Openers of the Way

Year of Creation: 2014

Dedicated Clergy:

Stella Iris RedRaven, High Priestess of Conscious Joy - dedicated to Ganesha
Q’desha Yansumi Diwata, High Priestess of Musical Ecstasy - dedicated to Ganesha
Jaina Bee, Priestx of the Eternal Now - dedicated to Ganesha

We are a group of CAYA Priestess/xes dedicated to Lord Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles, Lord of Categories. We strive to respectfully serve this Living God and to incorporate His Illustrious Qualities into our western pagan practice.

We enjoy laughing and eating together, and we do so in His honor. We believe that acts of festivity, hospitality, and generosity are appropriate forms of His worship. Ganesha, as the Opener of the Way, provides us access to the other Deities. This parallels our own mission as public priest/esses, to open the way for our coveners and congregants to interact with the Divine. Universally benevolent and beloved, Ganesh provides an easy and graceful way to bring the divine into the modern mundane world. As The Lord of Learning, He inspires us to study and refine our personal practices. Ganesh calls us to embody qualities of joyousness and robustness, and is responsive to any call of need. We ask Ganesh to aid our workings for prosperity, for ourselves individually and for our greater communities. We believe that His answering of our prayers is a sign of His acceptance of our devotion.

Sacred Texts

An Invocation to Lord Ganapati
Rig Veda 2.23.1

Aum gananAm tva ganapati havamahe
kavinkavInam upamashravastamam
jyeshtharajam brahmanam brahmanaspata
anah shrinvan nUtibhih sida sadanam

May we worship Ganapati,
the Protector of Noble People,
the Best Poet,
the Most Honorable,
the Greatest Ruler and
the Treasure of all Knowledge.

O Ganapati! Please listen to us
and take Your seat in our heart.

Bedtime Prayer (from Loving Ganesha, chapter 11)

Aum, Lord Ganesha, nightime is here and the moon is in the sky above, reminding me of Your crescent tusk. Remain with me, Ganesha, through the night, in my deepest sleep, in my inner experiences, as You have remained with me during my daytime, outer encounters. Let me never forget You, even in my dreams. May we as a family be guided by Your loving wisdom, even there. Ganesha sharanam, sharanam Ganesha.

Ganesh Invocation Song by Q'desha Yansumi Diwata

Om Jai Ganesha, Om Jai Ganesha
Om Jai Ganesha, Om Jai Ganesha

Om Gan Ganapatye Namaha
Mata Jaki Parvati Pita Mahadeva

Om Jai Ganesha, Om Jai Ganesha
Om Jai Ganesha Deva

Public and Private Works 2014

Publicly, we have held our first, hopefully annual, celebration in honor of Chathurti, the birthday celebration of Ganesh at the home of Jaina Bee. This house has been a celebration of art and hospitality for many years, and we were excited to bring our practice into this beautiful space. (Take a look!). Our Priestess, Q’desha Yansumi, created a gorgeous, four-armed plaster statue of the God, which was brought to life at the culmination of our ritual, on August 30, 2014. Leading up to that instantiation, we blessed the spirit of the neighborhood and of the city of San Francisco represented by a community garden, a local public school, and an amazing vista of the city. At that event, we held a potluck desert feast with many glorious offerings and two chocolate fountains. Also at this event, we raised $108 for CAYA clergy scholarships and the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

Privately, we come together over food and conversation, sharing prayers, songs, and stories. Our Priestx Jaina Bee, has provided for the adoption of 5 orphan elephants with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and we joyfully follow their progress here. We also have lead a workshop for CAYA Priest/ess/xes about public ritual performance techniques, drawing from our theatrical and choral backgrounds, and focusing on creating polished, welcoming, hospitable rituals. In the coming year, we hope to make groups visits to traditional temples in the Bay Area, as well as develop our own adapted puja/offering practice that we hold monthly.

Resources

Loving Ganesha, by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, published by the Himalayan Academy
Religious Therapeutics, by Gregory P. Fields
A doctoral thesis on the power of faith, devotion, and yoga to heal and make whole the psyche

The Himalayan Academy, an online resource for home practice and scholarship in Hindu tradition.

The webpage for a San Francisco store that hosts a publicly accessible shrine to Ganesh. (The owner of this shop also made a contribution of goods for our celebration in honor of Chathurti)

MC Yogi, a Bay Area musician who inspires and delights us.

A blog post written by the late Kellia Ramares-Watson, a local Hermes dedicant who attended our feast.