Mantra recitation has been used for thousands of years to bring devotees and seekers closer to the Goddess. It is said that Sanskrit mantras and the "seed syllable" sounds they contain not only invoke the Goddess, they actually ARE the Goddess. So by reciting aloud a mantra sacred to the Goddess, you have already made Her manifest in the room with you! (Granted, the Goddess is not only everywhere always, but IS everything, everywhere. Nonetheless, when She's "present", there's a difference.)
Below is a list of some of the major Goddesses (all emanations of the One Goddess) of the Hindu tantric tradition, Her major attributes, why one would invoke Her, and Her seed syllable and mantra(s).
When you invoke the Goddess in mantra, She cannot do other than hear you, and come to you in love to assist you.
The information below mostly comes from:
"Awakening Shakti" by Sally Kempton,
published by Sounds True Publications,
and from "Shakti Mantras" by Thomas Ashley-Farrand,
published by Ballentine Books.
Gayatri is depicted with five heads, those of Lakshmi, Durga, Saraswati, Radha and Bhu Devi. (Radha is the Goddess of spiritual bliss and Bhu Devi is the Goddess of the Shakti of the Earth.) Her mantra is considered "the" Gayatri mantra, even though each individual Goddess has Her own version of a Gayatri mantra. The Gayatri mantra is considered a master mantra, and is referred to by Thomas Ashley-Farrand as the "essence of all mantras." There is no other mantra that has the power and efficacy of this one.
The Gayatri mantra begins by clearing the seven major chakras (or lokas) of blockages, and finishes with a plea to all the enlightened beings in all the realms to clear away all obstacles to our understanding. It is a mantra that is used by Hindu practitioners and Bhuddists alike to clear away "drip" (a Tibetan term for spiritual obstacles) and energize all our physical and subtle bodies with Shakti. It's a little longer than the other ones I've posted, but if you have a free afternoon it is possible to memorize. You can also copy it on a small card or print it out and carry it with you.
The Gayatri Mantra:
Om Bhur Om Bhuvaha Om Swaha
Om Maha Om Janaha Om Tapaha Om Satyam
Om Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yonaha Prachodayat
Om Bhur The earth plane (1st chakra)
Om Bhuvaha The Atmospheric plane (2nd chakra)
Om Swaha The Solar region (3rd chakra)
Om Maha The first spiritual realm beyond the sun -- Heart (4th chakra)
Om Janaha The second spiritual region beyond the sun: power of the Word (5th chakra)
Om Tapaha The third spiritual region beyond the sun: realm of highest spiritual understanding an individual can achieve (6th chakra)
Om Satyam The abode of supreme truth: merging into the Goddess (7th chakra)
Om Tat Savitur Varenyam That realm of truth which is beyond human comprehension
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi In that place where all the celestials of all the spheres have...
Dhiyo Yonaha Prachodayat ... received enlightenment, kindly enlighten our intellect.
---With gratitude to Thomas Ashley-Farrand, who spent many years
contemplating the Divine Feminine.
Copyright © Earth Goddess Church
Most invocational mantras follow a similar form with four parts. To illustrate let us consider the mantra to Ma Durga, Om Dum Durgayei Namaha. (explained more fully below.)
The four parts are:
1. Salutation to the Infinite Source of all, Om (or Aum, an alternative spelling).
2. Seed Syllable which is the totality of the Goddess in sound (in this case, Dum).
3. The name and/or title of the Goddess (here, Durgayei, the name Durga with a common honorific suffix, Yei)
4. The Statement of the intention of the mantra, which is frequently either Swaha -- sometimes spelled Svaha -- or Namaha.
Namaha means, "I bow to You." It is appropriate for any mantra where one wants to express devotion or thanksgiving. Svaha is also an indication of salutation and devotion, but also with the meaning of, "So be it." It is appropriate for any mantra which is used to bring an intention into being, or when we are asking the Goddess for a blessing. It is said that the use of Swaha implies that we are willing to make a sacrifice or offering in order for this blessing or intention to come to pass.
This mantra form starts with the Infinite and Formless, Mother Shakti. With the seed syllable it brings focus down to the transpersonal, the archetypal form of energy the invoked Goddess embodies. The specific name and/or honorific and/or title of the Goddess clarifies the focus of our perception of the Goddess. Each of Her names unveils to us one of Her infinite forms of power and beauty. And the closing affirmation shows our purpose in using the mantra, be it to honor her or to receive Her blessing.
Invoke Kali for:
transformative strength, burning limitations and karmic veils
purifying the inner body and the chakras
letting go of outmoded structures or egoic tendencies
seeing into the mysteries of life and death
fast track, industrial-strength burning up of karma and spiritual progress
Mantra for Relief from Difficult Circumstances:
Aum klim kalikayei namaha
(Om and salutations. I attract She who is dark and powerful.)
Mantra for the Most Powerful and Fastest Spiritual Progress:
Aum hrim shrim klim adya kalika param eswari swaha
(Om and salutations to She who is the first one, dark within her own reality, the supreme primordial feminine, who cuts through illusion to the unabridged truth of existence.)
The use of the above mantra won't be the gentlest way to walk your path, but it will be the fastest.
Invoke Saraswati for:
musical and creative skill
aid in learning, study, memory
skill and eloquence in speaking or writing
Aum aim hrim saraswatyai namaha
(Om, I bow to the flowing one whose essence is wisdom and the power to manifest).
Invoke Bhuvaneshwari for:
the peace that arises when your consciousness expands infinitely
the compassion you feel when you recognize that all beings are part of one cosmic body
identifying yourself with the earth and all living things
gaining a higher more panoramic perspective of any situation or reality
Aum shrim hrim shrim bhuvaneshwarayai namaha
(Om, I offer salutations to the auspicious Lady of Space, manifestor of worlds).
Invoke Durga for:
physical, mental and emotional strength
personal empowerment, standing up for yourself, will power
overcoming or dissipating one's inner "demons" (anger, jealosy, feelings of deprivation, etc.)
Dum -- a one-word mantra praising Durga as pure strength
Invocational Mantra (General Protection):
Aum dum durgayei namaha
(Om, I bow to the one who overcomes all difficulties).
Greater Protection for More Extreme Circumstances:
Aum aim hrim klim chamundayei viche svaha
(I bow to the destroyer of ignorance and duality).
Aum aim hrim klim chamundayei viche namaha
(Om and salutations to She who is radiant with power and wisdom.)
This last mantra is effective to dispel lack of self-worth, eating disorders and anxiety.
Invoke Lakshmi for:
improving your luck
feeling good about yourself
every kind of happiness and blessing
every kind of abundance
gratitude and contentment
Shrim -- Auspiciousness.
Aum shrim maha lakshmyei namaha
(Om, I offer salutations to the great goddess of good fortune)
Mantra for Abundance/Financial Prosperity:
Aum shrim maha lakshmiyei swaha
(Om and salutations to She who provides abundance. )
This mantra should be practiced intensely for at least forty days. It may also endow you with other forms of abundance such as good fortune, beauty, positions of authority, etc.
Mantra to Invoke and Produce the Peace of Lakshmi:
Om shantiyei namaha
(Om and salutations to She who is the giver of peace.)
Anytime and in any way there is discord or conflict, this mantra will be very effective.