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Mysteries of the Divine Apprenticeship Program




Holy Mother Prayer by T. Thorn Coyle

Holy Mother in Whom we live move and have our being
From you all things emerge and unto you all things return.
Open our hearts this blessed day, touch our bodies and our minds.
Walk with us through the gates of power.
In shadow and starlight
in fire meeting earth
in the wind on the ocean
and the sweet kiss of life.
Blessed be our Journey.

A Pagan Psalm

Though thou hast anointed my head,

And hast led me down into the valley of the shadow of death,

Thou art my refuge and my repose.

Thy rod and thy scourge have comforted me.

And thou shalt bring me up again,

To green fields and to the waters of life,

And my chalice shall o’erflow.

For thine are the mysteries of life and death.

-- Adapted by AmericanNeopagan , combining elements of Psalm 23 and the following passage from the Book of Tobit:

Blessed are they which have been sorrowful for all his scourges for they shall rejoice.

For he doth scourge and hath mercy; he leadeth down to hell and bringeth up again.

And after the scourge that smites shall come the rod that consoles.

Prayer for a Pagan Baptism

She is the womb and the tomb:

An eternal ocean; changing, glowing, roaring, life in ferment.

Like the swirling of life, she rises and falls:

From her all things come, and to her all things must return.

Son/Daughter of earth, plunge yourself into the sea of matter,

Which is her body, for it cradled you long ago.

"She has been with me from the beginning, and she will be with me until the end."

-- Adapted by AmericanNeopagan, combining material from Goethe's Faust and Teilhard de Chardin's "The Spiritual Power of Matter". Preferably performed in an ocean or large lake. The water represents the womb of the Goddess.

Noontime Prayer

The sun has climbed the hill, the day is on the downward slope.
Between the morning and the afternoon, stand I here with my soul,
and lift it up.
My soul is heavy with sunshine, and steeped with strength.
The sunbeams have filled me like a honeycomb,
It is the moment of fulness,
And the top of the morning.

-- from D. H. Lawrence's The Plumed Serpent

Evening Prayer

May the darkness embrace me.

-- from Anne Bishop's Black Jewels Trilogy


Dip your forefinger into the chalice, and touch your forehead, saying:

Bless me Mother, I am your son/daughter.

Dip your finger again and touch your eyes, saying:

Bless my eyes to see the beauty of your body, which is the earth.

Dip your finger again and touch your nose, saying:

Bless my nose to inhale your breath, which is the wind, and to smell the fragrance of your sex, which is the essence of ripe fruit and green things.

Dip your finger and touch your ears, saying:

Bless my ears to hear the music of your voice, which is the rustle of leaves in the wind, the fall of water over rocks, the song of birds and the roar of lions, the cry of little children and of lovers in passion.

Dip your finger and touch your mouth, saying:

Bless my mouth to taste the savor of your tears, which is the rain, and to taste the milk of your breasts and the honey of your sex, which is life abundant.

Dip your finger and touch your hands, saying:

Bless my hands to caress the curve of your body, which is all matter.

[For women:

Dip your finger and touch your breasts, saying:

Bless my breasts to nourish life and joy, as you nourish me.

Dip your finger and touch your abdomen, saying:

Bless my womb to nurture life and joy, as you nurture me. ]

Dip your finger and touch your sacrum, saying:

Bless my phallus/yoni to bring forth life and joy, as you have brought forth the universe.

Finally, dip your finger and touch your feet, saying:

Bless my feet to walk on the holy ground which is the temple of your body.

-- Adapted by AmericanNeopagan, from the classic ritual of feminist spirituality by the founder of feminist witchcraft, Zsuzsanna Budapest.

A Pagan Grace

Gods and mortals:

We live in each other's death,

And die in each other's life.

To live the death of a being is to eat it.

To die the life of a being is to be eaten.

We eat God,

And are devoured Her.

