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Author Topic: Prayer  (Read 2012 times)

Aine Rayne

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Prayer
« on: November 30, 2012, 10:27:30 pm »
I've been preoccupied with this topic lately. Not just praying, but things that could go with it or facilitate it, like prayer beads. Talking with others and reading blogs just made me come to the realization lately that I don't really know how to pray. I mean, I know how to give praises and thanks, and I know how to ask for stuff, but I've no idea how to have a conversation with a deity or facilitate dialogue.

It seems so easy and obvious, but alas it's not. Deities don't communicate like we do, it's not always a voice and words (not that I have to tell you all that). Sometimes it's more like morse code.... I guess my point is to ask, how do you pray? How do you go about making a dialogue and talking with your Netjer?

But also, what's your opinion and advice on things like prayer beads? I'm sure they were used in antiquity, but even so have they been useful to anyone? How do you use them? What type of prayers or things do you say with them? Do they help you in general? In focus? In connecting?
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Re: Prayer
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2012, 11:36:35 pm »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;82934
I guess my point is to ask, how do you pray? How do you go about making a dialogue and talking with your Netjer?


I literally open my mouth and start speaking. I've long ago accepted the fact that I likely won't hear anything from Anpu right away unless it's really important, so it pretty much looks like I'm having a conversation with myself, haha.

Quote from: Aine Rayne;82934
But also, what's your opinion and advice on things like prayer beads? I'm sure they were used in antiquity, but even so have they been useful to anyone? How do you use them? What type of prayers or things do you say with them? Do they help you in general? In focus? In connecting?


Because I pretty much come up with my prayers on the fly, I don't really have a use for prayer beads. They're great for concentrating, but I'd probably forget I even have them!

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2012, 12:21:45 am »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;82934
It seems so easy and obvious, but alas it's not. Deities don't communicate like we do, it's not always a voice and words (not that I have to tell you all that). Sometimes it's more like morse code.... I guess my point is to ask, how do you pray? How do you go about making a dialogue and talking with your Netjer?

But also, what's your opinion and advice on things like prayer beads? I'm sure they were used in antiquity, but even so have they been useful to anyone? How do you use them? What type of prayers or things do you say with them? Do they help you in general? In focus? In connecting?

 
I get the frustration.

But yeah, just open up and talk. Sometimes you get a reply right away, other times you get one later, and there are plenty of times where you won't get a reply at all and you just have to have faith that someone's listening to you.

I tried prayer beads, but being that I don't tend to repeat prayers that are conducive to their use, I haven't found a place for them in my practice. The most successful attempt I had was with a prayer that enumerated the many facets of the sun god. They were helpful in meditating on his nature. Not sure about connecting.
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Sobekemiti

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2012, 02:05:48 am »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;82934
It seems so easy and obvious, but alas it's not. Deities don't communicate like we do, it's not always a voice and words (not that I have to tell you all that). Sometimes it's more like morse code.... I guess my point is to ask, how do you pray? How do you go about making a dialogue and talking with your Netjer?


Like the other replies, I usually just start talking, or making silent prayer in my head. Making that first connection to talk to Them and ask for something is the first step. They can't help you if you don't talk to Them and tell them what's on your mind and what you need help with.

Formal prayer I tend to do in the midst of a ritual format in shrine. Light a candle, concentrate, make adoratio/henu before shrine and pray. But I also do informal prayer whenever I need it too, like if I just want to chat, and have something to say. One is not necessarily better than the other. They have their own place in my practice.

Sometimes, I get a response. Sometimes, all I get is the confirmation They've heard me, and that They're there with me. Other times, I just have to trust I've been heard, and maybe I'll get a response some time later. Trust is a big part of praying. You have to trust yourself and your Gods and know you'll get some sort of response from it.

And, yeah, it takes a while to figure out how They're responding to you as well. Not every God will chatter constantly to you, or even be explicit in what They're saying, and may not be aware too, that how They're communicating isn't making sense to you. Sometimes you do need to ask for clarification and I don't see anything wrong with that, either through prayer or divination or whatever else you may find appropriate. It's frustrating, but it's just part of a relationship with the Gods.

