Make time for regular prayer- it is a real part of our tradition.
If you go to any bookshop and visit the Pagan section you will find a huge number of books outlining rituals. There is available a huge quantity of material on invocations, spells etc but there is not so much available for the person who just wishes to stand before their Gods open hearted in an act of praise or devotion. This seems quite strange and is possibly a modern development.
In truth any serious look at the available writings of our ancient pagan brothers and sisters we would find a huge quantity of prayers. In fact we are only left with one opinion that the most common form of pagan religious expression is prayer. This may come as a surprise to some of our Neo Pagan friends. Yes prayer was important to our ancestors. It was not all commands and spells. The Gods are not there as a fount of power. They are waiting for us to come before them with offerings of time and words as well as gifts.
This brings us to why pray at all. What purpose does it have in this modern world? Maybe our ancestors prayed but really do we need to.
What is prayer….. It is talking to divine beings. We find it normal to share with our friends and family and we never assume they just know what we are thinking or feeling. It is this act of sharing which builds the relationship, and makes us closer. It is more or less the same with our Gods.
Remember our Gods are not omniscient- they don’t know everything. They are not like Santa Claus- they don’t know if you are sleeping or awake or if you have been naughty or nice. Our Gods wait to be invited in and then they share our journey. Our Gods are willing to walk with us and even sometimes they want to support us.
It is clear from the prayers and temples of our ancestors that along with the words the Gods also ask for offerings. Now this must really seem weird. What would the Gods want with our offerings, what do they do with the wine or the food we offer?? Why are they not happy with just our prayers?? Why do they not rejoice over our sincere hearts????
Well there is one simple reason. By asking us for offerings the Gods show us that the material world has spiritual value. The core of Paganism!!! We do not distinguish between the spiritual and the mundane, and every offering reminds us of this. Each gift/offering we make shows how much we value what we are saying. The Gods know the truth….. we can say many things, we can fake sincerity……and they know that we do value our possessions. Therefore when we make an offering we are in one sense reinforcing the words we are using. We are saying we value our Gods at least as much as we value our possessions and we are learning that even the most mundane thing can have a deep spiritual value.
So what is the next thing to do well find a quiet space and sit down and start building that relationship with your Gods, and remember don’t come to the party empty handed. Bring something and share it and you may just be very surprised what they bring to share with you.
In the next post I will look at how we can pray…..