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Prayers


Praying is talking to the gods. We can do this for a variety of reasons: asking for things, thanking for things, praising, or just a desire to rest in the presence of the sacred. Considering how important prayers have been to Pagans throughout time, it is a shame that prayer doesn’t have much of a role in the spiritual lives of many Pagans. That’s why I wrote A Book of Pagan Prayer.

My interest in prayers didn’t end with the publication of the book, of course. Nor did my pleasure in writing them. In fact, I wrote a second book of prayers, A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book. You can also buy my books from me, which means you can get them autoographed.

I keep writing prayers, some based on suggestions made by people in reviews of my books. These are some of them.

A holy song may I sing for the gods;
may beautiful words rise from my mouth.

How can I not honor you, Holy Ones,
you whose glory is great?
Take these words of praise,
offered to you in thanks.

Agni (Vedic):
I give praise to Agni,
I lift my voice in prayer,
to the priest of the gods,
nearest to us.
With these words to you
speed my thoughts to the gods.

Agni, I offer my words to you,
as if golden butter poured on your flames,
feeding you, strengthening you, giving you life.
I ask you to convey my prayers to the gods,
Priest of the gods, who speaks honeyed words.

Do not hide from us, in water or reed,
fire of offering, High Priest Agni.
Be strong on our altar, raised to the gods,
you who are first to receive our offerings.
Lap with your many tongues this butter poured into you,
this golden gift, clarified, pure,
into your flames, clear and pure.
Grow strong, grow high, fed by word and butter,
increase in strength through our prayers today,
words poured out like sweetest butter
in your praises.

Artemis (Greek):
Virgin who runs with the animals,
as swiftly as the fire runs in your heart,
as swiftly as your arrows reach their targets,
as swiftly as your prey is brought to its fate:
bring mine swiftly to me.

Asherah (Semitic):
Pillar set up in the shrine of my home,
as I anoint you with this sweet-smelling oil,
I pray that Asherah enter you,
I pray that your eyes be open,
I pray that you be Asherah,
here in front of me.
Asherah in my shrine,
Asherah, in front of me here in my shrine:
smell this sweetly scented oil with which I anoint your body.
Be honored, be powerful, be present before me,
Asherah, yourself, in this pillar.

I erected this pillar here on the high place.
I raised this alter of unhewn stone.
I pour out beer and offer bread
to Asherah, Heaven's Queen,
Queen of the World.

Athene:
These olives for you, Athene;
I hope you approve of my offering,
given with loving heart.

Ba'al (Semitic):
Ba'al, who strides from valley to valley,
and yet whose shrines are built on mountain top;
Lord of cities, Lord of wastelands,
Lord wherever you care to travel,
oppositions fall beneath your upraised hand,
in fear at the sight of your lifted mace.

Brighid (Irish):
(Before a trip)
A Bhrighid, the flame on our hearth,
the flame in our hearts:
receive this olive oil poured to you,
butter of the southern lands,
and my promise as well of your butter sweet,
spread thickly on bread,
on our return.
Milk as well will be poured to you,
Protector of our well-blessed hearth,
of our inner hearts,
which turn to you with love.

Cernunnos (Gaulish):
Cernunnos:
in whom opposites are brought together,
but not destroyed;
who cannot be known,
because there is nothing against which you might be compared;
because whatever is put against you, its opposite is there;
who cannot be approached, because you are the center
which moves with the one who approaches;
who does not move, because there is nowhere for you to move to:
you are already there;
Controller of opposites through stillness,
Possessor of power through calm;
the cold metal which is life,
the squirming serpent which is death;
between hunter and hunted you sit so still,
neither and both;
with animal's antlers on human head:
neither and both;
Holding in tension unreconcilable opposites,
yet eternally calm:
in my turmoil, in my confusion,
in adversity from without
in adversity from within
in the twisting and turnings,
the seemingly unstoppable rush of my mind and words,
in the midst of Chaos:
I pray to you, to Cernunnos,
in whom opposites are brought together in restful order,
bringing a fierce stillness,
a diamond-flashing peace.

