October 21st, 2009
|09:29 am - Sometimes, prayers are more than they first seem. . .|
The year has come around to that odd time, where sunrise occurs during my morning commute. This makes my devotional life harder, as my sunrise prayers are often done "on the go" in one way or another. This morning, I found myself praying in the car as I drove.
I feel privileged that the prayer I speak each morning can still send chills through my entire body. This morning, as I drove down Indianola, I felt goosebumps develop from head to toe, every hair on my body standing up in rapt attention to the words I spoke.
Many would call the prayer "rote" simply because it is memorized. There is a notion, particularly within Noe-Paganism, that memorization brings a "fake" quality to the words spoken, a "going through the motions" aspect to our religion that many reject. I tend to call this prayer not "rote," but "well-loved."
The prayer is spoken differently every morning: some days, the prayer gently passes my lips, hardly louder than my breath; other days, I speak it with loud passion in a voice that reaches deeply into my soul; still others, the words roll out strongly as I describe to an unseen audience the maiden on the rim of the world, and then hush as I describe that glimpse of her and what it does to me. Each day brings a new prayer with the same words, new feelings to the oft-quoted phrases.
As each phrase passes my lips, feelings well up, images appear and dissipate, and a noetic quality settles in. The prayer brings Usas into being, casting a reality upon her, which in turn draws her reality into the world and across the horizon. There is knowledge that without her there would be no prayer, and without the prayer, I would never see her and love her in the way that I do. Because of this, it is important for me to pray each morning. For those who have not read the words before, they are:
A maiden dancing, dancing
on the rim of the world.
I blush to see you rise from your bath
the colours of the morning drip from your bosom
as you open the ways for the sun.
Greetings, Usas, who opens the gates of heaven.
It was not written with meter in mind, or thoughts that I might still be doing this three years later (the prayer was first written Sept. 25, 2006), but it was written when I was very attentive to the dawn. That rapt attention is what made this prayer something deeper than a few lines, and what prevents it from ever becoming rote. I never dreamed that I would pray this prayer on the slopes Mt. Olympus, or in the Arizona desert, or in the cold-and-damp Brushwood spring. I never dreamed that it would keep the fires burning on my altar so reliably, or bring me in such close contact with the synthesis of prayer and flame. I never dreamed that it would bring me a reputation for piety, or force me to rearrange my social life (my sunset prayer to Ratri, equally as deep and wonderful, prevents me from viewing movies during certain times of the year since they often straddle sunset).
This prayer speaks to and for my soul every morning, even after all this time.
Current Location: Souteast of Disorder
Current Mood: indescribable
Current Music: "Mile High In Denver", -JB
It is truly exciting that you have found a prayer that though it is recited daily, means something different each day.
Working on the mental discipline for me, has not been necessarily difficult to find the time. But difficult to find a connection to a set of words that may be for me what you have found.
Maybe when we go to the Nashville Parthenon, some of the magic of the place (even though it is a replica) might inspire such a bit of liturgy in me.
I'm glad your morning prayer still invokes such emotions!
I love this time of year when dawn happens during my commute (though home, not to). Being in the car is one of the only times I am ever alone at dawn, just me and Eos. I actually had a very intense prayer to her this morning around 7:20, using my also memorized-ish prayer to her:
Hail, Eos! She has awakened!
Rosey-fingered Goddess, bathed in gold,
Carressing Nyx back,
back across the sky after her nightly reign,
illuminating what was once dark, and
opening the ways for Helios on her heels
to begin his fiery ascent through the day.
Hail, Eos, Goddess of the Dawn, of the time between times,
Eos, illuminate the dark within me that I may awaken.
Open my heart and fill it with light!
Hail, Eos! Esto!
Yeah, good stuff. Similarly, I have the same types of feeling regarding chants. I have been experimenting with using chants intentionally to "space out" which I have learned is a form of trance (what a dummy I am). But, I can do it usually within the first three or four times through with the better chants and especially those sung in a round. I am bringing a chant I wrote to Druid Moon. :)
Are songs that we memorize then merely "rote?" I believe it is *how* you say/sing them and *mean* them that determines whether or not "rote" can describe them...