Category Archives: prayers
A Litany for Healing (Heathen)
That our health care practitioners may remain healthy,
We pray to You, Eir, best of Surgeons.
That the families of those suffering be given the strength to endure,
We pray to You, Thor, Protector of Mankind.
That those afraid or grieving may be comforted,
We pray to You, Sigyn, Lady of Enduring Grace.
That those most at risk be granted vitality and kept from harm’s way,
We pray to Idunna, Who bears the sacred apples of restoration.
That those suffering financially due to this crisis be sustained,
We pray to Andvari, Who governs the flow of resources.
That we may remain kind to each other despite our fear,
We pray to Nanna, Goddess of compassion.
That each household may have what it needs,
We pray to Frigga, Sustainer of Asgard.
That those confined to their homes find ways to flourish,
We pray to Freya, Goddess of abundance and power.
That we be shown mercy,
We pray to Jorð, Goddess of the good, green earth.
Bless and protect us, Holy Ones,
and keep Your people from harm,
inasmuch as wyrd allows.
To You, Great Gods, we pray.
A Litany for Healing (cultus deorum)
That this plague may be driven back,
we pray to Apollo, Who brings protection and healing.
That our healthcare workers may be sustained,
We pray to Asklepius, best of Physicians.
That those most at risk, remain safe and healthy,
We pray to Hygeia, Goddess of Health and Healing.
That those of us sheltering-in-place remain healthy and resilient,
We pray to Panacea, Goddess of preventive medicine.
That those grieving or afraid may be comforted,
We pray to Dionysos, Who brings relief.
That households may have what they need during this crisis,
We pray to the Goddess Salus, Whose hands bring salvation.
That we be shown mercy,
We pray to Ceres, Goddess of the land.
Look with favor upon us, Oh Gods,
Bless and protect us and preserve us from trouble,
this we pray, ever in Your service.
One of my readers contacted me a couple of days ago suggesting that a bunch of us commit to doing a seven day “novena” for Apollo, praying for protection and health in the face of Covid 19. I think this is an excellent idea (and we’re calling it a novena, even though it’s only seven days, seven being a number sacred to Apollo). Here is the email I received:
“During my nightly prayers, an idea came to me. What if a bunch of us polytheists started a sort of Novena to Apollo to combat this virus? Well, maybe Novena isn’t the right word but I was thinking light a candle and using the prayers from your ‘Hymns and Prayers of a Polytheist Household.’
Thought I’d pass the idea on to you and maybe your household and others would like the idea.
Obviously, we’d keep doing the common-sense stuff, no hoarding TP, wash hands, etc. What do you think?
I think it’s an excellent idea. As JR notes, it doesn’t take the place of common-sense measures like hand washing and social distancing – our Gods created medicine and gave us common sense after all!—but it is a spiritual measure that we can take in tandem with these things. Since JR suggested the prayers from my book ‘Hymns and Prayers of a Polytheist Household,’ I’m including the Apollo prayers here.
I plan to begin this cycle tonight and I invite any of you, my readers, who are interested to join me. Thank you, JR, for a wonderful suggestion!
(image by Lynn Perkins)
Seven Day Cycle for Apollo
Day 1 – for Apollo, Whose Arrows Never Miss Their Mark
It is to You Whom I turn when the night is darkest.
It is to You, Whom I cry when I am beset and surrounded,
by enemies as thick in number as an unkindness of ravens.
When I call, Oh my Lord, Your arrows gleam so viciously bright in the shadows.
I know I have nothing to fear.
You, Far-Shooter stalk those Who would harm the Gods’ servants,
Your arrows rattling in their quiver, their rhythm making the Moon smile.
You protect what is Your own. You keep pure Your sanctuaries.
You dance across the field of battle before the opponent
even realizes their last dawn has come, splendid in Your wardance.
You, Mighty One, avert all evil, all miasma, all pollution, all harm.
The glorious swan cries a paean to herald Your coming.
Great shooter from afar, Your arrows always find Their mark.
You restore, Lord of the ash, Lord of the bow, Lord of restoration.
May You always be praised. May I always praise You,
and know my place before You in service.
For Apollo – Day 2: Who Protects His People from Evil
You are terrible in Your wrath, Son of Leto,
when You stride into battle, gleaming arrows
rattling in their golden quiver.
Rage is too small a word, for the fury
that radiates from You,
more fiery than the sun,
deadlier than any blade.
You protect Your people,
raining plague upon those
who trample upon Your servants.
You strike down the impious,
and stop the evil-doer in his wake.