You sit between, Wearer of Antlers,
between the shining one
and the one who leads us into the dark;
between the one that hunts, friend of men, and the one who is hunted, the best of prey;
even you are between animal and man.
I praise the great between, where power is found,
I praise you, Cernunnos, liminal lord.

Your patience is infinite as you sit in calm:
you don't move, though every else does -
It is through your stillness that you are everywhere.

Charon (Greek):
Over a glass-smooth river pole our loved one, Old Man,
to the other side, where his place is now;
to his proper place be an unerring guide, Boatman:
his fare is paid,
bring him to his rest.

The Dagda (Irish):
Prodigious, pot-bellied, pot-emptying god,
Good god, thunder-club armed,
bumptious, bumbling, bumpkin god,
most noble of gods, most noble and best.

Death:
You have your own place, Death,
and this is not it.
There you rule as king;
here we are the most common of people.
There you dwell in a noble palace;
here we live in a simple house.
There you enjoy sparkling riches;
here our poverty shames us.
Go to your place, Death,
and wait for us there.
We have heard your message and we will respond.
But we are busy here, Death.
We have many things to do.
Be patient, we will respond,
but only when the time is right.
Return to your home, Death,
and wait for us to come.
For you it will be only a little while.
For us it will have been a lifetime.

Demeter (Greek):
Mother of Grain,
when you wandered the world bereft of your daughter,
who had been taken by the Lord of Shades under the ground,
a Maiden in the dark,
you mourned, with holy tears,
she who would soon be returned to you for part of the year,
to dwell among the dead for months long to you.
Demeter, I too have had my child taken by death,
but without the consolation of return, even for a time, however short.
See a mortal's tears, feel them as they fall on your breast,
and know them as if they were your own.
You, a mother, see me, a mother,
and mourn with me till the time for mourning is over.
And bless my ache, not a heart cut by grief.
Cry, bereft, cry;
move even the gods to tears, to holy tears,
as they mourn with you your loss,
as they mourn with me my own.

Dionysos (Greek):
Tread the round
upon the ground
to holy sound
by ivy crowned
in flowers gowned
by tendrils wound
our footsteps pound
by freedom bound
the mystery found.

(Dioskouroi:
Zeus's boys, Saviors at Sea,
Helpers of all in all distress:
through the waves of danger
that surround my days,
the little boat of my little life,
guide me, sure stars, in all I do.

Horsemen, divine, who go before us,
leading all on the safest path,
guiding all through all threatening dangers,
be my protectors, on this day and all,
protecting this one who prays to you,
who turns to you in troubles,
and who thanks you in times of peace.

Diwós Sunú (Proto-Indo-European):
Sons of the sky, of the most dread god,
friends to mortals, and all who suffer,
bring health and healing to those who worship you,
Diwós Sunú.

Sailors on the sea, Soothers of pain,
bring me home to safe haven,
a harbor of rest,
even if it is now unknown to me.

Dyḗus Ptḗr (Proto-Indo-European):
I stand under the bright sky, shining, clear,
blue and empty of all except itself,
and praise the Sky Father,
the Shining Sky Father,
Lord of the Xártus, enforcer of justice:
you see all that is done;
may my deeds be true.

Donu (Proto-Indo-European):
(At a riverside or at the source of a river)
Goddess of rivers, flow through me,
leaving behind, Donu,
gifts of healing, Donu,
of this holy place, Donu.

Eostre (Germanic)
Soft as rabbit fur, Eostre, come!
Pretty as painted eggs, Eostre, come!
With golden hair, Eostre, come!
With winning smile, Eostre, come!
Like the rose of dawn, Eostre, come!
Come, Eostre, bring the spring,
Come, Eostre, come!

Epona (Gaulish)
A white mare, a vision, a goddess on horseback,
suckles a young colt:
Gather me, Epona, in your maternal arms,
and carry me away from troubles in your caring embrace,
on the back of an envisioned white mare, striding.

Gabija (Baltic):
Dear fire, beloved Gabija, stay with us here, in the home where you are loved.
You have everything you could need here:
this food, this milk, the bowl of water to keep dirt away,
the pleasant conversation of your family to listen to.
Rest comfortably here in your bed, and share your blessings around.

