Lakshmi

Lakshmi

ALSO KNOWN AS:

Laxmi; Mahalakshmi; Shri Devi; Kamala (“Lotus”)

ORIGIN:

India

Lakshmi, Lady of Wealth, Good Fortune and Beauty bestows abundance. Lakshmi is the spirit of luxury and happiness. She brings vitality to all living things. She is one of the most beloved spirits of modern India. Lakshmi is actively venerated by some one billion Hindus as well as Buddhists, Jains, goddess devotees and independent practitioners around the world. Almost by definition, she is lovable. She is everything that is good, sweet, pleasurable and joyful.

Lakshmi bestows fertility, health and wealth. Her lucky white elephants shower Earth with rain and abundance. She is the very personification of good luck and fortune. The only negative thing one might possibly say about Lakshmi is that, in the manner of fortune, she is fickle. She won’t do anything bad but she gets bored easily. If not properly venerated or enticed to stay, she’ll just leave, taking her gifts (joy, wealth, luck) with her.

Henna contains Lakshmi’s essence. Ornament yourself with henna to feel Lakshmi’s presence and invoke her blessings. This must be done in a sacred, respectful, manner, however, or consequences may be negative rather than positive. Disrespect the henna, disrespect Lakshmi!

Lakshmi is venerated on home altars in attempts to keep her near. Lakshmi expects devotees to expend some effort: simply posting her image and leaving it there is insufficient. Light candles, incense and/or lamps (butter or oil are traditional) and place before her image; on a daily basis, if possible. Shop keepers place her image near the cash register to stimulate sales; also lighting lamps in her honor.

MANIFESTATION:

Lakshmi is characterized by opulence. Her skin may be golden. Light radiates in her wake. The tremendous quantity of her jewelry causes her to become a vision of flashing, glowing light.

ICONOGRAPHY:

Her very recognizable iconic form first appeared in approximately the third century BCE. Lakshmi may have two or four hands. She carries a coffer: golden coins shower from her hands. Lakshmi is always depicted with a lotus flower. She may hold one or sit orstand on one. She is frequently depicted with a pair of elephants who pour water over her or in the company of Ganesha. Milk may flow from her ample breasts.

ATTRIBUTES:

Conch shell; wheel; mace; box; lotus

ELEMENT

Water

Flower: Lotus

Tree:

Bel Tree (Aegle marmelos)

Plant: Tulsi or Holy Basil. Tulsi may be Lakshmi incarnate. A legend says that in a fit of anger, the goddess Sarasvati, her rival, transformed Lakshmi into the herb.

ANIMALS:

Cow, Elephant

Bird:

An owl serves as her mount.

Day: Friday

Metal: Gold

Consort: In her earliest manifestations, Lakshmi was an independent deity who was worshipped without a male partner. However, she is now considered Vishnu’s wife.

Symbol: 6 pointed star (hexagram; satkona) signifying the union of female and male principles resulting in creativity and abundance

Sacred time: During Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, Lakshmi roams Earth searching for places to spend the night and distribute her gifts. People greet Lakshmi by illuminating their homes, roofs, gates and gardens with tiny earthenware oil lamps.

SACRED SITES:

Lakshmi Narain Temple in Jaipur and the Lakshmi Narayan Temple in New Delhi, built in 1938, popularly known as the Birla Mandir.

OFFERINGS:

Fruit, flowers, candy, incense, milk, beads, coins

SEE ALSO:

Alakshmi; Ganesha; Lalla Malika; Mami Waters; Sarasvati; Vishnu

SOURCE:

Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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