-- Adapted by AmericanNeopagan, combining texts from Heraclitus' fragments and an exegesis by Simone Weil.

Autumn Prayer

God of the Autumn, help us to live
with the grace of falling leaves
the enthusiasm of the flaming Aspens
with the serenity of the old trees, whose roots reach deep into the earth.
God of the Autumn, help us to know 
that living and dying are one 
that life is precious, and beautiful, and limited. 
that nothing good is ever lost.
God of the Autumn, help us to see 
in the ways of nature a way for ourselves.

-- by Christin Robinson (UUA)

Not exactly a prayer, but a wonderful autumn poem:

Now is the time for the burning of the leaves,
They go to the fire; the nostrils prick with smoke
Wandering slowly into the weeping mist.
Brittle and blotched, ragged and rotten sheaves!
A flame seizes the smouldering ruin, and bites
On stubborn stalks that crackle as they resist.
The last hollyhock’s fallen tower is dust:
All the spices of June are a bitter reek,
All the extravagant riches spent and mean.
All burns! the reddest rose is a ghost.
Spark whirl up, to expire in the mist: the wild
Fingers of fire are making corruption clean.
Now is the time for stripping the spirit bare,
Time for the burning of days ended and done,
Idle solace of things that have gone before,
Rootless hope and fruitless desire are there:
Let them go to the fire with never a look behind.
That world that was ours is a world that is ours no more.
They will come again, the leaf and the flower, to arise
From squalor of rottenness into the old splendour,
And magical scents to a wondering memory bring;
The same glory, to shine upon different eyes.
Earth cares for her own ruins, naught for ours.
Nothing is certain, only the certain spring.

-- "The Burning of the Leaves" by Laurence Binyon

Prayer for Autumn

Incandescent, the bright autumn leaf clings to the branch,

holding on to glory, then floats to the ground in its fine array --

down to winter's snows and spring's muck and mold.

Does it rant and rave into that good night? Or does it, Lord,

make this last burst of glory in song of praise for its fate,

knowing its part in life is to follow thy will

on through mud's spring from leaf to humus,

to be drawn up in some other summer's flowers?

So may we, O God, choose your fate,

knowing tomorrow, defeated or lost, holds yet greater summer.

-- by John Robinson (UUA)

A Springtime Prayer

O' power of springtime,
Spirit of green grasses
and warm breezes;
Goddess of creativity
of birth
of life renewed
You sing all about us at this time.

The birds call your sacred name.
Buds burst forth with your vestment.
The sun reaches higher into the sky
shining the light of this new day
through the windows of your cathedral,
this world.

O power of springtime
forgive us our speediness
and our racing before your
eternal grace
that we do not see the myriad
miracle world we share.

Open our eyes with your warmth
and our hearts with your beauty
slow our minds with awe and wonder.

Dear Spirit of green grasses
and warm breezes;
let us find here
in these moment of quiet
the grace of your breath
as we breathe into our bodies
the spirit of spring.

-- by George Tyger (UUA)

Prayer for Spring

Spirit of life, bring to us beauty -- the beauty of snowdrops and tulip shoots.

Bring to us strength -- the strength of torrents of spring streams and the quiet strength of roots pushing deep into the ground for nourishment.

Bring to us pleasure -- the pleasures of maple syrup sticky and sweet on our tongues and the wind grabbing a kite and taking it high -- if only we could go too!

Bring to us wisdom -- the knowledge that new life springs up without help. In spite of everything we do or don't, green shoots will bring in the spring; grass and weeds and dandelions will appear.

Bring to us love -- springtime love has magic in it. The children look cherubic, the parents look eager, the lovers look lost, the seniors look satisfied. Let springtime love be a part of our lives. Spirit of life, come to us that all the energy and power of spring will make us tall and smiling and expectant.

