Saturday, October 15, 2011

Prayer Techniques

I first like to "Star" myself before each prayer, this is to get my thoughts and energy into a magickal mindset or spiritual state of being. It also serves to purify my clattered thoughts at the time of prayer, this practice is similar to the Catholic "crossing" of oneself. Once my magickal mindset is ready, I begin each prayer by calling out to the God or Goddess I am praying to, mostly I pray to the Lord and Lady, the symbolic archetypes for the Universal Divinity or what I call "Great Spirit". People pray for a variety of reasons, it is a great tool to keep a strong bond with Divinity. However, people unknowingly abuse this tool by only using it to ask (or sometimes even demand) favors and requests from the Gods. This is a bad habit and all though it is alright to ask things of the Gods, one shouldn't be using prayer strictly for those purposes, instead use prayer to build a relationship with Divinity. Above all, one should use prayer to thank the Gods for what blessings are in your life now, show Divinity that you appreciate their blessings and give them love for all they have done for you. In fact it is probably best to start out every prayer by first thanking the Gods for blessings bestowed upon you, it doesn't have to be so abstract, simply thank the gods for the beautiful day, or the quiet night. After thanking the gods then proceed to ask a favor or help, be sure to thank and send love for any prayers answered by Divinity, you could also do this with what is known as an "offering". You can make simple offerings by lighting an incense that is particular to whatever deity you prayed to, or by leaving some food or other offerings symbolically connected to your deity. Another good way to honor deity is to give to their ruling areas of life or animals, (example: Adopt a cat and care for it to honor Bast, or donate to a women's center to honor Diana, or donate books to your local library to honor Thoth, these are also great places to leave offerings in honor of each deity).
 
Another healthy practice of prayer is to use what Scott Cunningham calls, "Effective Prayer" (from "Living Wicca), in which one must utilize both visualization and build/release energy during prayer. Visualization is focusing with your "minds-eye" on the outcome or purpose of your prayer, (example: while praying for protection one could visualize a sphere of impenetrable light surrounding oneself or one's family and friends), essentially this process is identical to using one's imagination. To build/release energy, will all power and charge one's prayer to be sent forth to the Gods. To build energy: as one prays and visualizes the purpose (or intent), one then focuses "Personal Power" building up in one's body. This is done by slowly tensing the muscle's, starting from the core (abdomen) and then tensing all the muscles of the body, you must do this until you begin to tremble from the build up of energy. Once you have built up enough energy, or you can no longer hold the energy you have built up, you are ready to release this energy into the universe. To release energy: you simply release the built up tension within your muscles and focus this power towards the universe, I usually see this energy as purple flames or mist leaving my body and spiraling up into the sky.
 
These are of course only suggestions, you must follow what feels right to you, but I would like to say that enriching one's prayer with one or all of these techniques will create a wondrous and powerful bond with deity. These techniques are what creates a "prayerful attitude" as explained by Cunningham, "A prayerful attitude consists of peace and hope resting on an unshakable spiritual foundation." (Living Wicca, pg.55)
Experiment and see what works for you, but above all, have fun and enjoy your connection to Divinity.

Beatus Esse,
Tytus Lionheart