With Your raging war-cry,
You shatter pollution,
scattering to the winds,
all who would oppose You.
When You let fly Your arrows,
Your aim is ever true
and You destroy them.
None may escape You.
Howling Ares in His battle frenzy
may indeed match Your war-dance,
but You are cold precision, ice to His fire.
You never miss Your mark and when You take
the field of battle, Your heart is empty of mercy.
Agrios, best of hunters,
let Your fury fall upon all
that would seek to challenge divine order.
Set loose Your ravens, turn lose Your wolves,
that they may rend and tear Your enemies,
until You stand unopposed and triumphant.
Be our shield against evil, Bright Son of Zeus.
Hail to You, Apollo.
We will reverence You always,
not out of fear – for we will be ever pious—
but in love, and awe at the terrifying beauty
of Your majesty.
Hear our prayer, we pray.
Day 3 – for Apollo: Who makes Whole that which has been Broken
Hallowed One and hallowing,
You make whole that which is broken.
Your gentle hands bring healing,
tenderly encouraging growth and restoration.
Medicus, by Your grace and generative power,
You gifted Asklepius to the world,
and from His children, Mighty Sons and Daughters,
struck a blow against miasma and hurt.
Your temples are sanctuaries and so powerful Your blessings
that even the Christians hailed You, calling You angelic,
and best defender of the heavens.*
On this, they were not entirely wrong.
Yours is a purifying healing force against which
no possible pollution, illness, or malefic spirit may stand.
Your face is glory. Your touch a beautiful solace.
Your very presence is undiluted joy, ecstasy of mind, heart
and most of all, spirit. You move our tongues to praise,
our hearts to reverence, our bodies to celebration.
Enfold us, oh God, sweet and noble Lord, in Your light.
Restore us, Brightest Lord, we pray.
Renew us in all ways, that we may praise You more fully,
and every day with greater joy.
Preserve us, Holy Lord, from all the dank, impious places
we must walk in this world.
Fill us with Your light until no pollution remains
nor the possibility for it to fester and grow.
With this prayer, let us be aligned with our Gods,
with You, mighty Healer, as our advocate.
Hail to You, Apollo, may the warmth of Your blessings flow.
Day 4 – For Apollo, Who Bestows Prophetic Power
Frenzied speech You give, the oracle-woman bowed back
with the force of Your Presence in her head,
with the force of Your words erupting like a volcano
from her heart and mind, dancing and blazing on her tongue,
every synapse burning bright, as though she had fallen into the sun.
Frenzied speech and prophetic power You bestow, Great Lord,
weaving like a serpent through the brain, opening doorways
through which Gods and spirits might howl triumphant.
This is a high art, and You train Your women to wield it
swift and sure, mercilessly and sometimes cruelly,
like a surgeon’s blade, deployed keenly and without hesitation.
It is this Power, like the blistering force of a thousand suns,
that shines the wisdom of the Gods into mortal lives.
Those who heed it uphold the will of Zeus,
the immortal hierarchy of the heavens, the glory of the cosmos.
Those who ignore these whispering women glory-sent,
wreak their own destruction and order is again preserved.
It is the pristine ratio dancing, ever turning, ever re-harmonizing in Your hands.
You maintain the radiance of its song, the cosmic majesty of its dancing sequences
through which worlds are born, pass away, and are born again.
Preserver, Savior, Eternal God, Your songs soar in the hearts of those who love You,
and through the cosmos too, restoring order to all things touched by the sourness
of spiritual decay.
May we too join in this dance. May our hearts be patterned for Your song
that like wood in the blazing fire, we may be transformed, into light and heat
and conduits of Your goodness to our sad and broken world, every day of our lives.
Hail to You, Apollo.
Day 5 – for Apollo, Whose Love is Fierce
Your love is a terrifying thing to bear,
Sweet and searing, You penetrate to the core.
It is like walking off a precipice,
and whether we fly or fall is all the same
when the ending is You
and the conflagration of Your affections.
Oh Sweet God, burn away all that keeps us from taking that leap.
Let us not be like Kassandra, inconstant, aching,
so hungry for You and yet so afraid. She was a slave to Her fear.
Let our fear never win. Let it instead be the spice
that flavors the feast of the senses You proffer.
Free us from the chains of our terror.
Let us rise proudly into Your embrace
counting as small the consequences of such devotion.
There are always consequences to devotion.
Let us pay the requisite price gladly;
and then let us throw ourselves madly
into the heat of Your Presence.
Hail to You, Apollo, most-longed for God.
