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The Bad Witch’s Guide

February, 2019

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Pagan Prayer

(Photo by A L L E F . V I N I C I U S ? on Unsplash)

A
lot of people assume I don’t pray. This is wrong. I have a daily
practice and that means I connect in some degree to what is sacred to
me and within me, usually daily.

My
prayers can look like regular praying, or dancing, or cooking or
nothing at all. Let us talk about what I mean when I say prayer.

To
me a prayer is the mental and spiritual and sometimes physical
seeking of connection to the Divine within and outside of the self. I
have prayers I have written as well as some from the Feri tradition
on my bedroom walls. I may repeat those silently or aloud as written
as as my heart directs in the moment. The words are important but it
is the sensation of connection, or depth, of Anwen that lets me know
I am not just reciting. I am deliberately altering my consciousness,
with a mind to connection.

While
I also meditate often, meditation differs from prayer. In prayer I am
expressing something to myself and the Gods. In meditation I am
listening. I surrender to that connection. Sometimes I listen more
than I speak, sometimes I speak more than I listen. At the root of
prayer is hope, at the root of meditation is trust, faith. That is
why meditation is difficult for a lot of people. Not just because it
takes practice but because to surrender your thoughts, to really
listen within and without is an act of surrender. You have to let go.
Scary stuff for a lot of people.

Prayer
is different. It is an expression of seeking and of holding on, maybe
even building something. Even if there were no Gods prayer would be
important as an expression of our hopes, our strength and desire for
life and connection. An affirmation of awakened selves.

Sometimes
I call on specific Deities though more often I call on the Lord and
Lady, God and Goddess, or even simply Ancient Ones. I usually call
Herself first and then Himself. It was the Feri way I learned early
on and one I still use. I find myself “speaking” more to Herself
and “listening” more to Himself.

I
like the Charges a lot too. Though I don’t use them directly often
save in ritual circle.

Praying
can be dancing, my unspoken hopes and desires moving my body and
radiating that into the world. It can be in song, pagan in origin or
otherwise. It can be in my hands as I touch someone (I like “may
what is sacred to you heal you”). There are prayers in my teacup,
in the glass I use to take my medicines (I am getting better
everyday), in the spoons I use to stir my cooking food. Even if it is
only the words “thank you”.

I
was lucky enough to trade and receive a book of translated
prayer/poetry of Inanna. It is fascinating, ancient and beautiful. It
is rather sexy in places too! As a prayer it is a love poem. “She
who adores, adore me!” It was eye opening because prayer for many
people is a saintly bland affair. This was funny, entertaining,
erotic and tragic. It was eye opening.

Prayer
is more than a wishlist of wants like a child’s list of presents to
Santa. Prayer is speaking in heart, body and mind to what is sacred.
There are wonderful prayers out there but crafting your own is both
more personal and more relevant. You have the option to be as
specific as you like. Writing is often a prayer too. Whether it is
poetry in my many notebooks, on twitter or articles like these, I
have to connect to write. I have to reach into the light within me
and the light without to find the words, though sometimes I can not.
Sometimes there are no words only sounds or sensations.

One
of the other techniques some Feri traditions teach is to simply speak
to your Gods. No thee, thy, thou. Just you talking. Though I do this
least I do find it helps keep me sincere. It is a helpful expression
of where you are. Part confession, part shooting the breeze, this
kind of prayer is both cathartic and humbling. As someone whom has
been and felt I had to be superwoman this gave me a space where I
didn’t have to be perfect, all-knowing or strong. I could rest my
head on my Mother’s breast and cry, rest and just be.

My
personal shrines within my bedroom are where I come to pray most
often. I find cleaning them and it’s objects a prayer in itself.
While I do give offerings to the Gods this is usually part of rites
and ritual rather than daily prayer. I don’t like having food in my
bedroom, so if I do give offerings it is usually flowers, crystals
and objects like feathers I find that have meaning to me. Much like
my own daughter as a small child would bring me flowers and pretty
things.

