Creation, Destruction, and Sustainability

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.

Laxmi’s name comes from the Hindu goddess of prosperity and beauty, thought to bring wealth, light, and happiness to her followers. Laxmi’s 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.

Laxmi 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.

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