Tag Archive | druid

Pagans pray.

Pagans pray. This is something some people can’t always get their minds around, sometimes even pagans can’t get their mind around it and can only relate it to Christianity but I don’t know of any religion or spirituality that I’ve ever heard of that doesn’t pray. They may call it something different like a libation or offering but it all comes down to asking or thanking or even adoring the universe or a particular deity for something.

Maybe it’s because I was raised in the twilight between Presbyterianism/Church of Scotland and my grandmother’s instructions on living with the other beings seen and unseen that exist around us but I have always seen fit to pray.

If you are Christian, you know about Intercessory prayer or praying on behalf of someone, the real difference in Wicca is the fact that you must have permission from the person you are praying for to do it. Sometimes we might be tempted to do it unasked for but when looked at, the person may be using that thing you want to pray to get rid of as a crutch to get through life as warped as that may seem to you. It may be the only thing holding them up and that could be sickness, a political viewpoint, general negativity or a prejudice you want them to get rid of. If they lost that thing would their world collapse? It’s not our job to do it unless they ask for it. We have to remember to harm none even if we don’t like it.

But how else can we pray? I don’t know any pagans that haven’t lit incense. The ancients thought the smoke carried prayers to the gods. According to archeologists the first written prayers were recorded 5000 years ago. Humans have probably always had some form of prayer even if it was a form of “Feet, don’t fail me now” when being chased by a bear. There are many recorded prayers and hymns from the Greeks and Romans and other peoples.

Hymns and chants are forms of prayer. They can be sung as adoration or in thanks. We sing or say grace for nature’s bounty, that is prayer. We light candles with intention. We ring bells in Circle to call to the deities as invocation. Prayer doesn’t have to be words. Some of us have trouble with words but we can sing, drum or hold an image in our minds.

We don’t need to kneel, or be in submission on the floor, we don’t need to flagellate ourselves to obtain real or imagined needs to feel forgiven. We can take a walk in nature and send our consciousness out into the world to commune with our living world. We can sit in stillness and just be in our bodies. We can light incense and follow its path to the heavens. We can blow a bubble and fill it with our wishes and needs and let it go. We can write it out and burn or bury it and let it pass away into the earth. We can send it down a stream or out on the waves on a bark or origami boat. We can use the elements to pray.

When we pray it can be to our higher self, a specific deity, it can be to our ancestors for needed wisdom. We can pray to the universe, in general. We can pray to the Fae. We can request things of nature around us.

Sometimes we just have the need to express ourselves to something outside ourselves when we are feeling, whether that feeling be grief or joy, love or despair, hurt or healing and sometimes just because we are human on this earth, in this time and in this place. We pray.

A prayer for Grace

May I greet this Summer morning
With a cheerful face and loving grace,
Grace to my heart
Grace to my hands
Grace to my spirit.
Blessings to the fellow beings
I meet on my path
Keep my temper and patience this day
From morning light to fall of night

I ask protection for my spirit
From the nine summer flowers
Cheer of nasturtiums
Grace of a poppy
Strength of a sunflower
Uprightness of the iris
Flexibility of a morning glory
Permanence of a bouganvilla
Playfulness of a Johnny-jump-up
Peace of the lily
Determination of lotus
Nine flowers to guide me through the garden of light
Nine flowers to cheer me till night time.

Kat

Boudicca’s hare

From here I can see all across the fields to the Roman Legions. They stand there stiffly in their orderly squares.

I lie in her arms wrapped in her cloak of so many different colours. Her long red hair floats in the wind as she waits. I’m surrounded by the roars of the tribes.

She breathes deeply and looks around. These are her people. She is doing this for them and for my Goddess, Andraste.

She is well named for Boudicca means Victory and we will win today. We may not win every day but today we will. My goddess has decreed it. And still she stands waiting for the sun to be favourable to us and then she will let me go.

She will watch how I run for left is victory and right is loss. I will run left. I will run as fast as I can across the fields and into the arms of my goddess for I see her waiting for me. I know where to run because I watch for her to keep me safe.

Boudicca leans down and I’m off! Running as hard as I can, my sides heaving as I breathe. The Iceni and their comrades have become quiet watching me go.

I’m almost to Andraste when their spears start to fly. The noise roars higher and Boudicca’s people run at the Romans who are trembling in the turtle of their shields.

And it is done. I’m safe in Andraste’s arms. Safe to run again another day.

BunniHoTep and Ptah

Once upon a time BunniHotep was walking on Temple Row and came across Ptah. Ptah was staring at a half carved obelisk with a chisel in his hand and a puzzled look.

