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Author Topic: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?  (Read 5760 times)

Solarowna

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Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« on: September 08, 2011, 02:15:41 am »
I looked briefly through the posts here, and at the posts in the old forum, but saw few if any, answering these exact questions. Now, I could have missed something, and I sincerely apologize if I did. I did, however, try to put down some clear questions below...

Obviously praying varies from religion to religion, and I assume praying in Heathenry may be different than say...praying in Judaism, or Kemetic Orthodoxy. Thus, here are some questions I have...

Questions:

When are the appropriate times to pray? Are there times that I should not pray?

Where are the appropriate places to pray? Can I pray anywhere?

Why should I pray? Are there times I should pray? Times I shouldn't?

How should I pray? Are there any particular prayer positions, or special things I should do?

hlewagastir

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2011, 04:52:27 am »
Quote from: Solarowna;18534
I looked briefly through the posts here, and at the posts in the old forum, but saw few if any, answering these exact questions. Now, I could have missed something, and I sincerely apologize if I did. I did, however, try to put down some clear questions below...

Obviously praying varies from religion to religion, and I assume praying in Heathenry may be different than say...praying in Judaism, or Kemetic Orthodoxy. Thus, here are some questions I have...

Questions:

When are the appropriate times to pray? Are there times that I should not pray?

Where are the appropriate places to pray? Can I pray anywhere?

Why should I pray? Are there times I should pray? Times I shouldn't?

How should I pray? Are there any particular prayer positions, or special things I should do?

Hey there.

I´ll try to give my 0.2 on your questions.

1) Well... You pray when you need luck/help with something, praying is often accompanied by a sacrifice - like a car or meal, depending on the amount of luck/help that the task at hand requires;) - since the historical relationship between gods and Nordic heathens seems to be one of exchanging gifts.
You can, in theory, pray to the gods at any time in the day all year around, however, some periods in your life are of cause more important than others, so concentrate your big sacrifices there.
Remember that there are also ancestors which might be more interested in helping you.


2) In archaeology, history and other Lore heathens sacrifice to idols (hofs and idols often stood in temples or other sacred places), lakes, groves and so on.
These places are sacred and often there´re taboos involved - like the banishment of weapons, bloodshed, excrement and urine.
However, it does not make sense (in a historic context) to just find a rock and pour some mead on it, you need to establish the holiness and cult of at the place (by putting up idols, giving gifts, dedicate the area to the gods).

So in a historic context it would not make sense to pray and sacrifice to the gods in the cinema, some random street, or in you bathtub. If you don´t have a garden or a another private area nearby, you can dedicate a corner of your living room and put the gods up there (the idols).
Historically you were in the presence of the gods (the idols) and/or on their turf (sacred places/temples) when praying and sacrificing to them.

3) You pray and sacrifice to bring heil (luck) into the family´s life, luck to get through your life in a good manner, luck so that your projects will be successful and luck so the turn of events might go your way  (it requires some effort on your part too).
In the sagas and in Ibn Fadlans account we know of sacrifices (and prayings(?)) to get safe journeys, rich merchants to buy ones goods or a good harvest and a peaceful year.

4) In my group we often discuss whether one should stand in a certain way, speak in a certain language or speak in prose when sacrificing and praying.
While I think it is cool to speak in prose (and our ancestors did put great stock in prose and poets) I do not feel it is a necessity.
I speak in a loud and clear manner so that the gods as well as the members of my group can hear me and hold me to my oaths.
Historically an oral pledge with witnesses was as binding as a signed document is today, words and deeds is what counted (thoughts and whispers not so much).
Also, I often take a few steps back and give a short bow before turning my back to the idol, after I have placed my offer in front of it, a bit like one would do when in the presence of royalty;)

Fyrfos made an interesting post on this subject over on AL: http://www.asatrulore.org/index.php?page=Thread&threadID=8238

Cheers
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 05:02:24 am by hlewagastir »

Juniperberry

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2011, 12:37:29 pm »
Quote from: Solarowna;18534

Obviously praying varies from religion to religion, and I assume praying in Heathenry may be different than say...praying in Judaism, or Kemetic Orthodoxy. Thus, here are some questions I have...


