Eighth Night: Tvarita


Eighth Night: Tvarita “With Swiftness” 

Energy: wild instinct 


Tvarita is clad in new leaves and adorned with eight serpents pierced with peacock tail feathers. Endless strings of dark blue ganja berries are strung around her neck. Her hands are held up in abhaya mudra (fearlessness) and vara mudra (receptivity). She is surrounded by lions, monkeys, bears, and tigers who are growling and howling,  screaming and roaring.

The eighth night is just past the half moon, so there’s something in Tvarita that suggests that a threshold has been crossed, that there’s no going back now. When we enter into new phases and relationships, we can get caught up in our own mental spinnings–the shoulds and coulds, the regrets, guilt and fear. Paradoxically, all this thinking can really cloud our knowing. This shakti doesn’t carry the artificial weapons that many of the other goddesses have. She has no interest in man-made technology, borne of thought and analysis. All she needs to protect and guide her is her own wild instinct, represented by the screaming animals surrounding her.

When I was a sixteen year old girl, starting to go out to explore my own teenage wildness, my mother used to check in with me to make sure I had everything I needed to get home safe. She’d always end by asking, “Do you have your wits about you?” Wits: the ability to trust an instinct for what’s safe and what isn’t, to find your voice and scream out loud if needed, to access your own sense of power no matter what is going on around you. This may be your mightiest protective weapon, and you won’t find it in your purse or the back pocket of your jeans. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, who wrote Women Who Run with Wolves, would insist that it’s in your ovarios (ovaries) or cojones (testicles). Instinct isn’t mental or artificial, it’s physical, it’s real, it’s powerful, and it’s wild.


Sit or lie down and feel for the place where you get your gut instincts. If you can, put your hands on that spot, or, if you’re not sure, on your low belly. Breathe into your hands and do nothing but feel. As thoughts arise, re-anchor to the physical sensations in your body, and trust what you find there.

Writing prompt:

Freewrite: every sentence begins with the words “I know.”


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Writer, yoga teacher, studio owner.