Pagan Studies

Discovering how we walk Immanent, at the crossroads of where wisdom is found and practical experience begins.

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Love In The Lotus

b2ap3_thumbnail_Unknown_20140831-155038_1.pngRecently, my good friend and Daughter's of Evecolumnist, Crystal Blanton wrote a powerful piece for the Wild Hunt about Ferguson, the shooting death of Mike Brown, the riots, and the wider implication this type of systemic racism. She solicited thoughts from Pagans in the public eye about where and how we can confront, heal, and grow community when events of power, oppression, and racism plague our world. There among the many voices were my friends, New York City activist and witch, Courtney Weber and teacher and New Jim Crow activist, T. Thorn Coyle. For the piece I offered this opinion, which Crystal used to sum up the article:

"I really am struggling with this because I want to believe that love is still the law. I want to believe that humankind is better than this savagery that is power, oppression, privilege, and racism. I want to believe that love is stronger than fear, but I can’t help but know that every mother of a brown child lives in fear that her child will be the next Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin or Mike Brown. In times like this I ask how do we as Pagans lead and be vessels for change? How do we become the Goddess’ conduit?

What I do is work magic in private and within small community to bring swift justice and healing. But that magic is more than lighting a candle, it is bringing the circle to the situation through social justice initiatives. Where I live, it was attending a vigil and protest in NYC, standing beside my religious community and social peers and using my voice. By speaking out about those six bullets, and reminding the world that an unarmed black man teenager is dead and that there is need for accountability I hope to manifest change. That may sound flippant, but if the Pagan voice and our actions can add one drop of Love back into the bucket of humanities egregious injustices, then love is still remains the law and change happens."

Since publication, I have been asked to unpack 'magic in private' more fully. Goethe once said, " At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you." For people who work as solitaries and alone in her presence, the moment we set the intention to create positive change we are doing magic and the universe conspires to assist us. That starts for me in private.

Lately, that resonating universal Goddess whom flows in among and around us, has directed me into the presence of the Tantric Goddess of love and abundance, Lakshmi. When the racial tension in Ferguson came to a head, and the divisive and violent actions of others began to perpetuate nationwide, I decided to dedicate myself to a 30 day ritual practice of chanting to Laksmhi.

In this decidedly modern practice, I am calling upon the Tantric Goddess Lakshmi to bring abundance. Abundant love, abundant water, abundant compassion, abundant peace, and abundant lives. I do this through chanting her mantra, Om Shreem Kleem Lakshmi Yea Namaha, lighting a pink candle and visioning the atrocities I see before me surrounded in pink healing light. Through actively engaging the divine and intentionally bringing Lakshmi energy into the equation, I am adding one drop into the bucket of human consciousness to alchemize change.

Lakshmi is traditionally seen as a wealth Goddess that brings prosperity to our live, however in this working with her I am asking her to bring wealth that is not monetary, but the wealth that come when we live a life surrounded in love and service, for justice and peace. Lakshmi means good luck, and both 'goodness' and 'luck' is strikingly lacking these days in the lives of many. The word 'Lakshmi' is derived from the Sanskrit word "Laksya", meaning 'aim' or 'goal', and as the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual, there is an invitation to harness the love that should be the Law and aim it situations like Ferguson. Lakshmi is depicted as a beautiful woman of golden complexion, with four hands, sitting or standing on a full-bloomed lotus and holding a lotus bud, which stands for beauty, purity and fertility. Her four hands represent the four ends of human life: dharma or righteousness, "kama" or desires, "artha" or wealth, and "moksha" or liberation from the cycle of birth and death

It is through this work with Lakshmi that I am transmuting the dharma of the experience and creating moksha, thus liberating the depravity of  a human experience that is resultant of power, oppression, and racism and more. But magic is more than just a chant and a candle, it is actively engaging in the circle with others who are seeking similar means to this end.

As I closed out Crystal's article I spoke of that activism, of being part of vigils, and of actively bringing race into the conversation. When I am alone in Her presence, I invite the Goddess as I know her, and when I walk in the community that transcendent Goddess within me aligns with my public actions. That is how my circle extended, as I am bringing Lakshmi to the table, as she has become indwelling in me. Together, the moment of commitment becomes solidified, and change happens. It is only together, side by side in an interfaith, inter community dialogues that love continues to be the Law. Love in the Lotus, Love over Will, Love that is stronger than Fear!

 I invite all to join me in working Lakshmi, learn her mantra specifically remixed for this working; explore more at Chanting Sri Lakshmi. My website offers a link to an MP3, a blessing, and downloadable puja card.. Light a pink candle, tonight, many will chant, I invite you to chant Om Shreem Kleem Lakshmi Yea Namaha!

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Erick DuPree is a published author, mantra and meditation teacher, and yogi in the Philadelphia area, who seeks to discover the intricacies of life through a Tantric lens. He weaves heart centered practices with ancient Goddess mysteries, holistic healing and art to create better living.


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