Below are traditional yantra designs available as stickers, posters and individually commissioned paintings.
Ganesha, Lord of Beginnnings
Ganesha is one of the best-known, most beloved, and most widely worshipped of Hindu Deities. He is revered as remover of obstacles, lord of beginnings, master of categories, patron of arts and sciences, Deva of intellect and wisdom, son of Siva and Parvati. This elephant-headed Deva is honored at the beginning of all Hindu rituals and worshipped by Jyotishis (Astrologers), artists and writers.
The 10 Mahavidyas (Wisdom Goddesses)
- Kali Kali
- Tara Tara
- Tripura-Sundari Tripura-Sundari
- Bhuvaneshvari Bhuvaneshvari
- Cinnamasta Cinnamasta
- Bhairavi Bhairavi
- Dhumavati Dhumavati
- Bagalamukhi Bagalamukhi
- Matangi Matangi
- Kamala Kamala
One of Tantra's defining features is a delightful engagement of the manifest world through an energetic approach to the spiritual path. Tantrikas recognize the universe itself as divine, conscious, and ultimately as non-different from one's own essence nature. Certain aspects of divine consciousness are recognized as having distinctive personalities and have come to be know as the Ten Wisdom Goddesses. A Guru may assign one of these deities to a student as a 'Tutelary Deity' to help them on their path to enlightenment. This journey may be pleasant (Kamalamika) or perilous (Chinnamasta) but the destination is the same. Like people, these goddesses have over-lapping skills and personality traits, even as they rul different aspects of reality. Taken together, they represent and encompass the whole of creation, yet each is complete in and of herself.
Kali is first of the Wisdom Goddesses and embodies power of action. “Kala” means “Time,” so she is recognized as both the creatrix and destroyer of the manifest universe. She is associated with the Air element as welll as Space, Chaos and the color black. Kali is said to have a mirror-like quality and all the Wisdom Goddesses are understood to be aspects of her totality. Though she is commonly portrayed as Shiva's fearsome and wrathful consort, bliss and beauty are also expressions of her play, revealed to those who overcome their attachments and fear of death.
Tara is the Saviouress, the Guru, a goddess of Knowledge. In her wrathful form, she is often mistaken for Kali, dark in complexion and standing on a corpse. She is worshipped in many other colorful forms throughout Asia, including the benevolent Green Tara. She is associated with sound, breath, and the mantra “Om.” She is also known as Gauri (the White One), and Nila (blue) Saraswati. She is associated with the Navel center of the body. Said to come whenever sincerely called, her Sadhana (worship) is said to be easiest of the ten goddesses.
Tripura Sundari is the beauty of the three worlds. She is also known as Lalita, 'she who plays.' She is portrayed carrying a sugarcane bow, fie flower-arrows (representing the five senses) and sitting on a throne held up by Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, and Indra! Sundari is both supreme rule and a sixteen year-old girl on the cusp of womanhood. She is associated with beauty of pure perception when awareness finds delight in everything and joy in perception itself. She is associated with the crown chakra.
Bhuvaneshvari is Queen of the Universe and Goddess of Space. She is located everywhere, but most associated with the heart chakra. Hers is the power of Love, as well as the peace and equanimity that is found in the open space of divine love. She is also the power that measures the universe, and when only part of her totality is recognized she is known as Maya, the divine illusion. She is Voidness as the cosmic womb, known in the Vedas as the Mother Goddess Aditi. The universe is her body and all the beings within it are her ornaments.
Tripura Bhairavi is the Warrior Goddess. She is terrifying and beautiful, red and fiery. Hers is the power of divine anger and wrath. Her wrath is not random; it is like that of a protective mother and directed toward our impurities. She is Tapas, the fierce form of transformational heart, a term used to describe disciplined Yogic practice. Whe is also known as Kundalini (in its awakened form), the victorious Durga (which is why she carries no weapons) and the consort of Rudra (the ancient wrathful form of Shiva). She is fire, lightning, and the Sun. Bhairavi is associated with the root chakra.
Chinnamasta is consciousness beyond the mind. Perhaps the most disturbing of all the goddesses, “Chinnamasta” literally means “a severed head.” She is invoked to destroy the greatest demon of all, the personal Ego. Worshipped by warriors before battle, she embodies the selfless sacrifice which nourishes all beings. She is the great Yogini, sought by those who wish yogic and occult powers. It is said that her sadhana is lightning path, the fastest and most dangerous. She is widely worshipped by both Hindus and Tantric Buddhists, who also call her Chandika, Indrani, and Vajra Dakini. She represents the opened Third Eye, the destruction of all negativity and duality.
