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Book Review: A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book by Ceisiwr Serith

Book Review: A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book by Ceisiwr Serith March 15, 2011

I used to own A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith, so I was excited to receive a copy of his A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book to review from Weiser.

To begin with it’s a good size for a prayer book. Small enough to fit easily in a purse or bag with a cover that is wipeable. I like that. No flashy pictures or dust covers or fancy leather bindings. This book is designed to be used and to be used in actual ritual space. I haven’t tried to read it by candlelight but the print looks large enough and crisp enough to do that. Small things to be sure, but they are appreciated.

Now to the meat of the book: the prayers. There are a lot of them and I’ve honestly only read a fraction of them. They range from simple one sentence mantras or affirmations to lyric poems of several stanzas to be declaimed dramatically. I think there’s probably something in here for everyone, and for every need. There’s a great index in the back so if you need a specific focus or Deity you can flip to that pretty easily.

I like the fact that the prayers range from the very simple to the more complex and obscure. Prayers to Castor and Pollux, Marduk and Quirinus find their places next to prayers to the Sun, Moon and Dawn. Poems that can be used as call and response for formal ritual lay next to prayers that are perfect for heartfelt and intensely personal devotions. Some prayers are dead serious, some lighthearted, and some of the prayers to trickster Gods are actually pretty funny.

My one complaint is that some of the prayers are too simple, and could have been culled from the book. A one sentence prayer asking for a basic blessing seems to be filler space rather than a useful ritual or meditation text. That said, there’s enough depth and breadth otherwise to balance the book out.

I think what I like best about the book are the prayers to unusual concepts, like Democracy. They’re thought provoking and great jumping off points for meditations. This is the kind of book you want to keep in your bag and pull out in waiting rooms or on airplanes to invoke a bit of the sacred into the empty spaces of your day. I can see myself practicing a bit of bibliomancy with this book, letting the pages fall open to the wisdom I need. Maybe I won’t use it in ritual but I’ll likely keep it in my purse or on my nightstand for a little inspiration. At 336 pages, with several prayers per page, it’s a good investment for your library, and a resource you’ll likely reach for again and again.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided for the purpose of review and did not influence the review given.

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