Hail to You, and all Your hungers
that fuel the fires of our veneration.
Day 6 – Apollo, Who Ever Purifies
Holy Lord, cause my skin to crawl
away from every evil thing.
Bright Apollo, far shooting God
of healers and prophets,
I offer this prayer to You today.
Holy Lord, cause my skin to crawl
away from every evil thing.
Most Holy Apollo,
Klarios, Oulios, Alexikakus,
Who averts all harm,
protect me, oh my God.
Holy Lord, cause my skin to crawl
away from every evil thing.
In Your Presence, oh my God,
nothing impure may stand.
In Your Presence, oh my God,
nothing impious may find purchase.
Holy Lord, cause my skin to crawl
away from every evil thing.
keep my boundaries strong,
that no pollution may affect my mind,
my heart, my soul, my work.
Boedromios, preserve me,
as I wade into this filth.
Holy Lord, cause my skin to crawl
away from every evil thing.
I lay my petition before You, Shining God,
that I may stand in the light of Your protection.
To You, Lord Apollo,
Day 7 – For Apollo, Glory of Olympus
You, Kyrios, are the glory of the Sun,
washing the world clean with Your light
every moment Your horses thunder across its heavens.
Your very presence restores, as light drives out darkness.
Your very song reorders, as its resonance shatters stagnation.
In Your hands lies the balance, the ratio of all the spheres,
A scaffolding of perfection, a purity of sound,
Divine harmony resolving into beauty, through Your music,
You keep those holy chords whole and add to their substance,
filling the world with Your whispered descant,
the potential for regeneration. So, it is with You, oh Medicus.
Your hands bring healing and restoration to us too,
Restoring the harmonies of our flesh, our bones, our rattled synapses.
You hear our most desperate cries, driven by pain and fear, lost in illness,
You hear and the moment Your attention is caught, pain begins its retreat.
The sound of Your attention, the gentle and firm touch of Your power,
Begins again, a dance in which illness has no place save its flight,
Alexikakos, from Your power.
You are the glory of Olympos,
And Your blessings fill the world with beauty.
Hail to You, Apollo Medicus, Father of Healers,
Whose charmed arrows never fail to hit their mark.
(All prayers here written by Galina Krasskova, published in “Hymns and Prayers of a Polytheist household” copyright 2020).
A reader asked me late last week if I had any prayers, both to the Norse and the Greco-Roman Gods, for healing in a time of plague. This is what I have to share. Stay safe folks, mentally as well as physically. Don’t hoard toilet paper. Be kind. Wash your hands. If you’re bored out of your skull, here are some online field trips, and here a list of courses you can take for free. Many museums are also providing fabulous virtual tours. I wish you all good health and healing in this time of crisis.
Prayer to Eir
Goddess of Healing, please hear my prayer.
Keep our doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers safe.
Bless their minds, hearts, and hands.
Grant them vitality and fortitude,
that they may do their jobs well.
See that they have what they need.
Bless them with health in this time of sickness.
Preserve them I pray,
and may this plague quickly pass.
I hail You, Eir, Best of Healers.
Prayer to Apollo
Apollo Smintheus, please hear my prayer.
Stay Your arrows and bestow Your blessings instead.
Bearer of Victory, Preserve us.
Alexikakos, Ward off this evil.
Turn our luck to glory,
that we and our communities may emerge unscathed
from this sickness devastating the land.
You are the essence of light and fire
and fire purifies. It cleanses. It heals.
Bestow that healing upon us,
and vitality, and well-being.
You are life, Apollo.
You are life,
The bright victory of the sun,
the mysteries of the cosmos,
You the light that illuminates.
Preserve us all, I pray.
We praise You, All Father, Architect of the Worlds, Who breathed us into being.
We praise You, Runatyr, World-maker, Whose keen far-seeing intellect wove the fabric of reality.
We praise You, Bolverk, for by cunning negotiation You brought us poetry and ecstasy.
We praise You, Oski, ever generous Giver of gifts, for You pour Your favors out upon Your people.
We praise You, Sigfather, for teaching us to ever strive for victory, for inspiring us with Your might.
We praise You, Woden, for sharing healing charms and the wisdom of driving out corruption.
We praise You, Galdrfather, for giving us the gift of enchantment, the continual re-sacralization of our world.
We praise You, Yggr, for Your sacrifice upon the Tree. by which You instructed us in wisdom.
We praise You, Odin, that You have elevated us by means of your nobility, driven us forward by means of Your attentions.
Oh Burning Brand.
