Shivaratri is an auspicious celebration in honor of Lord Shiva.
One of the mythological stories related to this festival involves Lord Shiva drinking the poison that was about to spill and destroy the Earth while they were “churning the ocean”. Lord Shiva is known and revered as Neelkanth when he shows himself in this form. Long ago the Gods and Demons joined together to find and obtain the sacred nectar of immortality known as Soma. While churning the ocean to find the nectar, other wonderful and not so wonderful items came before the nectar. One such gift was Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance and Dhanvantari, the lord of Ayurveda. However, a poison was also released during the churning which threatened the livelihood of planet Earth. Distraught and concerned over the poison killing all of mankind, Lord Shiva comes to the rescue as Neelkanth to take the poison and save the world.
As a consequence of drinking this poison, Shiva is terribly intoxicated and does not feel good. He goes into a terrible frenzy and rage. He is smart and does not swallow the poison but holds it in his throat By holding it in his throat the poison does not spread all over his body and kill him. He turns blue and hence his name Neelkanth, the blue throated one.
His unrest generates great distress and discomfort to him and other. However, hi beloved, Parvati,is able to appease him and calm him down. Lor Shiva is then able to turn the poison into nectar and then swallow it. This great feat turns into an all night celebration celebrated all over the world.
Shiva’s ability to transform the poison and save the world is a lesson: a profound and eternal teaching! Through Lord Shiva we learn that when poison, challenges, or obstacles present themselves we have the power to transform and digest them in a non-harmful way. To celebrate the New Moon, ask what kind of nectar you would like to invite into your life? What is your ability to not engage in the negative and hold on to the story but rather digest it, change it and drink the elixir? Enjoy the journey.