Category Archives: prayers
I occasionally will write prayers on commission for folks. It’s one of the services I offer at my etsy shop. I want to share several of the more recent ones that I have done, though none of these Deities form part of my own personal devotion. I also want to share a little bit about my process in preparing for and writing these devotional pieces, especially those Deities to Whom I don’t have any personal devotion.
It can take me some time to write these prayers. First, I like to spend a few days reading up on and meditating upon the Deity in question. Sometimes insights will come to me through this – often through contemplation of particular epithets of the Deity—that I’ll later work into the finished prayer. I usually set up a small, temporary shrine and make nightly prayers, not rushing but taking time as I would with any prayer cycle. I make small offerings – nothing excessive but usually flowers or incense, fresh water, or alcohol where it is appropriate. I make sure to cleanse before approaching the shrine – especially if I do not know the traditional protocols around that Deity’s cultic practices. Some Deities desire stronger purificatory protocols than Others. Usually that takes about two weeks and then I will look up as complete a list of the epithets of that Deity as I can find and I’ll pray for inspiration, make another small offering, sit down and write the prayer.
Over the past month, I’ve had several commissions so I want to share the last three that I wrote. I like the way they turned out, and the first, to Imhotep, reminded me of one of the first Kemetic Deities that I ever honored after Sekhmet. I had forgotten how intrigued I once was by Him but it’s only now, writing for someone devoted to Him, that the devotional connection opened up. I am grateful for the momentary grace. (If any one of my readers honors Imhotep, feel free to comment below. I would love to hear a bit about your practices).
Prayer to Imhotep
By Galina Krasskova
(For C. for personal use only)
[Before praying, cleanse yourself ritually, even if only by a token washing of the hands and face. If you can, set out a glass of water in offering, to be discarded later respectfully. Water is the most basic of offerings and almost always appropriate).
Hail to You, Architect of Peace.
Hail to You, great and wise Physician.
You, Imhotep – come in peace, I pray!
Great servant of Ra,
You are a conduit for His healing rays.
You good God, restore balance and health.
I pray You turn Your benevolent gaze upon me,
my household, my land, and those dear to my heart.
Restore us and protect us from all iniquity,
as You ever restore the richness of the red and black land
Oh, Wisest of Physicians,
both firm and gentle in Your counsel,
hear my petition I pray.
Restore my ka.
Protect my ka.
Ward me from all evil.
Refresh my soul with Your healing waters.
Stretch Your hands over me, oh sweet and gracious God.
Bring my soul into alignment with Ma’at.
Bring my will into alignment with the will of the Gods.
Bring me, heart and mind, body and spirit
into the true health of reverence,
and let me never falter in my devotion.
You, Who are patron of scribes,
teach me to write the names of my Gods
immutably and always on the walls of my heart.
You, Who are patron of architects,
may my heart ever be ordered and aligned
to the ways of goodness, industry, and virtue.
You, Who are patron of mathematics,
teach me to know my part,
in the harmony of creation.
You, Who are patron of medicine,
may my hands bring healing to my world.
Beloved of Thoth,
Beloved of Ra,
Beloved of Ptah,
Beloved of Sekhmet,
Friend of Asklepios,
Counselor to Kings,
Bless our growth as You bless the rising of the Nile.
You Who were the best of temple priests,
guide us in our devotions.
That which comes from Your hands is good.
Please lay those healing hands,
upon the body of our souls,
that we may learn always,
to walk in reverence.
You are preceded by the ibis bird
and holiness follows in Your wake.
All the souls of those buried
at the holy land of Saqqara praise you.
Always, I will praise You too.
Come in peace, oh great and wise God,
Come in peace and please, I pray,
bring peace to my world too
Hail to You, Imhotep.
Hail, mighty Healer.
Now, I had never before honored Tawaret. I’m not a mother. I’ve never wanted children (though I like them well enough). I had erroneously thought that was all She was about. Instead, when I began to honor Her now, preparatory to writing this, I discovered a Deity who, like Sekhmet drives back evil, drives back pollution and protects with a fury and fullness of power that nothing unholy would dare to challenge. I may actually be integrating Her into my household veneration, I found myself so moved by the power of Her presence.
