Many Western Polytheists are converts from monotheistic faiths, therefore the subject of prayer is a thorny one. Since prayer is an important part of Polytheistic devotions, there are ways to circumvent that reluctance. Because prayer is basic to conversing with the Gods, it comes in many forms. Some of which were employed by ancient Polytheists but have been ignored by modern people.
One type is the “Prayer of Lament.” This prayer can be used when a person is in deep pain or grief. It is a cry from the heart to the Gods. An example of this is the “Lament for Ur”, an ancient litany about the destruction of that Sumerian city. From the lament, “O Enlil! What has my city done to You? Why have You turned away from it?”
The structure of the Prayer of Lament:
- Address the God. Call upon the Holy Power.
- Complaint. Describe in detail, your grief.
- Affirmation of Trust. How did the God help you on other occasions?
- Petition. Say what you want to happen.
- Assurance of Being Heard. What do you need from the God to be acknowledged?
- Vow of Praise. For having your lament addressed, what do you offer in return?
- Hymn of Blessing. Sing a word of praise about the God.
Another type of prayer is the “Abecedary,” which was used until the end of the Middle Ages. The principles behind this form of prayer is that every letter of the alphabet has spiritual significance. The order of the alphabet is divinely ordained. When Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” He was referring to the mystical powers of the alphabet.
An Abecedary is a work of prose or poetry. It can be a method of communicating with the Gods or creating magic. (Think of the Norse Runes and their usages.) Using the successive letters of the alphabet, the Abecedary sings of the God. It can be as long or as short as a person wants. For example a letter can spark an entire paragraph of spiritual writing.
For Neptune, God of the Waters
A is for the abundant water of the world.
B is for the bounty of fish that You provide.
Z is for the zest of the life-giving waters.
Praying in “Mystical languages” (Note) is a third way to communicate with the Gods. It is how to have the God inside your person. According to alchemists, “The Language of the Birds” is believed to be the language of the Gods since the birds are from the heaven. John Dee, the famous magician, with Edward Kelly invented Enochian as “celestial speech.” They received visions from angels who told them the script. Dee said that Enochian was the language used by God to create the world.
A modern example using a mystical language is the song “Now We Are Free” by Lisa Gerrad and Hans Zimmer for the movie “Gladiator” (2000). Lisa Gerrad said, “I sing in the language of the Heart. It’s an invented language that I’ve had for a very long time. I believe I started singing in it when I was about 12. Roughly that time. And I believed I was speaking to God when I sang in that language.”
Note: This is glossolalia or the speaking of tongues
Dr. Raymond Moody, “Making Sense of Nonsense”
Christine Valters Paintner, “Earth, Our Original Monastery”
Paintner, “Lectio Divina: The Sacred Art”