I'm not so sure it's all that different. Grimm writes that the kneeled prayer well-known in christianity seemed to have either been organic already to heathenry, and/or influenced Christianity when it came to Europe. And that they seemed to face the north, if I remember correctly.  Tacitus says that the gods were approached with great reverence and respect, and if one should stumble walking to the sacred grove, then he would then have to proceed only on his knees.

So I think the attitudes behind prayer can be similar.

Quote
Questions:

When are the appropriate times to pray? Are there times that I should not pray?

I think you can pray whenever you want. :)

Quote
Where are the appropriate places to pray? Can I pray anywhere?

I'm with Hwelegastir on this one. I think you need to create a sacred place. It's through  a continued use of this area that the relationship between man and god strengthens, because you're building a history with them. That isn't to say you can't pray anywhere, but that you're formal prayers and observances should take place somewhere consistent.

Quote
Why should I pray? Are there times I should pray? Times I shouldn't?

Grimm says there are two types of prayer, or two types of sacrifice. The thanks-offering and the sin-offering. One tells the gods that you ae grateful for all they have done and hope to stay in their favor and the other says that you regret your poor choices and deeds and hope to return to their favor. I think any type of prayer falls in line with these, and the whys and hows are all up to you.

Quote
How should I pray? Are there any particular prayer positions, or special things I should do?

I think above all your actions should be respectful, worth-giving and ...sincere.

I'm answering this question of prayer  in the sense of a private and intimate communication between you and deity/wight and not in the sense of a community ritual or observance. I hope thats what you were looking for.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 12:38:42 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Solarowna

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2011, 04:27:54 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;18586
I'm not so sure it's all that different. Grimm writes that the kneeled prayer well-known in christianity seemed to have either been organic already to heathenry, and/or influenced Christianity when it came to Europe. And that they seemed to face the north, if I remember correctly.  Tacitus says that the gods were approached with great reverence and respect, and if one should stumble walking to the sacred grove, then he would then have to proceed only on his knees.

So I think the attitudes behind prayer can be similar.



I think you can pray whenever you want. :)



I'm with Hwelegastir on this one. I think you need to create a sacred place. It's through  a continued use of this area that the relationship between man and god strengthens, because you're building a history with them. That isn't to say you can't pray anywhere, but that you're formal prayers and observances should take place somewhere consistent.



Grimm says there are two types of prayer, or two types of sacrifice. The thanks-offering and the sin-offering. One tells the gods that you ae grateful for all they have done and hope to stay in their favor and the other says that you regret your poor choices and deeds and hope to return to their favor. I think any type of prayer falls in line with these, and the whys and hows are all up to you.



I think above all your actions should be respectful, worth-giving and ...sincere.

I'm answering this question of prayer  in the sense of a private and intimate communication between you and deity/wight and not in the sense of a community ritual or observance. I hope thats what you were looking for.



Thank you both!

Now, I have to ask, how do I pray/talk to an ancestor or a wight? Is it similar with them?

hlewagastir

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2011, 04:41:32 pm »
Quote from: Solarowna;18595
Thank you both!

Now, I have to ask, how do I pray/talk to an ancestor or a wight? Is it similar with them?

Pretty much. Usually the grave of the ancestor is a pretty good place to pour out some mead and ask for a little help/luck. Of cause I honor them and make toasts to them at blóts and sumbels too.
I have read somewhere about an Icelandic farmer who had a relationship with a wight living in a rock, so if you can "locate" the home/house of the wight on your land you might want to make the sacrifices and utter your words to the wight there.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 04:45:31 pm by hlewagastir »

bobthesane

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2011, 07:35:21 pm »
Quote from: Solarowna;18534
I looked briefly through the posts here, and at the posts in the old forum, but saw few if any, answering these exact questions. Now, I could have missed something, and I sincerely apologize if I did. I did, however, try to put down some clear questions below...


Good answers above, but I would throw a further note in here and state that praying to the gods, historically, was not a daily occurrence necessarily.  Most people maintained a far closer connection with their ancestors, their Disir, and the wights, than with the Regin. Sure, we pray to our gods, but even though we approach them with respect and reverence, it is still understood that we are proposing a transaction of sorts. That being, "I give you these gifts in sacrifice, with the understanding that you will gift me in turn, etc."

