Seraphin wrote:I would agree. Honoring and praising reminds us to recognize and show gratitude for what the Gods have done for us. Realize and acknowledge the provisions or blessings we received from Them and be forever grateful to Them is indeed a form of worship, I see.
Indeed. People who practice grace before meals often do this type of prayer. Often the words are along the lines of "lord we thank you for the food we are about to recieve". It simple and direct but shows appreciation that we are provided by the gods with sustenance.
Seraphin wrote:Sometimes though, I use gratitude prayers to impress my animal soul (in Kabbalah, this is the soul that gives life to the physical body, source of animalistic desires and innate instincts), with how good it is for its own material self to be close to the spiritual world. I often tell to my animal soul, "You know, the greatest thing in the world for you is the Divine Forces and Spirit Forces around you." Being grateful to these forces and powers means being grateful to my health, my sustenance, my child, my beloved, my family, my social life, my community life, etc.
Its easy to take everything we have for granted. Its also easy to take our spirituality for granted. The world we live in is a world based on getting our desires and having basically everything. Its not a life of quiet peace and plenty where we are glad to have what we have. In many ways its important to recognize that those forces exist in our lives. Most spells and rituals are based on getting something or accomplishing something. Gratitude is about I have what I need. I thank you for it. Its counting our blessings and appreciating that the spirits are in our lives bringing us these things.
Yes blessings! I use blessings to tell my animal soul that there are orishas, angels, daemons, dragons, nature spirits, and other helpful entities and forces such as the ase's and beings (humans, animals, plants, crystals etc.) that sometimes aid us. If these beings and entities can aid and help us, then my animal soul feels that he has no reason to shy away from them, of getting closer them, and of not inhibiting the right soul in reaching expressing its bond with them through blessings
Blessings to me is all about empowering an object, item, person, or place with the power of that spirit. Or at least with the energetic signatures associated with that spirit. Consecrations of ritual tools to me are powerful blessings. They are after all being dedicated to a specific purpose.
Blessings to me are also about bringing the forces of that being into your life. In my morning prayer to the sun I ask that his blessings are upon me each day. In doing so I am asking and actively bringing his force into my life. I do the same thing with my ancestors and the spirit of the hearth and home. For me its important to remember that Gods are not the only ones that can bless us, Spirits have the power to bless (or curse) us just as much as Gods do.
I can also bless a person with my own power. I could bless an object or item for luck, prosperity, etc using my own power and focus. The idea is that I would be channeling that energy into the object. Personal blessings to me are coming from my susoul or the part of me that is forever connected to the divine. The higher self if you would.
Seraphin wrote:In Kabbalah however, the common term used for prayer is to "daven" (pronounced daa-ven). This Yiddish term comes from the Hebrew word "dovaiv", which means "to move the lips." Davening is when Kabbalists move their lips. So as someone who has a Kabbalistic background, I don't really pray silently; I pray verbally, vocalizing my prayers.
Most prayers are verbalized. Even when people say personal prayers at candles and the like they are often said aloud. I think part of this is that by verbalizing what you are praying for the words actually being spoken can trigger emotional responses that will drive us to do additional actions to change our situation. This is also one of the reasons there is a connection between spells and prayers. Often times in many of the books I have on witchcraft the author equates prayers and spells as essentially being the same thing. Spells are typically said aloud with actions to go along with them. So to a witch I can see why prayer and spells could be associated.
Silent prayers are really only done I've found in public. Examples of this are times when people take a moment of silence to honor the dead or to reflect on moments of tragedy. These moments of silence are places where people often pray silently for different things related to the reason for the moment of silence. Many times these are ways that secular governments can allow for prayer as part of public functions without declaring them to be prayer or asking people to pray.
Silent prayers in public are also often done on the way to school or work. Say you are having a difficult day or have a presentation to deal with at work and you don't really have time in the morning for a full prayer session, but you do have time for silent reflection and prayer on the way to school/work via public transportation. Here you can through meditation and silent reflection pray in public in a fashion that no one would know. This is also often an option used by people who are spiritual or religious but don't really want other people to know about it. So its done silently between them, their spirit, and the beings that they work with.
Seraphin wrote:My finacee and I do this form of prayer. It is not Hula Dance though but it's a kind of prayer through movement.
Well Hula is specific to a specific culture lol. I just thought that it made a good example. One of the things I want to do with the prayer threads is show that prayer can be done in many different forms. That prayer does not need to be verbalized. It can be done through actions and movement as well. Different cultures used different styles in contacting and working with Gods and spirits. For some movement was more important that speech.
