Lakshmi or Laxsmi is commonly known as the Goddess of wealth, prosperity, and beauty. She is also the divine consort or Shakti (one who enables) of Lord Vishnu and a primary deity in Vaishnavism tradition Hinduism. She’s an ancient Goddess who is well known and to which many shrines and temples are devoted to Her, however, as I’ve said before, deities evolve with humanity and this powerful Goddess is no exception to the rule. My work with Lakshmi during my own darkest times has opened up new avenues of understanding of this dynamic feminine force. I think that Goddess Lakshmi is a patron deity to those who are struggling with self-acceptance, confidence and also having an excess of ill will towards others. Here is how I work with Goddess Lakshmi to overcome my earthly burdens.
Coming to terms with myself was perhaps one of the hardest battles I encountered during my deep depression. I quickly realized that all of the self-confidence that I seemed to exude publicly was little more than a mask made to protect my vulnerabilities. No more than a projection of the mind, my ‘confidence’ became the factory from which very impulsive and naive decisions were the final product. When I came to terms with this realization of my self, I could then build real self-confidence through accepting my whole self – limitations and gifts – to reform my personality. Confidence in my definition of the phase, is the force of pure self acceptance based on knowing that your lifestyle, actions, and words all line up to make a productive life for myself and others in my Tribe.
I had to do the work to find out what was impeding me on my journey to become more confident not only publicly yet privately as well. Being one person in all situations regardless of how challenging that might be. I realized that I bared so much ill-will to others that it clouded my ability to look at myself honestly and see that I was making many of the same mistakes that my so-called adversaries were displaying based on my observations. What I was really doing was projecting my issues on to them and holding it against them for not changing their habits. I realized quickly that the source of change had to be an inward process and not an outward display that was hollow. Even if the people around me were behaving in a manner that was not acceptable, I had to be the one to initiate the change if I felt so passionately about it. Goddess Lakshmi assisted me on this journey of self-acceptance by helping me look into the mirror at myself and disassociating from the habits that kept me back. I had to divorce myself from the thought that I was ‘bad’ and ‘naive’ in order to really see myself. Sure, I’d made mistakes, yet now I had to really own the fact that I wanted to change for the better and that those experiences were all lessons to get me to this point. It’s much easier said than done, yet with persistence, I began slowly moving up the ladder of understanding.
I found that the further I went through this journey of self acceptance, the less ill-will I had towards others who seemed to be getting in my way. In fact, I learned to observe their behaviors and found invaluable ways to not only help myself, yet help them when they were ready to reach out for themselves. In order to get rid of the angry thoughts that constantly plagued my mind, I had to distance myself from my supposed anger and look hard at myself to see the similarities instead of the differences of my peers. I had to act like Lakshmi in order to carry out the biggest lesson of my life and recognize the goodness that existed despite all of the anger from my past. Goddess Lakshmi is beauty because She will approach the most wretched individual and reach out a compassionate hand to assist them if they are committed to changing the course of their Path. At times, I can be that wretched individual who needs a course adjustment and that’s alright. It’s part of my path of understanding my own inner beauty that is sometimes clouded by the demons that came from abuse. There are many kinds of beauty, however, there is one expression of attractiveness that shines brightly above all others. That is the virtue of devotion. A longstanding devotion to the care of the self ripples outward into knowing how to care for those around you. That’s what I wanted! I was on the right course!
I found out through my devotion to the Goddess and my spiritual path that I could be a very ugly person at times when I was miserable and wrestling with my own self-loathing. Lakshmi carefully guided me through this process via meditation and mantra work to see wisdom in my displays of anguish. A person with a pleasing face and an ugly soul does not shine brightly because they are physically attractive in appearance. We are not our bodies, as they eventually wither and fail on us. We are not the experiences or memories we’ve had because we are meant to live in the present and only reflect on the past in order to move forward with the lessons learned. We are the inner observer and the higher self that can at will go through a metamorphosis into something much greater. We are the self and the soul and while mainstream science can’t yet pinpoint the origin of that great mystery yet, it still exists because some one out there is asking the questions that keep the investigation going.