The God (Wiccan):
We sing in praise of the God of Help;
we sing with words finely wrought,
we sing with thanks for all His blessings,
we sing to Him just as we ought,
we sing for His gifts freely given,
we sing for His lessons well-taught.

Eyes bright coals,
between oaks and ash and towering pine,
God of the dark under-tree.
Eye of the sky,
blazing down on the spread out earth:
God of dark and light,
Horned God, raging,
filled with lust,
resting in meadows,
in the warm breezes:
Who can understand a God like this?
No need:
there is only need for awe.

Horned One who runs through the darkest shadows,
blaze of light on the edge of the world,
oak and standing stone,
about which turns the world,
Engenderer of all, Bestower of life,
Eternal masculine, Mystery most great.

The Goddess (Wiccan):
Goddess of Earth,
and found in the Void between the stars,
Foundation, and source,
and world's beginning,
found where all things end,
Encloser of all, Giver of birth,
Eternal female, Mystery most great:
Praise, praise, and ever praise,
and ever praise to you!

Blessed be, Great Goddess,
You of the Silver Chariot!
You cause the plants to grow
and the animals to give forth.
You give us sons
to carry on our lines.
You give us daughters
to love our sons and glorify you.

Blessed be, Great Goddess!
Goddess of beauty,
Goddess of love,
of life and living,
of giving birth,
and Queen of our land.

Blessed be, Great Goddess,
Silver Moon, Lovely Crescent!
Great Mother, Triple Goddess,
Maiden, Mother, Wise Teacher,
Diana, Selene, Hekate:
We love you, and you us;
we are your Hidden Children.
You give us your wisdom,
you enfold us in your arms.

Blessed be, Great Goddess,
You of golden hair,
clad in green, great and bright,
Acorn lady, Corn-goddess,
Queen of the meadows,
Queen of fields and woods,
Shining Star, Earth Mother,
Queen of life and love!

Blessed be, Great Goddess,
Protector of trees!
Singing Goddess,
Dancing-lady, Bringer of Dawn,
Flower Maiden, Rain-bringer:
Thus we love you,
thus we thank you.

Blessed be, Great Goddess!
Clothed in glory,
Peaceful, gentle,
Laughing gaily,
Crowned in light,
Great and mighty:
You walk through the fields
and the plants rejoice.


The Gʷhedhruós (Proto-Indo-European)
Unrhythmed drumming thunder,
proclaims their coming,
the warrior-band, the Gʷhedhruós,
who ride the cloud tops,
roaring.

Helios (Greek):
Helios in the midday sky,
see what I do justly,
nudge me when I act unjustly.
Judge, but gently,
to keep my on the right way.

Herakles/Hercules (Greek/Roman):
With arrows you killed the snake of the Hesperides,
With a torch the Hydra,
With your own hands the Nemean lion.
I don’t care what weapon you use as long as my difficulties fall before you.

Hermes and Apollo (Greek):
Lord of Mischief, Hermes, hear me:
Even though you stole Apollo’s cattle
he laughingly accepted you as brother
(albeit at Zeus’s command),
Lord of Truth with God of Thieves;
one god through the world above,
one go to the world below,
both of hidden birth:
truth too often as secret as theft.

Horus:
Fiercest Hawk, defeater of evil,
Sun above shining, heat of the day:
destroy with your ray the dangers of life,
with beweaponed hands strike down all in your way.

Indra (Vedic): Vṛtra-slayer, freer of the waters,
remove obstacles,
bring blessings,
into my life, vajra-wielder,
Indra, Mighty God.

Isis (Eqyptian):
Queen who in love traveled far,
across and again,
to recover the body of Osiris,
your slain and dismembered husband,
victim of the traitor Set:
Isis, knit together with divine magic
my fragmented marriage
and bring it to life again.

Goddess Throne, rule in my heart.
Mother of Suns shine in me.
Maternal One, watch over me.
Queen of days, protect me in the light.
Queen of nights, protect me in the dark.
Queen of all, protect me in all I do,
and all that is done to me.

