First Things First

At the start of 2020, I read a thoughtful and inspiring blog post, on the beauty, value, and importance of beginning the new year by very deliberately calling upon the Gods. At the time, I was living in what the Brits (so I’m told) would call a bed-sit: I had a bathroom, a kitchen, and one other room to serve as bedroom, living room, study, and repository for all of my shrines, combined into one cozy space. This meant that every morning when I woke up, even before fumbling for my glasses and rolling out of bed, I was very tangibly in the presence of the Gods, before their shrines where I regularly offered my gifts and prayers. So it occurred to me that, just as it’s important to begin the year by acknowledging and honoring the Gods, so too, at the beginning of each day. And so I set out to form that habit.

As a daily practice, I don’t make this especially formal or elaborate; I save the more elaborate prayers and rituals for after I’ve fully woken up! But there’s something unexpressibly powerful, when the first words out of my mouth can be a simple sentence or two, in praise of the Gods who are so dear to me, and who have given me everything.

Though I’m no longer sleeping right in front of their shrines, I’m happy to say that I’ve kept up the habit of making a small simple prayer as soon as I wake, even before I put on my glasses. Which means that today, without any special planning for it, I could begin a new year of my own life with prayer and adoration. (The more elaborate work came a little later.)

Praise the Gods!

Reading Proclus on Prayer

In the opening pages of book 2 of his commentary on the Timaeus, Proclus offers a discussion of prayer, that I’ve found helpful for refining my understanding.

As we might expect from Proclus, the discussion revolves around the doctrines of procession and reversion. The key principle is that everything that has being proceeds directly (i.e., in an unmediated way) from the Gods, and everything attains its proper excellence or completion when it reverts back upon its causes, which are the Gods. In prayer, we help to accomplish this reversion, both for ourselves and for the lower things in the cosmos, elevating ourselves (as the ones praying) and those things for which we pray.

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