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“I Need Help! Please Send Energy!!!” - Daily Spiritual Practice and the Modern Pagan

Author: H. Byron Ballard
Posted: November 23rd. 2008
Times Viewed: 4,945

I’m one of the village Witches in my little town and a very public Pagan. And because we Witches also belong to the great web of the cyber-community, in addition to sad phone calls, I also get despairing emails. Sometimes the emails go out to an entire list, so it’s not a personal request.

There is a depressing sameness about these notes and calls, an unwelcome vista into someone’s private world. It’s a world that is peopled with sickness and poverty, with poor choices and a lack of personal responsibility.

Let me be clear--this isn’t about the person whose world has genuinely fallen apart, someone who needs a helping hand or a listening ear. This is about those people who can never manage to get their act together, who are always in crisis mode, who are a drain on everyone around them all the time.

And how often do you get that same request from the same person, someone who can’t seem to get his life in order, can’t seem to keep a job or get along with her coven-mates? Sometimes the details are slightly different but the request is always the same. Help me, I don’t know what to do. I am at my wits’ end! Why is my life always like this? Wah wah wah.

How often do you get this request, often from people you barely know, from friends of friends? “Light a candle and send some energy because my life is a total mess!!!!”

There are always a multitude of exclamation point and emoticons to drive the point home. The request for a candle is often part of the general plea.

Okay, it’s easy enough to light a candle but without the necessary work that goes with it, all it does is give a little light and heat and suck up valuable oxygen.

Inevitably, when I ask about daily spiritual practice, the petitioner hems and haws and finally says they either don’t have an altar or a daily practice or they are “too stressed” to do it. One actually told me that her altar was on top of the TV and her kids kept messing with it, so she put it away.


Mother of gods.

“Send energy”--do they have any idea how hard that is? No, they don’t. Because all of this is symbolic for these people, they don’t actually raise energy or utilize energy. If they did, they couldn’t possibly ask someone they don’t know to do such a thing.

If we say we are magic-workers, if we have a relationship with Ancestors and Deities, surely the first thing you do is “pray harder”.

In working with some of these lost souls, I’ve begun to develop a list of things to do when you are in dire need, when you are reaching out for the umpteenth time to people you don’t know, people you perceive to be stronger than you, more together than you.

Those people may have problems they are working out privately or they may indeed know the secret to making life work. These paragons of Pagan virtue probably have a daily spiritual practice that keeps them grounded and focused. When life starts to interfere with their stuff, they buckle down and do any or all of the following and this is my advice when the exclamation points attack:

Go outside and activate the spirits of the land on which you live. This can happen in a backyard, in a woodland temple, on the balcony of your high-rise apartment. Feed them (I give mine milk, corn liquor, cheap bright candy) and honor them and talk to them. And it’s best to do this when you aren’t in a crisis, so that they know you. It is always a good idea to build a relationship before you go asking for favors, don‘t you think? Ask the spirit of that maple tree, or that rock or that hill to be with you in your hour of need. Ask them to guide and inspire you, to support you and to be your friend on the other plane.

Then come inside and clean off your home altar, the primary one. Dust the table, put on a clean cloth, make an effort to set up this beautiful focal point, , this place between the worlds where you will petition the gods. Burn some incense, add some flowers, whatever you do to make it fresh. My advice is to work directly with your own gods, the ones you honor all the time. If you are dedicated to Artemis, ask her to stand with you, to show you what you need to see. You don’t need to go to Brigid for healing if you don’t have a relationship with her. Go first to your matrons, tell them the story, ask for help, ask for blessings.

Next, set up an Ancestor altar and actively engage your Ancestors. Your actual Ancestors--your mom or great-uncle or your older sister who died when you were ten. Feed them, honor them and be very clear about how important they are to you and how much you need their help.

Now look at your life--what do you need? To banish something? To call something to you? Do you need to stand under a full moon and say the most important prayer--“thank you”? If you need to create a ritual of thanksgiving, then do it. Make it pure and simple. Get a babysitter, if you need to. Fling yourself before your altar, if that feels right.

Does your need require a spell? Then do one. Don’t spend days researching the books of spells or Google-ing your request. Just do it. Make it up as you go along. Check the phase of the moon, and out of your need and your love, create a spell and do it. Raise a circle of pure energy and do it.

Do all these things and do them all again, if need be. Clarify your need and request for yourself and for your helpers both seen and unseen. And if nothing changes, consult an astrologer, get a tarot or rune reading, and try to figure out why this is happening to you now. Why again? Is there a lesson you need to be heeding? Are you facing the same challenges again and again? Why? What lesson are you not learning? And why not?

Many books have been written about daily spiritual practice, most of it from the Christian traditions. When tragedy--or merely drama--strikes, they have recourse to heavy-duty praying, just as we do. But if they--and we--have cultivated a clear series of steps to get grounded and feel our connection to the Divines, it can make those scary times a little less stressful..

Start the morning by grounding yourself and finish your day by looking at the moon and saying your prayers. There is comfort there and connection.


H. Byron Ballard

Location: Asheville, North Carolina

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