Goddess Column: Lakshmi
Lakshmi: The Hindu Goddess of Abundance, Beauty and Auspiciousness
One of the most revered Hindu Goddesses, Lakshmi is a multidimensional aspect of the divine that can act as a channel for wealth, love, fertility, luxury and blessings. The Goddess of plenty, Lakshmi showers her radiance and blessing with ease and intention. Abundance personified, it is Lakshmi that guides us into the the act of receiving, helping us remember our divine right. We are not abundant, we ARE abundance. Floating in the possibility of it all, it is Lakshmi that lives at the heart, flowing gold, asking for us to have not only enough, but more than enough. Daughter of the mother Goddess Durga and wife of Vishnu, Lakshmi is most often dressed in red, draped in garlands of gold as she sits on a blooming lotus flower. She’s often flanked by two white elephants, and she’s surrounded by gold coins. Her four hands represent the four pieces of human life – dharma (righteousness), karma (desires) , artha (wealth) and moksha (liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth), and the elephants around her represent the prosperity that comes living in alignment with wisdom, justice and your ethics.
Lakshmi reminds us that our needs deserve to be met. She helps us get enough food, find beauty in ourselves and others, embody the energy of abundance and connect to the frequency of divine love. When we are held in the palm of this Divine Mother, it’s as if nothing’s wrong. We are seen, tended to, cared for, loved and nurtured. We have so much, more than enough, that we’re able to feel safe. We’re able to enjoy and pass it on. Lakshmi encourages us on our spiritual path of transformation and liberation, a meeting point of the material and mystical. The Hindu embodiment of the Goddess Venus, we can think of these divine beings of love as helping us find new and sacred aspects of our heart.
In the more popular version of her creation myth, Lakshmi is born of churning of the primordial ocean, in the search for the Nectar of Immortality. This same nectar is said to reside in our third eye. The nectar collects here and when stimulated, it drips into the nadis or energy channels of the body, clearing away all karma, eventually making the body immortal. Lakshmi exists within us at the third eye chakra as well as the heart chakra. It is through the hearth chakra and the Kundalini sitting at the base of our spine, that Lakshmi is said to share her ten tenants with us; food, royal power, mystic power of manifestation, universal sovereignty, noble rank, holy luster, kingdom fortune, bounteousness and beauty. A goddess of aesthetic value, and it is said Lakshmi is best exemplified both by the heart center and the lotus flower. Not only are these blooming flowers magnificent to look at, but lotus flowers are also born of mud, of dirt, of stagnancy. Lakshmi shows us that even through the treachery or depth of our karma, we can still bloom like the lotus. And in fact, sometimes we bloom so beautifully because of all we’ve been through. An agent of alchemical abundance, Lakshmi reminds us that even the darkest past can pave way to abundance, transformation and wealth.
Lakshmi is one of the Goddesses I first became familiar with in my own life, when I was a child probably around 9 or 10. My mother told me about the Goddess of abundance, sharing one of her mantras with me to say whenever I was stressed or sad. Lakshmi has lingered around me since, and I always get excited when I see this Goddess in art, icons, temples or stores. In the past few months, I’ve gone from working with Kali, (hello eclipse season and releasing,) to working again with the familiar and supportive embrace of Lakshmi. Since then abundance has been pouring in, all with such love and reverence and ease, and I feel like my relationship to love is healing in its own way. Lakshmi is powerful and to know her is to lover her.
Sacred Symbols and Offerings
There’s no secret to working with Goddesses. This is a relationship like any other, one which takes reverence and respect to reap the full benefits of the connection. Be respectful and do the best you can. If you want to start working with Lakshmi, you may wish to create an altar in her honor in dedication of abundance, beauty and bounty. This altar will serve as an energetic focal point to your relationship with her, and act as a place you can leave offerings, perform prayers and rituals and connect with this Goddess consciousness.
