'Lakshmi Is My Homegirl'

How modern women can turn to ancient deities for guidance in everyday life.

Laurie Sue BrockwayLaurie Sue Brockway is an interfaith minister who teaches and writes about women's spirituality and the feminine faces of God. Returning to school at age 40, she entered The New Seminary to study the religions and spiritual cultures of the world. Her latest book is "A Goddess Is a Girl's Best Friend: A Divine Guide to Finding Love, Success and Happiness."

How did you become interested in goddesses?

When I was in seminary I was awed by the number of divine females I discovered in all the world traditions. I found that there were certain religions, like Hinduism, Buddhism and some of the African traditions, that actually included the worship of goddesses.

But I felt that the presentation in seminary was lacking. I'd be sitting there in the Hinduism class waiting, waiting, waiting, and think to myself, what about the goddesses? And the goddesses were presented as after-thoughts, "Well this is Vishnu, and here's Lakshmi, she's the wife of Vishnu."

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However, Lakshmi is a really happening goddess! She is the Goddess of Fortune. Go to any Hindu temple on Friday night and they are doing puja, worship services, to Lakshmi, and here she was reduced to "the wife of Vishnu." I mean, I love Vishnu -- he's great, she chose him -- but I was hungry to know more about these divine females.

I had finally come to a point in my life where I was relating to divinity on a very personal level because I had seen God in feminine form that looked like me. Lakshmi looks like everyone in my family -- we all have dark hair, she just has more arms!

I'd grown up thinking that only some people can commune with God. As a minister, it troubles me that some religions teach people that they have to have a go-between between them and God. I realized that in the goddess traditions there is a direct pipeline with the goddess; there's no intermediary needed. The goddess traditions give us more direct access, almost like your own mother. Not everybody's mother is like that but the whole concept of mother -- being there, a shoulder to cry on, guidance. This was a profound revelation to me.

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Interview by Lisa Schneider
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