In thinking back on giving thanks, I remember speaking to a Brahman friend of mine about devotions. He said that giving thanks is the first act of devotion – thanking the entity or entities in our lives that have made our continued lives possible. When the first offering is made, the first statement should be “Thank you.” They told me this a long time ago and I have never forgotten it.
When I get up in the morning, I wash my hands and make my first offering to my Lares, my household spirits.
“I welcome to you my Lares,
I welcome you to another day of friendship and peace;
Thank you for watching over my home,
My hearth, and
Once I head out the door, I begin my morning devotionals which begin with healing, my allies, The Earth Mother, Manannan mac Lir, Lugh, Brighid, and the collected Gods and Goddesses. At the end of each section of the devotional, I say “I honour and I thank you”.
Let Me Count My Blessings
I have many things to be thankful for. Many of them are addressed in those morning devotionals and the four devotionals that are done throughout the day ( https://www.patheos.com/blogs/fromacommonwell/2019/09/four-salutations-of-the-day/). Several them happen on a daily basis, some are less frequent. Let me count my blessings:
While I have a few medical issues, for the most part – touch wood – I am healthy. The first part of my daily devotionals includes three Irish healing deities, along with Brighid, and I pray for the health of my family, my loved ones, my community, those who have or have had cancer, those in immediate need, and myself. I finish this devotional by saying:
“Bring us all into the light of better health and better living”. It is a prayer and a blessing. And it finishes with another blessing.
I was blessed with the presence of my father until last year, passing away in his 97th year on my parents’ wedding anniversary. I made it through many years with him and I still feel and hear his guidance now that he is one of my Ancestors. My mother is still with me in her 95th year and I am blessed with her wellbeing and my small family here in the States and my larger extended family overseas. I may not speak to them every day, but I am blessed with their presence. When I think of them, I send my love. I am blessed.
I have met a lot of people over the last x number of years and I am thankful for the blessings of friendship and acquaintance with so many people. I try to reach out to them whenever I can and I am always pleased when they reach out to me, often unexpected or in times of adversity. When I do hear from them, I feel the joy of the connection between individuals and I always finish our conversation by thanking them.
ADF and the Family of Druidry is more than just individuals who happen to be members. They are a community, my community, the Family of Druidry. Whether they are ADF, OBOD, AODA, RDNA, or none of the above, we belong. There are sometimes issues and disagreements within a community and it is incumbent upon leadership to try to find balance in such situations. To those who reach out or to those I reach out to, I am thankful. For the presence of community and for my ability to count myself as one of that community, I am thankful.
When the good times are here, I am thankful for the presence of peace and the semblance of balance. No ocean is without waves and there are always challenges that arise, but in those quiet moments when the world seems at peace, I thank the spirits in my life for the ability to participate in peace.
It is hard to be thankful for challenges in the moment, but challenges help us refine ourselves and the world around us to rise to those very challenges and try to set them right. Sometimes, making things right is easy; other times, such an endeavor takes great effort, the presence of others making similar efforts, and the blessings of patience as the work continues. Growth and change are not always easy but they are opportunities to grow. For these too, I am thankful.
Ancestors of the family, ancestors of the heart and hearth, and ancestors of place. I feel the presence of my predecessors strongly in my life and I bask in the blessings of wisdom and guidance from them. May I always be able to hear when the speak or when they advise. Sometimes, I have only to recall what they have done; other times, I have to remember their words; yet others, I have to set my feet on the cold earth outside my door and feel the lessons of the passing of time. For their presence this day and every day, I say “Ancestors, I thank you”.
The Nature Spirits
The Nature Spirits live in the world with me or better yet, we live together. We are part of the passage of time and we rise and fall through the seasons of the year and through the seasons of our days. We are reminded on this rise and fall, like the tides, in our annual journey through the seasons where we continue to live throughout the changing of the seasons, but we are the same yet different next year. I pray that I am always part of those cycles, as I travel though life now and after my ashes and spirit return to the soil from whence it came.
When I see the sky, be it dawn or noon or dusk or stars, I am awed, and I am thankful for the beauty that I see. When I hear the wind speak through the trees, I listen and try to understand what I am being told. For the blessing of such beauty, I am ever-thankful. Nature spirits, I honour and I thank you.
The Shining Ones
For the presence of the Gods and Goddesses in my life, I am thankful. While I do not see them or hear from them every day, I speak to them every day. They may not be inclined to act, but I am blessed that they always listen. I feel them in my workings and I turn to them in times of bounty and in times of challenge. I am thankful for their presence in the world and for their presence in my life. For the magic that you bring to the world, Shining Ones, I thank you.
As a priest, I serve. I am humbled that people reach out and I am thankful that I can offer service in return. To love the land, serve the folk, and honour the Gods is my service. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served and equally thankful for the opportunity to continue to do so.
I am thankful that you take the time to read the words that I offer. I hope that they help in some way and that they encourage you to share and to offer as well. If I can ever help, please let me know. For all that you bring to my life and my work, I am very, very thankful.
The Earth Mother
To you, Earth Mother, I return this portion of the bounty as one day I must return to you.
I learned this line a long time ago and it represents a large part of my work, of my service, and most of all my thanks. The Earth Mother has been bountiful in so very many ways, and I thank her every day. I sing to her each morning as I hold an image of the Earth Mother and I hope that I tread lightly on this Earth, my Mother, everyday of the year. Earth Mother, for this, first and last, I am thankful.
For those in the United States who are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, I offer my blessings for bounty, peace, and joy. For those not celebrating a holiday tomorrow, I offer the same blessings and I offer my same thanks.