Janus (Roman)
Janus, guard well our doors in our absence.

Open the way for blessings to come,
close the gate to all that would harm,
all that would threaten me,
and all threats as well to my family,
my friends, to all I own:
Janus who looks in both directions,
look on me with benevolent eyes.

Juno (Roman)
Juno, goddess of marital peace,
Sweet and strong, gentle wife,
Queen and Savior and Pure,
who reigns beside your husband Jove there,
high above the celestial vault,
reach down, I pray, your soothing hand,
and smooth away the discord in my blesséd marriage.
Juno, wife, marriage goddess,
to you this prayer;
to you I will utter grateful words.

Manannán (Irish)
A Mhannanán, rider on the secret sea,
whose white-maned waves lie under the wheels
of your chariot which through a meadowed plain,
a fertile land of flowers fair,
makes its way to me.
A Mhannanán, hear my well-wrought prayer,
receive from me this silver fare:
keep me in your fabled care.

O Mhanannán, who stills the waves,
bring waves to me, and then still them too.
Bring clouds, bring turmoil, bring broaching winds;
then calm seas, as if after a storm.
Dredge up from the deep the ancient fears,
then soothe them away with your branch’s ringing.
O Mhanannán, hear my prayer.

Amid overwhelming waves I call to you,
and, sea’s son, you will calm them.
For they are the horses which draw your chariot,
your goad the ringing of golden bells.

Manannán, play a strain of soothing on your harp
to dry the teas of those in sorrow
before they even begin to fall.
"Peace, peace," the sound of the strings,
play, Manannán, a soothing strain.

Marduk (Babylonian):
Smasher of cities, who slew Kingu and Tiamat
with his mighty club, with his storm mace,
Marduk I praise.
Overcomer of chaos, Ordainer of cosmos,
Marduk I praise.
Blessed by those who live in the city when they expect protection,
and by those on the farms when they ask that the crops prosper,
Marduk I praise.
You who were raised to the kingship by the gods by right of your power,
who rules over gods and men,
who brings blessings to those who worship you,
and withhold them from those who do not acknowledge you:
Marduk, you I praise.

Mithras
Mystery unknown is your bull-slaying, Mithras,
and Mystery your birth, rising from the rock,
torch and knife, fire and steel,
you boon companions in your saving deed.
Bring me, through fire, into the peace of Sol,
there in the celestial realm,
to dwell in the stars that bejewel your cave,
purified, divine, a god myself.

Enclosed, imprisoned, in the world cave,
I seek release to the celestial, the divine.
Bull-killer, free me,
Lion-headed, purify me,
to rise to the solar realm,
to shake the hand of the Sun himself,
there to dine beside him,
a god myself, divine.

Mitra (Vedic)
Good friend, Mitra,
look with fondness on your worshiper
who turns to you in fondness.
Protect all those who keep the way
from the snares of Varuṇa.
Grant me a peaceful life
surrounded by friends.

Nehalennia (Gaulish)
Across the sea in your faithful ship,
Nehalennia, who brings cargoes safely to haven,
bring blessings to me who brings blessings to you,
words, and good thoughts, and a grateful heart.

Night:
As you come, Night, with stars in your train,
the crickets begin your song,
the frogs join in, and the owls too,
and I, with a human voice,
praise your overpowering presence,
all one chorus in your honor.

Peace:
Welcome, Peace; with gentle eyes watch over the land,
over these honored dead, now at rest,
far from war's horror.
Blanket them with olive leaves,
as they sleep, undisturbed,
and unforgotten by those who stand in their debt.

Perkʷū́nos(Proto-Indo-European)
Many-edged bolt, proclaim the one
who wields you, wágros,
the champion, Perkʷū́nos,
who comes with the storm
driving it before him.

Perun (Russian)
The arrows of Perun drive enemies away,
and enforce justice, and grant fertility.
God with flaming hair, with burning face,
I watch you come with the clouds
to perform your mighty deeds.

