Yoni Puja

In short and abstract terms, a Yoni Puja can be defined as a sacred ritual during which the yoni is worshipped. This can occur by using a sacred sculpture, a painting, or a sanctified natural object as focus of veneration, or by worshipping the yoni in her living form - with the help of a woman. In any case, the worshipper engages in one-pointed meditation on, or visualization of, the thus venerated representation of the Goddess. In practical reality, however, and in the religious practice that is still very much alive in present-day India, a Yoni Puja is a much more detailed.

Yoni Puja is subdivided into three categories, each of which can be indicated by one of the following terms: adoration, magic, and meditation; with the latter being the most secret one. Inner, in this context, refers to the fact that the practice is being done inside one’s head, using visualization, rather than visibly in the outer, material world. Outer, of course, then refers to a visible ritual of one or more persons before an object or a woman. The latter type of Yoni Puja is often performed in mixed groups, although sometimes only women or only men may be attending.

In an ordinary outer Yoni-puja, performed with a sculpture of the Devi (Skt., Goddess) or with a woman (Skt., stri) as her living representative, five liquids are poured over the Yoni. In literature, such libations are often simply interpreted as an offering to the divine, but the actual practice of a Yoni Puja shows that there is more involved than that. The five liquids, representing the five elements of Indian cosmology, are poured consecutively over the Yoni, and are collected in a vessel below the thighs.

The final mixture, resulting from the five libations and empowered by such direct and intimate contact with the (living) Goddess, is then consumed by those present at the ritual. This means that once these substances have been offered to Her, She, having purified and energized them, returns the offering as a gift (Skt., prasad) to her worshippers. In this system of associations, the element Earth is represented by yogurt, the element Water by actual water, Fire by honey, Air by milk; and Ether is represented by one or another type of edible oil.

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