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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

(While rubbing hands under running/pouring water, say:)​

May I be pure, that I might cross through the sacred.

(Bring hands to face, feeling the refreshing, cleansing waters, saying:)

May I cross through the sacred, that I may attain the holy.​

(Stand for a complete breath, and appreciate the moment of blessings, while saying:)

May I attain the holy, that I may be blessed in all things.​

-Rev William Ashton

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My first week of this practice went fairly slowly. I am experimenting with how I want to set up my daily practice. Since I’m not in a position where I can do sunrise and sunset devotionals (I am in the car during the sunrise, and I am in bed before the sun sets right now), I am going to start a morning devotional that I can do either before I leave for work or once I get to my desk. Since I’m in the office at 6:45, and my nearest coworker doesn’t arrive until 7:30, I have a little time there where I can do the work.

Obviously I can’t light candles or incense at my desk, so the ideal place for something like this will be at home before I leave, but my brain is fighting getting up any earlier than I already do (5:15 is pretty darn early).

For this week, all I have been doing is saying Ceisiwr Serith’s prayer (start small and build, right?):

The waters support and surround us
The land extends about us
The sky stretches out above us
At the center burns a living flame
May all the kindreds bless us
May our worship be true
May our actions be just
May our love be pure
Blessings and honor and worship to the holy ones

It’s nothing fancy, but it at least gets me taking some deep, centering breaths and placing myself in a good mindset to start the day. (I’ve tried saying this in the car at sunrise, but since I can’t see the sun actually rising it didn’t work too well.)

This week I also participated in the Druid Moon Cast, a monthly ADF ritual that takes place via Google Hangouts. While I don’t participate in these every month, I do them fairly regularly, and really enjoy doing them. They are a take on the idea that the 6th night of the moon was sacred to the Druids, so it is fairly fitting that we do ritual at that time. This ritual was done using Nick Egelhoff’s Telepresence Liturgy Script, which makes several references to the (quite outstanding) technology that we’re using to do these rituals. This script is customizable to different hearth cultures (or an open hearth), and this month we honored the various bodies of water that are in our different locations.

(Also, since I’m writing this as an overview of what I did LAST week, I can say that I’ve already found a prayer to add to this for Fire/Well/Tree that Rev. Mike Dangler shared on Facebook this morning. I’ll write more about that next week.)

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ADF has a good sized songbook of chants and songs that are used in group rituals.

Since I haven’t ever done group ritual that I wasn’t leading myself, I am only barely familiar with a few of these chants – mostly through watching ADF rituals online. (3 Cranes Grove has three large group rituals they just posted to YouTube, if you’re interested in seeing how an ADF ritual scales up for 300 people in a large outdoor tent!)

I’m extremely self-conscious about my singing though. I have a music degree, which may actually have made me MORE self conscious – I have good pitch, but I am very very aware of the shortcomings of my (untrained) voice when compared to someone who actually knows how to sing. That said, I’m learning a few of the ADF chants, and considering adding them into our rituals as appropriate. I don’t think we need a chant for every step of the COoR, but a processional and recessional might be nice, and I’m fond of the “Blessings in the Waters” song for after the waters of life are distributed. I really like the addition of music to prayer, and I think it’s a good way to focus.

Also, I’ve found I can use some of the “catchier” ADF chants to get songs out of my head. So when I get earwormed by something obnoxious, I start singing something I’m trying to memorize, and the concentration plus a catchy tune usually helps me stop with the endless repeats of “This is the song that never ends” or whatever.

The one “chant” (That I’ll just be saying as spoken word) I know I’ll be adding to our ritual for Imbolc is this one by Ceisiwr Serith.

The waters support and surround us
The land extends about us
The sky stretches out above us:
At the center burns a living flame.
May all the Kindreds bless us.
May our worship be true
May our actions be just
May our love be pure.
Blessings, and honor, and worship to the holy ones.

