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Prayers

Mara’s Prayer

Dear Mara,

Merciful Earth, be with us

Bountiful Harvest, be with us

Lady Luck, be with us

Mother Market, be with us

Bread-raiser, be with us

Hearthtender, be with us

Queen of Rot, be with us

Weekly Prayers

As an exercise in creating daily practice and spending more intentional time with different powers, I set out to create a set of daily prayers, with each day's power chosen to match the planetary energy of the days of the week. I spent a month developing it, and so sometimes ended up with more than one prayer for the power of each day. Most often now I do a more general daily offering rather than varying who I spend time with, but I like having these prayers as a go-to when I want to engage more.

Sunday

Redbird, firstborn, brightest star

Lifegiver, death’s lover

Desert mirage and warm summer grass

Snowblindness and hopeful thaw

You burn hot in all things,

Magic and sex and simply living,

The riddle of contradiction

Let me study you; continue to teach me

Allow me to be your student and

Ensure the enemies of my household

Burn themselves down and flame out

Redbird, Fiery One, Bright Lady,

Grant my household passion

Grant us inspiration

Grant us magic

Thank you.

Monday

Dark Lady, Velvet Sky, Black Blade

I come before you on your day,

in the sacred nighttime

As the voice of my household

to ask your blessings.

Cover us in your hair that we

may go unseen by our enemies

Cover us in your maille that we may not be harmed

Teach us to wield your weapons

Strengthen our magic

Remind us that we need not fear for we are the monsters under the bed.

Thank you.

Tuesday

Righteous One, Honorable One, Maligned One, Lord of Battle,

Master of the Stolen Crown,

Striver for Balance, Dread Fairness,

I come to you on your day, at this sacred place

As the voice for my household.

Lend me your glaive and shield

That I might protect my family

From those that would harm us

Reinforce my words and show me

Discipline to maintain my work

Grant all of us wisdom as we face

the challenges of the day and the world.

Protect my child and help me keep her safe

Thank you.

Wednesday

Pillai, Sweet One, Son of Luck,

Bring me opportunities

Show me doors that I might pick locks

Bluebird, Darling One, Harbinger of Spring,

Teach me not to be afraid

Help me recover and go on and find new options

Pillai! Darling Bluebird!

I come before you on your day, in this sacred place

As the voice for my household

Grant us luck and grant us hope

Grant us opportunities and ensure we can see them

Turn away ill luck, poor health and bad timing.

Thank you.

Thursday

Pechak, Hawk, great battler,

Velos, Serpent, cunning fighter,

On your day and in this sacred place

I come before you as the voice for my household

Pechak, mighty one, swift one,

Lend me your strength,

Smash the enemies of my household,

Leave them unable to work against us.

Set your wings around us as a shield

to keep us from harm.

Velos, clever one, cunning one,

Lend me your strategy,

Confuse the enemies of my household,

Make them distracted and let their work

against us be wasted. Keep us safe

from poisonous tongues and teeth.

Wrap your scales around us as a shield

to keep us from harm.

Thank you.

Friday

On your day and in this sacred place

I come before you as the voice for my household

Brhenti, hearthfire, inspiration

get me through this longest of work days,

inspire me and grant me

luck and wit in my creative projects,

energyy in maintaining my house and family.

Brhenti, lady of putting by,

sealer of mason jars, gentle heat of dehydration,

guide my thoughts as I prepare.

Keep me quick to spot a deal.

Keep me reasonable in the face of threats.

Keep me calm when everyone is shouting.

Brhenti, mother of artifice,

Teacher of craft and lady of the forge

Keep me on track when my mind wanders,

Remind me that I am happier when I create.

Protect our household,

Remind us to put by and squirrel away,

To make good choices and invest in the future.

Brhenti, Mericiful Metal, Copper Woman,

Be sword and shield,

Defend my household

Protect us and guide us to prepare

For a future we cannot know.

Thank you.

Saturday

Tzymir of the broken crown,

Father of Crystals, Source of Magic

On your day and in this sacred place and this late hour,

I come before you as the voice for my household

Dead god and labyrinth-walker,

Teach me grace and confidence,

Guide my study, lend me magic

Bring us wealth from your realm

deep in the earth

Bring us wisdom from the labyrinth

Guide us through the twisting paths

and lead those who would harm us into wrong turns and dead ends.

Thank you.

Poems for Kuan Yin

In my mid-twenties, I went through a very difficult relationship, a cross country move, and my first round of health scares. Somewhere in there I ended up finding the most comfort in Buddhist meditation and practice, and especially in cultivating a relationship with Kuan Yin, the Bodhisattva of compassion. I would have bouts of vertigo so severe that moving more than an inch at a time would lead to nausea for hours, and without the ability to read or watch anything, and trying not to panic about whether I would recover and what this might mean. I prayed, and I recited mantras, because I didn't know what else to do, and eventually it helped.

