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Liturgy Practicum 1: Domestic Cult Practice in ADF, Question 2

What six methods of prayer does Ceisiwr Serith describe? Briefly suggest an example of how you might employ each in your personal worship practices. You may include worship with a group if applicable. (Minimum 200 words)

Ceisiwr Serith, in his book A Book of Pagan Prayer, indicates that there are six methods that we use for prayer: words, posture, motion, dance, music, and gestures.

We pray through words with written prayers, as well as inspired ones. (Serith, 17) Whether the prayer is set and we simply repeat it, or the prayer is spontaneous and quick, we think of prayer primarily as words spoken or written. Words are a primary method of praying in my own personal practice, and I speak very commonly in formulaic manners.

Posture is particularly important to me, after having read through Felicitas Goodman's Where the Spirits Ride the Wind. The position of the body can have religious meaning to a person, tripping certain feelings of "religiousness" or "sacrality" if that position is held. For me, I have a primary kneeling position and a primary standing position, both of which are particularly similar. Also, there is the possibility of the orans position, which is the way Cernunnos is often represented. (Serith, 21) Also, emulation of other sacred postures might be useful in various situations.

Prayer through motion (Serith, 22) comes to mind best as something I started to do during my Dedicant work, which was spend a few minutes exercising. The act of doing pushups and crunches during ritual is a form of prayer from me, saying, "I understand that you gave me this body. I will treat it as if it were a temple unto you." I don't have to ever describe my body as a temple or indicate that it is (which is good, because sometimes I treat it more like a tent), because the motions of exercise indicate that my body is, truly, something I value. Another motion commonly used is the expansive Gate Opening our Grove picked up from Sonoran Sunrise Grove, ADF. In this, we move about, and the cosmos is represented in the movements made during this portion of the ritual.

Dancing is an excellent method of sharing your celebration with the Powers. (Serith, 24) At Desert Magic, 2006, I saw Linda Costello dance an invocation to the Nature Spirits. While her dance was accompanied by spoken words, the words were hardly necessary to convey the prayer that was meant. An interesting prayer that could be danced might be one to Aphrodite while at a club, but such ideas work more into chaos magic than ritual invocations.

Music has a constant presence in our lives, and our prayers are attended with rhythms and meters that are musical in their own right. (Serith, 25) Aside from the meter that words take on, music can manifest itself in chants and hymns, and prayers can be sung as a method of aiding memorization. Mantras, too, hold a specific rhythm that they follow, and are thus musical.

Prayer can also be offered through simple gesture. (Serith, 27) I learned the simplest gesture I use in ritual is often the most powerful, the Gate Opening gesture I learned from the 6th Night Grove, ADF. This is a simple triquettra, and hands coming apart open, while hands coming together close. I also have a particular position to my hands often when I am gesturing or praying in ritual, where my pinkie and ring finger are folded to the palm at the first knuckle, and the middle and index finger are extended. The thumb extends out away from my body. This is my most common religious mudra.


Goodman, Felicitas D. Where the Spirits Ride the Wind: Trance Journeys and Other Ecstatic Experiences. Indiana University Press. 1990

Serith, Ceisiwr. A Book of Pagan Prayer. Weiser, 2003.


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