Saturday, August 23, 2014

Omega Point (Apollon rite)

I finally got a ritual done for Apollon. We had been trying to for a month and, for one reason or another, had not managed it. First, the weekend arrived faster than I could prepare. The next weekend was the healing weekend at CedarLight Grove. We tried the weekend after that but had one mishap after another until we called it off before finishing.

So today I got it done, and it went fine, but felt emotionally uninvolving. The omen reflected this, I think. I have the help of the gods on my path, but more warnings (these have been consistent) about how no harvest comes from a withered branch (omega), and nothing can be reaped that has not been sown.

I’ve applied for admission to the clergy training program, but it may be that I am moving a little too quickly. These same tiles have occurred in oracles a few times lately, and that seems to be the context for it.

I’m also beginning to think that the plan to honor each of the major Hellenic gods in turn in an arbitrary order is not the best way to meet the pantheon. I’m going to mull that one a bit. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: When A Pagan Prays

Religion and prayer go hand-in-hand and paganism is no exception to the rule. Nimue Brown has here written a lengthy treatise on the place of prayer in pagan religion, and offers many useful insights. She discusses the ethics of prayer, its actual practice, the balance of prayer and action and its place in magic and ritual, to name just a few topics.

Brown began the work that became this book out of intellectual curiosity. She is a Druid, a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD), and -- significantly for readers of this book -- a nontheist. She  rejects the label atheist because "it seems too much like certainty to me," but nevertheless, she does not include gods in her pagan practice. Her spirituality did not include prayer per se because, without deities, to just whom is one praying?

Buy the book

When she became interested in prayer, she looked into Christian, Buddhist and Shinto practices among others to gain insight into how prayer manifests in various religions. An early and important revelation was in a book by a Christian author who wrote that prayer is "about entering a mystery, not getting a result." From there, Brown launched into a personal experiment with prayer, from which this book eventually emerged.

She explores each of her topics in considerable depth, and brings a great deal of scholarship to bear. Attempting to summarize it would not do justice to it, because watching her thoughts reveal themselves in full measure is one of the pleasures of reading this work.

As an OBOD Druid, Brown has a particular perspective, as would a Hellenic Reconstructionist or an Asutruar. "Pagan" has become too big a word to mean much specific; however, she says emphatically and frequently through the book that she is intending only to describe her thoughts and experience, not to issue proclamations that everyone should accept. With that caveat in mind, she has written an interesting and useful book.