Seraphin wrote:For a long time, we had been looking for an inner spiritual work that works more holistic, a way of connecting with our Deities. Sitting in meditation and saying prayers do the job quite well, but we are really interested to see more practices we could possibly adapt.
Its nice to be fluid in prayer and ritual work. It shows creativity and a willingness to expand experiences. I believe that Gods and spirits enjoy diverse prayers and rituals. I think that they have preferences based on cultural concepts, but in the end I believe that many are open to having prayers and rituals directed to them in basically any form.
We call this form of prayer as Prayer Dance, for lack of better term
. This practice is like cosmic mirror that reflects whatever kind of energy is within us. The dance and graceful movements themselves mirror who we really are outside of our masks and illusions. This is the favorite form of prayer of my Chaos Deities.
Thats interesting. I've thought of using kata (martial arts series of moving forms to used to teach skills) for prayers and meditation. I've also thought of doing animal formed movements for praying to different animal spirits. I do have one prayer dance that I use during the spring and summer for rituals about the harvest. This spell prayer dance is about making plants grow and mimicking plant growth through movement.
Seraphin wrote:The words that we utter and the motions we do clears a pathway to a higher state of energy awareness not in a comprehensive way though, but through a very real and often transformative experience in mind, body, soul and spirit. The prayer or our voice itself seems the one who control us as I notice my appendages moves freely without my conscious volition.
Thats interesting. Dance has traditionally been used as a way to raise and direct power. So its interesting that the spirit seems to really take over when you dance pray. Maybe its related to how often times when we start using movement in rituals as a way to raise energy we can shut out the rational mind and just let the spirit through. This is why often rituals that use dance can become ecstatic-and the spirit can be free.
Seraphin wrote: Prayers in any form for us Kabbalist is one way to perfect ourselves. In Kabbalah there are three specific paths that can be taken: Contemplation (study), devotion (prayer), and action (practice). Each of these practices is out of balance if carried out on its own; all three need to be use together to achieve perfection.
I do understand working towards bettering ourselves. Like for example I do believe in working on developing skills to deal with anger, stress, frustration, and anxiety. I also believe in working on areas of our personality that are in need of improvement. Some examples could be patience, understanding, tolerance, and attention spans. I dont nessecarilly believe that working on these things lead to perfection. I believe that we are "perfect" as we are. By that I mean that we are what we are meant to be. Sure we can always work to being more open spiritually and less focused on the physical and mundane.
Basically I feel that by perfecting myself I am changing who I am, and that wouldn't be being true to myself. One of the areas that was a "flaw" or issue that made my life difficult was being controlled by emotions. By learning skills to process and deal with my emotions I still allow my very empathetic emotional self to be there and be true to myself. I simply learned control and provided boundaries. I'm still able to feel my own emotions and the emotions of others. It just no longer controls me.
For me a lot of witchcraft is about knowing yourself and being true to who you are as a person. I'm not a person who would fit a 9-5 corporate America type job. My spirit and my soul couldn't stand the structure, the rigidity and the like. By knowing this I am able to find ways to be employed that avoids that situation. I'm also not a person who can stand to be boxed into really anything. I need to be fluid and the like. Through witchcraft I learned these facts about myself and use my witchcraft to develop those things.
Seraphin wrote:Yes, I agree that the work come from the Deities. But there are times that the work and changes from Them, aren't always bring positive results.
I dont know. I mean I do think that sometimes things need to be destroyed or occasionally made worse before they can get better, but I dont always see that as negative. I believe that these things happen because there is a lesson to be learned, and that stuff will keep happening until we learn those lessons.
Seraphin wrote:But does not necessarily mean that something is wrong with my prayer. When this happens, I believe this calls me on a different level. There's something deep within myself that I need to rectify. Something is wrong with me. I believe all the works and outcomes of my prayers serve a lesson.
Again I dont think that they bring negative things into our lives. I do think they will utilize negative or difficult situations to teach us a lesson. Sometimes shit just happens. I dont believe that all our experiences are pre-planned and that we decided what will happen to us in this life. I believe that what happens in our life is built on that which came before. Basically I believe everything that happens in our lives must happen based on that which has happened before, This is the concept of fate. I believe we can wiggle the strands of fate to create specific changes and to deal with situations, but we don't really change fate, just change our views of it and how we experience it.
Seraphin wrote:For the Kabbalist, prayers and other forms of spiritual work (meditations, spells, rituals) make us grow until we reach what the Buddha called enlightenment or in Yoruba tradition called "iwa pele".