If
praying is something new for you start small. Something short you can
remember easily or write in a journal. Taking a few moments to say
something from the heart is a beautiful way to start or finish your
day. It can be specific or open as you like.

Goddess
you are the sweet sacred earth

I
am of your body and I am blessed.

Goddess
you are the sacred waters of life

I
am of your body and I am blessed.

Goddess
your breath is the sacred air we breathe

I
am of your breath and I am blessed.

Goddess
you are the candle and the star

I
am of your radient light and I am blessed.

Goddess
your way is that of gratitude

Your
way is of peace.

Your
way is of joy.

Your
way is that of love.

Your
love willed me into creation.

I
honour you and I am honoured by you.

So
mote it be.

You could easily add a named Deity of your choice, replace blessed with anything else, like strong, wise, or holy. You can make it as complicated or simple as you like, it is the reaching with your heart and mind for that sincere connection that matters. So mote it be means “as I have spoken it will be so”. I prefer it to Christianized Amen. Blessed be is always a good ending too. Different paths may have different wordings. If you do something while you do this prayer, like light a candle or such after a time the act itself becomes connected to your prayer.

You
do not of course have to pray. Yet if you are seeking I think it is a
worthy endeavour. It is in the seeking that it matters. For if you do
not find it within you will never find it without.

The
one place Gods inarguably exist is in our minds where they are real
beyond refute, in all their grandeur and monstrosity.”


? Alan
Moore

Lord – Music Review

September, 2009

Lord

Lord is an Australian heavy metal band that is really a mix of styles from all over the world with their own unique spin on it that’s hard to quantify exactly. I would say more than anything you can hear a hunger and a drive in Australian metal because the scene there is so small, and to be a cut above anyone else and to make a real go of it you need to be up there with the best in the world or you have no hope of making the leap from small bar band to international touring act. That hunger trickles down from the top tier of international touring acts right through the entire scene. It’s that drive that gives the Australian bands a freshness and energy that’s lacking in some of the more over saturated markets.

With LORD, while they say they’re a heavy metal band, there’s much more to their sound than just being under that label. They have the obvious elements of traditional and power metal, but they also mix it in with a good helping of thrash, melodic hard rock, melodic death, and even incorporate elements of things as diverse as prog metal, mainstream rock, AOR and many extreme metal styles. It’s that diversity that makes up the LORD sound, so while they are proudly an Australian heavy metal band, they’ve also evolved into something far more broadly than that.

LORD was born from the ashes of Dungeon, who were one of the longest running and better-known Australian metal bands. The singer/guitarist of Dungeon was under the name of “Lord Tim” (which is actually more of a joke name than anything else), and he released an album of solo material as a side project in 2003. He disbanded Dungeon in 2005 and started LORD as a proper band rather than a solo project. It was convenient to use that name because they already had an album out, so the name was known, plus LORD is a fairly ambiguous word that can mean a lot of different things to different people, so it suited the diverse sound that they were aiming for. Essentially LORD is Dungeon when you break it all down, but with even more diversity in its style.

Dungeon, toured with Megadeth, Opeth, Mayhem, Destruction, Doro, Angra, Edguy… the list goes on. LORD has toured with Nightwish, Queensryche, Nevermore, Gamma Ray, Saxon, and lots more as well. They are very fortunate that their profile makes them one of the go-to bands for promoters to choose as a support to international acts that tour there, and getting the opportunity to tour the world with the likes of Megadeth, Queensryche and Edguy who are some of their favorite bands, and play with incredible musicians like Angra and Opeth is just a fantastic experience. They have also had the great honor of collaborating with members of bands like Doro, Dio, Megadeth, The Poodles and Angra. As the band puts it,” It’s amazing thinking back to when you were growing up and seeing posters of these people on your bedroom wall and then one day you find you’re not only just a fan, but you’re now a peer that is either touring or collaborating with them. That’s a pretty amazing feeling!”