Dhumavati is the Grandmother Spirit, the ancestral guide who bestows the lessons of birth and death. She is the primordial darkness, the original chaos underlying creation, silence itself. “Dhuma” means “smoke,” and hers is the power of ignorance, obscuration, loss, humiliation, suffering and loneliness. Yet she is also the bliss of forgetting, and grants the powers of patience, perseverance, forgiveness, and detachment. She shows us the shadows so that we are no longer hypnotized by the light. She is Shakti with no Shiva, the pure feminine principle portrayed as an impoverished widow in rags, representing freedom from all attachments. Her spirit looms behind everything.
Bagalamukhi is the hypnotic power of the Goddess. Her terrifying beauty stuns or leaves others dumbstruck. If the nature of the universe is vibration, hers is the ultimate power of stillness. Commander of the Divine Army, she is the power of speech that leaves others silent, the one who ends all confusion and conflict, the one who crushes all illusions and false constructions. As a goddess of Yoga, she is the self-awareness which grants mastery of our own thoughts and energy, and it is said that her devotees gain magical powers. Her location in the body is the soft palate, the middle point between the senses of the eyes, ears, nose, and tongue.
Matangi is Divinity expressed. She is the Tantric form of Saraswati, bestower of knowledge, talent, and expertise, goddess of music, art, and poetry. “Mata” means “a thought” and thus the power of divinity which has entered into the mind. “Mata” also means “wild” and she is playful, mystical and ecstatic. An impure outcast (or renunciate), she is associated with wild animals (especially elephants and parrots) as well as nature itself. As Guru and Minister, she has power over communication and all mantras. Matangi is associated with the throat chakra and at the tip of the tongue, where we are able to taste the essence of things.
Kamalamika is the Lotus Goddess of Delight, last of the Wisdom Goddesses. The Tantric form of Lakshmi, she is wealth, beauty, fertility, love, and devotion. Kamala governs the outer form of beauty as the full unfolding of Divinity. She is the true wealth of generosity, that which cannot be taken away, the abundant nature of the universe itself. Also, known as Venus and Bhu Devi, she may appear as Kali to remove our heads if we become attached to her delights. Yet when we surrender our desires into the eternal reality, Kali may appear as Kamala to fulfill our deepest yearning. Her location in the body is our heart chakra. All forms of devotion and worship are aspects of Her.
The 9 Grahas (Heavenly Bodies)
- Sun Sun
- Moon Moon
- Mars Mars
- Mercury Mercury
- Jupiter Jupiter
- Venus Venus
- Saturn Saturn
- Rahu Rahu
- Ketu Ketu
The Astrology of India is called Jyotisha, a Sanskrit word formed by the root jyot “light” and isha “ruler.” So it is the study of the rules of light. Jyotisha is based on phenomena visible to the human eye, of which nine are most prominent: the Nava Grahas. Many Hindus think of them as nine planets, but only five are actual Planets. The word nava means “nine,” while graha comes from the Sanskrit root grih which means “to seize” or “to take hold of.” These Grahas are therefore the nine powerful influences that typically manifest in our behavior as reactive patterns. They are visible as the Sun, the Moon the visible Planets, and the Lunar Nodes (which are only visible during eclipses). How the Grahas are positioned in the sky at the time of our birth is a karmic map, though spiritual work allows one to enter into a dynamic relationship with these powerful influences. One aim of Yogic practice is the be in complete harmony with planetary energies and express the expansive virtues of one's karmas.
Surya is also known as the Sun. As the source of light and center around which all the Planets (Grahas) revolve, he is regarded as the “king” among the Planets (Grahas). He represents the Higher Self (Atman), Willpower, Purpose, Aughority, Government, and Masculinity in general. Surya presides over Sunday and rules the sign Leo. Surya is associated with Gold, Brass, Wheat, Rubies, and the color Red. He is said to be hot and harsh, but not truly malefic like his son Saturn. Our Sun sign gives insight into how we appear in the world.
Chandra is also known as Soma and the Moon. Often referred to as the “Queen” among the Planets (Grahas), Chandra represents the Emotional Mind (Manas), Memory, Intuition, Women, Femininity, and Fertility. Chandra is nourishing in nature, presides over Monday and rules the sign Cancer. Chandra is associated with Liquids, Pearl, Moonstone, Silver, Rice, and the color White. In Vedic (Indian) Astrology, greater emphasis in placed on Lunar compatibility than on Solar, to ensure an emotionally harmonious relationship.
Mangala, also known as Mars, is the 'commander-in-chief' among the Planets (Grahas). Mars repersents Action, Courage, Initiative, Strength, Ego, and Passion. Mars was born of the sweat from Shiva's brow, presides over Tuesday, and rules the signs Aries and Scorpio. He is associated with Sports, Competition, War, Cuts, Burns, Blood, Red Coral, and Copper. Mars can be cruel, but also constructive 'when he puts down his bloody sword and builds.'
