Pagan Studies

Presenting the eight Festivals within an archetypal framework and connecting that framework to personal development and inner transformation.

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Lakshmi’s Feet: Steps for Preserving Abundance

August, particularly post-Lughnasash, is a time when thoughts of abundance are fairly high in conscious awareness. The stalls at the Farmers Market are filled to bursting with fresh produce. Driving through the city these days – near where I live anyways – roadside produce vending stalls are popping up like Springtime dandelions. Pickup trucks with back beds filled with corn ready to sell to passing cars can be seen parked by the side of the road. The harvest is nigh and energy reverberates with the resonance of abundance.

So it was not really much of a surprise that Lakshmi showed up at the Goddess Meditation last week. Most commonly associated with abundance, Lakshmi’s influence touches on all areas of life. She is a much loved Hindu Goddess whose name appears to be derived from the Sanskrit word for “aim” or “goal”, indicating that if we want to have success (or abundance in myriad forms) in our lives, then we must have a focus.

The goal must be clear in order for success to be achieved. Though each of us may have personal goals, Lakshmi’s four arms remind us of the four main goals of human existence: Kama (pleasure), Artha (wealth), Dharma (duty or Higher Purpose, to put it in New Age terms), and Moksha (liberation). These touch us all and serve as the higher ideals or goals that help to create a rich and full life on all levels. Lakshmi does not encourage only the pursuit of the higher spiritual principles. She knows the joy of the earthly pleasures and the value of allowing yourself to sink into the enjoyment of the material world. It is perhaps significant that Her name is reflected in one of the higher units of the Indian numbering system. A lakh is the equivalent of one hundred thousand. If you have a few lakh dollars in your pocket, you’d be doing quite well!

Lakshmi represents the fulfillment of one’s goal and success in eight forms of wealth - money, knowledge, legacy (including children), creativity, stability, courage, strength, and victory - and She is particularly honoured and celebrated during the annual Diwali festival, held around late October or early November. As a festival of Light, Diwali has a similar focus as Yule, Hanukkah, and Kwansaa., though it falls earlier on the calendar than these others. In India during Diwali, people clear out the old in homes and workplaces, light lamps and candles infusing inside and out with illumination, and often place the image of 2 feet at doorways. These are Lakshmi’s feet which invite all passersby to walk with prosperity and open those who pay attention to the blessings of Lakshmi in all the steps of a life’s journey.

Interestingly, my personal experience in meditation was not spent with the Goddess at all. As soon as I met Her in my internal sacred landscape, She cast an appraising eye over me and stated quite bluntly “Let me introduce you to my husband, Vishnu the Preserver”. She receded to the edges of the meditation and had no further involvement in my inner contemplative unfolding. Not an expected turn of events in a Goddess Meditation.

Vishnu is one of the holy trinity of Gods in Hinduism, along with Brahma and Shiva. In the great cosmic cycle, according to Hindu tradition, Brahma (the Creator) creates the universe which, after a certain period of time is destroyed by Shiva (the Destroyer). This happens again and again as the core movement in the ever-unfolding cycle of becoming. Reality – or the world as we know it – comes and goes. Brahma and Shiva take care of that. But Vishnu (the Preserver) is the one who takes care of things in that space between the creation and the destruction. He is the upholder of Dharma, the one who reminds us why we are here in the first place.

The stories of Vishnu often reflect His various incarnations and the tasks of the avatars (or forms) He took in those incarnations.

1.       As Matsya the Fish, He rescued the first man from the flood

2.       As Kurma the Tortoise, He supported the stick that churned the ocean of life to reveal the treasures hidden beneath the surface

3.       As Varaha the Boar, He raised the earth from the bottom of the ocean

4.       As Narasimha the Man-Lion, He slayed the demon-king, Hrianyakashipu

5.       As Vamana the Dwarf, He took 2 gigantic steps, reclaiming the earth and the sky from the demon-king, Bali and used his third step to send Bali to the underworld

6.       As Parasurama the Angry Man, He restores order from the impact of corrupt kings

7.       As Lord Rama the Perfect Man, He set the example of ideal kingship

8.       As Lord Krishna the Divine Statesman, He set the example for a dharma-guided life

9.       As Balarama the Strong, He fought by Krishna’s side. Later versions present Vishnu’s Ninth Avatar is Buddha the Reformer who brought intention and meaning back to rituals.

The myths of Vishnu present that His Tenth Avatar has not yet appeared. It is said that Kalki the Mighty Warrior will appear riding a white horse and carrying a fiery sword at a time when it is necessary to confront unrighteous rulers in the world. It will be at this time of Kalki’s appearance that the current cycle will end and a whole new cycle will begin. 

Through the stories connected with the avatars, one can see how Vishnu addresses what has become unbalanced and embodies the ideal aspect to achieve preservation. If Lakshmi is the act of walking with abundance, Vishnu can be seen as the compass to keep the course towards abundance on track.

VishnuVishnu shared with me that without preservation abundance can become a bane – a very timely message for this time (on so many fronts!) Certainly, it is absolutely in alignment with the gift of harvest. It is one thing to have a bumper crop. It is what we work for, what we hope for, and what we dream of. But if we have not taken care of our energy well enough to see the harvest through, that bumper crop will waste on the stalk. What good is abundance without the resources to reap the benefit? And if we have not made preparations for the proper storage of that bumper crop, it can grow mealy or moldy before there is a chance to utilize it. It is absolutely a message that has been reflected by scientists and environmentalists regarding climate change and preservation of precious resources.

In the context of my meditation, Vishnu’s message focused on the personal and transpersonal. If you want to attract abundance, pay attention to the ways in which you expend your own energy. Are you funneling your own precious energy into activities, or relationships, or projects that have become a drain? Doing so will impact on the amount of energy you have to engage in those activities and relationships and projects that are on the cusp of bursting into life. In the nature of things, sometimes pruning is the healthiest approach. It frees the flow of energy into those parts of the plant that are still able to thrive.

Vishnu also pointed out that abundance is not about a massive accumulation. At the very core, it is about respect - honouring that which you already have. If I care for the things around me in this moment, they will be around for a very, very long time. As I gradually add more to my storehouse, preserving those things I already have, it will not take long for me to see the abundance that results. He reflected a strong admonition that a throwaway culture provides the illusion of abundance while what it is actually fostering is lack – that we are forever just behind the attainment of the next best thing. The act of preserving in and of itself creates abundance.

Lakshmi’s Goddess Meditation provided a bit of a curveball, but it was a welcome and important one. Take care of today – with all the conscious care and attention you can – and tomorrow will take care of itself – in spades.

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Tiffany Lazic (BAA, RIHR, RP) is a Registered Psychotherapist and founder of The Hive and Grove Centre for Holistic Wellness. She has developed numerous courses in the psychological application of intuitive tools and is author of The Great Work: Self-Knowledge and Healing Through the Wheel of the Year (Llewellyn, May 2015). "Be both of the Earth and of the Stars."


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