I plan to use it to end the Two Powers meditation and bring us into the active part of the ritual. Hopefully it goes as nicely in practice as it does in my head. There’s something very cosmos-affirming about this chant/prayer, so I hope everyone else likes it as much as I do.  I actually intend to memorize it and use it as part of my daily devotions. My practice needs a bit of a reboot, and I think this will be a nice thing to add to get it feeling fresh again.

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It seems disasters are not far from our communities this year. Yesterday a massive tornado outbreak stormed through Oklahoma and other parts of the midwest, with the worst damage coming in the town of Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City. Reports of many dead are already coming in, with predictions of more to be found. The destruction there is terrible – and that was only one of the many tornadoes that spawned yesterday afternoon. Like in previous disasters, it will take some time for the full story to be uncovered, though the worst of these tornadoes seems to be fairly well documented.

I think the prayer I wrote for those searching for survivors in West, TX is applicable here, so I thought I’d repost it, in light of the ongoing search and rescue operations.

Great Freyja,
Who flew like a falcon over the whole earth in search of your lost husband,
Place your falcon cloak over the shoulders of those who search through destroyed homes and buildings
Bring them peace in their terrible work.

May your sharp eyes and swift wings speed their search
May they find those who yet live.
Strengthen their hearts, which are already full of care for the wounded,
And bless all those who would aid them.

May the dead be at peace, and their families comforted.
May the survivors be at peace, and their recovery swift.

© 2013 The Druid in the Swamp

As well, I’d like to add a prayer here to a less public side of this storm disaster – the farmers who lost crops, cattle, and horses (and are still trying to find those cattle and horses) in the wake of the tornado outbreak.

Mighty Freyr,
Lord of crops and grains and growing things,
Cast your powerful hand toward farmers and ranchers this day.
Bless their search, that they may find the livestock
On which their livelihood depends.
Aid them as they try to recover their crops
In the wake of the destruction that occurred yesterday.

Great Freyr,
Who knows well what it is to care for a great horse
And also the pain of losing him,
Help those who search for their horses
Find them and return them to safety.
Protect those horses from danger, keep them calm.
Speed their safe return.

© 2013 The Druid in the Swamp

And, since a little late is better than never, and the spring tornado season is far from being over (and hurricane season is just around the corner), a prayer to Thor for protection in a storm:

Wielder of the hammer,
red-bearded one,
Thor, protector,
to you I call.
I stand in the midst of a storm
and ask your protection.

Source: “A Book of Pagan Prayer” © 2002 Ceisiwr Serith.

An old folk blessing to help keep a storm from your home also involves squirting holy water out the front and back door in the shape of a holy symbol. I’ve seen this done with holy water used to make crosses and full moon blessed water to make pentagrams, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with a Druid sigil (or the Awen symbol, or the Hammer symbol) and some “holy” water – either natural water, water from three natural sources, or just water that you’ve blessed for this purpose. (Water blessed by the sun and moon would work too).

You just put some in a squirty bottle, like a bottle you’d get for liquid dish soap, open each of the doors of your house and squirt the water in your preferred pattern of blessing and protection, while saying a prayer for protection from storms.

It’s simple magic, but sometimes even the simplest magic can be powerful.

Finally, as a reminder to all of us with pets we love dearly, please have your pets microchipped. In the event of a horrible storm or other disaster, a microchip greatly increases the chances that you and your lost pet will be reunited. This is true whether there is a tornado or hurricane, a house fire, or your pet just gets loose from your home/yard.

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There’s a good post from Rev. Michael J Dangler about creating and sharing Neopagan and Druid prayers, especially sharing them in shareable graphic format. Go read it! (The prayers are quite nice!) I especially found the response to the National Day of Prayer to be very positive, in light that I don’t usually find that day to be particularly positive as a practicing Pagan.