Oh Self-Chosen Sacrifice.
Oh Sweet Wine of Ecstasy.
Oh Bottomless Well of Wisdom.
Oh unscalable, soaring Height.
Oh Fierceness without Measure.
Oh Might without Opposition.
Oh Treasure-House of every Honor.
Oh Hunger without Restraint.
Ever and always do Your people praise You.
May we always praise You too.
(published in Hymns and Prayers of a Polytheistic Household, by G. Krasskova and H. Jeremiah Lewis, available here).
I have a small portable shrine at work and I often pray before I go in for classes. Today, this prayer and the following really jumped out at me. I wrote the one to Odin, Sannion the one to Freya. There is so much to meditate upon them. When I sit with these prayers, giving them proper attention and focus, it opens doors to the Gods for me in my heart and mind, settles my spirit, grounds me in piety. It really is a lifeline. I want to write one like the above for Freya soon.
To the Lady of the House
To the home that ever honors you, O Glad-of-heart, bestow health, wealth and overflowing good luck
that our neighbors may look upon us
and envy our pious and well-ordered existence, especially the diligence and delight
with which we conduct your venerable domestic rites. For you, Freyja, Keeper of the Keys,
are the model we imitate; the loving manner
in which you looked after your kin when but a tender girl, especially your handsome brother
and dear old father Njörðr.
They wanted for nothing,
and back then you busied yourself always
with keeping your abode in Vanakvisl
gleaming clean, everything in its proper place
and the cupboards and pantry ever fully stocked.
Like a ferocious feral feline
you chase off all that does not belong,
especially the corrupt, unharmonious and malign,
and Freyja, Receiver of Many, it is you
who preside over guest-friendship and feasting,
you who banish cares
and bring refreshment with the mead-cup,
you who fill hearts
with precious love of their own,
an appreciation for what we have,
and what it took to get it,
respect for the labor of all
who keep a household running properly,
honor to the aged and responsibility
for the young and the vulnerable,
and above all the value
of distinct but complementary virtues.
Freyja, O Mistress of the Winding Way,
help us to be patient, understanding and kind
with those whose lives have been entwined with ours, and always to cherish them and to see
the beauty and uniqueness in them.
This we pray Goddess
of daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, widows
and the good men who love and care for them.
(Also available as above).
I intended this piece to be an exploration of prayer but then I really thought about what I’ve experienced in Heathenry over the last three decades. I thought about how powerful and potent the traditions of our ancestors once were and the horror of having those tradition destroyed, swept away, or willingly tossed away like garbage. I thought about the future generations and what we’re leaving them, and most of all I thought about the debt we owe those ancestors who fought for their traditions and the Gods Who sustained them and the debt we owe to both. Then I got a little bit upset.
I believe that our community is at a crossroads. For fifty plus years we’ve been fighting the same ideological battles, going back and forth over the same ground, and making very little headway in restoring anything approximating a tradition. Why? Because like a plague riddled corpse, Heathenry is infected with way too many who eschew devotion, prayer, piety, and even the Gods Themselves; and if they kept to themselves it would be one thing but they don’t, they try to take leadership positions in our community, they hold themselves up as decent Heathens, they try to destroy whatever flickers of actual piety and religion might burn anywhere – because Gods forbid someone, somewhere might actually be honoring the Gods. It’s sickening. Our Gods deserve more.
This ongoing pushback against prayer is a typical example. Bring up prayer and inevitably someone is going to say, “our ancestors didn’t pray.” Well, first of all bullshit. We have plenty of examples of prayer in the surviving lore (not that I put any particular weight in a body of evidence written by Christians well after conversion and solely for literary or political ends). Even if we have the occasional example of a denial of prayer, why elevate those examples of Heathen ancestors filled with enough cowardice, impiety, degradation, and willingness to accept their own ideological slavery that they rushed headlong into conversion and then bragged about it by writing it down? Instead, why not elevate those who were devout and who held true to the Gods? Our community interprets out any piety, any devotion, any prayer, any mysticism found in the lore because they’re at heart the worst kind of Protestants. Devotion is too much for them. Scandinavian Heathens can’t get past having a culture, and American Heathens can’t get past their envy of one. In neither equation do the Gods play a part.
People in our communities who refuse prayer, devotion, veneration, sacrifice, and basic piety are parasites. They want the blessings and good things the Gods and a religious community can give without the potential inconvenience of having to show basic respect. How do you build a tradition on that? Better that we aim to emulate Ottar. In the Lay of Hyndla, Freya praises him for making so many prayers and sacrifices to Her, that the altar upon which he sacrificed turned to glass from the heat and overwhelming number of the offertory fires (stanza 10). Even the lore sometimes gets it right.
Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe the problem with prayer isn’t general laziness and impiety, a desire to take and not return even the most basic courtesy to the Gods. Maybe it’s lack of comprehension about what prayer is. Therefore, allow me to clarify.
Too many people define prayer solely as asking for something. I’ve always balked at this. If you only pray, after all, when you want something from the Gods, then you’re like that relative that only shows up for holiday dinner or worse, bail money. If this is what constitutes prayer for most Heathens, then don’t pray. I totally support your lack of prayer because this is not piety.
A more accurate definition of prayer is (to quote Merriam-Webster dictionary): “an address to a God in word or thought.” That’s it, end of story. It’s some form of communication, of verbal address to a Deity. It’s an act that lays the groundwork for any type of relationship with our Gods. It’s what raises up our awareness of our religion to something other than role playing. It is a reaching out, with the petition being that we are heard. It is taking the time to put yourself in Their presence, taking the time to reach out, to step away from mundane consciousness and acknowledge that there is something more. It is acknowledging moreover, that the Gods are more than capable of engaging with us and affecting our lives. Maybe that’s why so many pseudo-Heathens have an issue with it: it acknowledges that the Gods are real and that we can be in relationship with Them. Moreover, it reifies our place in that hierarchy.
I’m not a devotee of Hades but I felt I had to write this prayer to Him after one of my classes today. We were discussing salvation and the afterlife and the teacher insisted that the less educated classes in the ancient world didn’t believe in anything but darkness and death, that they had no reverence for Hades and the ancestors. He acknowledged that more educated folks had a soteriology and sense of immortality of the soul but not the regular folk. Obviously, I disagree and while, just like today, there were people who believed in nothing after death, your average person was more pious than the average person today simply by virtue of living in a society in which acknowledgement of the Gods was the norm. It hurt to see Hades and His realm misrepresented and this is what I can do by way of remit.
I must pray to Hades,
Beloved of Persephone
Master of the land of the dead,
Master of the haven where souls go
for healing and restoration.
You are just and merciful, oh Lord.
It is not out of cruelty
that You ignore the pleas of the living
when they pray for their dead
to be returned to them.
Far from it. Rather You know
the balance of things, that death
is necessary, and that the dead need the gift
of Your healing sanctuary.
All things change and are renewed
and the worlds are ever sustained.
Your mysteries are writ into our flesh.
You call to us from the moment we are born
and You are patient.
You can bear the weight of our grief.
As Herakles died, so must we
and this tells us it is not a horror
but sweet release and reward.
Pluto, there is a wealth of treasure
in the land of the dead,
in their songs and their stories,
and these too, You secure, for eternity.
Hail to You, Lord of the Dead,
Silent Protector of our ancestors.
Hail to You, Hades.
(image of Hades and Persephone by Jodie Muir Art).
Grounded and centered, having offered to the Gods my morning prayers, and having lit incense to the ancestors I sit comfortably and consider the following meditation.
I reach up with my consciousness, through endless boughs of an enormous Tree, and its leaves whisper with secrets. I am one of those secrets being whispered and sung up the gnarled knots of that ancient Tree. It exhales me up beyond the worlds.
We exist within the breath of a God. We ride that breath into being. We exhale that breath back into the mouth of the All Father at the moment of our death. We are tied to everything through His breath and it pulses around us, the steady hand of the storm. I breathe it in down into my crown. I am alive. I am Odin sitting atop Hliðkjalf and I wear the crown of sovereignty. Nothing can separate me from this God. He has knit Himself into my soul.
It is Mani to Whom I reach as I move to my third eye. He is an ancient God and all manner of folly He has seen and dismissed. He forgets nothing and yet He is luminous. I pray that my mind and my heart may be luminous too, that I may rest in the House of the Moon, and may my Sight be always true.
My throat is filled with Loki’s fire. It burns away deceit. It cleanses and renders and because of it I speak true. His is the crucible in which I am ever refined. He hones my courage.
My heart is Sigyn’s hall. She protects and tenderly nourishes all that falls within Her care. She keeps my heart steadfast and the gentle flame of devotion burning within it. I look to Her that my soul might be constant. In such things, She does not yield.
In my gut, the seat of my will, I think on Thor. Mighty Thor with His chariot and gleaming hammer, He fights off pollution. He girds the world against dissolution. He will never be overcome. With Him at my back, I know that I will always be able to align my will with the divine order. Thor will keep me clean, the Holiness He bears will keep me focused.
