28 June 2007

Prayer, spells and The Secret

Originally posted 3/27/07

What do these three things have in common? I have often said that pagan spellcasting is exactly the same as prayer, just with different terminology. Prayer is asking God to do something for you (yes, I know, Christians also praise God in their prayers and thank him, but that is not the kind of prayer I am referring to right now). The Christian (or Muslim, or whoever is doing the praying) has a need which they put in the hands of God. (This is my understanding of prayer from growing up in a very fundamental Christian family.) Spellcasting is having a need, and putting it forth to the Universe. Both involve some minor ritual. Christians bow their head, fold their hands, close their eyes, kneel, and speak their need. Pagans' rituals vary dramatically, but usually involve casting a circle, lighting a candle or five (Catholics often light candles, too), and speak their need. I have always been amused by Christians' arduous attempts to segregate themselves from pagans, and yet, the customs of each are so similar. I am not trying to put down Christians, in fact my best friend is Christian. I am simply trying to point out a theme here.

Okay, so what about The Secret? I just got my copy of The Secret the other day, and realized that the barebones of spellcasting and prayer. The goals of The Secret, prayer and spellcasting are all the same: to effect change in our lives by asking the energy of the Universe for assistance. Visualization plays a major role in both The Secret and in spellcasting. I imagine that it is a major part of prayer as well, though my childhood church did not emphasize its importance.

I abandoned prayer when I had a major spiritual crisis and left Christianity in search of something that felt more right for me. But spellcasting seemed too artificial to me as I read it in the innumerable books of magic I read. Scott Cunningham's Earth Power set was the style that felt most comfortable for me. It is very simple, very unassuming, very humble. It is also probably the closest spellcasting style I have seen to The Secret.

I realized last night that I unknowingly put The Secret to work for the birth of my son. I wanted a particular midwife to be my attendant. It never even crossed my mind that anyone else might attend. I knew who I wanted, and that was that. There are several OB's and midwives on staff at my local hospital, so the chances of getting this one woman were not in my favor. But I told everyone who would deliver him, and I knew it in my heart that she would be there. Well, I went into labor two hours before the start of her 24-hour shift. 24 hours later, he was born on her shift. Amazing! (No, I did not have a 24-hour labor. After we checked into the hospital, the baby decided he wasn't ready after all and went back to sleep for the next 20 hours. When he decide he was ready, he only took 2.5 hours.)

So now I am putting The Secret to work for me. My family is going to look at a house that costs 20 years of my husband's current gross income, and I expect in a year to write in here that we are moving into our own home. If you know me and my circumstances, you know what a feat that will be. But we will keep thinking positive, stay upbeat, and dream in the present tense.

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