This post is a response to The Meaning of Prayer on Grey Wren’s Flight.
Kristin, I appreciate what your fiancé said – “Prayer is an offering of time and spirit” – and I’d like to add something my husband told me. He said that of all the offerings we make to the Kindred, our sincerity may be the greatest one we have to give.
When we were Catholic, or in my case, Episcopalian, and we prayed in thanks for something we had received, or to request something from God (good health, protection, blessings upon those who we loved, etc.), we were making a sacrifice, of a sort. True, we also had a theological construct to inform our understanding of sacrifice (i.e. Jesus’s transaction on the cross), but we approached our God with a sincere heart and made our requests anyway. How different was that from what we are doing now? We may offer grain or spirits, incense or fire, but fundamentally are we not simply offering a part of ourselves?
We give back because we have already received, not simply because we wish to receive more. Our offerings can have built in to them a recognition of all that has already been given to us.
In a way, your “spontaneous prayer” can do the same thing.
Rev. Skip Ellison writes these suggestions for integrating your spirituality into your daily life in his book, Solitary Druid:
- When you see something in nature that strikes you, thank the Spirits of Nature.
- When you remember one of your Ancestors, thank them for giving you their wisdom
- When you feel the presence of one of the deities, thank them for being with you, and ask if there is a special lesson you should be learning from this moment.
- Last, by opening yourself up to what is really happening around you, you will find it easier every day to understand this communion with the Mighty Kindreds.
Make the first steps to bringing prayer back into your life. It belongs to you still. It is a natural extension of your innate connection to the Mighty Kindreds.
(To Kristin, and to all those who long for the immediacy of prayer that they knew before starting their journey on the Druid Path, I encourage you to purchase a copy of A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith.)
TThis is another wonderful answer to my question, and it really makes me glad I have a community of ADF Dedicants with whom I can discuss my concerns. 🙂
I think part of my struggle is integrating sacrifice into my spiritual life, as well as fully understanding what sacrifice is and why we do it. What you said, "We give back because we have already received, not simply because we wish to receive more," sums it up quite nicely. I think it also ties into Rev. Kirk Thomas's "Make Offerings, Dammit!" article by saying that it's a lifelong reciprocal relationship, not an immediate one. I don't, for instance, buy my best friend dinner today so that tomorrow she'll give me a ride to work… I could do that, I suppose, but it would be a more symbolic offering of mutual honor and care. When I buy her dinner, it's just because over the years, we have shared so much (and so many dinners) that it balances out over the course of our friendship.
I should stop before I write another blog post right here in your comments section. But I sincerely thank you for your input and I look forward to discussing these things with you more in the coming months! And incidentally, I have a copy of 'The Solitary Druid' and 'A Book of Pagan Prayer' on their way to me from Amazon right now. –K.