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On Prayer: A Heathen Perspective

By Galina Krasskova

I have a friend who maintains that there are only four prayers: “Thank you,” “I’m sorry,” “Please” and finally “I love You.” To that, I would add prayers that simply rejoice in the fact that the Gods are there, that we are Their kin, and that They care for us and take an active role in our lives. Prayer is a celebration, a joyous outpouring of the reality of the deepest, inner chambers of the heart. It forges connections, acknowledges kinship, and grounds us consciously in our spirituality.

I have never seen it as something rigid and lacking in meaning. Even the most formulaic of prayers, like the dancer’s tendu and plié, form necessary building blocks to spiritual expression. In many respects, the comparison to the discipline of a dancer’s daily practice is quite apt. Prayer, as any mystic knows, is a discipline that trains the mind, heart, and spirit in attentiveness, mindfulness, and devotion to the Gods. Anyone can move to music, but very few people if any, can suddenly, without any practice or training, put on a pair of pointe shoes and pull off a flawless Swan Lake (though watching the attempt might be amusing in a sick, sad sort of way)!

In many respects, it is the same with meditation and prayer — these things pattern the soul to the touch of the Gods in the same way daily ballet practice develops a kinetic memory in dancers. It provides structure and language, place and an expansive vocabulary by which we can express those experiences of the spirit that often resist the clarification of language. This is especially important given that we live in a host culture whose values, mores, and ideals are antithetical to Heathenry. There is very little that we shall encounter in our day-to-day work that calls our Gods directly to mind. We do not live in a time and a place where our spirituality may be reinforced however unconsciously by family, community, workplace, or culture. It is, unfortunately, the exact opposite.

Read the original article at: Patheos

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