In my sex lies Freya’s gift, roaring, liquid heat connecting me to life and primal desire. She is Mistress of Sesrumnir and Her blessings are holy. She teaches us to find joy in living. I strive to remember this.
At my root, lie the mysteries of Frigga’s hall. She grounds me in piety and respect, reverence, and power. She is the All-Mother and Her touch makes everything sacred. She roots me deep in the purest iteration of myself and throuh Her all magic flows.
Beneath my feet breathe the bones of the dead. Thousands of generations of ancestors having passed through Hela’s hallowed halls. They walk with me and when necessary lift me up. There is no place I can go where they are not and in times of danger they are an honor guard. With each step I thank them. With each step I am grateful.
In my hands, I feel the echo worlds. In my right hand I hold fire, in my left hand I hold ice. There is the holy chasm in between. All of creation is within me and I see the moment the Gods willed the worlds into being. I stand with Them then, again and again. I am willed into being too with each and every prayer. I am sustained and my prayers fall like nourishing water from the well of memory upon the Tree. It is sustained too. It is enough.
I reach above me with my right hand drawing power up from the dead and from the living earth and down from the most secret powers of the heavens and it is right and good and I touch my brow and chant:
Til ykkar, Oðinn og Regin,
I touch my belly and intone: rikið.
I touch my right shoulder and intone: krafturinn
My left shoulder: dyrðin
I cross my arms over my heart: nú og að eilífu
I bow my head in reverence: Amen.
And it is done.
(my photo: “the World Tree”. Do not use without permission).
My friend Edward posted a link to a Hellenic threshold prayer on twitter so I figured I’d share the one I do most days before leaving the home.
Thresholds are problematic areas. They’re almost open space, transitional space and that means that they are areas prone most especially to miasma. More than that, as you cross your threshold, you’re leaving the protected space of your house and moving out into a world. All of this makes them remarkably difficult to spiritually shield. My shrine to Hermes is right inside the door, almost touching the threshold (divination showed that He was insistent it go there) and right next to that is the shrine to Loki and Sigyn (again, div showed They wanted it there). The last thing I do before leaving my home is make offerings at each of these shrines. Hermes’ shrine includes a small section to Cardea, Janus, Forculus, and Limentius.
I pray to You, Hermes, Giver of Good things,
ever the Traveler, always our Guide,
please protect me as I leave this house.
Guard my comings and my goings,
and keep me safe.
May I reach my destinations safely
without incident or accident
and return safely home as well.
Please watch over me, Hermes,
I ask Cardea, Gracious Goddess,
to guard me as I cross this threshold.
Please keep away misfortune and malice,
keep away sickness and death,
and with your brothers Forculus and LImentius,
bring me home safely again.
Hail to You, Hermes, best Beloved,
and hail to You, Cardea.
I say this after making a small offering (usually a glass of water or incense) and right before I head out for my day. I’d love to see what types of threshold prayers you, my Readers use.
Happy Saturday, folks.
I had to wake an hour earlier today than is my norm. I’m rushing around, getting ready to head into what I like to term my “hell day” at school (a day where I am in classes or meetings from 11am until 7:45pm without a break) and thanking the Gods for the fact that coffee exists but I wanted to take a moment to write this. From the time I’ve been awake I’ve been thinking about the Gods and how to carry a sense of Them with me throughout the day.
I want to feel Mani around me today, to feel connected to Him from dawn to dusk. I want to feel Him at my throat, and surrounding me, His luminescent presence flowing around and through me. I opened my day with mumbled prayers (not a morning person!) to Him and I have continued to hold Him foremost in my mind as I get ready. The adornments and scent that I choose to wear today are both things that remind me of Him, the first a brooch from His shrine, a ritual piece (though no one else would know it in my working world) imbued with His presence. I made offerings, pinned the brooch to my throat and rushed out.
As we drove to work (I’m now sitting in my department waiting for my first meeting), part of my mind was always on Mani. In my heart where He has crept, He is a palpable force. In the quiet sanctuary of my mind, which He has shaped, He is a far-reaching power. In the world without, He is there, soft misty trace of His passing in the sky above, softening the razor sharp bite of its noise because how can I see or hear any of that when He is there?
I pray for His blessing today and His protection. It is already looking like a day full of physical pain and aggravation. Still, I will try to let Him guide me, to reach out again and again throughout my day readjusting myself to the loveliness that I sense when He is near. I will touch His grace and elegance wondering at it and that moment of contemplative contact will change me, center me, realign me in some small way with His presence.
