I’ve been (vaguely) following Kathy Jones’ Priestess of Avalon book for the last year or so. It has priestess in the title, how could I not?
My favourite Priestess of Avalon season is Winter. The focus is stillness, silence and prayer. Mmmm. I am a big prayer person me. Love love love it. In winter, Kathy talks about spells not being a part of the priestess path, which is about constant surrender to Goddess rather than making stuff happen. Prayers and spells, she says are very different – one is creating an outcome you have manipulated, one is a request to goddess leaving it completely in her hands.
Firstly, manipulation is a word that never makes anything look good.
I think it’s part of the control aspect of us that likes spells so much. You decide what you want to happen and tell the universe how it is going to go down. Tasty control and black and white logic. Om nom nom. With “just” a prayer, your faith in goddess has to be really really really strong to get you to believe she will listen, and sometimes our faith just doesn’t cut it. We are cynical 21’st century people here, and faith in a giant all-encompassing sort-of invisible being actually listening and getting you a new car or a new matey is sometimes a bit far fetched. You don’t get stuff by asking, you get stuff be doing, dammit. Asking is not enough.
I strongly believe that it is our deep beliefs that shape the world we live in and the world we see. If we believe the world is awesome, we will see and interact with the awesome bits. If we believe the world is awful, we will only see and interact with the awful bits. It’s not quite that simple, but that’s the main point. If we set in our mind that this thing is going to happen and have complete calm faith in it happening (rather than crazy stressed frenetic faith) then it will happen. I am pretty sure this is Witchcraft 101, and the positive thinking peeps just jumped on the bandwagon. Witchcraft is always about strength of will and intention backed up with action.
I have two different kinds of experience to share with you here. I’ve done the spells route and I have done the prayer route, and stuff has happened as a result. The best example is a dog related spell that ended sadly – not horribly, she just had to live with someone else because the family broke up. With spells alone there is a tendency to just ask for what you want as oppose to what would be best in the long run. I’m not trying to be snootish here, but you may cast a spell for that awesome dress, only to find an even nicer one five minutes after getting it. Perhaps my puppy dog would have been happier with another family, but I think she was a pretty happy dog. I miss her lots 😦
With spells, there is a tendency to write out conditions for how you want your experience to be (I want my new lover to be 6.4 foot tall, to have dark eyes and curly hair and be an accomplished tango dancer) rather than leaving space for Goddess to bring in what’s best for you and what fits the feelings you want to have. She doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room there.
…Well, Juan Sheet is kind of relevant here.
Particularly in the last few years, I have asked for stuff through prayer. I know that this thing deserves to happen, and I say directly to Goddess, “Goddess, make this happen, I/she/he totally deserves it. I put it in your hands.” and it happens. I always ask at a time when I am 100% convinced that it should happen/I deserve it, which is important, and always remember when I think of it, She’s sorting that out for me so no need to worry.
At the moment, I do a bridge between the two. It could be called a “sprayer” or a “prell” I guess. I am going with Prelling. It’s kind of a prayer with spellish actions, where you suggest some ideas of what you would like but leave the actual result well up to God. For example, “it would be cool if my lover had dark eyes and curly hair and was an accomplished tango dancer, but really goddess, I want someone who is perfect for me right now, so bring the perfect bloke please”. There are things to burn so I feel that I am doing something, but the essential thing is giving God the room she needs to bring you what she wants to bring you, rather than what you think you want.
The essence of Priestessfulness is letting God in, and the essence of living on this planet is enjoying it. So I reckon that the best results come from giving her some wiggle room in a prayer or a prell, not because of a fear of the consequences (I only got that million pounds because BRAZIL HAS BEEN DESTROYED kind of ott fears) or because wanting anything material is bad, but because She tends to have a better idea of what is great for us than we do.