|Sadhana means "holy action". This may be performed
once in the case of a prayoga, or spell of sorts, or
it may be performed many days in a row for a special favor
from a deity. These complex set of puja are Tantrik method.
This implies a magickal intention, and to be getting
something in particular from the deity worshipped. as such,
the ritual is more complex than the simple puja.
There are NUMEROUS different ways this can be done for special intentions of all sorts. I am describing the most basic form.
This ritual is done at night. Starting at 10:00 p.m. local time, take a ritual bath. This is done in exactly the same way as the simple puja as is the same for Wicca, including Samkhya Wicca. A bath is prepared to the temperature of your liking. It is scented with essential oils or bath salts. The person sits in the tub, relaxes, clarifies their mind for the purpose of the ritual, and gets in the mood for it. This can be done with the lights dimmed or with candlelight, if preferred.
Loose clothing of an appropriate color for the deity involved is worn.
The ritual area is swept, and perhaps otherwise cleaned. It must be free of debris, dirt, and clutter.
The altar is set up. An altar cloth of an appropriate color for the primary deity worshipped is used. A small wooden table with one candle, statue of the god or goddess to be worshipped, one of Shiva and one of Ganesha as well. A yantra or symbol for the deity primarily worshipped is used. These may be found in any of numerous sites or books about various Gods, or you can even make one up. 2 pieces of cloth, essential oil, flowers, incense, potable water, food for offering, and a musical instrument. None of this has to be elaborate. Or, a small area on a floor or the ground will do nicely as well. The altar may stay up, or it may be taken down when not in use, as per needs and preference.
The working area is not of a set size. It should accommodate a circle large enough for the participant and the altar. As this is normally done solitary, the circle may be as small as about 4 ft in diameter. The size should make it feel "cozy" and "intimate" with the person celebrating.
I have already discussed the time and preparation, and the one meal to be eaten during the day. That meal should be eaten after sunset or before sunrise. There are particular days that are auspicious to various deities.
After the ritual is started, it is not permissible to leave the circle for ANY reason! Any actions of "creature comfort" must be done before, or put off until the ritual is complete. Otherwise, the whole thing doesn't count. The whole sadhana has to be restarted at an auspicious time!
As you go through these mantras, you will no doubt stumble over one or two. It's no matter. Just restart that mantra.
Once you have started a mala of 100ish mantras, you may not adjust your posture, scratch an itch, take a sip of water, or the like. If you NEED to make these adjustments, you may restart that mala. You may adjust your posture or scratch itches, or the like between malas. Once in awhile, after you've just said a particular mantra several hundred times, you'll find that you've forgotten the mantra! This is just Goddess testing you. Either remember it or refer to where you've got it written on a piece of paper you have inside the circle.
Do not be alarmed if you see or hear things outside your circle. Sometimes these things happen. Just ignore them. If you fear that something will get into your circle, you may, between malas, sprinkle some water toward the direction from which you feel the threat.
For a multi-day sadhana, one is to sleep on the floor or ground, and alone. Sex is completely forbidden. This includes with another person which includes your spouse as well as yourself.
Women are forbidden from participating in sadhana during menstration. Yes, this precludes premenopausal women from doing the long sadhanas.
Tantrik deities are not as kind and forgiving as the Wiccan view of gods. The same methods do NOT work with Tantra that work for typical Wicca worship. The rules are for a reason. They keep the power and energies focused in a particular direction. If the rules are disregarded, the sadhana can either fail, or work in reverse, or work in some unexpected way, or work on someone other than for which it was intended.
The purpose of this Tantrik ritual here is for some comparison and contrast. Some elements of the form are quite similar to Wicca. I found it remarkably so when I first encountered a Tantrik ritual. Yet, in subtle ways, they are quite different. The rules are MUCH stricter in Tantra. I've gotten into some slight trouble by attempting to do Tantrik rituals with a Wiccan outlook. I discovered this was wrong rather quickly! Right hand Tantra has a lot of rules and left hand Tantra has fewer. I have not discussed left hand Tantra. It has fewer rules, although the ones there are tend to be stricter even than right hand Tantra. However, it is much easier to harm yourself or others with left hand Tantra. It's much more likely to backfire or work in reverse. As such, if you want to learn left hand Tantra, it is imperative to have a teacher who is with you in real life.
I am also attempting to show what Tantra is - and is not. Yes, it is magick. Yes, it is powerful. Yes, it works! But, it is certainly not a "license" for wild sex and drugs. Those rumors about Tantriks were, I believe, started for the same reasons that all sorts of things are said about Wicca that are not true. It's fear of the unknown, and fear that someone is going to step outside the approved envelope.