Thoughts and Prayers

One of the things I’ve noticed over the past year (possibly brought to the fore by the large number of natural disasters in the U.S. and elsewhere, as well as the horrible world-wide refugee situation and the proliferation of mass shootings and terrorist attacks) is the amount of scorn being heaped on the frequently-repeated statement of “our thoughts and prayers are with them” (or its equivalent).

I think a lot of this is due to the knee-jerk atheism that seems to be hip these days.  Even in those who aren’t atheist, there seems to be a lack of belief in the effectiveness of prayer, in the idea that the divine can and will affect the material world.  And a lot of Pagans (and other people who believe in magic) seem to shy away from the idea of prayer in general because it’s “too Christian”.

There also seems to be a false dichotomy being set up- that anyone who offers “thoughts and prayers” in response to a horrible situation is just being lazy, that they’re automatically not actually helping in other ways.  That may be the case in some folks, but it isn’t in all.  Any good magician knows you need to act in the material and the spiritual world at the same time; every Pagan should take that principle to heart as well.

Also, sometimes, there is simply nothing else we can do.  Someone we know is in trouble- a messy divorce, a fatal illness, serious mental illness.  But they are far away, or their material needs are provided for, or we have no way to help them… or perhaps, our own stock of spoons is so low that we can’t be of material aid.  All we can do is tell them that our thoughts are with them.  It could be that just knowing we hear them and we’re aware of their pain will help them.

Finally:  I’m a polytheist.  I have, to use the Anomalous Thracian’s elegant phrase, “a religious regard for many real Gods”.  That means They can hear my prayers, and choose to act on them if They so choose.  When I tell someone, “you are in my prayers”, it is not trivial to me- or to the Gods.   It is a real and meaningful offer of aid, one that takes time, effort, and sometimes cost.

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Prayer to Sulis

Galina wrote me a beautiful prayer to Sulis. I wanted to concentrate on some of Her more neglected aspects- She was a goddess of healing who was also invoked in cursing, and had both cthonic and solar aspects… one of Her aspects for me is the Midnight Sun.

Gangleri's Grove

I occasionally write prayers on request. This prayer was written for H.E.:

Prayer to Sulis
By G. Krasskova

In ancient times,
You worked woe for Your devotees,
carrying curses forward
into the spinning tides of wyrd,
even as You brought healing to others.
You gave Your oracles
and kept Your counsel
and You kept the secrets
of those who came to You,
desperate, longing.
You keep our secrets still.

To those who come to You
for healing, for blessing, for care,
You are the Goddess of Healing Waters,
and Your touch restores,
removing illness, removing stain.
To those who have seen
into the depths of Your holy waters,
You are called by other names,
more potent, far more secret.

You are the Gateway to the Underworld,
and every shade must pass
through Your hands.
The touch of Your waters
restores the dead,
battered, broken by life,
to wholeness again.
You…

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