A Kirtan in Sanskrit means “praise, eulogy” . It originates in India and has spoken only forms and the more “liberal” Eastern Indian sung forms. It is a call response form of expression of devotion, and is at its essence a ritual to the Gods. It is from a world of 100’s of millions of Hindus and some forms of Buddhism, who celebrate their spirituality through the Kirtan. Alliances between these forms of spiritual Pagan expression are flourishing on the West Coast of the USA. Polytheists find more similarities in their worship than the vast cultural differences between Eastern practice and Western Pagans. Relatively new to Midwest Pagans, but becoming increasingly popular in “New Age” and Yoga based communities, the Kirtan movement is growing. Neo-Pagan connections to call and response, and voice based devotional ritual seems a logical extension in the range of Pagan practice.
Sacred Harvest Festival guest, Yeshe Rabbit, brought this workshop as a taste of this form of expression. The workshop guided participants through, “… a magical progression to align body, mind, and spirit.” I was drawn in and enthralled by the magic of this workshop. The power of Rabbit’s voice was inspiring to festivants as the sound drifted through the village. The workshop participants were ecstatic afterwards, and bliss enveloped the village for the week. Jai Maa! *
Gift yourself seven minutes, close your eyes and join in the song as you hear the culmination of what was over a 90 minute ritual Kirtan.
Jai Maa : This is a call to the Divine Mother, ‘Maa,’ a singing of Her glory. Literally, ‘jai’ means ‘victory,’ although we often translate it as ‘hallelujah’ or ‘praises.’ Speaking ‘Jai Maa’ in puja (worship ceremony) is an affirmation of the Divine Mother’s blessings, a chant of gratitude for all Her gifts and the challenges She provides that help us grow spiritually.