Daily Prayers and Blessings
by Caitlin Matthews
Fair Winds Press, 2004
Four years ago when I began my Ninth Wave studies (www.lunaea.com – see review in SageWoman #67), one of the first lessons involved discovering the power of prayer.
Accordingly, Lunaea Weatherstone recommended the Celtic Devotional to deepen my spiritual practice. I soon found it to be such a powerful ritual tool that I wanted to review it for SageWoman. Unfortunately, it was out of print and only available through collectable book dealers at a premium price. Recently I decided to splurge and buy another copy as a gift for one of my closest friends.
To my delight, I discovered that Matthews’ gem had been reissued by a new publisher and was available again!
This book breaks the year into the Celtic quarters, with a different set of prayers keyed to each quarter. Daily morning and evening prayers and invocations/spiritual questions guide the practitioner across the seasons of the year. This book has guided me during times of joy and times of great difficulty and has helped me deepen my spiritual practice. It continues to frame my days and help me reaffirm my connection to Gaia.
Daily morning devotions begin with a brief invocation to the Divine, intended to ceremonially “awaken” the soul. Matthews follows this with observation of sacred silence, a call to soul friends and guides, and prayers for specific needs. She concludes by making poetic use of the most traditional of Celtic prayer-forms: invocation of protection of one’s pathway and soul.
These invocations take a different form for each season: for Samhain Matthews uses the breastplate of wisdom; for Imbolc the encircling of help; for Beltane the cincture of protection; and for Lughnasadh the cloak of covering. In each of these forms she draws upon nine aspects or qualities of creation, e.g., stars, trees, animals, senses. She closes the morning practice with a blessing that may be combined with personal ritual gestures. The Celtic Devotional’s evening prayers contain the same framework as the morning devotions.
The beauty of Matthews’ book is that it informs and guides and provides a rich prayer matrix, but ultimately encourages you to summon expressions and invocations of your own, thus creating a very personal space for devotion. I take the Celtic Devotional wherever I go. This lovely book has become a key spiritual companion that daily helps me enter the still center of my existence. In my hectic life, the moments of stillness this book helps create are among the most precious I have all day. Highly recommended.
» Originally appeared in PanGaia #42
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