Lakshmi represents the unending flow of abundance, and she’s one of the most widely celebrated Goddesses in Hinduism. For her, create an altar in shades of red, yellow, oranges and green. Put money, stones, flowers, photos and icons here, anything that makes you feel rich, abundant, safe, connected to your heart. You can also dedicate a ritual to Lakshmi, whether it’s a lighting a candle you carved, saying a prayer, performing a visualization or a chant. The more often you can perform this ritual, the better. You may invite in Lakshmi for rituals and spells around wealth, lavishness, beauty, food, glory, joy, honor and divine love. Work with her during the Full Moon to continue cultivating the energy of copiousness.
Crystals: Stones of abundance and power- Citrine, pyrite, clear quartz, carnelian, Herkimer diamond
Colors: Red, gold, hot pink, white, green
Scents: Lotus, sandalwood, jasmine, rose
Sacred Associations: Lotus, elephants, gold coins,
Offerings: Ripe fruits and vegetables, flowers, pearls, seashells, money, honey, sweet, sweet milk
Om Shrim Lakshmiyei Swaha
(Om Shreem Lakh-shmee-yea Swah-ha)
“Om and salutations to she who provides abundance)
Om Shrim Maha Lakshmiyei Swaha (om shreem mah-ha lakh-shmee-yeah swah-hah)
“Om and salutations to She who provides abundance”
Om Padma Sundharyei Namaha
(Om Pahd-ma Soon-dhar-yea Nahm-ah-hah)
Om and salutations to She who personifies Beauty
Mantra Meditation to feel Lakshmi’s power
You’ll need mala beads (though you can just count if you don’t have one)
Close your eyes and find a comfortable seat. Begin to relax and connect to your breath, finding an even inhale and exhale. Allow yourself to return to the present moment as you feel the earth supporting you, taking as long as you need. Start to feel the warmth of abundance pouring in like honey from the heavens above. This thick, juicy nectar pours from the cosmos into the crown of your head, where it trickles down and collects at your third eye. Feel this vibrant and healing energy, growing stronger as you invite the divine energy of Lakshmi in. Ask for her blessings, as you start to feel the nectar of divine immortality spreading across your body, through your energy channels, enveloping you in this cocoon of protection. Start to say the mantra for financial prosperity “Om Shrim Maha Lakshmiyei Swaha” (om shreem mah-ha lakh-shmee-yeah swah-hah), as you work with your mala beads, saying the mantra once for each bead, totaling 108 times. When you’re done with the mantra, take a moment to sit and enjoy the fruit of your labor, noticing any differences in your energetic and emotional body. When you feel that the meditation is complete, thank Lakshmi for her blessings, and slowly open your eyes.
40 Day Ritual
The ritual for Lakshmi is unique in that it’s manifold. Instead of a long and involved ritual once, you will be doing the meditation above or saying Lakshmi’s mantras for 40 days. You may wish to dedicate, carve and light a candle for Lakshmi that you light before you perform this ritual. Maybe you write a prayer, or light some incense. Create this ritual how you want; make it as intricate or as simple as you wish. Simple saying these mantras for five minutes a day is enough.
Find a comfortable seat and start to return to your breath. You may wish to perform a short meditation or the visualization above to begin. Take a second to connect to Lakshmi, to love, to your heart. When you’re ready you’ll say the mantra “Om Shrim Maha Lakshmiyei Swaha (om shreem mah-ha lakh-shmee-yeah swah-hah)” for each mala bead, or counting 108 times. When you’re done, thank Lakshmi, thank your heart, thank yourself, and open your eyes. Close the ritual by clapping, declaring the boundary closed and snuffing out any candles you lit.
For these 40 days, expect abundance and take note of it. Abundance may come through any of the ten tenants that Lakshmi rules over, so keep an open mind, heart and third eye. Know that Lakshmi wants you to feel rich, to feel held by the support of the energetic mother. And so it is!
Feature Image by Lauren Crow