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Tantrika Poetika

Games can provide us with valuable lessons.

I wanted to capture the innocence of exploration and the despair of life's more difficult outcomes.

Using the nostalgia of the humble "cootie catcher" or "fortune teller" from our playground days, I intended to convey our interactions with gods via yantras, and feelings / ideas through the elegance of Sanskrit. At the centre, we see fragments of poetry and hard insights.

Many of the words were titbits I had written throughout my journals and on my phone in disparate pieces. Some parts are paraphrased song lyrics or found in the grasping of passing blabberings.

Through the randomiser of the fortune teller format, I hope to combine different aspects of our existence into small, quiet, personalised journeys we can work through. The end result is both fun and reflective.

Below you can find some foundational information on the yantras, and translations of the Devanagari script used in the fortune teller.



Goddess who Paralyzes Enemies [Suspension]

Position: top left corner

  • Female form of the Mahavidyas | Personification of wisdom / science

  • Has 108 different names [sometimes 1108]

  • Associated with yellow / golden colour / turmeric

  • Praised as the giver of siddhis and riddhis; supernatural powers and prosperities / fortune

  • Smashes devotee's misconceptions and delusions [or devotee's enemies] with her cudgel

  • Has three eyes to symbolise she can impart ultimate knowledge to the devotee

  • Slayer of the demon, Madan who troubled and murdered humans


God of Wisdom, New Beginnings, and Luck [Remover of Obstacles]

Position: top right corner

  • One of the most beloved, most worshipped deities of the Hindu pantheon

  • Patron of arts / sciences | Deva of intellect / wisdom

  • Popularly worshipped as a remover of obstacles but his dharma is to both remove and create obstacles; will place obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked. Hence, he is often worshipped before beginning anything new

  • Elephant-headed and rides a mouse or rat

  • Associated with the muladhara / root chakra, thereby associated with governing the forces that propel the wheel of life


Sacred Instrument representing Shiva & Shakti [Totality of the Cosmos]

Position: bottom right corner

  • All other yantras derive from Sri Yantra

  • Represents Goddess Lalita Tripura Sundari [Natural Beauty of the Three Worlds | Mother Goddess | Governess of the Universe] in Sri Vidya school of Hinduism

  • Ultimate Shakti of the universe [Supreme consciousness] - regarded above the Trimurti

  • Composed of 9 interlocking triangles; 4 upward [Shiva] and 5 downward [Shakti] around the cosmic centre [bindu]

  • Triangles are circumscribed by 2 concentric circles - blooming out to form 2 lotus flowers, composed of 8 & 16 petals. These symbolise creation and reproductive vital force

  • 4 openings to the regions of the universe


Goddess of Self-Sacrifice [She Whose Head is Severed]

Position: bottom left corner

  • One of the Mahavidyas [10 Tantric Goddesses]

  • Ferocious aspect of Mahadevi [Mother Goddess | Supreme Goddess | Lalita Tripura Sundari]

  • Self-decapitated, nude, stands on copulating couples

  • Goddess of contradictions; life-giver & life-taker | embodiment of sexual energy & sexual self-control | self-destruction & self-realization | death & recreation

  • red as the hibiscus flower or as bright as a million suns, representing both the fire element and purity

  • wears a mundamala [a garland of skulls]

  • Reputation of being dangerous to approach and worship; yogis and world renouncers are safest in their ability to meditate on her and use her icon

Sanskrit | Devanagari Script

[General Definitions]

क्षान्ति Kshanti | kṣānti : patience | strength of patience | forbearance | forgiveness | tranquillity | endurance | equanimity [top left corner]

तेजस् Tejas : brightness | fire | illumination | radiant energy | vitality | inner power | one of the five gross elements that make up the body in Samkhya philosophy [top left corner]

भव Bhava : worldly existence | becoming | birth | production | origin | habitual or emotional tendencies | experience | occurring | state of existence [top right corner]

इच्छा Icchā : wish | desire | longing | inclination of the mind | will | the power of will | willingness [top right corner]

स्वाध्याय Svādhyāya : self-study | one's own reading / lesson | self-reflection | introspection | spiritual education | one of the three key elements in the practice of yoga as defined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali [bottom right corner]

धारणा Dhāraṇā : concentration | collection of the mind [joined with breath retention] | maintaining | supporting | holding steady | single focus | sixth of the Eight Limbs of Yoga as outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali [bottom right corner]

स्वतन्त्रता Svatantratā : chainless | free | independence | originality | uncontrolled | self-sufficient | wilfulness | one's own doctrine [bottom left corner]

वीर्य Vīrya : diligence | enthusiasm | effort | engagement | exertion | persevering | persistence | state of a strong human [bottom left corner]

I always find that pedalling through Sanskrit definitions offers me intriguing angles and approaches to concepts. I love the associative links it creates in my brain.

With this key, unlock the interactive poem / fortune teller. Find gods and wisdoms in dark corners.

Download it for free, or if you feel so inclined, drop me a donation. Stay Strong.

🎨/📷 Sakti Yantra. The three sides of the yoni, the primordial triangle, creative matrix of the cosmos, stand for the three qualities composing material nature: sattva, the ascending quality, seen as white; rajas, the kinetic quality, seen as red; tamas, the descending quality or inertia, seen as black. Rajasthan, c. 17th century


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