I’ve always liked formulaic prayers (though I ABHOR publicly praying out loud), and I find them to be a good way to get past the “not knowing what to say” phase of prayer. It also really helps for me to formalize my thoughts in writing before I say them. Which isn’t to say that I don’t (try to) pray spontaneously, only that I get a great deal of value from prepared prayer. I have a lot of emotional baggage around prayers, and writing my own seems to help me get past that a little bit.

I’d like to try to do more written out prayers here in this space – both for practice, and because I like writing them (they’re a bit like poetry), and because I think they add value to my devotions.

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This has been one of those weeks where meditation has felt like I just can’t settle in, so I’ve tried not to force it too much. I’ve done lots of mind-quieting meditations for just a few minutes, and I’ve kept up my daily devotions that I do over my morning cup of tea, but this week has just been too hard to really focus. So I did my meditations by the seat of my pants, and tried not to worry about it too much. Distractions happen, and things will settle back down soon (I hope).

There are several parts of my life that are unraveling at the edges right now, so I’m feeling a bit frantic, and I have several friends and family members who are in need of a lot of support right now.

I’ve actually wished for a sort of Druid prayer or healing or magic circle, where we can go to pray and do magic for each other as we need support. I am feeling like I can’t do all the things that I feel like I need to do right now, without taking a day off work and doing nothing but ritual and magic for a day (and I can’t do that, especially not since I’m already missing a day of work this week for jury duty). Maybe there’s a ritual and healing circle that I can be a part of.  Here’s me looking to be part of some kind of a community again. This is a common thread for me.

Maybe I just need more butt-on-floor time at my altar, and to just let things go.

And maybe I’m just learning the lesson (again) that I can’t do anything to help when bad things happen to people. It’s just very hard to sit by and watch and not be able to help out as friends and family go through hard times.

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To those not from central Texas, West sounds like a direction, not a town. But West, TX is a town about 20 miles north of Waco on Highway 35, a central point of the Czech population and home to a Czech festival, a number of fine bakeries and ethnic food stores and restaurants, and a number of good, hard working people.

Earlier this week, a massive series of explosions at the West Fertilizer Company leveled part of the town of West. The community of responders is still looking for people buried in the rubble.  Ammonium Nitrate is not something to mess with. Some reports say the search should be completed sometime today, but things look pretty grim.

Boston has (understandably) taken center stage this week, but the people of West are hurting as well, and their community will continue to hurt just like the other damaged communities will after this week (My heart goes out to those who are being evacuated for flooding in the midwest as well). The Yellowdog Grannie has some information from the front lines of the rescue work – you should go read her blog if you aren’t familiar with her.

I went to college in Waco, and frequently went to West for pastries. If you’ve never had a handmade kolache, you’re missing out. While I was glad to see that my favorite of the West bakeries – the Czech Stop – survived the blast, I am even more glad to see that they are actively involved in helping get people back on their feet and care for the first responders. My heart hurts for this town – a town that I knew only by association really – and for my inability to do more than donate a little money.

And so, like I did earlier this week (and am still doing) for Boston, I turn to prayer.

Great Freyja,
Who flew like a falcon over the whole earth in search of your lost husband,
Place your falcon cloak over the shoulders of those who search through burned homes and buildings
Bring them peace in their terrible work.

May your sharp eyes and swift wings speed their search
May they find those who yet live.
Strengthen their hearts, which are already full of care for the wounded,
And bless all those who would aid them.

May the dead be at peace, and their families comforted.
May the survivors be at peace, and their recovery swift.

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I didn’t write this – Rev. Michael Dangler did. You can read the rest of his post here, and I highly suggest you do go read it. It says a lot toward what we expect of our Priests in times of grief, and what we can expect of each other.

A Prayer for Boston
Rev. Michael J Dangler

Artio, a Child of the Earth calls out to you.
Today, there has been pain and suffering,
And it weighs on my heart and soul.

I call out to you, Healing One,
Protector of your folk.
Be there for those who are in need,
And comfort those who seek it.

Wrap those in pain in your healing arms.
Bring them warmth if they are cold,
And soothe their fears.
Let those hurting never be alone.

