Image from Moor.
Basic Description: Lakshmi is the wife and shakti of Vishnu and is known as the goddess of good fortune, wealth, and prosperity.
Alternate Names: Padmam, Sri, Ada Maya, Locki. Also, she has a different incarnation for many of Vishnu's avatars.
History/Practices: Lakshmi has no temples but is worshiped in every home on all important occasions. Divali, the day dedicated to her worship, is observed all over India. A specific practice associated with Lakshmi is a special bath Hindu women take with particular ceremonies occurring on certain days that are auspicious to female beauty.
Iconography: When pictured with Vishnu, Lakshmi is seen sitting at his feet or flying with him on his riding animal, Garuda. Alone, she is pictured with a lotus.
Mythology: It is said that Lakshmi rose from the milk-ocean when it was churned for ambrosia. When she appeared, she captivated all the gods with her beauty. Shiva asked for her hand, but he had already captured the moon which had come from the sea. This being the case, Vishnu pressed his claim for Lakshmi, who preferred Vishnu as opposed to Shiva anyhow. Shiva, in despair, drank poison that was prevented from reaching his bowels by Parvati.
Riding Animal: She rides with Vishnu on Garuda.
Consort: Lakshmi is the consort of Vishnu and appears with him in every many of his avatars.
Danliélou, Alain. The Myths and Gods of India. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International, 1991.
Knipe, David M. Hinduism: Experiments in the Sacred. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., 1998.
Moor, Edward. The Hindu Pantheon. Los Angeles, CA: The Philosophical Research Society, Inc., 1976.
Thomas, P. Epics, Myths and Legends of India. Bombay: D. B. Taraporevala Sons & Co. Private Ltd., 1957.