I am going to enjoy the energy this month’s October moons. I love that we have a Blue Moon at Samhain. Exciting. I have dedicated hours of my life in prayer. Singing Prayer. Reciting Prayer. Writing Prayer. Free Flow Prayer. Dance Prayer. Rattle Prayer. Drum Prayer. Joiking is prayer. Glossolalia is prayer. Slam Poetry can be a blissful prayer of words in motion. We get it, right 😉
When I was immersed in Christian mythology I believed prayer was ‘asking for things’. A number of years ago I attended a workshop led by a woman from the Dagara tradition of Burkina Faso. During this experience, my relationship to prayer shifted – completely. I could not tell what she was saying, for it is not my language, but in her prayers, she was yelling at her spirits. The “younger than me” now say ‘mind blown’, well that certainly would apply. BOOM!! It broke the restraints, I had placed unconsciously on it.
Prayer gives me the chance to stop. We live in busy and ungrounded times. Sometimes it feels as though, we are just passing through life. As my wheel turns, and age comes with me, I accept prayer as my ancestral heritage. We learn the languages of Spirit by praying naturally, in their own idiom, in words and song, silence, and dancing. I offer my words respectfully not with subservience. Spirit has shown me to pray from a place of need to a place of equals. Gratitude is always the mainspring of prayer, not request.
Who am I praying to? Some people have a sense of the divine as a single being, others have a sense of being companioned by allies, spirits, or contacts who reveal themselves in many ways. Regard all such beings as messengers for your prayer. Prayer is that in-between space of silence and listening. All love is generated by giving and receiving, and so you can regard prayer as the lungs of love, which breathe in and out. Prayer can involve actions, blessings, stillness, movement, gesture, not just words. It may consist of thanking, praising, upholding, remembering, blessing, communing, remaining in spiritual poise. It is not pleading, bargaining & prayer never weakens you.
What do the ancestors have to do with prayer? Sometimes we pray through or across time: we can also receive prayer that others have made for us. For example, the sacred sites we enjoy visiting were erected by our ancestors for us – their planning and building was a prayer in itself in which we participate. We can draw upon the prayers of our ancestors by praying to them, so that the old ones can reach through to you, past the entangled place where you’ve become enmeshed to send strong spirits to find you and raise up prayers in you. When you’re feeling particularly strong and happy, try also praying for descendants and leaving markers and handholds for them in those times when they need help.
Is it ethical to pray for others? When you pray for others, you are remembering them at times when they are not able to help themselves: but that doesn’t mean that you prescribe, judge or curse them with your words or intentions. If you are uncertain about this, ask your spirits to show you what someone is feeling or fearing. Hold them in your heart and asking for what they most need. Then, get out of the way and let the help come. It’s only when we interfere and interpose our own hopes and fears upon people and situations that things get ethically tangled. If someone is dying, praying for their recovery may be a curse, not a blessing.
Prayer is like a stone that drops into a pool. The ripples spread until they reach the side of the pool and then they come back towards the epicentre. Like light or electricity, prayer works invisibly. Sense, see, and feel the sacred cosmos within you. Stand in the place of your true abiding, in the same place as your spirits & let them do the work while you get out of the way.