Hello, reader. How are you doing? I love Jagaddhatri. I’d like to get her name tattooed on my arm–I draw her name on my left arm over and over again, meanwhile. It looks like this. जगद्धात्री
My beloved friend asked me if honoring Jagaddhatri feels different from honoring Spirit or Mother God. I said there’s a different flavor.
Then yesterday a different friend asked me if I think God has a gender. I’d just said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans.”
I answered that I worship God as Mother, as Parent Earth, as Everything in a pantheist way. I worship God as individual goddesses such as Jagaddhatri, as my ancestors and my own self, as the people I love such as Ming.
“That was one of our wedding vows,” I told my housemate-friend. “I’ll always be your friend–I’ll always love you. I’ll stay with you through hard times. And I’ll hold you as my dearest incarnation of God.”
I explained bhakti yoga; in the sect of Hinduism that I do, worshiping God through loving people is a thing. Babies, relatives, partners.
I didn’t mention how the Christmas season feels very bhakti. Baby Jesus is worshiped in a way that’s kinda weird honestly, but has a lot of history. The weirdness is normalized, but I can still see it.
I don’t think God has a gender–sometimes I don’t think there’s God at all. God’s not on a cloud somewhere doing God stuff. God is a way of seeing things that I prefer and that helps me survive. The divine nourishes me, and I don’t think I’m making it up.
But if I’m making it up, that’s ok too. Money, gender, and many distinctions are made up–might as well make up what helps.
what is Jagaddhatri
Jagaddhatri is a goddess mostly worshiped in Bengal and nearby places in and near India. She’s a mother goddess like Kali or Durga. So she’s a powerful protector and defender. She wears jewelry and kicks ass. She has an intensity to her, and people worship her in special ways according to traditions.
But the specialty of Jagaddhatri is holding the world together. Her name literally translates as universe holder. My Swami taught me that Jagaddhatri is gravity.
I am very keen on gravity. I think about it a lot, and it’s a favorite force.
When I was a kid, I heard gravity is a force that pulls all things together. I mentioned that in class, and my third and fourth grade teacher Mr Pike made fun of me. He held up his two fingers and said, “My fingers aren’t pulled together.” He didn’t know that the more mass something has, the more gravity it has.
I wish I could go back in time and slut shame Mr Pike for science shaming me. He was a nincompoop of a man. That was a terrible Christian school which I attended at low cost because my mom worked at the preschool. I was done wrong there regarding science–still recovering to this day.
But I maintain that Christianity was a good starter religion–the mythology is helpful to know since Christianity is all over the place. Attending synagogue with Ming and our dear homegirl, many of the stories, attitudes, and symbols make sense to me, since I have a background in the Judeo-Christian. I’m grateful for the hints.
Christianity is something I push against, like for many years I pushed against my mom. For many years Christianity was something safe for me to hate. These days, I don’t want to hate anyone or anything.
I need many ways to be held and safe. Ming holds me– the good friend who asked me about Jagaddhatri holds me. My best friend far away, my ancestors, my mom even though she’s not a living person anymore.
So many ways to love and be loved. Parent Earth holds me so good, sometimes I think death is ok, as she will just keep holding me in whatever form I take.
Some people think religion is make-believe nonsense, childish lies people say to comfort themselves, or sinister ways of controlling gullible sheep. I feel religion as healing sacred beautiful nourishment I drink down like heaven or some kind of magical Sprite that won’t fuck with my blood sugar. Religion is a way of doing love, sharing community, turning inward.
Yesterday Ming went to a bagel workshop at Temple Beth Israel, met some new people, and came home with a lot of bagels. I heard they’re very delicious. Ming shared a bagel with our homegirl friend, and maybe she knew we loved her. We tell her with words, but love can make more sense as a bagel.
Religion can be very personal, and it can also be very group.
You know I’m a mystic and pray myself to sleep. God talks to me all day, in so many ways.
- trees dancing in the wind
- cloud glow
- river movement
- when a fern grows out of moss on a tree that’s covered in lichen
- bird flight
- campfire flames
- a fortune cookie fortune
- soyrizo rice
- wild coincidence
- noise I listen to until it makes sense
- ocean wave
- a hug
- Ming’s giggle
- winter squash soup with coconut milk
- a gorgeous quilt
My Hindu sect’s two main people were mostly illiterate. I have no problem with that. Western ways of knowing can seem mighty shaky. My faith might not make sense to you, but it keeps me alive.
I believe we all have faith in something, whether it’s God, money, our children, a TV show like The Last Airbender, movies, a favorite musician. Faith is ok, and I prefer to be intentional about it, rather than slip into worshiping coffee or weed or Wes Anderson.
Holy Mother said if we pray on the bank of the river, we’ll be taken across in proper time. I do believe that. I’m praying on the bank of a river, and the boat will arrive if it does. That’s how I experience God, and it’s also poetry.