Prayer to Taweret By G. Krasskova (for C. for personal use only) copyright 2020 Hail to You, Life-Giver to Gods! Hail oh Goddess, Who nourishes humanity, Hail oh Goddess, Who nourishes us in our humanity. You are the richness of the Nile, the fertility of the rich, black soil, the promise of the endless waters rising and falling, filling the land with abundance. You are fullness: of blessing, of grace, of glory. Please hear my prayer now. You, oh Great One, guarantee the fertility of the land. You are ferocious, even as You nurture and protect. Oh Mistress of the Horizon, Goddess of the Northern Sky, You Who protect the vault of heaven, Who clears the way for the passage of Ra, He Who drives the dawn forward in His boat of Millions of years, raise high the ankh, the symbol of life, above our heads and rain down Your blessings, I pray. Oh terrifying One, You Who take the form of the lion and of the hippopotamus, great horse of the waters (1), You Whose name means ‘Great,’ protect us from evil. Drive out wickedness. Protect us from peril. Wield Your gleaming knife in our defense, and keep us clean of all pollution. You are mighty, and under the great shield of Your protection, no malignancy may find purchase in our hearts. Protect us, I pray, I and my friends, my family, and household, protect our world too from evil in all its forms. Grant us the space, the opportunity, to go to our Gods clean. Grant us the grace that we may always walk rightly in reverence. Oh Great and gracious Taweret, You are the Protector of all young and vulnerable creatures. You protect pregnant women. You protect laboring women. You protect their children too; and where You have turned Your gaze, no evil spirits may enact their evil intent. When you are present in the birthing room, You are a guard and a ward to the laboring woman. The birthing bed is Your sanctuary. You protect us now, and Your care ensures our next generation too. Offerings of milk, I shall bring you, offerings of figs and bread, incense with my head bowed low, for You restore and connect the circle of being, bridging the passage into life and death into life again. As You protect the living, so too You protect the dead. You assist souls in their journey to the gentle embrace of Osiris. You guide their way in rejoining the ancestors, --may they eat honey from the hands of their dead. You restore the soul, --may You wash us all in Your refreshing waters. I praise You as Taweret, (2) Great Lady of the heavens. I praise You as Ipet, and as Reret, for You are the ever-birthing One, restoring the order of heaven and earth through Your labors. Friend of Isis, Friend of Hathor, Friend of Sobek, Preserver of all that is holy, Make us holy too. Let nothing impure or wicked twist the integrity of our souls out of true. May we always be guided in the best ways to honor You and to honor all the Gods in ways pleasing to the heavens. Mistress of pure water, Lady of the birthing house, Lady of heaven, Yours is the power to ward off evil. Friend of Hedjet, Yours is the power to protect the household. Grant us peace, great Goddess. Let us rear our children in peace. Guard our house against evil, and always, turn our hearts to the ways of devotion. Hail to You, Taweret, now and ever. Notes: 1. Hippopotamus is from the Greek for ‘river horse.’ 2. From this point on can be taken out and used as a smaller, shorter, prayer of praise. Two for the price of one. Lol.
Finally, I was asked to write a prayer to Artemis (this was actually the first of the latest three, though I have a few more in queue to do, which I hope to get to this coming week).
Prayer to Artemis (For T., for personal use only). Copyright 2020. I pray to You, most gracious Goddess, and I ask that You hear my prayer. Daughter of Zeus, Daughter of Leto, born radiant with Your prophecy-loving Brother, You are fierce, and none may equal You in the focused fury of the Hunt. Under Your watchful eye, babes are birthed, children thrive, girls grow to adulthood, woodland creatures are nourished, and those who celebrate Your mysteries are protected. May I be nourished too. These things I know: You brook no offense toward Your pious Mother. You brook no violation of Your sacred groves, Your grottos, Your wooded glades, and sacred places. To gaze upon You is a privilege granted to few, yet Your protection is offered to any young girl who needs it, and You guard their integrity like a She-bear with Her cubs. In this, You are unswerving like the arrows You wield so keenly. None dare trespass the boundaries You fiercely lay. Rightly, it brings only woe. You are called Aeginaea, huntress, Weapons-wise with javelin, bow, and every killing tool. You are called Agrotera, blessing the land with the grace of Your hunt. You are called Amarynthus, Apanchomene, and Aristo, because You are supreme in all the arts that are Yours to govern. You are called Astrateia, greater than any amazon; Brauronia, most ancient Goddess, Receiver of Sacrifices, Diktynnaia, the huntress whom none can escape. You are called Chrysaor, golden armed Goddess, and You receive victory dances. You are called Phoebe, Cynthia for the moon, Delia and Limnaea for the land upon which You were born, and a thousand other names drawn from places where You were venerated by those wiser than we. You are the leader of the woodland hoard, Hegemone, and You take maidens and married women alike into Your service, Hymnia, Glorious, You are celebrated throughout Arcadia. You are celebrated throughout the world. You are called locheia, Upis, and women cry Your name when giving birth. Your blessing falls on every child, and woe betide those wishing them harm. You are called always Parthenia, because You will never yield Your liberty to any man. All Who have recourse to You call You Soteira, savior, for Your hand preserves and carries us away from harm. By these and many other names are You known, but today, in this place, and in the secret bower of my heart, I call You Artemis, for this name is sacred, and rings like a trumpet’s blast through all the rough places of my soul, bringing renewal. I thank you, Great and Holy Lady, and ask only this in return: may I serve you well and better each day. May I never do that which would make me ashamed, to place myself in Your presence. May I learn and do all that You would have me do; and in the end, may it be enough. Hail to you, Artemis, Holy One, Child of Zeus, Favored of Your Father. Child of Leto, Beloved of Your Brother. Hail Great Goddess, Beloved by me too. I thank You.