-- by Judith Quarles (UUA)

Invocation of the Four Quarters

Spirit of the East, spirit of air,
Of morning and springtime:
Be with us as the sun rises,
In time of beginning,
Times of planting,
Inspire us with the fresh breath of courage
As we go forth into new adventures.

Spirit of the south, spirit of fire,
Of noontime and summer:
Be with us through the heat of the day
And help us to be ever growing,
Warm us with strength
And energy for the work that awaits us.

Spirit of the West, spirit of water,
Of evening and autumn,
Be with us as the sun sets
And help us to enjoy a rich harvest.
Flow through us with a cooling,
Healing quietness and bring us peace.

Spirit of the North, spirit of earth,
Of nighttime and winter:
Be with us in the darkness,
In the time of gestation.
Ground us in the wisdom
of the changing seasons
As we celebrate the spiraling
Journey of our lives.

-- "To the Four Directions" by Joan Goodwin

Deep Peace

Deep peace I breathe into you, O weariness, here:
O ache, here!
Deep peace, a soft white dove to You;
Deep peace, a quiet rain to you;
Deep peace, an ebbing wave to you!
Deep peace, red wind of the east from you;
Deep peace, grey wind of the west to You;
Deep peace, dark wind of the north from you;
Deep peace, blue wind of the south to you!
Deep peace, pure red of the flame to you;
Deep peace, pure white of the moon to you;
Deep peace, pure green of the grass to you;
Deep peace, pure brown of the earth to you;
Deep peace, pure grey of the dew to you,
Deep peace, pure blue of the sky to you!
Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the sleeping stones to you!
Deep peace of the Yellow Shepherd to you,
Deep peace of the Wandering Shepherdess to you,
Deep peace of the Flock of Stars to you,
Deep peace from the Son of Peace to you,
Deep peace from the heart of Mary to you,
And from Briget of the Mantle
Deep peace, deep peace!
And with the kindness too of the Haughty Father
In the name of the Three who are One,
And by the will of the King of the Elements,
Peace! Peace!

-- Fiona Macleod (1895)

Prayer for Tree Planting (for families)

We bless this tree, strong may you grow.

We bless your roots, that downward go.

We bless your branches, reaching high,

Bearing leaves that touch the sky.

May you blossom in the spring sunshine.

May the winter's cold to you be kind.

May gentle rain in its season fall.

You you grow in joy, strong and tall.

-- by AmericanNeopagan

A Pagan Grace (for families)

We thank the earth in which the seed does grow;
We thank the hands that the seed did sow.

We thank the sky which gave the seed its rain;
We thank the sun whose rays yield us gain.

We thank those hands that prepared this meal;
We thank those too whose lives we must steal.

May we remember this sacrifice made;
May we live in honor of this gift unpaid.

This water too has a message dear;
Freely it springs forth running ever clear.

A few things in life really are free;
Grateful are we too for this mystery.

But if we care not for what has no cost,
Even these most precious gifts will be lost.

-- by AmericanNeopagan

Morning Prayer (for families)

Now I wake to the morning light,

As the sun returns from the womb of night.

May my heart be filled with joy this day,

May my mind be filled with wonder this I pray,

May the beauty of the earth fill my sight,

And my soul’s path before me always be bright.

-- by AmericanNeopagan

Evening Prayer (for families)

Now I lay me down to sleep,

And float into Goddess' dreamy deep.

For my life my thanks I give.

To love this world, for this I live.

When I wake in the morning light,

May Goddess be with me and guide my sight.

-- A variation on the classic 18th century children's prayer by Susan Maginn and Peter Campbell, published by the Unitarian Universalist Association. (The word "God" has been replaced with "Goddess".)

Now I lay me down to rest.

I pray that all the world be blessed.

Lady Moon and Sister Star

Watch over me from afar.

Mother Earth is always there

And keeps me safe within her care.

The Lord of Dreams will dance and sing

And happy dreams to me will bring.

And when I wake to greet the day

Brother Sun will light my way.

-- by Kitty Degler



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