On Discipline, and Doing It Right

"A life of discipline is not an easy life, but it is a joyous one, with many soul-satisfying rewards." -- Satguru Sivaya SubramuniyaswamiThe above quote I found at the blog, Yatra. I've been enjoying reading around in the small community of white Western Hindus. It seems to be a very communal and supportive group of people. Most people are drawn to all that is Indian; others find God in the Hindu tradition and find other aspects of the culture that way. Most seem to be far more interested in … [Read more...]

Reach out and touch faith

I don't know if it's the time spent in the Christian world or the time spent in the pagan world that makes me think I need to have a Personal Relationship with the Divine.In the Evangelical Christian world it's all about one's personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As hard as I tried I never felt close to Jesus. I felt more connected to the abstract, supposedly more transcendent Great Big God than I did to the incarnated Son. Perhaps it was because I felt that God was already imminent and … [Read more...]


Bonalu is a holiday celebrating Kali and the Dark Mother. My understanding is that it's observed over the course of four Sundays, but as the Hindu calendar is lunar the months shift and I'm not clear on exactly what occurs when. Bonalu celebrations, from what I've read, involve a procession of decorated pots containing a sweet rice dish that are offered to Kali. Women carrying the pots often enter into a trance state from the drumming and chanting, and observers throw water on the women's feet  … [Read more...]

And…. we’re back! Back to the middle

Over the weekend my family went on a short vacation to visit friends in France. Traveling as a foursome is such an exhausting task. Before leaving I asked Ganesha for a safe journey to and from our destination; I left miniature roses on the altar plate. With me I took two small, easily portable items from my altar: the plastic tiger for Ma Durga and a bottle of oil for Kali Ma. When we arrived at the house we were staying in, I pulled them out of my bag, kissed them, and stuck them on the night … [Read more...]


I love altars. I love iconography, statues, all the sacred arts. So of course I was excited about creating an altar for this quarter of my project.This is my altar before I started:  You can see on the left I have a few Christian items: a glow-in-the-dark plastic statue of the Virgin Mary (because it's fab), an icon of the Theotokos, and a little match box icon of Jesus.Next, a hand decorated votive holder.A pretty wooden star I found when we settled in Wales. A beautiful earthenware … [Read more...]

A book review of sorts

I am swimming in a sea of words. It's been a long time since I've been this engrossed in anything, which is saying a lot as technically I'm a PhD student. I am reading through blogs by white Western Hindu practitioners and a couple of books by academics (who often are practitioners as well). I'll link to some of my recent favorites in a moment. First I'd like to start off with the problematic.One book in particular sent me into an angry fit: Alain Daniélou's Virtue, Success, Pleasure, … [Read more...]

In which I trust that my confusion is actually a good thing

I'm discovering that the realities of my life don't mesh so well with the ambitions of my project. This is not a surprise. When I began my own ashram project I knew there would be difficulties, I just wasn't entirely sure what they would be. For example, having guests - a very needed interruption in my and my family's life - means that doing morning yoga is out of the question due to the way space gets configured. I've already written about some of the challenges on my path so far. What I'm … [Read more...]