Shukra is also known as Venus. He is considered the “Minister or Courtier” of the Planets (Grahas). Shukra presides over Friday, and rules over the signs Taurus and Libra. Though he is Guru of the Asuras (Demons), he is considered benefic, exemplifying Love, Beauty, Grace, Wealth, Sexuality, Creative Talents, and the Fine Arts. Shukra is associated with Harmony, Romance, Pleasure, Diplomacy, Fine Vehicles, Diamonds, and the color White or Opalescent.
Budha is also known as Mercury. Not to be confused with the historical Buddha, he is considered Prince of the planetary cabinet. He presides over Wednesday, and rules the signs Gemini and Virgo. Budha represents Intelligence, Learning, Teaching, Speech, Expression, Communication and Writing. He is associated with Scholarship, Mathematics, Joking, Logic, Commerce, the Nervous System, Emerald, and Brass. He is said to be fickle or even dualistic in nature and influenced by other nearby Planets (Grahas).
Brihaspati is also known as Jupiter. Brihaspati is known as “the Savior” or “the Guru,” presides over Thursday, and rules over the signs Sagittarius and Pisces. He was born human and attained his position by performing penances. As Guru of the Devas (Gods), he exemplifies Wisdom, Philosophy, Council, Religion and Charity. Brihaspati is also identified with Faith, Ritual, Optimism, Law, Expansiveness, Morality, Children, Wealth, Good Fortune, Fat, the metal Gold, the color Yellow, and his gemstones are Yellow Topaz and Yellow Sapphire.
Shani is also known as Saturn. Though called the “Servant” of the nine Planets (Grahas), he can be the strongest malefic or greatest benefactor. Shani presides over Saturday and rules the signs Capricorn and Aquarius. Often associated with Consequences, Shani gives uf the results of our deeds; his actions are not arbitrary. He is associated with Patience, Old Age, Grief, Fear, Tradition, Renunciation, Death, Endurance, Slowness, Bones, Iron, Blue Sapphire, Black (or purple, or dark blue), as well as Restricitons and Misfortunes.
Rahu is Lord of the Ascending / North Lunar Node, one of the “Shadowy Planets.” Rahu is described as the head of a demonic snake that swallows the Sun or Moon, causing eclipses. Rahu is mysterious and often acts like nearby Planets (Grahas), but is generally associated with Ilusion (Maya), Ambition, Foreigners, Chaos, Falsehood, Insanity, Reptiles, Poisons, Addiction, the gem Hessonite, and the metal Lead.
Ketu is Lord of the Desdending ? South Luna Node, one of the “Shadowy Planets.” He is described as Rahu's other half, tail of a demonic snake that swallows the Sun or Moon, causing eclipses. Ketu is very mysterious and often acts like nearby Planets (Grahas), but is generally associated with Spiritual Liberation (Moksha), Mysticism, Austerities, Silence, Occultism, Mental Instability, Insects, Vultures, Viruses, Parasites, and the gem Chrysoberyl (Cat's Eye).
Other Deities (Mahadevas)
Gayatri is the goddess of Radiance, Learning and Enlightenment, associated with the Sun and light in general. She is the wife of Brahma, the creator, and it is said she is the only goddess who spins no illusions! This is the deity associated with the famous Gayatri mantra, used by both Hindus and Buddhists.
Krishna is an avatar of Vishnu, associated with romance, beauty, play, and pleasure. He is one of the main characters of the seminal Hindu text called the Bhagavadgita. The famous Maha Mantra, known in the West as Hare Krishna belongs to him. Though in modern times his is portrayed as almost child-like, Krishna was also a king and a warrior. Of the three main Hindu Devas (deities) responsible for creation, maintenance, and dissolution, Vishnu (thus Krishna) is known as the Sustainer. Krishna is usually invoked though Bhakti Yoga, the path of devotion.
Durga sprang from the combined wrath of the gods to conquer Mahishasura, a demon who embodied the energy of Lust. She is identified with fierce compassion as well as beauty, poise, humor and patience. She rides a tiger or lion, symbolic of her power and fearlessness. In some myths, she is associated with Parvati (Shiva’s consort). In other traditions, she is recognized as Maha Lakshmi (Vishnu's consort). She is considered to the most powerful form of divinity, Shakti personified, carrying weapons of all the gods (devas), as well as a lotus and conch.
Sri is the most famous of all Yantra. It is said to carry the energy of the manifest universe itself, the diversity, vibration, expansion and contraction of everything. Sri is a general term for the Goddess, and often used as an honorific title. Though this yantra technically belongs to Tripura Sundari, it is also used for Lalita and Lakshmi. Whole books have been written about it. Each and every point is associated with a specific mantra, and the yantra itself is loaded with meaning. It can be used as a model of the universe, of the human body, and of the legendary mount Meru, upon which Shiva resides. This particular design is based on an old manuscript from Kashmir.
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