Shouldn’t it be magic enough that we come together in religious fellowship seeking, and achieving, in ritual a moment of gnosis through united prayer and offerings and communion?
As you know, if you’ve been reading and poking around this blog and its pages, I pray on a daily basis, and I make offerings of insence on a regular basis.
I was also, sort of, challenged recently to put more of myself and my experience into this blog. I wrote the above quote just a little earlier today and find my mind returning to it.
I also have prayer and offerings on the brain lately… maybe I should work on the relevant pages… but I think I will just write some things out and see where they lead…
My offerings of incense…
I ready the incense cone or stick in my special dish of salt. I have a lighter ready.
First, I breathe. In through my nose, and out through my mouth. A moment spent concentrating on my breath, on the rythm of it, focusing inward. Centering myself as best I can. Starting to tell myself, and the universe, that I am doing something special. If I think about it, I also Ground, but for the purpose of offering I find it isn’t as necessary as it is for other things.
I stand, raising my arms so that the upper arm is roughly paralel to the ground and my forearms are upright, my hands are open and palms upward – roughly paralel to my upper arms and the ground. When I stand in this ancient posture or prayer, known as the orens position, there is a part of me that thrills to the knowledge that I am trying to speak with and honor my Deities in the same way that They were honored in the ancient world.
On the mental level, I know that repeating this position will help signal to the Universe and the Gods, my intention. On the physical level I can almost feel the atoms and cells of my body tingle; the subtle parts of me that are also part of the Divine recognizing that I am trying to reach out and up and within to Them.
If I cannot stand, I will at least raise my arms.
When that subtle shift in …something… lets me know that I have gotten Their attention, I speak.
“I make an offering of incense to the Gods,
and the Guardian Spirits, of this Home.
Blessed Be, So Mote It Be.”
Then I bring my hands down and together, to my face, where I kiss them at the point where my thumbs meet my palms; sort of a physical ‘blessed be’ and a small gesture of my love for the Divinities, and our Guardian Spirits. Then I bring them to touch my chest above my heart; this is sort of a physical ‘so mote it be’ and ‘thank you’, and a physical reminder that They are a part of me. Then I lower my hands, pick up the lighter, and light the incense.
I will usually take a moment to stand there soaking in a small moment of peacefulness and Presence. Then I will go about my day.
You can read about my daily prayer on the Daily Practice page. I usually will be saying this when I am driving to work. This necessitates a lack of prayer gestures… and a slight change of wording…
“Mother Celestial and Father Divine,
Let me walk and drive in…”
For most situations of prayer durring my day I don’t do much in the way of gesturing if I am at work.
I am minded of the commonly discussed definition of prayer as ‘asking Deity for something’. That is so, so sad.
Prayer is speaking to, communicating with the Divine or Divinities of your choosing. Prayer, and Offerings, and Ritual, should be about our relationship with the Gods and not about getting something from them! The benefits of prayer and offerings are secondary to the truly important work of building and improving the relationship one has with the Divine.
That relationship nurtures our spirits everyday and nourishes our souls through times of trouble. Those delightful fleeting moments of knowing are why the ancient monuments were built and why the sacred songs were sung.