A month of prayers: week 2

Week 2, only 2 weeks late! This has been sitting in my drafts for a while now, waiting for me to add headnotes to a few of the prayers. Oops?

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The Mothers’ flower

A few years ago, I went to a suicide prevention training at my workplace — as a large university, we have a wide set of support services for both students and staff, which is really wonderful. The training was a good one, very hands-on and empowering, but obviously the topic is difficult. By the end of the session, I found myself overwhelmed with emotions, and with a strong desire to pray, specifically to the Matronae. I’ve written before on this blog about these widely attested but poorly known goddesses, and I now include them regularly in my prayers and devotions. At the time, though, this was unusual: I’d only begun walking a pagan path a few months earlier, and though I’d read a few mentions of the Matronae, that was literally it.
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What we see in the fire

More than anything else, my druidry is rooted in fire. Waters are important, plants and animals are important, but fire: fire is foundational, light and heat and fellowship and welcome and civilization all rolled together in a twisting, glowing spire of flame. It’s no accident that I worship Brigid, whose fire gives strength of healing and poetry and home. And yet I often see fire instrumentally: as a means of illumination (literal or metaphorical), as a gateway, as a sort of converyance of the gods.
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Following the heron: art, time, and prayer

I’ve been thinking a good deal lately about the way art interacts with my religion, especially when it can seem like my art is somehow getting in the way of my religious practice. Usually this is a nebulous time-management question, but sometimes there are clearcut moments: this weekend, for example, Three Cranes Grove’s vernal equinox rite will honor Indra, the Vedic god of storms, and will ask him to to send his rains to the waking earth. I’d love to attend and join in that communal ritual, but I have a conflict: I’ll be on stage with the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus, celebrating our shared history in a 25-year retrospective show. Additionally, the final rehearsal process for that same show is taking up a good deal of my mental space and energy this week. After a full day of work and 4+ hours of evening rehearsal, I can only manage the time and energy for a brief whispered prayer before I fall asleep. Continue reading “Following the heron: art, time, and prayer”

December 24th, Part 2: Modraniht

[This continues the thoughts from “December 24th, Part 1: Christmas]

At Christmas, the figure I latch onto — the one who means the most to me, and who even through my conversion process has never felt far from me — is Mary, the mother of Jesus. The little babe, lying in the manger? He’s the centerpiece, certainly, but her sacrifice is far more compelling: to bear a god, to brave the opprobrium of her community as an unwed mother, to watch her son grow to manhood only to suffer and die as a common criminal, and to steadfastly care for and support him throughout his increasingly strange behavior and eventual death? That, I contend, is true strength and power. That is divinity. Continue reading “December 24th, Part 2: Modraniht”