Rivers of the Goddess
An excerpt from “Spiritual Bathing” by Rosita Arvigo
Rosita Arvigo has revived the art of Spiritual Bathing for many, fortunate students. Based on the transmissions she received from Mayan Elder and shaman Don Elijio Panti, she has taught us to gather flowers and water in a sacred manner and to cleanse and bless our bodies and souls. In her book Spiritual Bathing, she portrays the practice of spiritual bathing as it has developed over the centuries, in many cultures world-wide. She has given us permission to share this excerpt on the Sacred River.
Hindu philosophy proposes that the flow of human thought is or should be like a river, flowing from a higher to a lower plane. Every time the mind makes an effort to go within, back to its source, it is a moment of meditation. In that attempt are all creative beginnings made. Rivers are bridges between heaven and earth, the human and the divine.…
Like the Inca, the Egyptians, the Kabbalists, and others, the Hindus view rivers as vessels for sacred and cleansing spiritual energy. Three great rivers of the Indian subcontinent – the all-powerful Ganges; the Yamuna, which flows out from the Himalayas past Krishna’s birthplace at Mathura; and Saraswati, the eternal, mythical river of knowledge that is said to have disappeared from the earth and to have gone underground-and a host of other waters are personified as deities and honored for their life-giving qualities. In all, India has seven rivers, often called the Seven Gangas, that supply its vast lands with sacred waters.
The Ganges is known as Ganga Mai – Mother Ganges. She is both the personification of the goddess Ganga and the spiritual artery of India. Normally beneficent, in times of rain she may swell to life-threatening proportions.
To a Hindu, the greatest goal is to be thrown into the Ganges after death or to have one’s ashes spread on the body of the Mother so as to b e reunited and in a state of complete oneness with her spirit. This fulfills the ultimate objective, moksha, the forgiveness that brings liberation from the cycle of incarnation that is seen as a burden and a difficult passage.
Water from the Ganges purifies gods, people, and anything else with which it is combined; it is the spiritual elixir of the Hindus. Her liquid feminine energy absorbs spiritual pollution and carries it away. The waters of the Ganges are identified with the milk of mother cows and referred to as “mother” when being sipped by devout Hindus.
Devotees carry home Ganges water in jugs. The water is to be present at any priestly ritual and, ideally, at every puja or worship ceremony at home or in a temple. On such occasions, the water is sometimes held in a conch shell just like the shell that Devi holds in one of her many hands. At funerals, a little of the water is sprinkled on the body before cremation.
For those fortunate enough to bathe in her, the Ganges confers a divine blessing. There is also an element of forgiveness of sins or wrongdoing bestowed upon those who bathe in the Ganges.
Dr. Arvigo has lived among the Maya in San Ignacio, Belize for the past thirty-five years. She had a thirteen-year apprenticeship to one of the last Maya shamans, Don Elijio Panti. Not only has Rosita’s life’s work helped to keep Maya medicine alive, but she has been instrumental in cataloging and preserving thousands of healing plants and trees of Belize. She teaches extensive courses on Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy and Maya Spiritual Bathing. For more information about Dr. Arvigo please visit her website. We are privileged to have a live teleseminar with Rosita on June 24th. Information is available on our Teleseminars Page (recording available afterwards).