Goddess Lakshmi favors pure souls who strive to make the world a better place than they found it. I’m far from a pure soul, yet I am consistently on the Path to becoming more enlightened to my own habits and how they impact others I meet along the way. I strive to become one of Her devotees in my actions so that when I say or act out a deed to another, it is a pure endeavor that seeks not only to heal the person before me yet also myself in the process. I’m essentially dancing the Path of a mimic who sees this Goddess and consistently puts out effort to become that ideal of the pure soul. My definition of a pure soul is as follows. There is no pretense to their actions. These individuals would be driven by a purely spiritual and physical symbiosis of advancing themselves and healing the world around them in a ripple effect. I wanted that for myself and so my current understanding poured out of me when I was tackling these objectives so that I could assist others who were needing that next stage of help. Helping each other is a purely symbiotic effort that heals the healer in the process. When someone in my life makes progress, it’s huge. The stronger our networks and supports are, the stronger we are as a community. How could we ever be truly happy when we know that people hunger when we have more than enough for ourselves?
That hunger is not for bread alone, it’s for spiritual and intellectual needs as well. The Goddess Lakshmi helped me understand the nature of the universe by accepting that people are always hungry and living their lives in struggle. Chaos is the necessary force that pushes all of these people elements together for the spark that leads to understanding of the self as well as others around me. Everything struggles which is part of the chaotic force that guides the entire universe in it’s dance of creation and destruction.
I was a spiritually ugly person although I was aware that there was more for me if I only had the courage to look in the mirror at my reflection that was being projected outward. When I learned that there was more for myself outside the walls of ignorance for which I had been trapped, I learned that there was much more I could do for myself. It wasn’t just reading some passage from an ancient Hindu document, it was the diligent effort and much falling on face that opened up a passage for self-acceptance and letting go of the anger I harbored at others. When I worked through my pain and suffering, I wasn’t ugly any more and it didn’t matter what I had done in my past as long as I saw the lesson from those actions and worked to make the present as productive as possible. People born in ignorance of their actions are only so until it is recognized and they disassociate themselves from the patterns that made their lives that way. That’s how Karma works. You are only going to reap what you’ve sewn until you plant something else for yourself.
Goddess Lakshmi assisted me in planting new seeds for the field that I was working on. I had to look at the world in an entirely new way before being able to recognize which new seeds I wanted to plant. Self-acceptance is a huge part of the process and the foundation on which all confidence is built. If you’re confident in your own actions and words, you needn’t be bothered by another damage soul trying to figure out their own way along the Path. That’s just where that person is and by seeing them objectively, as they are, you come to where they are in their journey. It’s not about arrogance or putting on a mask, it’s about understanding that we are all damaged souls, and some are more so than others. Learning to work through those challenges together is what strengthens us as a community in Paganism, and that’s the delightful lesson learned by studying with the Hindu embodiment of wealth, prosperity, and beauty. Beyond all those mortal struggles, there is a dazzling array of gifts aching to come out behind the most damaged looking face. I want to help that process along which is why I wrote this article. For how could you ever have a bountiful harvest if you are unable to recognize the fruit upon the branch?
Are you seeking Lakshmi in your life? Do you need help accepting yourself as you are and have the need to work past your own struggle so that you can aide others? Here’s a blessing for you as well as myself. If you want to establish that connection with the Goddess, go ahead and recite these words in front of a mirror.
Goddess Lakshmi, I call to You!
Divine beauty of the universe reflected outward through the eyes of every gathered soul,
Please help me uncover the veil over my eyes and help me look inward.
Allow me to accept my ugliness that has been formed in ignorance,
so that I may cast off my mask and reveal my inner strengths.
Let us walk in the revelation of the self and forge a Path that enlightens others,
in our actions and in our own cosmic display of life.
Goddess Lakshmi, honor to the compassionate Mother who seeks out her children,
in the squalid condition of human existence.
Reach to us from Your palace that dwells within,
and help us recognize the divinity spark that unites us all.
Hail to Goddess Lakshmi!