I enjoy doing this type of work. Even if it’s a Deity that I don’t personally venerate, it gives me an opportunity to enter into devotional headspace more carefully than I sometimes do – it’s easy to get into a rhythm with one’s own Gods and that can sometimes lead to cutting corners or becoming careless – taking it for granted. Having to approach a Deity Whose protocols I don’t know keeps me on my toes. It makes the experience fresh again, and that in turn highlights the areas that I need to better in my practice with the Gods I do regularly venerate.
Yesterday, my friend Elise asked me if I prayed in the mornings and if so, whether I used formal, set prayers, or prayed extempore, in a more conversational format. I thought it a very good question and asked her permission to recap her question and my response here, which she generously gave.
I am not, in any sense of the word, a morning person. My natural bio-rhythms ideally have me waking at about ten am, working till two am or so, and then going to bed. I can make some adjustments for work, but it tends to have an immediate and largely negative effect on my health and mood (1). I’ve learned to accommodate diurnal scheduling to a degree over the years but I hate it. Years ago when I lived in Queens, the majority of my kindred all lived within walking distance and for about six months we met every
bloody morning at six am (we all worked in the city mind you, so we had to catch the train in) to do a morning liturgy. It was lovely, nourishing, and damn near killed me. So, while I would like to keep monastic hours, treating my day as an interlocking circle of prayer in which I exist constantly praising my Gods, it is a goal and hasn’t happened yet. I do pray when I awaken, but it tends to vacillate between a garbled “arrrrrrgggghhh, gah, consciousness, grrrr…hail to the Gods and my dead” or a formal prayer like “Sigdrifa’s Prayer.” My more intensely focused prayer happens later in the day, and then before bed I usually pray for an hour or sometimes two (2). I feel bad about that though, and more and more, I’ve been trying to at least make a prayer the first thing out of my mouth when I wake, if not “Sigdrifa’s Prayer,” than this one that I wrote:
Hail to the Gods and Goddesses!
Your grace illumines all things.
Your gifts shine forth
making fruitful nine mighty worlds.
Blessed are those that serve You.
Blessed are those that seek You out
Holy Powers, Makers of all things,
bless and protect us in Your mercy.
Lead us along the twisting pathways of our wyrd,
and when it is time, guide us safely along the Helroad (3).
I really would like to develop the discipline of greeting the day with more fully formed prayers and even a ritual though – it’s a life goal. That being said, when I told all this to Elise, it led to a discussion of what is better: formal or informal prayer. She did not grow up in a religious family (nor in fact, in this country where we are exposed to religion somewhat simply by virtue of the nature of American culture) and formal prayers (set prayers, like the one above, or in Catholicism, the “hail Mary” or “our Father” prayers), she said, felt stilted and awkward. For her, praying was sitting in front of her shrine and immersing herself in the Presence of the Deity in question and …talking. That is lovely. That is what many people who practice prayer aspire to achieve. But, the two forms of prayer (formal and extempore) are not mutually exclusive. They reinforce each other, the formal prayers providing a scaffolding around which one weaves conversation, meditation, contemplating, and direct experience (4). Eventually, they should both lead to the same place: immersion in the presence of the Gods.
Each type of prayer has its pros and its cons. With formal prayers, the pros involve having this baseline that is easy to drop into regardless of what’s going on with one’s life. You know what to say and that it is going to be appropriate and respectful. This type of prayer often re-articulates and reifies our cosmology and the divine order undergirding it, so it is a word-act, a volitional articulation of and alliance with the Gods and the order They have created and that They sustain. It’s a means for us to participate in sustaining it too. Because one isn’t having to think about what to say, it allows the mind to focus on the Gods and Their mysteries, and from there, it is possible to have a powerful contemplative experience. Formal prayers also serve to remind us that there is an implicit hierarchy here, no matter how friendly a relationship with the Gods we may have in our devotional lives: this is not a relationship of equals and that’s a good thing. What a wondrous thing that we can have a devotional relationship with one of the Holy Powers, what a transformative thing!