I don't believe in enlightenment. I believe in ascension. Its similar to enlightenment but also vastly different. Basically I believe that we as individual souls have specific lessons we need to learn at each level or state of being. It takes many lives to learn all those lessons. Once we have learned all those lessons upon the last death of that state we rise to a next state of being. The next state after humanity I believe is nature spirit then elf, angel, and finally God status.
Seraphin wrote:As long as we have the proper discipline and attitude (both magickally and spiritually and psychologically), and the proper goal in praying (whatever type is that), our prayer is not just, "Well my Deity said to me to thank Him, so I have to say the words, and get it over with" or "I need something now, so I have to pray with my Deity." There are many folks who belong in different traditions, religions, paths and even people who belong in such but hold different beliefs and principles who like to pray very three times a day, which is a good thing; but what is not good, is that they do so because they want to get it over with or they want something to be done for them. Prayer whether it is a magickal prayer, worship prayer or gratitude prayer is not something to "get it over with" -- it's something to get into.
This is true. That being said I do think that its ok to have an "I need something now so I have to pray to my deity" or a "My God said I need to thank them so I am going to thank them" prayer. I don't think there is anything wrong with following traditional routines of prayer either. In some religions specific prayers are used for specific times. For example in Islam one of the pillars or essential core practices is that they pray at five specific times of the day. So for them this provides a structure for those prayers and times.
Sometimes I do feel like I need to pray because the Gods are asking me to. Other times I pray because I want to maintain my relationships with the Gods and spirits. I see nothing wrong with praying because you believe or feel that your Gods are asking you to. I see no reason why following a prayer routine should not be used if its part of your tradition.
Honestly when I was younger and a Christian when I first learned to pray at night before bed it did feel like a chore. It basically felt like something i had to do. Then after awhile it felt wrong if I didn't pray, or if I missed one of the three prayers I said at night. So I do think that prayer routines can start out feeling like a chore, but then they can become a much enjoyed and wonderful part of our spiritual routines.
Sometimes only after praying for years and years, do you finally feel something. Because praying for me is much like being a concert violinist. The violinist doesn't just get up on stage, play some great musical masterpiece, and do some hand banging and eye twitching
. The violinist has to prepare, has to practice hours and hours, days and weeks and months and years before he/she can really present a masterpiece. The same is true with praying I believe. It might take years and years -- but the main thing is that you have to start, to know what prayer is about and how prayer works, and to use praying to go in that direction.
The same can be said about magic. I worked a spell that took several years to manifest results, but the results are in. I created a charm that I carried with me every day and would carry with me everyday until I was able to find and locate my biological mother. Needless to say I can probably release that charms energy into the world now as I have found her if not met her. The goal was to find her, and I believe that the universe has through the last several years been making that happen for me slowly. Having me build up and learn skills that will allow me to be able to deal with the situation when it arose and I have been using those skills.
Sometimes I think that we need to build up and have things in place before desires can really manifest, that doesn't mean the universe wont help us continue to work towards that goal, and may need a few workings for ourselves. It just means that I feel sometimes the universe will manifest things for us at the right time and no amount of prayer or spell work would make it happen sooner.
Seraphin wrote:My Mesopotomian Deities however concentrate more on my magickal works. They serve as my guides and my mentors concerning my devotion, study and practice about Witchy Crafts, Chaosorcery and High Magick. Some of Them also serve as my guardians and my protectors who are magickally invoked. Actually, those who work with Daemons believe that one's perception of Them is based on how one approaches and regards Them. One's attitude towards Them attracts the behavior from Them which most definitely reflects what is projected. In short, since I am treating Them as my co-magickians and Masters with honor and utmost respect, then They treat me as Their apprentice.
Thats sort of how the Dragons work. They are the teachers of Dragon based magical crafts. They are the ones who will tell you about how to work with them and how to find them. They also are very picky about who they work with in their practice. They are guides and guardians. They also are not afraid to direct humans away from them if they are not interested in working with that particular human.
I believe that this is also how a lot of herbs and crystal properties were learned. I have found through specific trances and meditations I can meld my mind and spirit with that of animals, crystals, and herbs. I can also through the same process become aligned with their energetic forces. The impressions I am given about properties and associations are how that specific item wants me to use them. 95% of the time most of what I receive this way is related to or similar to what other people have said and experienced, The other 5 % is slightly different for myself, like I may have an additional property in the herb or crystal that others dont have.