At a local market in Uganda.
Our economic system is governed mostly by men — heads of state, finance ministers, and major corporations are overwhelmingly male. And yet most of the economic output of the world is generated by women — 66%, to be precise, according to the ILO.
Lately I've been thinking about spiritual traditions that honor the divine female, and how they relate to the new business trends we're seeing in sustainability and social impact.
LXMI's name comes from the Hindu goddess of prosperity and beauty (Laxmi), thought to bring wealth, light, and happiness to her followers. The goddess' appeal is in her message of wealth and physical beauty alongside other, non-material attributes. She's about financial gain and looking great, but she's also about spreading the wealth and giving everyone a shot.
The goddess also has a corollary in West African spiritual traditions. Years ago in Brazil I danced to the rhythms of Yemanja, the Yoruba sea goddess whose popularity among slaves transported her across the Atlantic Ocean into the traditions of Candomble, Santeria, and Voudou. Yemanja is flow. She's beauty. Many slave traditions also associated her with the Virgin Mary and worshiped her in church.
My mother's family comes from Calcutta, a city in India known for its worship of Laxmi's sister goddess Kali. Kali wears a belt of severed men's heads, signifying her destructive power. But along with destruction comes rebirth and creation — Kali is the goddess of transformation.
These goddesses seem to represent a more broad spectrum of human abilities than their male counterparts — yes, they are powerful, but they are also fluid and transformational. They have a dual nature. They transcend traditional boundaries — the goddess Laxmi is both vain and generous. Kali is both cruel and nurturing. So are all of us.
It is this complexity, this fundamental duality within human nature, that we celebrate at LXMI as part of our commitment to a Deeper Luxury. We believe in high-design AND impact sourcing that pays a fair wage, in looking gorgeous AND having a positive impact on the world. Good-for-the-world brands should be as gorgeous and status-elevating as Chanel or Dior, but with higher standards for natural ingredients, production, and packaging.
All women, with the power of our work and word, possess the transformative powers of the goddess Laxmi. We can create a more balanced economy by buying products that reflect our values AND our vanity.