Finally, for newcomers, particularly those who don’t know how to pray, formal prayers are excellent teaching tools, both for conveying some level of doctrine, but also for teaching one how to do this thing called prayer. I often find that those just learning to pray are often afraid they’ll say the wrong thing, or they feel awkward, or they don’t know how to pray and just stall themselves not knowing where to go or what to do. That’s all normal. Even people raised in religious households may experience this and all of us can use a refresher on how to pray well. With formal prayers, one can hit a groove that in the best case scenarios, represents a prayer prayed by generations of the devout. (We’ll get there, never fear).
The cons to formal prayer is that it can seem boringly repetitive and it’s easy for it to just become rote verbal repetition. The key is to train the mind to look at each word, each sentence as a word-knot to be untangled by the mind, to look at the prayers as a rhythm aligning us with the will and architecture of the Gods, carrying us into direct contemplation. It takes discipline and practice and there are days where it’s more of a struggle than others. Like working any other muscle, one will become better at praying over time, but learning to enter into a receptive headspace, to use the prayers as an opportunity to contemplate the Gods and Their mysteries, and to allow that to open one up more fully to those Gods takes time and ongoing practice. Try not to be discouraged if it doesn’t happen all at once. Devotion is an art form, a craft and like any craft, it’s something we’ll be honing and developing our entire lives.
The pros to informal, extempore prayer are that they allow a freer expression of one’s inner mind, heart, and soul to the Gods. It often feels more natural, and it allows for one to express oneself without the constraints of any external scaffolding. The cons are that it can elide the protocols and respect or even an awareness of the extant hierarchy between us and the Gods and this can lead to disrespect. Also, for those unformed in prayer, informal prayer may seem as awkward as its more formal brother. The important thing is to understand that these two types of engaging devotionally with the Gods are not opposites. They are not in opposition to each other. Both types of prayer are important, even necessary for the devotee, and each one complements the other. I often advice my students – as I did with Elise when she asked me about this – to continue with the extempore prayer (Because that is a good and lovely thing, something to which, at its best, we can all aspire) but perhaps end the prayer session with a set prayer like the one I offer above. She liked that because then the prayer becomes like a knot tying off a string of pearls, or a door carefully and respectfully closing. I often begin and end my times of extempore prayer with a set prayer myself.
I also think that it’s important to think about ways that we can pray throughout our day. Most of us are not monastics. We don’t have the benefit of living a life centered around ongoing prayer hour by hour. Even so, it is possible to move throughout one’s day consciously centered, mentally and spiritually, in an awareness of our devotion to the Gods, and of Their grace and glory. I look for ways throughout my day that I can slip in a prayer, or turn my mind, for however brief a time toward the Gods. Working from home due to Covid (my university moved most of its classes online this term), it’s been particularly easy. I walk past a shrine, I take a second or two, to thank that Deity or group of Deities for Their blessings. Sometimes I will quickly recite a prayer. Sometimes I’ll make an offering (yesterday I was passing Sigyn’s shrine with a couple of scones in hand that I’d just bought while out on errands, so I stopped and gave Her one). It doesn’t have to be a big, huge, formal ritual, nor even a formal prayer. Sometimes a ‘thank you’ is enough (5).
So, what questions do you have about prayer? What prayers do you particularly like, and what inspires you throughout your day to turn your attention to the Gods?
- A colleague told me in passing a couple weeks ago that he read an anthropology article (I don’t have it – didn’t think to ask him for it) postulating that different sleep cycles evolved when we still lived in caves: so someone would always be awake to protect the tribe. Maybe. It’s as good a reason as anything else, I suppose.
- This is not including feast days or ritual days when there is some type of religious service.
- Helheim is not a land of punishment in Heathenry. “hel” means “light” and refers to the Goddess Hela as well. It’s a land of comfort and peace for the dead, a place where our ancestors dwell. There may be parts of Helheim where the wicked and foul are punished, but Helheim itself is not a land of punishment like the Christian Hell.
- I think formal prayers also form a solid base line, the low bar that at the very least, even when we’re struggling to get in the right headspace, distracted, sick, sad, etc., we can do. If nothing else, we can do this. It’s always better to be in appropriate and receptive headspace when one prays, but sometimes we’re just not going to be able to do that.
- My adopted mom used to say that the single most important prayer one could ever utter to one’s Gods is “thank you.”