Quote from: Aine Rayne;82934
But also, what's your opinion and advice on things like prayer beads? I'm sure they were used in antiquity, but even so have they been useful to anyone? How do you use them? What type of prayers or things do you say with them? Do they help you in general? In focus? In connecting?

 
As someone who does use prayer beads, I find them both meditative and helpful for prayers. I don't think they would necessarily work for everyone, though. It depends on the way you prefer praying, tbh. I use them for adorations and meditations, and they are better for repetitive prayers than off-the-cuff ones.

On the other hand, they're small enough to carry with me if I'm out, so I can hold them and pray discretely if I need some anchor point to ground me when I'm praying. It's like a touchstone, and much simpler to carry than a travel shrine, so I can just hold my Aset beads and pray to Her if I'm out, if I just need a connection to Her. I can hold it in my hands and focus on Her.

I have a small set of 33 for breathing exercises, as well as others for adorations and prayers. I find I need that tactile movement to keep me focussed, just like counting during breathing exercises is more helpful to me for meditation than trying to empty my mind.

I don't see anything wrong with trying it, if it's something you're interested in. You may find it helps you focus. I just used some spare wooden beads I found lying around the house; they don't need to be fancy ones if it's just something you're interested in trying. That said, I don't think they're vital to praying successfully. If they work for you, awesome. But you can pray just as successfully without them if that suits you better.
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Gilbride

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2012, 09:18:03 am »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;82934
But also, what's your opinion and advice on things like prayer beads?

 
Prayer beads help you to create a continuous flow of emotional energy with the deity. Because you can pray the beads anytime you have a spare minute, they can contribute to creating a mindset of constant prayer and constant connection.

Aster Breo

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Prayer
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2012, 12:01:27 pm »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;82934
But also, what's your opinion and advice on things like prayer beads? I'm sure they were used in antiquity, but even so have they been useful to anyone? How do you use them? What type of prayers or things do you say with them? Do they help you in general? In focus? In connecting?

I'm not Kemetic, so I can't speak to the use of prayer beads in that context.  It does seem plausible to me that the ancient Egyptians would have had something similar, since their use is so widespread among different cultures.

But I can say that I use them and find them very helpful.  I currently have 2 sets of beads, both about 8" long (slightly bigger than bracelet length -- I could wear them as loose bracelets, if I wanted to).  The first is 9 larger beads roughly 10mm in diameter, all the same and triangular shaped, separated by 3 smaller beads between each large bead.  The smaller ones are a little bigger than seed beads.  All the beads are glass.  The large ones were chosen for their interesting shape and beautiful blue color.  The smaller ones are iridescent white.  I used a copper clasp with a silver spiral, and have added 3 charms that are symbolic to my personal path.  That was my prototype set.

I also made a second set that's the same length, but has 9 different large beads separated by smaller beads.  Each of the larger beads is symbolic of a specific concept relevant to my path.  All but 1 are glass.  The other is silver, which I chose to represent smithcraft.  That set is closed with a silver S hook, and also has a couple of charms.

I usually hook the 2 sets together and carry them in my pocket wherever I go.  Their mere presence is helpful to maintaining a certain mindfulness about my path.

I can actively use them in several ways: as a tactile and/or visual focus, as a reminder of specific elements of my spiritually that I'm trying to incorporate into my daily life, and as a way to track breathing or a specific set of prayers.  For me, the last one is about most often remembering a set of very brief prayers and what order they come in, rather than counting repetitions of the same prayer, but they would work for that, too.

I've also recently started using a couple of silver chain bracelets in a similar way.  One is a simple, but rather heavy, double link chain, on which I've put 3 charms that hold specific meanings.  That one can also double as a pendulum.  The second is more of a charm bracelet.  For those, the use is very similar, but, instead of focusing (tactilely or visually) on the beads, I focus on the charms.

If you're interested in pursuing the idea of prayer beads, I can point you to a couple of helpful books.  There have also been threads on prayer beads that include pictures of the sets Cauldronites have made.  The concept of prayer beads is very flexible.  If the idea appeals to you, it's easy to design a personalized set that will meet your needs.

Hope that helps!

~ Aster
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 10:24:25 pm by SunflowerP »
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Shine

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2012, 03:08:10 pm »
Quote from: Shine;82944
I get the frustration.