The gifts from the gods may be recognized as, for example, your continued good health, or successful business dealings, or the smoothness of the operation of your farm and the richness of the crops you get from it. Thus, it is appropriate for you to sacrifice something that is representative of these things (food, or booze, or treasure, or weapons, etc). Thus is the gifting-circle continued. From the gods, to the earth, to us; from us, to the earth, to the gods. Cycle hopefully neverending.

All that being said, such Blots are relatively rare. Daily votive offerings are far more commonly made to the Disir (and other honored ancestors), and to the wights who live around you. The reason being, the Disir and other ancestors have a *direct and vested interest* in your well being. This is very, very important. The ancestors actually *care* about you. The gods, while they of course care for the world, do just that. Care for the world. YOUR best interest may not be what is best for the world, and you would have no way of knowing because you cannot see the big picture the way the gods can. Your ancestors, on the other hand, have a direct and personal interest in your success, so that your bloodline may also continue to succeed. Your Disir are the fiercest proponents you will ever find, and they will rally the rest of your ancestors to your defense.

The wights around you have an interest in your doings as well, because what you do affects them and vice versa. While they may not always have YOUR best interests in mind, they are always going to be selfish enough to know that your success likely means that their environment will also be improved (or at least will not deteriorate) and thus, helping you will likely help themselves. However, they are also not above showing their disapproval should you mess up (and yes, I do have personal experience of this in rather startling, one would say uncanny, ways). So, appeasing the land and house wights around you is a good idea, and sacrifices to them don't tend to require huge amounts of resources. A simple offering of a bowl of milk at dusk, or a small portion of your meal once a week, or a sip of your beer, all these may be sufficient to maintain good relations with the ones you share your land with.

Hopefully all that made sense and didn't confuse the issue further :")

A Disgruntled Scotsman

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2011, 05:23:12 pm »
Quote from: hlewagastir;18596
Pretty much. Usually the grave of the ancestor is a pretty good place to pour out some mead and ask for a little help/luck. Of cause I honor them and make toasts to them at blóts and sumbels too.
I have read somewhere about an Icelandic farmer who had a relationship with a wight living in a rock, so if you can "locate" the home/house of the wight on your land you might want to make the sacrifices and utter your words to the wight there.

 
Hey, I have a question of my own.  Is visiting a family member's grave the only appropriate place to communicate with their spirit?  I ask because my grandfather (the ancestor I respect the most) does not have a gravestone.  His ashes were scattered on Skye.  How do I remedy this situation?

Would it be appropriate or effective to set up an altar to him in the same way one would set up an altar to a deity?  I had in mind an altar cloth of my clan tartan with a picture of my grandfather and our clan mon and his favourite drink (which I will find out) in the offering bowl.

If I have any aspects of this (design of a heathen altar) then I'd be most grateful if someone would correct my error(s).
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hlewagastir

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2011, 02:18:50 am »
Hello A Disgruntled Scotsman.

Welcome to the Heathen SIG =)


Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;29688
Hey, I have a question of my own.  Is visiting a family member's grave the only appropriate place to communicate with their spirit?  I ask because my grandfather (the ancestor I respect the most) does not have a gravestone.  His ashes were scattered on Skye.  How do I remedy this situation?


Personally, I don´t really have a dualistic view on soul and body. In my view of things you would be able to honour, sacrifice and ask for help and luck at the place where his ashes are scattered. Were they scattered across the whole of Skye, or just in one/a few place(s)?
Depending on your answer you might want to visit the place from time to time.

Now some on the alter thingy!

Quote
Would it be appropriate or effective to set up an altar to him in the same way one would set up an altar to a deity?  


Yes, and even if he had a well defined grave, you could still do it. However, there are a few problems that we face today compared to the ancestor cult in pre-Christian times:

1) Normally, a family/kin group is no longer tied to a single area and no longer holds the same plot of land through several generations. Therefore it can be complicated to maintain an ancestor cult like they did back then; say, like using geographical features in the cult - such as Thorolf Mostrarskegg who had a holy mountain on his land, and expected him and his present and future kin to die into that mountain.
2) You can no longer (to my knowledge) bury your dead kin on your own land!
3) Because of the above (and 1000 years of Christianity) few can argue that their family cult is intimately tied to a plot of land through several generations.