Good morning, readers (at least it’s morning as I’m writing this!). As promised, here is your update on the availability of my latest devotional.
Seven for Sekhmet is now available here. It joins the passel of other pocket-sized devotionals that I’ve been doing lately. I have a few more planned but probably not until at least mid-winter.
Now I’m off to drink some tea, make some breakfast, and get ready for my patristics class (at the ungodly hour of 9am lol). enjoy your day, everyone.
Affiliate Advertising Disclaimer.
Affiliate Advertising Disclosure
My new Loki book is now available, the next installment in what I’ve taken to calling my ‘novena series.’ This small book fits neatly into one’s pocket and contains nine days of prayer, along with devotional suggestions for the Norse God Loki. While many of the prayers have been reprinted from my earlier book Hymns and Prayers for a Polytheistic Household, there is new material in this book, including two divination systems used extensively in my House. The book, Heart on Fire: A Novena for Loki, is available here.
Earlier this year at the start of the pandemic, JR, one of my readers contacted me with a thought, “What if a bunch of us polytheists started a sort of Novena to Apollo to combat this virus?”
Recognizing a great idea, the seed for the Apollo novena was born. Not only is Apollo a God associated with healing, but because he was well known in ancient Greece as deeply multifaceted–with connections to the sun, knowledge, the arts, protection of the young, averter of evil, and so much more–a novena seemed long overdue.
Affiliate Advertising Disclosure
Of Bow, Lyre, and Prophetic Fire:Nine Days of Prayer to the God Apollo
Nine days of prayer, offerings, ritual and divination in honor of Apollo – the God whose holy light drives off illness and miasma, inspires music and oracular utterances, protects the young, and profoundly touches each worshipper who approaches Him in devotion and supplication.
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While some content in this novena has been published before in my Hymns and Prayers of a Polytheistic Household, there is also quite a bit of new material including a new divination system.
JKE recently asked,
“Here’s a question, if you have time. What is the most fundamental part of your devotional work? If all else had to be eliminated in a crisis, what would you keep doing?
This year, I have had multiple hospital stays, been temporarily displaced from my home, etc. I find myself asking this question a lot, trying to figure out what forms the bedrock of my spiritual practice. I find myself saying evening prayers every day, before sleep, and it keeps me anchored. At its most basic, it is just listing the names of the gods, and a few words of gratitude to each. I also offer song and fresh water, because those are available and possible just about anywhere. It makes me wonder what other polytheists do to stay focused on the Gods in chaotic times, or when stripped of resources.”
You hit on the answer to this question already, JKE: prayer. It is the most important part of any devotional practice. It’s where one usually begins one’s devotional journey, and it’s the thing that no one can take away. We may not be able to make offerings or libations due to circumstances (though the offering process is also important and as you note, water is almost always available) and certainly not everyone may have access to a properly trained blot priest, but we can always pray. We may not be able to wear any religious symbols or even to have a shrine, but we can pray. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you have the capacity to pray. This is the most fundamental form of devotional communion.
Now a lot of people think prayer is asking for things and it can be but … it’s also so much more. One may ask for things when one prays but I hope that sooner or later, with devotional maturity, one will ease away from this. There will always be times when we reach out to the Gods for help but where prayer is concerned, on a daily basis, that should be the exception rather than the rule. Prayer is a means of preparing the ground of the mind, the heart, the spirit for experience of the Holy. It’s communication, and I think the very process of praying creates in us a certain receptivity to the Gods and spirits. For that reason alone, it’s indispensable.
For those in pain and suffering,
for whatever reason:
those whose bodies are broken,
those in chronic pain,
those suffering injury or illness
(of themselves or a loved one),
those hurting in mind, heart, and spirit
May our good and gracious Gods of healing,
alleviate what suffering They may,
in accordance with sacred law
and the twisting, knotted pathways of wyrd.
May They sustain us, encourage us,
and give us the fortitude to endure
what cannot be alleviated.
May we find medical professionals
who are compassionate,
and unafraid to do their duty
for health, healing, and surcease of pain.
May we have what support we need
from those in our world.
I pray to all our good Gods of Healing,
[insert the names per your pantheon]
please hear my prayer.
Hear the suffering of the world,
and let us rest securely
in Your good regard.
Affiliate Advertising Disclosure
I have paid my debt to this God. The small novena book I promised Him is now available. Like my other novena books, it is pocket-sized and offers nine days of prayer to Aphrodite’s son, Anteros, the God of requited love. It’s now available here. Thank you, Wynn, for coming up with the title. ^_^
Coming very, very soon….
a little novena book for a very special God…
(cover art by Grace Palmer)
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.