When I have a moment between meetings and classes, I will go out and pour out a simple offering to Him, probably water but maybe tea since I keep a nice black tea in my box here. I will drink Him in within the secret fastness of my heart as much as He will permit, and pray that whatever battles I may face throughout the day, the ecstatic utterance of His name and the glorious Presence it evokes will ever surround my soul with its illumination.
Hail Mani of the thirteen turnings,
Mani Who governs the cycles of the world,
Mani of the honey-golden countenance,
ManI elder to creation,
Many, beautiful and ancient,
Please hear my prayer.
I love you, oh Sweetest of Gods,
remote though You may ever be,
and for all You have given us,
I am grateful.
Day 1: She Who Preserves
You rise by moonlight, bright and shining,
cover Your head and seek the grace of offerings.
The resources of the home are at Your disposal.
You garb Yourself in respect, modesty, and self-control.
You are mindful of Your position and the obligations therein.
The incense You offer carries Your prayers to the Heavens,
for even the Holy Ones pray for a continuation of goodly order.
The wise wife follows Your example,
inspires the women in her home in piety,
honors her man with her integrity.
She is an adornment to Her home,
wealth beyond measure.
Goodness and bounty flow from her hands.
She restores and holds true to her commitments.
Bless us oh Goddess of chastity,
with the grace of mindfulness,
that we may honor You and the Holy Ones
in all we do.
Day 2 : She Who Guards
You are our first line of defense
in guarding our homes, our kin,
the integrity of our very souls.
It begins with the lessons You teach:
the careful cultivation of virtue.
Nothing escapes You, oh Vigilant One.
Nothing is too small to warrant Your care.
With Your help, we will drive out pollution.
With Your help, with will remain clean
in our work, our hearts, and most of all
in the hallowed places of our spirits.
With Your help, nothing will shake us
from our reverence.
It begins with You, Pudicitia,
mindfulness in our words, our deeds,
our dress, our conduct, and everything
that we allow into our world, and most of all,
most importantly of all, with everything
we allow to shape our inner world.
With Your guidance, Oh Goddess,
may we make good choices.
Hail to You, Pudicitia,
called Patricia, because Your gifts
ennoble, called Plebeia, because your gifts
are for all.
Hail to You, oh Goddess. Always.
Day 4: She Who Inspires All
The ancient Romans knew how important Your blessings were.
They, a people whose history is strewn with inter-class strife
venerated You across those boundaries.
Your blessings were for everyone.
You sustained patrician and plebeian both
and so integral to the holy peace of the Gods were Your gifts,
that women alone tended Your shrines,
because women alone in that time and place
ordered the home passing on Your lessons to their children,
and ensuring each successive generation knew the rightness
of giving You honor.
Our world is very different today,
yet not so different in our need for the knowledge You bear.
Perhaps we need it even more than our ancestors did,
for our world, for all its marvels, is a far uglier and impious place.
Your blessings are there for us too,
if we have the sense our ancestors had,
to seek You out in veneration.
To learn Your lessons well,
and to work hard at maintaining them.
Your most important lesson,
(and one we generally do not like,
though we’d all do best to heed it well),
is that of the rightness of feeling shame
when we have wronged the Gods,
behaved un-virtuously, carelessly,
or when we have been needlessly cruel.
Yours are the gifts that tell us loudly and unswervingly,
when we have crossed a boundary more terrible
with every foolish step.
The pious awareness You grant warns us to reconsider,
and helps ensure that we maintain those sacred habits,
the precious relationships with our Gods and ancestors,
in good and working order.
It is by these things that we too are best sustained.
You give us the strength and the grace
to aid in our own cultivation,
to govern ourselves,
and to develop, if we persevere,
proper and nourishing instincts
toward the holy.
May we persevere,
and Goddess, Who looks wisely
upon Her people, of all classes,
all colors, all ages, all genders,
and strives to teach us rightly,
grant that these instincts to piety,
that we should be working so hard to cultivate,
never fall into the mistake of scrupulosity,
anxiety, and fear.
May the habits of goodness You help us to cultivate,
ever be rooted in joy and a deep and abiding sense
of love for the Gods, and the rightness of devotion to Them.
Hail to You, Pudicitia,
may we ever heed Your lessons well.
Day 5: She Who Sustains the Heart
(by G. Krasskova & T. Vitta)
Great and Gracious Goddess,
this is my prayer to You today.
