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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

“Oh You Mothers…”

This is the prayer I use when leaving offerings for my own ancestors.

Oh you mothers, all my mothers

Those who sleep in heavy soil,

Those who went to death so weary

All you thought was no more toil,

Those who danced with joy and laughter,

Those who fought to break the chains

Though you’ll know no more hereafters,

Here a part of you remains.

 

Oh you fathers, all my fathers

Those who dream in wet, black earth,

Those who let their dreams go hungry

So that mine could come to birth,

Those who died in rage and sorrow

Those who laughed and wandered free,

Though you’ll know no more tomorrows

Your tomorrows live in me.

 

All of you who came before me,

Though I know your names or not.

All who added to my story

Giving blood or deed or thought.

Take this food and drink I give you,

Share it with me, take your fill.

Though your verses may have ended

Yet the song continues still.

– Christopher Scott Thompson

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I am, by and large, an Indo-European pagan. I work with Gods from a number of cultures (Manannan, Hela, Ing Frea, Thunor, Heimdall/Hama, Hecate), but I’ve rarely (even before ADF) ventured outside this language/culture group. However, there’s a day of mourning called for today that I think I’ll be participating in.

From The Wild Hunt:

In another part of the world, ancient statues, relics and other historic sites are being pillaged and destroyed by ISIL. The destruction of these treasured artifacts has upset many Pagans, Polytheists and Heathens. One California Pagan, Jack Prewett has called for a Global Day of Mourning on April 18. Prewett calls the destruction a “tragedy for humankind” and says,“Let us mourn the loss of our history, our heritage. Cry for those that will come after us and know that once we had our history in our hands and let it slip through our fingers.” Why did Prewett choose April 18?  That is the U.N.’s World Heritage Day.
ADF Priest Michael J Dangler has also called for devotions – in this case, the making of art objects – in honor of the desecrated sites.
And Galina Krasskova has put forth a post about devotions in honor of the many Gods of the many Peoples who inhabit the lands that are currently under siege.
So if you have a little time today, remember this tragedy, and remember the Gods and Goddesses of those lands. I intend to make offerings in their names tonight, and hope that maybe my small voice can be joined with the voices of others. After all, I can’t fight this on the ground, and I certainly can’t fight it in person, but I can pray, and make offerings, and give honor to the Gods of those peoples, in hopes that They can help evict those who are committing atrocities across their lands.
If you’re feeling particularly ambitious about it (and by no means should you feel confined to make offerings and devotions only today, on World Heritage Day), a library or museum would be an especially powerful place to do so. It is history and art that are being destroyed, and it is from our centers of history and art that we can reach out and (hopefully) do a little nudging of the cosmic forces in the direction of preservation and the end of this reign of destruction.

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This weekend at the Imbolc retreat, I learned a new prayer. It’s apparently quite an old prayer. OBOD Druid John Beckett spoke it during one of our rituals as the call to Inspiration, and it spoke to me.

So here it is.

Grant, O Holy Ones, Thy Protection;
And in protection, strength;
And in strength, understanding;
And in understanding, knowledge;
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;
And in that love, the love of all existences;
And in the love of all existences,
the love of the Earth our mother, and all goodness.

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(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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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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