Just Like A Prayer

Filed in Neptune

Chris Koehler

Just Like A Prayer

By Carla Ciccone

I used to pray every night as a child. It was a part of my bedtime ritual. After my pyjamas were on, and my teeth and hair brushed, I’d kneel beside the bed, press my tiny hands together, and ask the Santa Claus of the sky for whatever my little life was lacking. I always requested that God bless and protect my family and friends, but I also made sure to ask him for toys and to be real life friends with Jem and Anne Shirley.

I never got hung up on it afterwards, when no new toys appeared and Jem remained a cartoon character that failed to synergize into a real life person. My child mind understood that the beauty was in the intention of the prayer, not the outcome. The idea of the thing is sometimes more enjoyable than the actual thing, anyway.

I fell off the prayer wagon as a teenager, when praying became something only tots who believed in Santa and my pious Nonna did. I had loved the connection, the communication and the ritual of prayer, but I was disillusioned with religion and couldn’t dissociate praying from the religious institution that had taught me how. My questions outweighed available answers, and God wasn’t getting back to me.

I didn’t the mourn the loss of religion; instead, I pretended it was never there in the first place. As cliché as it sounds, I filled the spiritual void with cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. I sought out the edges of society, the occult, astrology, shamans, Ouija boards, yogis, myths, tarot readers, more drugs, self help gurus, metaphysical books, silence retreats, psychic massages, and much, much more. All this, and I suspect what I was ultimately after was the peaceful knowledge I seemed to possess at five-years-old: that we are all protected by something we can’t see, and that something is always there for us.

As an adult, I’ve reconnected with my own spirituality in small ways. While painting, doing guided meditations, journaling, hiking, attending concerts, swimming and traveling, I’ve had moments of lovely connection and peace. But my challenge has been figuring out how to keep that fleeting feeling around, and how to access it in everyday life.

A couple months ago, while trying to meditate at midnight in my living room, I sat up on my knees, closed my eyes, made the sign of the cross and said, “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” What the hell was I doing? I didn’t know. I was following some instinct and decided not to judge my lapsed Catholic self for it. Instead, what I did was open a dialogue that had been missing from my life: a conversation with God, Gaia, the Universe, the void, whatever you call it.

I’ve been praying every night since, and while I’m still honing my practice, I like the ritualistic aspect of it and aim to keep it consistent. I position myself in the same spot in my living room, pyjamas on and teeth brushed. I hold a moonstone in my hand, and I speak to Bert, a money tree my dad bought me years ago at Ikea. If I can’t think of how to begin the prayer, I simply say, “how are you, Bert?” and take it from there.

I no longer pray to the Santa Claus of the sky, although that was fun. I pray to and for the light. I express gratitude for the positive things and wonderful people in my life, for my health, and for life itself, and I ask for what I need and what I’m lacking.

While praying, I often ask spirits on the other side for guidance: goddesses, gods, guardian angels, David Bowie, my aunt Gloria, Elizabeth Taylor, my grandfathers, Genius loci the house ghost, Kurt Cobain—sometimes all of them. I ask for the help of the helpful spirits, and I request that any vile, low vibration energy hovering around be sent back to where it came from.

Looked at from the outside, my prayer practice might appear as though I am conversing with a plant, because I am. But so what? It makes me feel connected, cared for and calm. And as a sober person constantly trying to subvert my lower-Neptunian tendencies, feeling connected, cared for and calm is hugely important.

I see every prayer as the ultimate self check-in and a continuation of an ongoing conversation with a higher power. Belief, like anything else, grows out of patience and practice. Sometimes, it’s a struggle to keep it up, but there’s beauty in that fight, because it’s a fight for a better, fuller life.

Sending your deepest wishes out into the ether on the invisible boomerang that is belief is scary, but it’s the crux of almost every self-help guru’s shtick for a reason. You have to summon the things you want. You have to make room for them. You have to believe you’re worthy of them. You have to call them into your life. Whether you do that by writing letters, developing a spreadsheet plan, jogging, journaling, going to therapy, or praying, the important thing is to give yourself and your dreams a voice—even if you only ever share it with the plant in front of you.

Do you pray?

carlaciccone.com
@cciccone

Image: Chris Koehler

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tridentfox
tridentfox

Wow thank you so much for this post CC, I love your musings. I totally relate on trying to find a channel/way to fill void for lower neptunian energy (Pisces rising, Neptune 10th in sag) and have ticked off most of your list also bar silence retreat lol. I think the ritual of prayer is timeless and as you say gives comfort, you have inspired me to try and incorporate into my daily practice for healing. Thank you!

alchemy-salt
alchemy-salt

This was a weirdly synchronistic post for me in a few ways! I have been strongly pulled towards prayer for the past few weeks (I was brought up Church of England but lapsed at about age 11). I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with Catholicism but hated the more bigoted aspects of the Church. Still, I went through a phase of buying rosaries and prayer cards off Ebay. Recently I’ve been feeling very strongly pulled towards the Virgin Mary and wanting to pray Hail Marys. And praying to David Bowie! Last night I went to see the comedian… Read more »

Suddenly Leo
Suddenly Leo

Great post! This reminds me of the Dear Sugars podcast (feat. Cheryl Strayed, the author of Wild): http://www.wbur.org/series/dear-sugar

In one of the recent episodes, they respond to “a letter from a closeted atheist.” Advice from a reverend they interviewed included that the closeted atheist needed to change her God, something it sounds like you’ve done.