Artio, Bear-Lady, I call to you:
Be there for those in need.

Monday night, I sat with others I “know” online, and we all approached our altars and lit incense and prayed together. What we do between the Worlds, and what we do in the Otherworld, affects the outcomes in this World, even when it is only in a small way. These prayers bring us comfort and reorientation in a time where we are overcome by information about which we can do nothing.

Our ancestors did not have 24 hour news channels and endlessly repeating video clips. But they knew how to pray, because so much of their lives was out of their direct control. And we can take a cue from them – the knowledge that sometimes all you can do in a situation is come together, support each other, and pray. We are Children of the Earth, and from Her, and from the Kindreds, we can take some measure of comfort.

May we all find the peace and healing we need at the hands of the Kindreds, especially those most closely affected in Boston.

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A member of my family is going through some particularly unpleasant medical testing today, to help diagnose some troublesome neurological symptoms that he’s been having. He’s a young man, so these kinds of things are unusual, and the end result could be one that’s pretty unpleasant (brain surgery) or extremely unpleasant (not be able to do anything at all).

I’m not really good at asking for help, and my tendency towards agnosticism makes these kinds of times very tough. I don’t really lean much on the “ask the Gods for help” thing, because … well, I don’t know how much help I believe they’ll give. I don’t think they’d WITHHOLD help, exactly, but I don’t have a whole lot of faith in healing magic or prayers.

I do, however, believe that the Gods can help humans to solve problems, so instead of praying for healing for my family member, I’m going to make offerings to Eir to guide the doctors today and tomorrow, that they can do this test as non-invasively and accurately as possible, and to help them make a wise, educated, and compassionate decision about treatment. For some reason framing it that way seems to make more sense than praying for spontaneous healing. I’m also going to keep a candle burning during the part of his test when I’ll have access to, just to focus my energy as best I can.

It’s frustrating to be in a position where I can’t do much of anything. Hopefully my offerings will be appreciated, and he’ll have a good outcome from all of this. It’s putting a lot of strain on my family, for obvious reasons, and good news has been a little thin around his situation lately.

Any prayers, offerings, good thoughts, lit candles, or other expressions of care are appreciated.

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I did the Solitary Druid morning devotional this morning in my car. It was dark in the parking garage, and raining, so there wasn’t much sun to speak of, but I think I will continue doing them. I put together a little cauldron, a piece of orange fabric, and a tiny metal leaf for my traveling hallows – it’s not ideal, but they seem to work well in the car, and they all fit in a bag about the size of a pack of cards, which is perfect for keeping in the arm rest of my car. There fortunately aren’t very many people in the parking garage at 7am, so nobody will bother me!

Overall I like the devotion, though the “we are one in solitude” thing wears on me a little. I know it really appeals to some of the other solitaries, but for some reason I find it a bit… saccharine. If I don’t warm to it after doing it a few times, I may just skip that part and work only with the attunement to the hallows. Or edit it to be more to my liking.

I also definitely want to add a prayer to Sunna, and I found one that I like at NorthernPaganism.org

Morning Prayer to Sunna
by Galina Krasskova

Hail the rising of the Sun,
Great Goddess, Bestower of all good things,
Shining brightly, You traverse the heavens
Driving back the blanket of night.
Mighty Sunna, be my pace-setter.
Help me to structure my day rightly
With time to work, and play, and pray.
Let me not lose myself to the hammering call
Of all that has to be done.
Help me to follow Your rhythms,
For You are wise and practical
And Your presence blesses us all.

I’m going to write this up on an index card that I can keep in my car. Hopefully with a few repetitions I’ll have memorized it. (I may let my artsy side out and decorate the card a little too, since it will essentially be a prayer card, and that deserves to be pretty!) Even if I don’t get it memorized very quickly, I can add it to the end of my other morning devotions in the car.

Maybe I’ll make TWO index cards, one with the SDF devotional and one my prayer card to Sunna. That will be a fun little project.

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