Prayer is a Verb

I participated in the November 2018 Prayer a day challenge created by the ADF Druids. You can find it on Facebook using the #PrayerADay & #ADFdruidry hashtags.

So this post is my musings on the challenge. First off as expected it was really great to see all the diverse prayers. To see what people say to thier deities. It was also fantastic see how many other followers of the Greek and Roman pantheons there are in the ADF. I praticularly enjoyed seeing the diffrent perspective of how other people interacted with these pantheons.

But as the tital of this post suggest I want to talk about prayers themselves. While the finish product maybe called an noun, prayer is more about the verb, the act of creating it. Some people created really long poem like prayers set on flashy backgrounds, and others had a sentance or two to express there thoughts. Is one style better than the other? NO. It is about the intent and the sincerity of the prayer. Personally I think think the important part is the connection the action of prayer creation builds between you and the Deity or spirit you are communicating with.

Now my next point is that prayer is not just done in words. Almost every single prayer submitted to this project was written. But that is not how everyone prays. There is a long trend in human history of using music and dance as prayer. Sporting events like the ancient version of the Olympic games are also a form of active prayer. Although one could argue that it is more of a ritual or offering than a prayer, but aren’t ritual and offerings a physical manifestation of prayer?

In my personal practice I don’t really vocalize or write prayers. I draw them. I use art to express my thoughts and emotions to my deities and spirit allies. I think the hours spent creating a picture is a deeper spirital experience than the five minutes spent writting a prayer. As the old saying goes “A picture is worth 1000 words.”

Art as prayer does exist in various traditions. I think my first exposure to the idea was as a kid flipping through National Geographic magazines at my grandma’s house and seeing western Native Americans tribes using colored sand to creat elaborate medicine wheels. But as I expanded my education I saw all kinds of religious art from around the world and have come to understand its creation as a way to reciprocate to the divine our appreciation of thier blessings. But ultimately I believe it is the effort not the skill that matters.

Gardening I think is another form of active prayer. To get your hands in the dirt and really connect with Gaia and Demeter. To feel thier power under your finger nails and experience thier blessings back as produce. That connection between the land and its effect on our is often lacking in our convenience based modern living.

Walking in the park and listing to the wind in the leaves and birds songs. If done with a thought to honoring this experince, is this also not a form of prayer?

Well thats just my thoughts on the subject. Below is pictures of two of my picture prayers.

Have a good December yall.

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Hera’s Call

Dear fellow Pagans,

Have you ever had experience where a specific Deity reaches out to you?

I as have mentioned in previous post I worship the Greek & Roman pantheons. In the past I have had different Olympian deities appear in meditations and dreams, sometimes they give me advice and sometimes they don’t. Other times I get omens or find myself steered in a certain direction. While the messages are too personal to put out in public the omens are kind of amusing.

I had been looking for statues of the my patron deitys for about a month and had not been able to find any I liked. I went to an antique mall one weekend because it was snowing and they are great places to stretch your legs in relative peacein the winter. While I was there I came across a little plastic Hermes from McDonald’s kid’s meal toy from that Disney version of Hercules. It was ridiculous and I knew it was perfect. Hermes has a sense of humor and I kind of knew this was what he wanted me to have representing him on my altar.

But other times the omens /interactions look almost like coincidences. Like finding the perfect book when you were not even looking for one. Or hearing the right song at the right time by chance.

Here lately I have been getting strong interactions with Juno/Hera. It started off subtle. Finding a peacock pendent at the craft store. Then she pops up in a web comic and other art I encounter over the next few months. Articles about her show up in my news feed on Facebook. Last week I sit down to watch Beetlejuice for like the billionth time and suddenly realizing the wise adviser is named Juno. And then I went to a thrift store looking for a coffee table. Not only did I find a coffee table that looks almost exactly like the one my great grandmother use to have I found a peacock statue. Much like the Hermes figure I knew this was her saying, “Hey you, I am talking to you, pay attention”. So I brought the statue home and put it on my altar. A week later I go to one of the local pagan stores looking for a specific thing, they have baseball card like images of various deities and I wanted a few for putting together a travel altar. I asked about a specific handful of the Greek deitys Hermes, Hades, Hera, Hekate, Athena and Dionysus. They only had Hekate and Hestia in the cards but lo and behold the shop keeper steered me right over to a necklace section dedicated to the Greek gods and hands me Hera and says “maybe this is what your looking for?”

The goddess is calling me and I think she is going to teach me how to embrace my inner queen and develop my leadership skills.

FYI: The shop was called The Magical Druid it is a great little place and if you ever find yourself in central Ohio you should you out check it out.

Photos of peacock statue & Hemes figure.

Smudge Sticks and Merit Badges

So after practicing witchcraft for 20 years I finally made smudge sticks. Why did I take so long?

Well I guess it is mainly because I never used them in my personal practice. The main reason would be lack of access to them. Weird for something most pagans consider common but for the majority of my pagan career I didnt have a lot of access to shops that sold them. I also didn’t put any thought in to making them myself. On top of that almost my entire adult life I lived in apartments and didnt want to burn anything that might be offensive to others in the complexes. So why now?

The primary reason is I have an over abundance of sage growing in my garden. I have dried a lot for culinary use but there was still so much left. Then I got a random text from a muggle friends asking about house cleansing magic. In the process of trying to educate the friend I had a Duh moment. It was time to learn how to make smudge sticks. So I went to YouTube and watched several “how to” videos then grabbed the clippers and headed out to the garden. I got to say it was a lot easier and faster than I thought. I will probably gift most of them out to friends and family.

