Shivatri - Celebrating Night Worship to Shiva


Following the lunar calendar, Shivaratri falls on the darkest night of the month. This is when moon is barely visible to our naked eyes. The Shivaratri festival, the Night of Shiva, celebrated in Bali on January 14 this year, is a reminder of this fact: there can be no light without darkness. Shiva, usually, and quoted mistakenly, portrayed as the god of destruction, is actually the Recycler. Shiva is the symbol of creation, new beginning, and the proclamation of the coming dawn.
 -Celebrating Darkness by Anand Krishna

Our society focuses on celebrating the light more often than embracing the darkness. God is likened to light and deemed the Lucent, the Luminous, and the Radiant One. Darkness, on the other hand, has always been associated with devil, with negative power.    

Yet, darkness and light are inseparable dualistic fractals of the big picture - our universe. They are balanced both in the outside world, and in the deepest seeds of our being.

 The Balinese worship darkness equally as they do light because they understand that the two are complementary. Without the opposing force of darkness, we would have no awareness of the brilliance of light. Darkness is the void in which light manifests. Darkness is the rich canvass on which the flecks of light are so beautifully painted. The Balinese have been celebrating darkness for ages, for as far back in time as their history is. Darkness, to the Balinese, is not something to be dreaded.     

Returning to the Source

As I ride through the busy streets of Bali towards the fiery red Bali sun setting over the sea, I contemplate how much this island reminds me of returning to the origin daily. . .

  • The origin of where our food comes from confronts you unexpectedly as a motorbike drives by carrying a cage of chickens.
  • The origin of the rice that is a staple of the Balinese diet exists just outside of my window in the watery rice fields. 
  • The origin of the beautiful wood carvings and statues that decorate the Hindu temples can be seen as you drive through the town of Mas on the way up to Ubud.
  • The origin of our communities are the rice fields that surround the newly constructed villas that are popping up everywhere.

Bali has constantly sent me reminders to return to MY source. These messages from the universe often come in the form of tough lessons. Be patient with people trying to understand you, and take the time to try to understand them. Be grateful for the present moment and your health, because things can change in an instant. Be humble, because when you think you know it all, the universe will show you otherwise. Most importantly, be forgiving; to yourself, to others, to the past. At our core we are all the same, we are just doing the best we can with what we are given.

Bali has a way of testing your alignment between your beliefs and your actions. Every day encounters test you to redefine what it is that you are really made of. Do you define yourself by your possessions? If those possessions were to disappear, what do you have left? A smile, a laugh, a hope? It is in our nature to survive, so we create new ways of moving through whatever obstacle may be in our path. When the obstacles are removed, we use that same creative potential to create things that draw attention to the beauty of life. We thrive! This balance between enjoying the beauty and weathering the storm is constant throughout our lives, and what is at our core is that ability to transcend through both extreme suffering and ecstatic bliss. 

I hope that as you wear Carpe Noctem you feel empowered to take on whatever this crazy experience called life throws at you. That you feel connected to the organic materials like a second skin which will protect you through your full throttle adventures. And that you remember that at your origin, you are one powerful laser beam of light! 

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