Fourteenth Night: Jvalamalani Nitya


 Jvalamalani Nitya: “Garland of Flames” 

Energy: internal wisdom, external action


Jvalamalani has six faces, and she carries in her twelve arms the noose and goad, a sword, a bow and arrows, a mace, a spear, a shield, a turtle, and a fire. Two of her hands are held up in abhaya mudra (fearlessness) and vara mudra (receptivity). This goddess, we learn from our text, may also confer upon us sudden fortuitous financial gain, so I get 10%, okay?

Now, we get back up from the bed, and pick up the many weapons and tools we need to continue moving through the world as separate beings. We’ve been through the ecstasy of connection and its transformative effects, but now we are on our own again, ready to face the world. Thank you for your lessons, now I need to move forward (“I’m something like you”).

A turtle is a particularly interesting weapon to wield. One of yoga’s fundamental practices is pratyahara, often translated as “withdrawing the senses,” and our turtle, with its home right there on its back, can simply withdraw into his shell whenever he needs to, even on the move. From the Tantric perspective, pratyahara isn’t about closing off to the world around us, but rather drawing the senses in closer to us. We use our sharpened yogi senses to experience our breath, our bodies, our thoughts, and the deeper and deeper states that come with the gift of having a body and consciousness, no matter what kind of craziness is trying to knock down the door.

The fire, on the other hand, is a transformative force of heat, movement, and change. Jvalamalani asks us to step out of the fantasyland of physical sexual connection and become an individual again, to use the energy cultivated through connection and our own internal practices to move forward, to get things done, even to change things. Melting into the other, resting in blissful moments, the practice of drawing in and finding quiet and space: these are all actions that can feed the fire that helps you get some shit done when it’s time. And it’s time.


Sit, lie down, or, if you like, do this one in Child’s Pose so that your body takes the shape of the inward turning turtle. Listen close to the sensations deep in your gut and the beat of your heart. Receive the messages of the ancient wisdom of your body.

Writing prompt:

Write down all the sensations you feel in your body. Use any and all words you can find in your vocabulary to describe what it feels like to be in this home, in this body, with no judgement around grammar or sense. Let your body talk to you, and write down the words. What wisdom is in there that has always been there, just waiting for you to slow down and hear it? What action is it asking you to take? What fires need stoking now?


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Writer, yoga teacher, studio owner.