But it got me thinking about when I use to be in the Brownies. For those that dont know Brownies is like Cub Scouts for girls. Merit badges for skills acquired were great. That happy proud moment you could show off how much you have learned. I feel like I just earned a pagan merit badge. Is it silly I wish that was a thing. Little patches for things like building a fire, successful did a spell, learned ruins, made smuge sticks lol. Well it makes my inner child giggle but I know that people would abuse the hell out of it. Bullcrap like “Well I got 5 merit badges and you only have 3 so you have clean up dudy after ritual”. So maybe it is best it is not a thing after all except maybe as a personal chart of goals with stickers. Because deep down we all want gold-star stickers.

Book Review: Transcendental Magic by Eliphas Levi

Book Review: Transcendental Magic by Eliphas Levi, translated by A.E. Waite

A while back I read Eliphas Levi and the French Occult Revival  a biography of the influental french occultist Eliphas Levi (February 8, 1810 – May 31, 1875) This book review is of one of his works  Transcendental Magic. The copy I acquired is the A.E. Waite translation from 1896, reprinted in 1971. A.E. Wait was a contemporary of Levi and read a lot of the same occult source material, as such his foot notes are rather interesting because he makes a point to tell the reader when Levi is misquoting those source materials. His notes give the impression that he views Levi as a competitor in the same field whom he does not regard very highly.  Considering A.E. Waite (2 October 1857 – 19 May 1942) to quote Wikipedia ” was an American-born British poet and scholarly mystic who wrote extensively on occult and esoteric matters, and was the co-creator of the Rider-Waite Tarot deck.”, he was a competitor in the field of the occult.

So about Transcendental Magic, it is divided in to two distinct parts. The first part is his philosophical musings. He explores various occult lessons that were being explored during his time. It is a blend of Franz Mesmer Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, hermetic writings, Catholicism, Kabbalah, and a splash of eastern mysticism for flavor. Apart from its historical significance why should modern occultist read this hodgepodge of ideas thrown together by a disgraced catholic deacon? I would say because it sheds a great deal of light on the ideas that are floating around in modern occultism.  The phrase “As above so below” sound familiar? How about “to know, to dare, to will, to keep silence”? Levi goes in to great detail about the deeper meanings behind these mantras.

The second part of the book is vary unique way of looking at the major arcane in the tarot deck. He claims the cards are actually detailed instructions for alchemy  specifically the transcendental  magic ritual. I should note I don’t know much of anything about Kabbalah but he makes it clear that he believes that is what the source of alchemy is that the tarot deck is the best way to unlock its secrets. While I recognized the the basic tarot elements and understood his christian interpretations  I was at a loss on the Hebrew stuff. Someone who has a familiarity with it may get more out of this part of the book.

The final reason I would recommend this book is because in A.E. Waite’s foot notes are the names of so many books and oculist that most people today have never heard of and would be rather helpful to anyone that wants to dig deeper in to the past.

Hope y’all found this book review helpful.

Book Reviews to Come

Thought I would give a list of the books I plan on reviewing in the months to come.

So here they are in no particular order.

  • Transcendental Magic by Eliphas Levi
  • Secrets of Gypsy Fortunetelling by Ray Buckland
  • Cicero by Anthony Everitt
  • The Nature of the Gods & On Divination by Marcus Tullius Cicero
  • Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles
  • The Inheritance of Rome by Chris Wickham
  • 1177 B.C. The year Civilization Collapsed by Eric H. Cline
  • Star.Ships A Prehistory of the Spirits by Gordon White
  • Magician of the Gods by Graham Handcock
  • Caeser by Christian Meier
  • Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus
  •  A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Centrury by Barbara W. Tuchman

This does not include any additional reviews from by guest blogger Arieanna

If you have any other books titles of books you would like to see reviewed please comment below. If there is a book in this list you would like me to move to the top of my reading schedule feel free to let me know.

Book Review: Eliphas Levi and the French Occult Revival

Eliphas Levi and the French Occult Revival by Christoper McIntosh

This book was a fantastic read and I recommend it to any one interested in French History or Occult history.

The book itself is divided in to three parts. The first part starts in 1720 and it sets the stage for everything else to come. It weaves an interesting story of how religion, philosophy and  politics were interwoven and influenced each other.  It talks of the birth of the French branch of the Masons and their part in sparking the infamous French revolution. It is full of short biography of colorful character’s like; Saint -Germain, Martines Pasqually, Abbe Fournier, Antonine Joseph Pernety,  and Emanuel Swedenborg.  One of the characters that was influential to  Levi was Franz Anton Mesmer the pioneer of Hypnotism.

The second part of this book is Eliphas Levi’s biography. he was born February, 8th 1810 as Alphonse Louis Constant. His life is a bit of a roller coaster. He spend the early part of his life in the Catholic church devoted to becoming clergy. He reached the rank of Decon in 1835, but then he realized that love was missing from his life and so he left the church and well I don’t want to divulge too much but his love live could have been scripted by a those unsavory talk shows like Jerry Springer or Murray. After those failed adventures and several trips to jail for distributing politiacal propaganda he turned too the Occult full time and became one of the most influentual writers on the subject. If Gerald Gardner is the Father of Wicca Eliphas Levi is its illustrious grandfather.

The third part of the book goes on to describe the contentious developments in French occultism focusing on Levi’s influence. Fun fact Aleister Crowley believed himself to be the reincarnation of Eliphas Levi.

As a follow up to this book I am now reading Eliphas Levi’s Transcendental Magic, the A.E. Waite translation from 1896 reprinted in 1971. After reading his biography I feel reading some of his famous writings is a must. I feel it is important to follow the true geneology of modern occultism as far back as I can to understand why people now a days do things the way they do. I have a desire to filter out the modern fluff, glitter and black fingernail polish to discover the true core of  (for lack of a better terms) the occult, spirituality and paganism.