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

Like an atheist has a god to change lol. Good one, pastor.

My 10 year old son told me the other day he thinks he might be an atheist. It was a very surreal moment for prayer-a-minute me… And I looked into his big blue eyes of stardust & divinity, and said Ok. What’s to fix? Nothing 🙂 His soul is ancient & I’m so proud of him.

hdq
hdq

Gosh I relate to this so hard. All of it, except I was a prayer-in-bed, not a kneeler. 18 years of super catholicism leaves imprints that I come back to in times of distress, lol. Other times too, but I think I haven’t quite come back full-circle yet. Not 100% there until I figure or how to classify (for lack of a better word) these relationships. I talk to whoever I’m talking to , not pray to them, youknow? They don’t feel honest. Maybe yet, maybe not ever. But they are comforting, that’s for sure. This is weird synchronicity because… Read more »

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

Pray that Bernie takes New York today: I am.

I was an in-bed prayer-sayer too, not a kneeler. That’s funny because you & I hail from the same general area. Also, La Isla Bonita was huge for me at the time & I still love it. So Neptune in Sagittarius.

Kellie
Kellie

Love this ?

fishgirl
fishgirl

This is very beautiful. I’ve been playing around with Reiki and i realised that it’s just another version of prayer: focusing on what you’d like to call in more of and give thanks for. It’s very powerful. I tend to do it in the morning instead of at night, I think because morning has always been my meditation and journaliing time. At night i just think about how the day went and what went well.
I thought this post was very beautifully written…X

Chi
Chi

Thanks for sharing. My cousins and I were partly raised by a very strict Roman Irish Catholic Grandmother, and had to say our prayers at night, then Enid Blyton.
As I lay me down to sleep, i pray the lord my soul to keep, and if i die before i wake, i pray the lord my soul to take.
Now I do TM.
x

baristagem
baristagem

Absolutely! I’m a huge fan of Saint Mary MacKillop. My dad raised me as a catholic and I had my first holy communion and confirmation. I know I have prayed every day since losing my parents when i was 9, not as intercession prayers so much it’s more about the reciting the prayers I learned when I was young. I found this kept the connection open and values that they instilled in me. I had a great childhood before they passed and going to church was part of that. Growing up in a small country town church was a way… Read more »

Universali
Universali

Love you!

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

Church was so the same for me, for all of us country bumpkins. Church festivals were the best… My great grandparents had even helped to build the church we all attended. Community to the nth degree! Thanks for reminding me of that goodness & blessings to you, bgem x

Lux Interior Is My Co-Pilot
Lux Interior Is My Co-Pilot

This is genius. I totally relate.

rachel
rachel

OH MY GOODNESS, so apt, so good. YES.

Pi
Pi

great post 🙂 as a lapsed catholic – yes – as an adult, I came to a different / new realisation of what it means to commune. you’re not sending a laundry list missive prayer for kids though, it’s probably a nice way for little ones to recap and listen to their own needs and wants too, and to learn to consider others in a selfless way for me it’s tuning into the little subatomic particles that connect you with the scared Syrian kid in the boat which just ran ashore in Turkey, or your good friend 14,000km away who… Read more »

Pi
Pi

come to think of it though. my family was never the sort to do prayers before bedtime, too aquarian for that kind of rigour.

but as a pisces i kind of did my own version anyway, I guess.

skarab
skarab

I love your post, Cc. I had no formal training in praying until i did time in a catholic school for about 18 months when i was 8 &9 yrs old. Before that, i had a dialogue going on with the Moon as far back as i recall, when i used to see her through my bedroom window at night. I grew up in the mountains with no external lights, so when she was bright – it was full on – like she brought magic with her. It was exciting and i felt special, like she was my fairy godmother… Read more »

skarab
skarab

Think i just answered my own question in the previous New Pluto City post, where i stated that i didn’t know where i got the strength to survive the brutal Pluto aspects as a teenager.

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

Yas! Ah sweet, sweet clarity… Writing it out for the win!

skarab
skarab

This is one of those songs that gets me all mistiqued up:

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

Interesting rx Pluto topic.