Prayer to Kuan Yin

Om mani padme hum.

Hail to the jewel

in the heart of the lotus,

multifaced, hermaphroditic,

goddess of compassion

and bodhisattva of patience.

I often cause suffering.

My mouth moves faster

Than my regret, coughing up

Emotional acid reflux.

Share your infinite compassion

With my fucked up self,

A minty chewy taste

When my foot’s in my mouth.

Teach me how you love all beings

When they’re so fucking stupid.

Teach me how not to

Call them all so fucking stupid

Since that doesn’t seem

Terribly Buddhist of me.

I really am a terrible Buddhist,

O lady of compassion.

Luckily for me you put up with that.

Show me how to save everyone

Or if you can’t, I’ll settle

For learning when to shut up.

Thanks, o bodhisattva

Who sees the suffering of the world.

Namo guan shih yin pusa.


The Bodhisattva Vow is a vow taken never to cause harm to a living being. At first glance, this sounds quite simple – most of us don't usually go out of our way to hurt people, right?

It's pretty easy to decide, say, not to hit people. What about saying things that are hurtful, though? Many people can't resist at least a little gossiping. What about when speaking the truth is harmful? What about the careless thing you say that stings, or the time you put your foot in your mouth because you just don't know that something is a painful subject for someone.

And don't forget that 'living beings' is not limited to people. It obviously means taking care of your pets, and making sure that potted plant in your kitchen is taken care of. What about that ant trap under your sink, though, or your instinctive reaction to smash a spider on your wall?

Suppose you want to take the afternoon off and go for a peaceful nature walk. First you must make sure that taking the afternoon off won't hurt anyone; obviously the severity of this depends on what you do for a living, but start simple: will someone else have to work later to cover for you? If you pack a lunch, did the cows or pigs or poultry suffer before it became lunchmeat and cheese? Once you're out there, watch your step- you might be crushing insects with your every step. Don't disturb anything, or you may disrupt the habitat of a wild animal.

Not as easy as it looked, is it?

Vow

The more attention I pay

to the insects, to the

thousand tiny lives

around me each day,

the harder it seems to get.

Ants appear out of cracks,

grasshoppers fling themselves

at my feet, even moths

land under my shoes.

The more precious the life,

the harder to avoid

destroying it.

I need more eyes,

more arms, fewer legs

perhaps, or just your blessing

and patience as I try again.


According to myth, Kuan Yin chose to incarnate as the princess Miao Shan. Her father the king was a cruel man, and insisted that she marry an older, rich man. When she refused, saying that she wanted to enter a temple and study the words of the Buddha, her father first imprisoned her and denied her food, then allowed her to enter the temple while ordering the monks to work her to the bone. Still, she was devoted to her work and her purity caused the animals of the forest to befriend her and help her. Furious, her father set fire to the temple. Miao Shan put it out with her bare hands and was not burned.

Her father ordered her killed, but the executioner’s weapon shattered three times when he approached her. When he finally resorted to strangling her, Miao Shan, understanding that the executioner would suffer at her father’s hand if he did not succeed, allowed herself to be killed and took on the karmic guilt of the murder. This karma caused her to descend to one of the many hells of Buddhist belief, where she took pity on all those suffering. She released much of her own good karma, causing the hell to transform into a paradise and the souls within it to be freed to their next life. One of the lords of hell sent her back to earth to keep her from wreaking havoc in his realms. Miao Shan then traveled to the Fragrant Mountain and studied Buddhism full-time, as she’d always wanted to do.

Gently Burning Heart

Lady phoenix, Miao Shan,

arms aflame in the temple,

body burning as your spirit.

Death drawn out, accepted,

folded into your heart

in origami flowers you

planted in hell, watered with

your tears and grew up again,

embers rushed back to life

seeking peace,

finding suffering

and still seeking.

Selfish

a thousand arms,

a thousand comforts

against the many arrows

look at me

one among everyone

suffering in your view


True understanding and compassion for others begins with the self. If you do not feel sympathy for yourself, or cut yourself some slack, you will have a hard time accepting the weaknesses of others as well. When I hate myself, when the depression sets in and the snow falls inside my chest, I look to Kuan Yin for reassurance. When I can't warm myself, she is gentle as a mother wrapping a child in hats and mittens for the snow. She gives me strength, and knowing that she feels my suffering, no matter how petty I worry that it is, is like having a thick, warm scarf I can wrap myself in.

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