Prayer and Enchantment
This book is for anyone who wants to follow a spiritual way, and to work natural magic in a style that is powerful and yet informal, like a wild wood; to be a witch who is a natural mystic, and to work alone, solitary, independent of covens, practising a living witchcraft that comes from an awareness of the spirits of nature, and that arises as naturally as a spring from the earth.
Such a witchcraft does not need a complex, intellectual knowledge of the past practices of witches in many lands, rewarding though such a study may be. It is immediate, direct and rooted in a feeling for the symbolic, poetic, spiritual aspects of Earth. What it does need is a sound grasp of the basic principles of magic. This I have called ’hedge witchcraft’, and if it is to be more than an adjunct to other spiritual practices, it must come from experience of deep communion with Goddesses and Gods of Pagan realms. This I have called the ’wildwood mysticism’. From such an experience can unfold a real sense of spiritual guidance, such as is known by many people living in the remnants of tribal cultures, worldwide. This knowledge, for today’s Europeans, is based in our own Pagan traditions and direct revelation. It underpins the meaning of witchcraft and gives the witch inner strength.
Becoming a wildwood mystic is not difficult at all. It just needs a sense of the sacred, when faced with nature’s tides within the land we are standing on. Whether we see mother — and father — nature as awesome, threatening, beautiful, threatened, or all of these! An attitude of worship, when sensing mysteries inherent in the rocks, trees, springs and hills and wild creatures. Therefore, at the most simple level, this book is about witches’ prayers.
Why are such prayers so important? Well, they are the easiest way to a profound experience. Not only do they open our spirits to awareness of the deities, but also help us to be in the state of mind in which we can link with familiars and spirit guides. And, to put it straightforwardly, there is no method which is more simple to enable us to transcend the everyday world and be in connection with psychic dimensions and realms of spirit. Pagan prayers, as said by witches, can make psychic and spiritual perceptions of nature come easily, thus creating a real foundation for a wildwood mysticism. This is because Pagan prayers, quite simply, attune our spirits to purely Pagan realms of nature and ancient wisdom.
Any one of the examples given in this book can be used as it stands, or altered to suit your needs — or discarded, having been used as a seed idea for your own fresh attempts. Towards the end, I will explain how to create your own entirely new ones, whenever you need to.
There are prayers for all purposes e.g. for things like healing, finding love, gaining in magical strength, coming into harmony with fate, contacting a familiar spirit and celebrating the eight sabbats of the witch’s year.
For witches, distinctions between prayers and spells can fade quickly, so the prayers are magical in themselves, as well as being the foundation for magic ritual. This is to do with the way they are worded, and also with the nature of the witches’ deities. Witches see the Goddesses and Gods as possessing a continuum of powers and qualities, ranging from the elemental (as expressed in a storm, forest, a stag’s fertility, hunger, the physical effects of the Moon, instinctual route-finding, etc.) to the most divine (like love, compassion, beauty, truth, strength or natural justice). Those whom we worship encompass both the raw powers of nature and all her possibilities of psychic, spiritual and moral harmony, such as those expressed in mother love, the playfulness of a dolphin, heroic courage and the intricacies of a Mozart symphony. Unlike the world’s mainstream faiths, Paganism does not define goodness as distinct from nature, but as contained within or arising from it, like a crystal from rock.
It is this inclusiveness of both ends of the spectrum — raw power and transcendent wisdom — that marks a witch’s understanding of the Goddesses and Gods and characterizes a witch’s prayer, giving to such prayers a power of connection between the physical and psycho-spiritual dimensions of life, thus making them magically effective. This is not to say that a witch glorifies all instinctive behaviour, even when it is cruel. Rather, we find nature’s cruelty innocent. It is the cruelty of those who are advanced enough (in consciousness) to make a choice which is really a straying from divine will. Pagan deities urge us to an increase in wisdom, and of all awareness.
If you had thought, or even hoped, to find a witch’s mystical knowledge to be a way of invoking raw power, with no particular rules about kindliness, then read no further. Wildwood mysticism develops a sense of responsibility towards all beings, beginning with the spirits of the land itself, encompassing the balance of nature and including other people. All this makes a witch’s prayers challenging, alive and developmental, considering that they are often also concerned with achieving specific goals. And if we make mistakes, we have to pay. This is not to say that there is some kind of karmic debt-or-credit book in the sky, kept for witches, by the Moon Goddess or Horned God! It is just that it is impossible to work magic without (eventually, in some way) becoming involved with the consequences.
I think it is the Buddhists who say ’Be careful of what you ask for. You might get it.’ A witch would add, ’When it comes to spells, you’ll get what goes into the package along with what you wanted.’ And you’ll eventually be on the receiving end of whatever energy you have invoked, but amplified. ’What goes around comes around.’ We call this the Law of Threefold Return. It is the same idea as in the line ’You reap as you sow.’
Despite fears or possible misunderstandings, the new witchcraft is popular nowadays. Most people have heard of it, and many who would have had difficulty in finding their own kind of spirituality are now heaving a big sigh of relief and saying, ’So that’s it. That’s what I am. I’ve come home to myself at last. I am some kind of witch/wisewoman/shaman/wildwood mystic. I have my spiritual path, at last.’ Letters I have received from all over Britain and America, such joyful letters, attest to this.
But rituals of the Craft can sometimes seem intimidating because they are too complex for the beginner, or too long. Lighting a candle or two, and saying a witch’s prayer, is as simple as you can get. Even when followed by spellcasting procedures, this is not too daunting. And yet it is powerful, magical and fruitful if approached in the spirit of the wildwood mystic.
Even for the seasoned witch, simplicity can be refreshing. It can produce the effect of a new and uncluttered start, a clean page; the chance to rethink the way, what it means, how to develop it for the times that we live in; the chance to forget preconceived ideas, just to start from a most simple thing — Pagan prayer — and see what happens.
As the poet Tennyson said, ’More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.’