The Power of Prayer

04.19.14 03

When I wrote about my experience with the National Day of Prayer, I said “there is power in prayer.”  That phrase went directly to my fingers from my subconscious, a remnant from my Christian upbringing.  I recognized the source as soon as the words appeared on the screen and I considered changing them.  But I kept them, because “there is power in prayer” is as true for a polytheistic Pagan is it is for a monotheistic Christian.If we do not understand the power of prayer, it is likely because … [Read more...]

A Pagan at the National Day of Prayer

01 01 Plymouth Rock

The first Thursday in May is designated as the National Day of Prayer in the United States.  Calls for prayer from national leaders have been issued periodically since the days of George Washington, and in 1952 the National Day of Prayer became an annual event.Although official proclamations have been pluralistic (though with monotheistic assumptions), since the Reagan years the National Day of Prayer has primarily been associated with Evangelical Christians who organize large public events … [Read more...]

How Much Piety Do We Need?

statue of Religion in Boston Common

Over on the Patheos Buddhist Channel, Dosho Port examines the question “what is the minimum amount of asceticism required?”  In typical Zen fashion, he gives an answer that is thought-provoking but indefinite.Asceticism, “a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various worldly pleasures,” is rarely associated with Paganism.  Even those of us who aren’t Wiccans like to quote the Charge of the Goddess, which says “sing, feast, dance, make music and love, all in My Presence, for Mine is the … [Read more...]

Iamblichus on Prayer

de mysteriis

I recently finished reading De Mysteriis, written by the Greek Iamblichus somewhere between 280 and 305 CE and translated by Emma Clarke, John Dillon and Jackson Hershbell in 2003. According to the translators: Iamblichus was essentially interested in re-awakening and preserving man’s contact with the ancestral gods, and in arguing that theurgy (or “god-work”) rather than theology (or “god-talk”) was the only way of achieving this. Iamblichus’ ideas about the gods are very hierarchical: he desc … [Read more...]