So I’ve given you rituals, places to do them, and I’ve discussed how prayers and spells are both similar and different. But, and perhaps I’ve gotten a bit ahead of myself as inspiration goes, but there’s one thing that certainly needs to be addressed. And that is a fundamental question: What is a Prayer?
Yesterday, I spoke of prayers as if they were spells, but from a different power source and a different way of working. This is not wrong, but this is not the full of it. A Prayer is essentially a form of communication. Here soon I’m going to discuss Idols, and my theories about just what they are as well, but we’ll start with Prayer because prayer can be done anywhere.
Now you may, starting out, run into a lot of Pagans who don’t like the idea of prayer and worship. This is partially because we’ve all grown up in a very Christian based culture where prayer is a supplication and a submission to a God. But prayer was not always such. Prayer, in and of itself is not a supplication. It is a communication.
An important thing to remember is that for a good prayer, just like a good communication, you must listen as much, if not more, than you speak. It takes practice, lots of practice, to open yourself up enough to truly hear the Gods and Goddesses.
Take for instance the diagram I had yesterday:
See the red and brown lines? That’s two way communication. You can’t command a God to do anything for you. But you can ask. There is no shame in the asking, just as there is no shame in asking to get to know a friend, or asking a friend for help. The Gods may ask you to do things in turn for doing things for you. This is the principle of Gift for Gift. After all, why should a God do something for nothing, but in turn, neither should you do something for nothing. We are Kin, and kin do not take advantage of each other, at least not Germanic and Norse kin who live in honor.
Part of prayer will be offerings, and idols. These aren’t always needed, though they certainly are nice. Heathen religions are what you might call “Idolatrous” religions in that we have images of our Gods and Goddesses. This is a good thing! After all, how can you know someone who will not even have the integrity to show you his or her face? You can’t. Humans are visual creatures, we see and we believe. Idols help us with this. Offerings are physical things that we give to the Gods and spirits, because words are not enough, there must be deeds and sacrifices to go with them. I’ll explain more on this in the future.
So how do you pray? Well, with sincerity to start with. Gods can sense our motives, and greedy or deceptive prayer will at best get you ignored, and at worse get you taught a lesson for being greedy and deceptive. Honesty and Honor is your best bet. These are your family, and they are honorable family who are there to help you, not to harm you. This doesn’t mean there won’t be difficulty and pain, but that is life and we are a hard, practical people who do not shirk from duty or hardship, because we know that there will be glory and honor afterwards.
Just speak to them, address them by name. Let them know you know them by speaking of what they rule over. Introduce yourself. Let them know that you wish to follow the path of your ancestors, but that you are new and need help. They will treat you kindly as they see that you are earnest in your efforts.
Do not fear Prayer, it is how we speak with our Godkin. 🙂
Here’s some example prayers:
“Hail unto Freyr, God of Nature, I honor you my kinsman.”
“Hail unto Hel, Goddess of Death, who keeps our ancestors.”
“Hail unto the Gods and Ancestors, the Aesir and the Vanir.”
There’s some longer and more formulaic ones I’ll go over later. Just make it honest. Remember, an honest prayer that you stumble over is going to better than a long beauitfully recited one that has no faith or intent behind it. Why not come up with your own prayers and post them in the comments section for others. 🙂