Poseidon (Greek):
Blue-maned Earth-shaker,
Lord of Horses,
whose realm is the sea:
I stand on your shore and watch your waves
as they roll in and out,
each one singing a song of praise to you,
and I join in with my prayer.

Between high and low tide I build a small cairn
of water-smoothed stone
and place on its top my offering
to be taken by the waves of the returning sea,
your steeds, Poseidon Hippios,
carrying them to you.

Pūṣan (Vedic)
Glowing Pūṣan, who conveys the bride
as if in your goat-guided chariot,
to a peaceful life,
bring me, as if wedded,
to prosperity,
lord of paths, deliverer.

Storm God:
We speak to the Lord of the Lightning,
we seek out the Lord of the Right,
to Him, the ever-bright Champion,
a hymn to banish the night.

For when he comes,
he comes in the darkness.
And when he comes,
he brings in the light.

A flash which cuts through the grayness,
a crash which deafens our ears,
a spike which pins down the Chaos,
a strike which softens our fears.

For when he comes,
he comes in the darkness.
And when he comes,
he brings in the light.

With rain, he brings us the greening,
with grain, he brightens our days,
with might he drives away falseness,
with right he opens our ways.

For when he comes,
he comes in the darkness.
And when he comes,
he brings in the light.

For truth, he slays all confusion,
for youth, he stands as a star,
the day, he shows in the storm cloud,
the way, he marks from afar.

And when he comes,
he comes in the darkness.
And when he comes,
he brings in the light.

Yes, when he comes,
he comes in the darkness.
And when he comes,
he brings in the light.


Taranis (Gaulish):
Thank you, Taranis, for this enlivening rain,
pouring from your wheel as it rolls through the heavens,
quickening seeds, refreshing plants,
bringing flowers and producing fruit,
this monsoon rain which revives the suffering earth,
the dry and waiting earth.

Terminus (Roman):
Terminus, guard well our land in our absence.

Tvaṣṭṛ (Vedic:)
Each corner true, Tvaṣṭṛ,
each floor flat,
each joint firm, Tvaṣṭṛ:
may they be like that,
in this house I am building,
Tvaṣṭṛ, god of making.

Winds:
Winds, fill the sails of my life's small boat,
propelling it safely across shoal-filled seas,
to safely rest in welcome port.
No gales, no calm, only a canvas-filling breeze,
I ask of you.

Zeus (Greek):
I do not ask, as rash Semele did,
to see your true form.
But come in whatever form you wish
to this altar, smoking with incense,
Zeus who hears the suppliant's prayer.

Xáryomen (Proto-Indo-European):
Xáryomen, lord of the law of the people,
giver of well-disposed friends:
be our good herdsmen.
Bring us together.
Make us one.
May we worship you as one people,
may we come before the gods speaking with one voice.

Pipes and wires, of communication and electricity,
roads, and street signs, and street lamps and lanes,
EMTs, policemen,
Firefighters, doctors, nurses,
Subway workers, bus drivers, taxi drivers,
and the routes they travel, crossing the city:
all these are your body,
your manifestation,
Xáryomen, our dear god of social strength,
under whose blessing we are drawn together,
so many people,
into a unified city:
in thanks to you I pour this butter into the fire,
cow's gift, fire's food, blaze's friend,
this gift to you, people's friend.

Samhain Prayer
The circle turns and the sun dwindles:
Now does the God's darkness overcome his brightness.
Now, then, begins the reign of death and cold.
From the North blows the chill wind,
a wind from the place of greatest darkness.
The people hold close their cloaks against the frost.
But naught can stop this cold;
nothing can turn it aside.
Therefore do we rejoice in the face of Death,
knowing full well that Death never lasts,
never wins the final victory,
and that the bright days of summer will return.
Be happy, then, for Death is coming!
Be glad, for the winter is upon us.

Fall Equinox Prayer
Bright is the harvest, dwindling the sun;
his days of bright rule are ending.
We stand on the edge of the Sun's youth and age.
This is the timne when the fire of midsummer's glory
wanes and grows old in the west,
the festival of the west,
celebration of the harvest,
feast of the dying sun.