But yeah, just open up and talk. Sometimes you get a reply right away, other times you get one later, and there are plenty of times where you won't get a reply at all and you just have to have faith that someone's listening to you.

I tried prayer beads, but being that I don't tend to repeat prayers that are conducive to their use, I haven't found a place for them in my practice. The most successful attempt I had was with a prayer that enumerated the many facets of the sun god. They were helpful in meditating on his nature. Not sure about connecting.

 
This morning, I was thinking about something else I do to pray that might work for you.

Try writing down what you want to say. It doesn't have to be fancy, hymnal, or anything like that. Write the letter like you would to someone your senior who you admire very much. Then, read it in front of your shrine. Or wherever it seems appropriate.

There's a power to words. I know it sounds cheesy, but if you write from the heart, the words echo all the way to the gods and back. Some of my most powerful experiences have been through writing and reading these letters. The best part is, after you're done reading the letter, you can put it on the shrine like an offering.
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veggiewolf

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2012, 11:03:08 am »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;82934
I've been preoccupied with this topic lately. Not just praying, but things that could go with it or facilitate it, like prayer beads. Talking with others and reading blogs just made me come to the realization lately that I don't really know how to pray. I mean, I know how to give praises and thanks, and I know how to ask for stuff, but I've no idea how to have a conversation with a deity or facilitate dialogue.

It seems so easy and obvious, but alas it's not. Deities don't communicate like we do, it's not always a voice and words (not that I have to tell you all that). Sometimes it's more like morse code.... I guess my point is to ask, how do you pray? How do you go about making a dialogue and talking with your Netjer?


Like others here, I just start speaking out loud.  Sometimes I start with epithets, and sometimes I don't - it depends on the situation.

Quote
But also, what's your opinion and advice on things like prayer beads? I'm sure they were used in antiquity, but even so have they been useful to anyone? How do you use them? What type of prayers or things do you say with them? Do they help you in general? In focus? In connecting?

 
I have a set of hematite prayer beads that I use when praying to Sekhmet.  I use them in more focused prayer with intent - each bead stands for a different prayer and they're said in sequence.
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Helmsman_of_Inepu

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2012, 08:15:42 pm »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;82934
I've been preoccupied with this topic lately. Not just praying, but things that could go with it or facilitate it, like prayer beads.

 
The closest thing I've got for that is a little Ma'at amulet I made out of holly, with the glyph for her on one side and a feather on the other. I don't count off prayers, so beads wouldn't have a function for me other than looking nice. Thinking of Shine's idea of writing down prayers reminds me that I should at least write down the names of my current 'crew', perhaps with an epithet or two for use in shrine. I try to arrange them in an order that makes some sense, but a list would be of great help.

I know they tied knots for heka. Lots and lots of knots.
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veggiewolf

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Prayer
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2012, 09:10:40 pm »
Quote from: Helmsman_of_Inepu;83516
...

I know they tied knots for heka. Lots and lots of knots.

It seems my giving up knot magic upon becoming Kemetic is ironic.  :cool:
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Aine Rayne

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2012, 09:48:40 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;83525
It seems my giving up knot magic upon becoming Kemetic is ironic.  :cool:

 
lol ya know I was thinking of trying knot magic, I don't know why but heka scares me XD probably because I'm afraid of saying less than my intent or not saying something properly and screwing things up. But I guess that should be a concern for all magic.
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Re: Prayer
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2012, 10:48:47 pm »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;83528
lol ya know I was thinking of trying knot magic, I don't know why but heka scares me XD probably because I'm afraid of saying less than my intent or not saying something properly and screwing things up. But I guess that should be a concern for all magic.

 
The impression I've got is that, from a Kemetic POV, that's potentially a concern for all words.

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Aine Rayne

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2012, 12:42:54 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;83535
The impression I've got is that, from a Kemetic POV, that's potentially a concern for all words.

Sunflower

 
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veggiewolf

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2012, 08:59:29 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;83535
The impression I've got is that, from a Kemetic POV, that's potentially a concern for all words.

Sunflower

 
Oh yeah.  Big time.
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Helmsman_of_Inepu

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2012, 04:51:26 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;83525
It seems my giving up knot magic upon becoming Kemetic is ironic.  :cool:


It certainly is. In addition, you're missing out on all sorts of Abbott and Costello style conversations about it.
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