Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Pagan lectio divina

Recently, Cat at Quaker Pagan Reflections posted about lectio divina; and there's a post at The Naked Theologian about how to do it.

This seems like a valuable technique for solo practice; I wonder what a specifically Pagan version of it might look like? And what books might we choose? I recommend Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, or the Tao Te Ching. There's lots of wonderful poetry out there, too. I'm sure you can think of your own examples. You would also need to decide on what deity to focus your devotions.

In the original version, there are four steps: reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation. The reading stage involves critical engagement with the text, analysing its meanings and metaphors. The meditation stage involves dwelling on the images that particularly resonate with you. This could be developed into a visualisation or journey into the scene described.

The prayer part is difficult - I find petitionary prayer (asking the Divine, or deities, for things or qualities) meaningless and stupid. It's hard to ask a being whom you do not believe to be omnipotent or interested in your trivial problems for stuff. For this part, you could substitute focussing on the qualities you would like to develop (if, like me, you have a problem with asking for stuff). Or perhaps a bit of sympathetic magic.

Finally, contemplation - wordless communion with the Divine (or your chosen deity). This part works fine for me. I think it's always worth trying to see the Divine as immanent in all that is around us, too. Just relax and see the glow and sparkle in everything.

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