Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lakshmi, Dhumavati, and Lilith

Lakshmi in this aspect.
Today, my Tantric friend Ekabhumi gifted me with a statue of a form of Lakshmi he was given in India- carved by people that he met while there, studying devotional art. (The picture at left is not mine- but it is similar.) I was drawn to the statue because it reminded me of my patroness- this particular Lakshmi rides an owl and holds a vessel of blessings.
Though her devotees pray to Lakshmi for wealth, her gifts are also of spiritual truth and purity, achieved through continual effort. This idea is represented by the lotus which, although it grows from the mud, remains pure and perfect, suggesting that the aim of her worshippers should be a spiritual state which transcends the material world.
Bejeweled and riding a crow.
My patroness has asked me to place offerings of suffering into a very similar vessel- and she transforms them into blessings to me and the person that I am healing. So my friend gave the statue to me, carefully explaining her attributes and how the Tantrics work with her. He also told me of Lakshmi's shadow, a goddess called Dhumavati. As someone who works with a few dark goddesses, I was riveted by the descriptions and did some more research.

Note the crows.
I believe the statue called to me for a reason, drawing me in to both Lakshmi (who bestows wealth and blessings, which are always needed!) and her shadow, with whom I also have much in common. Ooh, I love this set of twins, and see them- functioning as a unit- as manifestations of Lilith in Tantric culture. (In a similar fashion, I did a research paper for school about Lilith being the shadow of the Shekhina in Jewish mysticism recently, and the idea of a further twinning of the aspects of my patroness is intriguing.)

Thinking about Lilith in this way helps me work with different aspects of Her and allows me to explore her in a way that I have not done before. Not that working with her is an intellectual exercise, because it is not. Nor is it just in my head. But appealing to a part of a goddess is similar to appealing to an aspect of a human's personality. And just as we are multi-facted, they are even more so. So I am excited to work with both Lakshmi and Dhumavati in some way.
Dhumavati is described as a giver of siddhis (supernatural powers), a rescuer from all troubles, and a granter of all desires and rewards, including ultimate knowledge and moksha (salvation). Her worship is also prescribed for those who wish to defeat their foes. Dhumavati's worship is considered ideal for unpaired members of society, such as bachelors, widows, and world renouncers as well as Tantrikas. In her Varanasi temple, however, she transcends her inauspiciousness and acquires the status of a local protective deity. There, even married couples worship her. Although she has very few dedicated temples, her worship by Tantric ritual continues in private in secluded places like cremation grounds and forests....She dwells in the "wounds of the world", deserts, ruined houses, poverty, tatters, hunger, thirst, quarrels, mourning of children, in wild and other uncivilized, dangerous places. Widows in general are considered inauspicious, dangerous, and susceptible to possession by evil spirits. As a divine widow, Dhumavati is to be feared.[21] Dhumavati is described as a hag or witch, crafty and quarrelsome...

You can see why I am drawn, right?


  1. That mandala is similar to the one on the cover of 50 yrs in the Feri trad.

    Great post.

  2. Only if you like: would you mind sharing some of your findings re Shekinah and Lilith?

    Lakshmi and Dhumavati: The former is beautiful and liked for said beauty and her blessings. Still, we have difficulty in seeing her as more than this, her darkness example. The latter, feared for her ugliness and her personality. Still, we have difficulty seeing her as more than this, the lightness and beauty inside.
    Rather like what most humans experience. I think some of us have experienced both treatments--painful.

  3. Lakshmi is my patron Goddess...thank you for sharing this...wonderfully insightful!!


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