shiva opening ritual

Shiva Opening Rite
This basic opening rite establishes aspects of Shiva in each of the 4 cardinal points, the Upperworld, and the Netherworld, and proceeds to awaken the indwelling divinity by means of Nyasa and meditation. It can be used as a daily rite, as a preliminary to further magical work, and this basic format can be developed much further – one example being that it could be used to open puja on any of the aspects of Shiva as given below.


0. Salutation to Ganesha
1. Establishing the directions of Space
2. Nyasa
3. Self as Shiva
4. Suggested closing
The celebrant should begin the rite seated in a comfortable asana, having regulated breath and mind by any preferred method. The rite should begin in the East, and continue deosil, returning to the East for Nyasa and Meditation.

0. Opening Salutation to Ganesha

Om I bow to Ganesha
Om Ganapati Namah
1.Establishing The Directions of Space


East is the direction of beauty and the Sun. Bhava means “Existence” – he is the origin of all things. He protects the Vratyas (the wanderers, the excommunicated).

I bow to Shiva as Bhava, Existence. He is the nature of the life of the seven worlds. He is the one protector of the seven worlds. His consort is called Uma, the Peace-of-the-Night by Sages.


South is the direction of Sharva (The Archer) –The direction of death and the ancestors. He rules the infernal regions, and is Lord of the ghosts.

I bow to Shiva as Sarva, the Archer, the support of all life. The Nourisher who brings food. His arrows are the five senses. Aum is the bow. Atman is the arrow. Brahman is the target. Carefully should it be pierced.


West is the direction of Pashupati (Lord of Animals). God of Forests. He rules the powers of night and magic.

I bow to Shiva as Pashupati, the Lord of Animals, God of the Forests, the Herdsman, the giver of life. To the Yogi, he grants freedom from that-which-binds.


North is the direction ruled by Ugra (The Terrible), the direction of the Moon, where the intoxicating cup of soma is to be found. He is the god of wine.

I bow to Shiva as Ugra, the Terrible, the devourer of offerings, the self of the sacrificer, the great and fearful god known to the wise. He is lord of intoxication; the one who enjoys meat and wine.


Below – Rudra (Lord of Tears) – ruler of the nether regions, home of Titans and Demons.

I bow to Shiva as Rudra, the Lord of Tears, the Pervader, the life breath, the fire of destruction. To Sages, he is the Great Fear, the upraised Thunderbolt, the Howler. He is all that burns. He who sweeps away all beings.

Celestial World

Above – Ishvana – The Supreme Sovereign, ruler of the gods and the heavens.

Ishvana is sometimes copper-coloured. He is master of all knowledge.

I bow to Siva as Ishvana, the Ruler, who has five faces. Followed by the She-Goat he holds in his hands the scriptures, a goad, a noose, a hatchet, a skull, a drum, a rosary, a trident, and he shows the gestures of removing fear and granting boons.

2. Nyasa(Placing)

Clap the hands together, three times loudly. Place the hands on the respective parts of the body, saying:

Aum, I salute Shiva in my heart
Na, I salute Shiva on the crown of my head
Mo, I salute Shiva on the top of my forehead
Shi, I salute Shiva in my mouth
Va, I salute Shiva in my eyes
Ya, I salute Shiva in my lingam/yoni
Om Nama Shiva Ya
3. Union with Shiva

The celebrant should then meditate on her/himself as Shiva as the Mahadeva (Great God) for a space, until s/he decides to continue with whatever magical work he desires to perform. I would suggest that, if using the rite as a complete working in itself, or, as a transition to other acts of magic, the celebrant meditate upon her/himself as Shiva The Lord of Yoga – body is still as a rock, mind floating freely, like a leaf blown on the wind. Sitting calmly, at the centre of the Universe.

4. A Suggested Closing

Meditate for a period upon yourself as the Lord of Yoga. Then, facing East, bow and say:

I close this circle
May all experience peace, freedom and happiness
Om Shiva Shanti.

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