“What’s wrong, Ptah?” asked BunniHotep because something was quite obviously very wrong. Ptah usually looked very happy when he was going about his crafting tasks. It was his job to make and design all the art in the Temples. He had just finished Osiris’s lotus columns so this was very strange.

“I’m stuck,” he said with a sad voice. “I never get stuck and right in the middle of this obelisk too. I have to finish it and I have no idea how. My inspiration just flew away like that ibis there.” He added sadly. “That never happens to me. I have no idea what to write.” He looked even more dejected. Ptah was a god of few words so he had to be upset if he was going on this way. He saved his words for his work.

BunniHoTep decided she needed to shake Ptah’s lost inspiration loose. He had done a lot for her. He had spent a long time crouched down in rabbit-sized tunnels in her Temple carving and painting beautiful scenes. That had to have given him very big amounts of back pain and head bumps.  She had to help if just as a thank you for all his hard work.

“How did you get the idea for this obelisk in the first place?” she asked quietly.

“I don’t remember! It’s all gone.” Ptah was almost whining in frustration and this would never do. Gods do not whine!

BunniHoTep made an executive decision and grabbed Ptah’s arm with both her paws and tugged. “Let’s go for a walk. You need to get away from here.” She guided him off Temple Row. She thought Temple Row might be part of the problem. He rarely left it. How can you get an idea if you never go out?

So she walked him down to the docks on the Nile and they sat down and watched Ammit catch frogs for dinner. This aspect of her friendship with Ammit was a little hard to stomach but one makes allowances for friend’s oddities and it might help Ptah. They watched the ibises come and go from their nests, feeding their chicks. They watched the dragonflies buzz back and forth, their blues and oranges flashing brightly in the sun. She watched Ptah start to relax but he still had a sad expression on his face. So she tugged on him again and they continued on their walk.

She decided to walk him thru the Palace gardens, maybe that would help. They walked among the date palms and along the papyrus and lotus pools. They looked at the minnows darting back and forth catching insects for their suppers. They watched a vulture circle around over the desert in the distance. “He looks like he hasn’t a care in the world,” Ptah sighed.

“No, he looks like he’s found dinner,” BunniHotep said and hoped it was no one she knew but Ptah was seeming a bit brighter. “When was the last time you did something besides work for one of us?” She asked Ptah quietly.

“I don’t remember. Everyone keeps me so busy and I hate to say no.”

“Well, let’s make a bargain. Once a week we’ll take a walk off Temple Row. You don’t even have to speak to me when we walk, just be.” They kept walking and BunniHoTep smiled to herself at the small joke she had made. Thoth had made the rabbit hieroglyph the word “Be” and Ptah was too wound up to even remember.

“Let’s go watch the sunset over the Sphinxes. This time of year it goes right down the row of them and I like to watch it and then we can have supper.” Ptah nodded and they went and sat on the steps at the end of the row for their private show from Ra.

“You know something BunniHoTep? You gave me a big present. I think I can go back there tomorrow I know how to finish it. I think I’ll sketch it out tonight on papyrus so I won’t lose it but I know what to do now.” Ptah was very relaxed and smiling a bit now. He leaned back on his elbows and just watched to sun set.

Then the two friends got up and walked companionably back to Temple Row.

Coming out isn’t easy — Part 3

I said I came out by the Oops method because I did. I had been moved out for a while and for some reason was over at my parent’s house gardening, I think, and my mom must have started at least four sentences with “when you get married”. I finally lost it and said I wasn’t getting married and she lost it. She lost it at the top of her lungs. She kept screaming, “You’re just like your brother!” Well duh?

She had met all my friends who were out and she liked them but my being out meant her stakes in the “I have to show off my grandchildren at church” lottery had dropped astronomically. What she never figured out was that even if I had been straight she would never have been allowed near my kids. She was just too mean and self-centered a person. To the point that when I had an emergency hysterectomy many years later I had to ban her from visiting with Security because she said she was going to stop it and I was being a hypochondriac. Even when told I was going to die without it, it didn’t matter to her because everything was about her and according to the surgeon after I was about 2 weeks from dying from gangrene.

She really didn’t want grandchildren, she just wanted to have them to show off to everyone. My mom was all about her image and how she looked to others. Sadly, my sister and I, by being the least girly girls ever had started embarrassing her in public early in our lives. I was an obvious nerd by the time I was 6 and a lot of people fed that and considering that was in 1960 that says a lot about whom they were.