I come to You with humble heart
and in devotion.
Teach me to honor myself,
so that I may go into relationships clean.
teach me to love, without fear of commitment
those to whom I have chosen to commit,
to cultivate steadfastness, respect, fidelity,
to honor my boundaries
and the boundaries of those around me.
Teach me to be vulnerable
both in strength and submission
that I may never misuse my heart and my needs
in those relationships, I cherish.
Teach me to tease through the complications
in ways that bring value to my relationships, my home,
my commitments, that love may grow and be shared
in ways that honor You and all parties involved.
For when we truly honor ourselves and respect who we are,
and what those things mean to us,
that is when we can more fully love those around us,
respect them, appreciate them
and thus, better fulfill
our commitments to the Powers.
Help us, oh Goddess, for when we do not know ourselves
we run the risk of being subsumed in the needs of others,
and in so doing forgetting ourselves, our sacred work,
our obligations to Gods, family, community, and our own souls.
Bless us, Oh Goddess, with the wisdom of growth,
even when we struggle.
Hail to You, Goddess of boundaries,
for honoring boundaries is the first step
to cultivating a deep and abiding love.
Hail, Pudicitia, called Patricia, called Plebeia.
Honored by high and low alike.
Day 6: She Who Teaches
Your lessons are about self-preservation
and cultivation, Oh Goddess.
You are firm and rightly insistent
that we must hold high standards for ourselves,
because in the end, mentored or not
by human beings, we each alone
are responsible for our devotional lives,
our relationships with the Gods, the ancestors,
the spirits of the land in which we live,
and our communities too.
We cannot foist the blame off
on others, for what we ourselves
have failed to accomplish.
We cannot lay at the feet of strangers,
responsibility for our own poor choices,
be those choices of action or of inaction,
no matter how much we might like to do so,
or how much our culture says it’s ok.
You are there to remind us, Patricia,**
that we are each expected to cultivate,
to the best of our ability, piety,
devotion, and good sense,
toward the Gods and ancestors,
the spirits of the land,
and toward those people in our world
whose lives touch ours.
There are no excuses for what we fail to do.
Our life’s challenges are there to inspire us,
and like an athlete honing his body with weights,
to hone our character too.
Like a good and proper Roman matron,
we have been given a house to tend,
and it is up to us to do that well.
But You are there when we ask for help.
and though You accept no excuse,
You will help us up when we stumble,
and give us guidance when we ask,
and ever support us in our devotions,
that we may become the best person
it is within our living capacity to become
on the inside where it truly counts,
and in our lives writ large as well.
You do not care about our pretty words.
It is our conduct day to day, and especially
in sacred matters
– and everything is a sacred matter to You—
that You would have us govern ourselves.
Hail to You, Patricia.
May You always guide us in this endeavor.
Day 7: She Who Safeguards
You have been honored by empresses,
by the elite matrons of Rome,
and by humble wives of plebeians too.
Your shrines have been beautiful temples,
but also, a modest room within a woman’s home.
Yours is the royal road of wisdom
that every foot is invited to walk,
and You hear all prayers offered to You.
Women have ever been Your special retainers,
You have charged them with a heavy task:
that of being good examples to all
within and without the haven of their homes.
You want Your women to be seen,
that their carefully cultivated examples
of Your most sacred cardinal virtues:
modesty, piety, and respect,
might be seen as well.
Thus, do You firstly teach,
through those who espouse Your veneration.
Your shrines were always tended by married women only.
Girls unmarried were too young and too inexperienced
to be trusted with such a task.
It would have been a cruelty
to expect maidens to uphold the values You teach,
without guidance, without support.
You are not cruel and those values enhance the world
and our devotion to the Holy Powers within it.
They are not meant for harm.
To a child on the brink of womanhood,
wrestling with the challenges adulthood soon brings,
it is better to have exempla of her elders to guide her,
than to shoulder such a heavy, heavy burden alone.
No, Your ways are meant to be cultivated little by little,
taught from mother to daughter, and yes, mother to son,
so that when the world beckons,
Your wisdom will already be knit into our souls.
You are She Who inspired Lucretia,
and fierce Verginia, who refused to be denied
veneration of You, and rightly so.
May we have the stubborn courage to refuse as well,
when those in our world foolishly undermine
the values You teach.
Hail to You, Plebeia,
May I never close my heart
to Your tutelage.
** “Patricia” from the word ‘patrician’ was one of Her epithets, as was “Plebeia” from ‘plebeian.’
(prayers by G. Krasskova; image by W. McMillan).