Of course I pray! Jupiter-AC Pisces square Neptune-North Node Sagittarius + a packed 8th Scorpio all of which trines my Jupiter = oh boy do I pray. Can’t turn it off! In psychology circles they would label me Compulsive if only it would interfere with my daily functioning; being a relatively mutable creature, tho, I am adept at multitasking 😉

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

Had a for real spiritual experience when I was 14 (14 is Uranus-particular, right? And mine’s conjunct Mercury in the 8th) during a feverish fit of prayer. Was subsequently absolved to join the convent (having been raised Catholic), it was that powerful & wondrous, until a year later when I lost my virginity– Hello, Church of Scorpio! There is no substitute for the spirituality experienced when physically melding in love with a material partner. Catholicism cuts off its own nose with all of that celibacy biz. Lilith lives in my Aqua 12th, so pass the fruit basket, woman cannot live… Read more »

skarab
skarab

LOL! LOVE it.
I think that some of us have to be grateful for that institution for showing us the true way, in spite of itself.

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

Agreed 🙂

Pi
Pi

14; also first Saturn opposition.

emg
emg

I can’t think that I have ever prayed apart from as a kid when all I could think was that no one had told me how to do this right and I obviously wasn’t as the things I prayed about never materialised or changed. So gradually you give it up as a bad job. Then I began to work with gratitude when life was deeply trying me and that was a salve on some big wounds but again not terribly effective as such. I do however these days, only when utterly mad or totally frustrated, wave my fist at the… Read more »

Calli G
Calli G

I’ve been praying nightly for as long as I can remember. I was raised Methodist, by choir-singing, occasionally mission-going parents. It didn’t stick, but even when I was trying to figure out what spiritual relationship I wanted, I always wanted to check in with someone. It’s part of my nightly ritual, sitting in front of my altar, offering thanks and pleas for guidance and help.

Crystallised future
Crystallised future

Ummm, actually send a prayer up to every full moon. I usually ask for something to be given to someone else but if I’m feeling trapped in a situation I will ask something for myself. I am always very specific after having two requests granted so profoundly that I realised the power in what I am asking for can cause damage. I state the boundaries of what should not happen as much as what I wish to be granted. I’ve gained joy in seeing those circumstances I want to happen to someone else come to fruition. I consider it prayer,… Read more »

Crystallised future
Crystallised future

Hmm, smiley faces DO come out as question marks!

Caterina senang
Caterina senang

adding ‘under grace in a perfect way’ to any request is a caveat to ensure that any desire fulfilled only happens in a way that works for the integrated greater good. ie I give thanks that the new job Bob needs comes to him swiftly under grace in a perfect way’.

The Venus Fly
The Venus Fly

Every night I check in with the Divine Feminine and Beloved Archangels, first one-on-one than through the Crystal Devas. I require reciprocal Concentrated Cosmic Conversation daily <3

davidl
davidl

Great post ! It was only a couple of days ago I was remembering my own rituals at bedtime. I was part of a family that never questioned the spirit and its presence in our lives but I wasn’t taught to pray in any particular way. All I remember is that from around 4 years of age lying in bed at night and looking out my window at the stars and conversing with Spirit. That relationship seemed more like a friendship than anything else and continues on today. I am always aware that spirit is right next to me, watching… Read more »

davidl
davidl

Shiloh in Hebrew can be a name of Spirit.

http://youtu.be/jWOGgMk6wAE

quintile
quintile

thanks for posting this xx

sphinx
sphinx

Yes babe, I do! 🙂 Having kids brought me back to it in that more gentle, simple and ritualistic way. But also we cleanse out energy field once a fortnight (or when DRAMA). We protect ourselves (especially when there were the five year old nightmares), we share our gratitude for our place on Gaia’s abundant body, we send light to our family and all those feeling blue, and more recently, we energy sweep the house. When 7yr old wanted a new iPad horror type (5 nights at Freddy’s) game I requested he lead a ‘getting rid of scary thoughts’ (or… Read more »

The Venus Fly
The Venus Fly

I agree. I am awakening like clockwork daily on 6 hours sleep a night but I feel the most refreshed I have ever felt. I have more energy, I am more productive. Something has
“shifted” in me where the 8/9 hour requirements of old no longer are necessary. Sleep is awesome for sleeping OFF illness IMO, but yeah, after the 20 minute “adjustment” period I am up and I am LOVING it, Jerry!!!! Lol. ;P

sphinx
sphinx

The last year or so I have 6 hours and been good too. At first I thought it was because I was adapting to my chronic pain situation, but it seems to be the new normal? Add in meditation and prayer and I feel great.

Jessica Mars
Jessica Mars

The more I pray, the better I feel! It took a huge leap of humility to start embracing prayer, but it’s transformative, and I think it’s the ultimate secret weapon. I particularly like getting right down on the ground, in a kind of child pose, and giving thanks for all the things that are making me angry. Maybe it’s just the child pose but I feel incredible after I do it, and so much more calm.

Mystic Medusa
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