Example? At the yearly Choir retreat, the men of the choir went diving and brought up a huge kelp tree onto the beach and it was full of creatures. I am told, I ordered them to stop and not touch anything until I got my books on sea creatures, tidepools, shells and other beach life  and they honoured that request of an excited 6 year old and I went and got them and they helped me identify everything and collect everything that I wanted to save in my plastic bucket. That was an error in 6 year old judgment because I collected a teeny tiny lobster along with a really tiny octopus and some small starfish. The lobster put a hole in my bucket and the water ran out and they died sometime in the night but as a 6 year old I had established my nerd/geek propeller head status. So not a girly girl.

Other people at church or at least, the choir loved us and didn’t really care. They knew us from birth, it really shouldn’t have been a surprise when we came out. I do have to admit my parents lost some close friends from their Sunday School class/social group because they obviously “hadn’t raised us right.” But no one from the choir ever loved us any less that I know of. Mom’s best friend did give her a book called “Where do I go to resign” about de-gaying your kid but for the most part no one ever said anything to me or Cam.

Once she had me drive her to what was allegedly her psychotherapist at church. I don’t remember why she didn’t want to drive but sometime during the drive I figured out if I went in with her there would be a full court press to get me to REPENT and go straight. So I just politely refused to get out of the car when we got there and she got really mad and she had to go inside without me because she couldn’t tell the truth about setting me up. She was convinced she wouldn’t get into heaven if we stayed queer. And she felt she looked bad.

It was when she found out I was a witch and went blabbing all over church that I was worshipping Satan things got said. But I wasn’t and anyone with a brain should have known that but I haven’t been back to church except for my dad’s funeral since. Mom had the minister do an altar call at my dad’s funeral because she knew my coven and some of the Temple of Isis were coming. I have never been so furious in my life and I was glad I was sitting with my aunt and cousins and not up front with her or there might have had to be two funerals.

I had a graveside service for mom and gave the minister readings that were really stealth pagan readings like the Gaelic blessing, Deep Peace. It made me happy, it made the Christians happy because they sang the incomplete version in choir and it made my pagan friends happy.

I did go to both Cam’s funerals at his Episcopal churches, one near where he lived in northern California and one at the one he went to in Pasadena before he moved up north. At the one up north I was asked to read something at the reception. It was a little easier because I only knew a few of his friends. I read the Hymn to Osiris from the Book of Coming Forth AKA the Egyptian Book of the Dead. I did announce that I was a Priestess and pagan and watched some mouths drop open. That was kind of fun. Mom couldn’t go and I was very glad. The SF Gay Men’s Chorus sang because he was a member. It was really beautiful.

I guess for most people Coming Out is a process that never really ends. You are always coming out to someone new whether coming out as a lesbian or as a pagan or as both. And lot of times it doesn’t make the bigots happy. It makes people question themselves and they really don’t like having to questions their own life choices.

I have lost many friends over the years over one or the other. It hurts but you learn that the ones who always love you no matter what are the ones that matter and the ones that don’t are the ones that you have to leave behind on your journey and maybe you have made it easier to love the next gay or pagan person that comes into their lives. Knowledge does create change. And love is all that really matters and we choose our families the older we get and if it means we lose blood family, were they really your family?

Hymn to Osiris

Hymn to Osiris

The doors of perception open; what was hidden has been revealed. It is myself I see and a thousand colors swirling in liquid light. I am where the sun sets below the mountains. I am in this body. I am that star rising above clouds hung by a thread from its ocean moon. Hail myself, traversing eternity walking among gods, a shuttle flying across the loom through the thread of time. This is all one place; one cloth: a mans’ life endures. On earth flowers grow, snakes crawl and wisdom lies in the palm of a hand. All that is will be—hawks and sparrows, the thousand lives within.

I have come home. I have entered humanhood, bound to rocks and plants, men and women, rivers and sky. I shall be with you in this and other worlds. When the cat arches in the doorway, think of me. I have sometimes been like that. When two men greet each other in the street, I am there speaking to you. When you look up, know I am there—-sun and moon pouring out my love around you. All these things am I, portents, images, signs. Though apart, I am a part of you. One of the million things in the universe, I am the universe, too. You think I disguise myself as rivers and trees simply to confuse you? Whatever I am, woman, cat or lotus, the same god breathes in every body. You and I together are a single creation. Neither death nor spite nor fear nor ignorance stops my love for you.

May we come and go in and out of heaven through the gates of starlight. As the houses of earth fill with dancing and song, so filled are the houses of heaven. I come, in truth. I sail a long river and row back again. It is joy to breathe under the stars. I am the sojourner destined to walk a thousand years until I arrive at myself.

“Awakening Osiris” translation by Normandi Ellis