UPG:
Few folks can do anything about the changes and differences listed above, therefore we have to have a moveable ancestor-home-cult today. So even though we might not be able to say "grandpa slept in that room there, and killed 7 intruders in the doorway over there", we can keep important heirlooms and take their pictures and stories with us.
An alter build out of, or containing some of these artifacts and memories, could be useful if one want to have a moveable ancestor cult at home.


Quote
I had in mind an altar cloth of my clan tartan with a picture of my grandfather and our clan mon and his favourite drink (which I will find out) in the offering bowl.

If I have any aspects of this (design of a heathen altar) then I'd be most grateful if someone would correct my error(s).


Looks cool to me... Go for it!
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 02:22:22 am by hlewagastir »

A Disgruntled Scotsman

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2011, 05:13:29 am »
Quote from: hlewagastir;29748
Hello A Disgruntled Scotsman.

Welcome to the Heathen SIG =)





Personally, I don´t really have a dualistic view on soul and body. In my view of things you would be able to honour, sacrifice and ask for help and luck at the place where his ashes are scattered. Were they scattered across the whole of Skye, or just in one/a few place(s)?
Depending on your answer you might want to visit the place from time to time.

Now some on the alter thingy!




Yes, and even if he had a well defined grave, you could still do it. However, there are a few problems that we face today compared to the ancestor cult in pre-Christian times:

1) Normally, a family/kin group is no longer tied to a single area and no longer holds the same plot of land through several generations. Therefore it can be complicated to maintain an ancestor cult like they did back then; say, like using geographical features in the cult - such as Thorolf Mostrarskegg who had a holy mountain on his land, and expected him and his present and future kin to die into that mountain.
2) You can no longer (to my knowledge) bury your dead kin on your own land!
3) Because of the above (and 1000 years of Christianity) few can argue that their family cult is intimately tied to a plot of land through several generations.

UPG:
Few folks can do anything about the changes and differences listed above, therefore we have to have a moveable ancestor-home-cult today. So even though we might not be able to say "grandpa slept in that room there, and killed 7 intruders in the doorway over there", we can keep important heirlooms and take their pictures and stories with us.
An alter build out of, or containing some of these artifacts and memories, could be useful if one want to have a moveable ancestor cult at home.





Looks cool to me... Go for it!

 
I'm not really sure how to separate each paragraph so I'll answer it in a block.

Thanks, its great to be here :D

Re: Paragraph 1

I know where on Skye the ashes were scattered; it was in one place but unfortunately I don't have the financial independence or physical wherewithal to make a journey to Skye on a regular basis.  I'd have to wait until the family next holidayed there and I'm not sure when that'll be.

Re: Paragraph 2

Fortunately I am aware of the spot of land on Skye my ancestors crofted.  It's one of my life goals to reclaim custody of it for my own purposes.

Thanks for the advice, its good to know I have a solid contingency plan.  Now I need to gather the parts...

P.S. What does UPG mean?
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hlewagastir

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2011, 05:36:55 am »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;29761

I know where on Skye the ashes were scattered; it was in one place but unfortunately I don't have the financial independence or physical wherewithal to make a journey to Skye on a regular basis.  I'd have to wait until the family next holidayed there and I'm not sure when that'll be.


Well, I live 1500 meters from a good chunk of my dead kin and I only visit them a few times a year, so it´s not like you have to pour mead out 7 days a week.
Set the pace yourself.

Quote
P.S. What does UPG mean?

 
UPG: Unverified Personal Gnosis... It´s a lable I often use when I can´t really back stuff up with the lore.

A Disgruntled Scotsman

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2011, 10:17:24 am »
Quote from: hlewagastir;29763
Well, I live 1500 meters from a good chunk of my dead kin and I only visit them a few times a year, so it´s not like you have to pour mead out 7 days a week.
Set the pace yourself.


 
UPG: Unverified Personal Gnosis... It´s a lable I often use when I can´t really back stuff up with the lore.

 
Thanks.  I'll be able to use that in future :)
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bobthesane

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2011, 01:48:12 pm »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;29784
Thanks.  I'll be able to use that in future :)

that's a fairly common term you will hear a lot of us use. Often we will preface things with a big *WARNING WARNING UPG ALERT* so that people know that we have no source material to back it up, and it may in fact be MUS (Made Up Sh*t). That way what we say isn't taken as 'gospel' so to speak. Also makes it a lot easier to defend certain stances in heathen debate (something we do a lot): When something is UPG, people know to take it with a grain of salt. If it is not identified as such, and the statement flies in the face of other source material, the person making the statement will be asked to please provide source material for their statement.