It’s a pretty amazing feeling when we listen to their music as well. On A Night Like This is actually a cover of a Kylie Minogue song, believe it or not. It’s one of those wacky ideas that they did semi-seriously and it turned out great, and has since gotten national airplay and tens of thousands of plays on their My Space page. It’s a cool song and a lot of tongue-in-cheek fun.

Rain is one of the more popular songs on the Ascendence album, with a very Queensryche kind of vibe. It’s possibly the most ballad-like song on the album but when it gets to the middle section, it becomes quite heavy. The band says,”  It’s a challenge to play live but very satisfying and I think we’d get lynched if we ever stopped including it in the live set.”

Footsteps in the Sand is another mainstay of their live set. The lyrics are about deja vu and precognition, with a discussion asking if destiny is already mapped out and we’re just following “footsteps in the sand”, or if there are infinite possibilities and paths to follow. The band says,” This song is great to play live because there’s a big Iron Maiden-esque sing along part in the middle that always gets a great reaction.”

Reborn has so much cool stuff in there – dozens of guitars, hundreds (literally) of vocal tracks, orchestras, choirs… you name it – and because it tells the story of the demise of Dungeon and the birth of LORD, it’s very symbolic.

As for Last Rites, the subject matter is fairly thought provoking and it goes through a wide range of movements and themes to tell the story.

One thing everyone says about LORD is that even if they’re not particularly a fan of their style of music, they still enjoy the performance. The band likes to put on a show rather than just standing there and playing their instruments. There’s a lot of crowd interaction, lots of jokes and crazy stage moves. People can see they’re having a great time on stage and not taking some of the stuff they do too seriously, but all the while actually managing to play the complex material they have on their albums.

LORD has the following albums out: A Personal Journey (2003, remastered and re-released in 2005 when LORD became a proper band), Ascendence (2007), Hear No Evil EP (2008) and 2009 will see their new album Set in Stone released. There’s also been a limited edition live album called Live at the Metro (recorded live in late 2006, released 2007). They tend not to count A Personal Journey as a “real” LORD album, although they’re still proud of the material on there and play some of it live, so as far as evolution goes they would say it starts with Ascendence. That in itself was a continuation on from Dungeon’s style and was very much a transitional album between the more straight ahead heavy metal sound Dungeon had into the more adventurous sound that LORD was developing. That continues on into Hear No Evil where there’s more of a blend of elements like thrash and mainstream rock into the core heavy metal sound, and Set in Stone is more diverse again, and the most ambitious project that they’ve done yet in both LORD and Dungeon.

The band is currently putting the finishing touches on their new album, Set in Stone, which should be due out this year. You can expect a couple of video clips and possibly a limited edition DVD sometime this year as well, and then they plan to take a much needed break from writing/recording until 2010 sometime because it’s been absolutely non-stop tour/record/tour/record for the band since it was formed. They’d also like to concentrate on touring and recharging their creativity before they tackle the next one, and given the high mark they are setting themselves with Set in Stone, I think they’re going to have a tough act to follow.

No tour dates in the US yet, unfortunately, but they are working on international dates at the moment. Hopefully that’ll take them to the US sometime in early 2010 if all goes well and their distribution is in place. For all of LORD’S tour dates, the best place to check them out is on their My Space page: http://www.myspace.com/lordaus they’re just about to embark on an Australian and New Zealand tour in a week, and they’re adding more national and international dates as they get confirmed.

You can get LORD (and Dungeon) albums at their online store: http://store.lord.net.au and you can also legally purchase MP3s from the Hear No Evil EP from places like iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, etc.

Modern Invasion is the Australia label that released A Personal Journey and Ascendence. Soundholic is the label that released Ascendence in Japan. From Hear No Evil onwards, LORD has been and will be released through Dominus Records, which is their own label. They’ve chosen to go that route to give them more control over their product and marketing, and they’re arranging distribution and sub-licensing for territories around the world.