creating an invitation for Kali to enter our life is a way to invite fierceness into our being. She is the powerful and ferocious energy of the feminine mother.
Kali is often referred to in Hindu mythology as the dark goddess, the goddess of doomsday, the goddess of time, and the goddess of death. But once we delve deeper into what she really stands for, we see beyond this doomsday classification. She is ferociously powerful, and in her power, she is the fierce representation of motherly love; a mother’s bold and fiery force of love, as well as her innate desire to protect and support her children.
Kali is a form of Shakti or the feminine universal energy that motivates creativity and fertility. She is also an incarnation of Parvati, the Earth Mother (first wife of Shiva of the Holy Trinity). In this way, she also becomes a feminine counterpart to Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction. Her name has been translated as ‘she who is black’ or ‘she who is death.’
Many of the depictions of Kali show a warrior goddess to be feared. She is often seen wearing a necklace of chopped-off heads and a skirt of severed arms. She wields a knife dripping blood in one hand, holds a decapitated head in the other, and has a red lolling tongue dripping with blood.
As the goddess of time, Kali embodies the true nature of time. She demonstrates how time eventually absorbs all things. She is the ending to the beginnings and middles. Remember also that every ending holds a void of space, or nothingness, and from the space of nothingness, bright new beginnings are generated.