Being able to say "I pulled that out of my butt, but it agrees with sources X, Y, and Z" eases conversation :)

Wildwind Fenrisson

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2011, 10:34:36 pm »
Quote from: Solarowna;18534

Questions:

When are the appropriate times to pray? Are there times that I should not pray?

Where are the appropriate places to pray? Can I pray anywhere?

Why should I pray? Are there times I should pray? Times I shouldn't?

How should I pray? Are there any particular prayer positions, or special things I should do?

 

This is an interesting and good topic. I do not believe that people of the Frith pray nearly as much as they should. The leader of my brother Grimnir, and my Asatru Warrior Coven tells us to pray often to the gods but never to forget to offer some mead in payment or something bad might happen.

1. and 2. I firmly believe that prayer is appropriate at any time and everywhere. However take care that you are not around small minded people as I was once escorted from Walmart for praying in the freezer aisle.

3. You should pray because it lets the Gods know that you are still Tru and thinking of them and thankful for their signs and omens.

4. When I pray, I take out my rune marking kit (facepaint), mark whichever rune I feel to be appropriate on my forehead and then raise my arms in the Elhaz runic position. This is important for it opens up your energies and your hweols. Sometimes I galdr some runes before singing my prayer to Odin. This is the best way that I have found to pray. It really works. Once I prayed for the death of a niding that was a great enemy to my kin by chanting the Kennaz and Eolh runes and it worked where a striking ritual did not. Odin heard me and granted help.

hlewagastir

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2011, 01:25:04 am »
Quote from: Wildwind Fenrisson;30684
This is an interesting and good topic. I do not believe that people of the Frith pray nearly as much as they should. The leader of my brother Grimnir, and my Asatru Warrior Coven tells us to pray often to the gods but never to forget to offer some mead in payment or something bad might happen.

1. and 2. I firmly believe that prayer is appropriate at any time and everywhere. However take care that you are not around small minded people as I was once escorted from Walmart for praying in the freezer aisle.

3. You should pray because it lets the Gods know that you are still Tru and thinking of them and thankful for their signs and omens.

4. When I pray, I take out my rune marking kit (facepaint), mark whichever rune I feel to be appropriate on my forehead and then raise my arms in the Elhaz runic position. This is important for it opens up your energies and your hweols. Sometimes I galdr some runes before singing my prayer to Odin. This is the best way that I have found to pray. It really works. Once I prayed for the death of a niding that was a great enemy to my kin by chanting the Kennaz and Eolh runes and it worked where a striking ritual did not. Odin heard me and granted help.

 

:monkey:UPG Alert:monkey:

No offense intended.

"This is a reconstruction-based discussion area. Though we embrace Unconfirmed Personal Gnosis (UPG) and non-primary or non-scholastic secondary sources, they are not given the same weight as primary source material or scholastic secondary material. If you are using UPG or questionable modern sources, state that up front in your posts."

http://www.ecauldron.com/forum/showthread.php?16-About-the-Asatru-and-Heathenry-SIG-%28Special-Rules%29

HeartShadow

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Re: Praying: When? Where? Why? How?
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2011, 09:06:33 am »
Quote from: Wildwind Fenrisson;30684

1. and 2. I firmly believe that prayer is appropriate at any time and everywhere. However take care that you are not around small minded people as I was once escorted from Walmart for praying in the freezer aisle.

4. When I pray, I take out my rune marking kit (facepaint), mark whichever rune I feel to be appropriate on my forehead and then raise my arms in the Elhaz runic position.

 
I'm sorry, if I saw the above in a Walmart, I wouldn't be thinking "hey, some dude's praying, wonder why it's in the freezer aisle".  I'd be thinking "crap, he's either strung out, doing weird performance art, or completely off his meds.  get help"

there's a difference between "narrow minded" and "people justifiably weirded out"

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Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Board Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, HarpingHawke, Jenett, Morag, rocquelaire, Sefiru

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Reserve Staff:
Aisling

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Cauldron Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]

Site Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]
Webmaster:
Randall