When I was at secondary school, I was in a pretty religious environment. I went to Presbyterian and Church of England schools that brought us to chapel services weekly, had their own ministers/vicars, had compulsory religion classes and encouraged us to follow a certain doctrine. As I’ve said before, the only time I remember being really in trouble at school was when I was caught with Tarot cards and was told I was summoning the Devil.
I did veer towards those churches and youth groups – all of my friends were pretty heavily involved and I got to front a (Christian) band at the weekly services at the big church. But I knew for many reasons that this religion was not for me – it wasn’t calling me, and I disagreed with too many of its principles. Despite the heavy feeling in my gut that this was wrong for me, I remained in the church (quietly, hiding who I was) for a good few years.
But as my knowledge grew and I started to discover my own faith and spirituality, which was centred deeply on nature, the Earth and the Moon, I realised that it was never the doctrine of Christianity that held me in that community. It was the idea that I was chasing, of deep peace found from prayer or belief that there was a higher power. And I found that elsewhere.
I think that ‘prayer’ is a concept that many limit to Christian churches, Synagogues, Temples and Mosques. But ultimately, what is prayer? It’s the act of quietly speaking to the higher power, sharing your fears and handing yourself over to them. So is that different from meditation? Or setting an altar to the Goddess?
I’ve come to realise that ‘prayer’ is not just the act of ‘communing with God’. It’s the act of reflection, of sharing with Spirit (whoever or whatever that may be for you) and accepting that you are not alone walking in this world. Whether it’s the Goddess you pray to, or Mother Mary, or God, or just the Universe – I think we need to reclaim the concept of Prayer to mean whatever it means to us on a personal level. Some Witches are Catholic – this is a strong tradition, often passed down in a hereditary line. If we watch The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, that coven attends the Church of Night and worships the Dark Lord (tongue in cheek though that series is, and very well done). Prayer and Witchcraft are, by their very natures, intertwined.
For me, prayer is meditation, is casting a circle and throwing myself into the hands of the Universe, gazing at the Moon (and charging crystals and jars of water underneath her), of lighting incense and practising gratitude. All of this brings me peace, tranquility, relaxation, relief from anxiety. And, ultimately, that’s what prayer should be.
Reading the Tarot will no longer get me detention. Now, I feel empowered and I enjoy using it to shed light on issues that I might not be willing to face myself. I use it to confirm suspicions, direct my path, and reassure me when I’m not 100% convinced I’ve made the right choice. And anyone who practises the Tarot will know that feeling of understanding – this is too powerful to be a coincidence. It must come from Something Else.
Do you pray? Or use Tarot or spellcraft as prayer?