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The Witches' Guide to Economic Survival


Spirits of Wealth and Abundance

Jambhala

IT’S VERY HARD to focus on spirituality if you’re hungry or worrying about having enough money to pay the rent. Although some ascetics abandon all worldly possessions, they are the exception, not the rule. The average person may find that worldly concerns (food; shelter; medicine; bills; survival) get in the way of pursuing a spiritual path. That’s where Jambhala comes to the rescue. Jambhala, sometimes called the Wealth Giving Buddha, provides for one’s physical needs so that you can focus on your soul. Theoretically, at least, Jambhala does not provide wealth for wealth’s sake but so that you can live a better, more elevated, highly spiritual existence. (Orthodox versions of his legend suggest that Jambhala only helps those pursuing a Buddhist path; however Jambhala is an extremely popular spirit and many non-Buddhists or casual Buddhists testify to his generosity and assistance.) The name Jambhala derives from jambhara, the Tibetan name for the citron fruit (Citrus medica), a symbol of wealth and fertility. There are various versions of Jambhala’s origins and true identity:
  • Jambhala is a pre-Buddhist Tibetan spirit incorporated into the Buddhist pantheon
  • Jambhala is Kubera, India’s Lord of Wealth incorporated into the Buddhist pantheon
  • Jambhala is an emanation of a Bodhisattva, for instance, a wealth-giving path of Avalokiteshvara.
  • Jambhala is an emanation of the Buddha who realized that hunger and poverty prevented so many from pursuing the Dharma and sought to remedy the situation.
Jambhala’s sacred animal is the gem spitting mongoose. Precious gems pour endlessly from the mongoose’s mouth in the same manner that Jambhala causes wealth to flow towards you. Jambhala accepts the most inexpensive of offerings: give him some water daily. Good deeds and donations on behalf of the less fortunate will also please him.

The short version of his mantra is:
OM JAHM BA LA JA LEN DRA YA SO HA!

– An excerpt from The Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes (HarperOne, 2009)

Lakshmi

LAKSHMI, Lady of Wealth, Good Fortune and Beauty bestows abundance. Lakshmi, spirit of luxury and happiness, brings vitality to all living things. Among the most beloved spirits of modern India, Lakshmi is actively venerated by some one billion Hindus as well as Buddhists, Jains, goddess devotees and independent practitioners around the world. Almost by definition, she is lovable. She is everything that is good, sweet, pleasurable and joyful.

Lakshmi bestows fertility, health and wealth. Her lucky white elephants shower Earth with rain and abundance. She is the very personification of good luck and fortune. The only negative thing one might possibly say about Lakshmi is that, in the manner of fortune, she is fickle. She won’t do anything bad but she gets bored easily. If not properly venerated or enticed to stay, she’ll just leave, taking her gifts (joy, wealth, luck) with her.

Lakshmi is venerated on home altars in attempts to keep her near. Lakshmi expects devotees to expend some effort: simply posting her image and leaving it there is insufficient. Light candles, incense and/or lamps (butter or oil are traditional) and place before her image; on a daily basis, if possible. Shop keepers place her image near the cash register to stimulate sales and light lamps in her honor.

– An excerpt from Judika Illes’ Encyclopedia of Spirits (HarperOne, 2009)

Nang Kwak

Nang Kwak is a Thai spirit of wealth. Her image is kept in homes and stores to attract customers, business, money, prosperity and financial stability. Immensely popular, she is considered a spiritual magnet for good fortune.

Nang Kwak may be an indigenous Thai spirit or she may be a derivation of the Hindu spirit Parvati. Like many other Thai spirits, her power is accessed through amulets created in her image. Images of Nang Kwak come in assorted sizes: small enough to wear around your neck or large enough to be the central focus of an altar. Her image is ubiquitous throughout Thailand and in Thai restaurants around the world.

Nang Kwak’s image depicts her as a beautiful, kneeling woman dressed in traditional Thai clothing. She holds a money bag securely in her lap and lifts one of her hands, either left or right, in a gesture of beckoning. This gesture allegedly beckons prosperity, money, customers, business, luck and good fortune to her devotees. Although anyone may petition her, she is especially associated with shop-keepers, peddlers, and owners of small businesses and restaurants.

– More information about Nang Kwak and other spirits of wealth and abundance may be found in The Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes (HarperOne, 2009)
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