I once joined a group of women celebrating the September ritual at a mountain retreat. At night, when all was dark, we lit a huge bonfire, read the myth of Ceres and Persephone, and then shared some painful moments of…
Published November 03, 2007 by
Take some time to examine your faith and your spirituality as October draws us on toward the darkest months. Affirming your faith is a very personal act; reaffirm your faith with an appropriate ceremony or just a personal prayer. October is a good month to look seriously at your spiritual life. Visit your church, temple, or place of worship, or just head outside to a park or garden. Find someplace where you can think deeply, light a candle, or meditate privately for a little while.
Often organizations or religious centers conduct day or weekend retreats for contemplation and prayer. You may wish to recommit to your faith or consider conversion to a new form of belief. Take heart! October was the month of the goddess Fides, or Faith, and the month for commitment.
In October we come to examine our spiritual foundation and our beliefs. The cold outside, the darkened sky, the gray hues, and somber tones of the natural world seep inside of us through all our pores. The natural world won't let us escape, but prods us on to think long, heavy thoughts of death and search for a spiritual solution and solace. As much as we pretend to be so sophisticated with modem technological achievements, we really are no different than the ancient Romans living two thousand years agothose pagans faced the same questions we do regarding birth, life, and death. They likewise sought personal answers in the spiritual world.
Modern Ritual: Prayer of Affirmation
When praying to the deities, the Romans spoke the words outside in the open air in the privacy of a garden or in a temple precinct. The customary way to pray was with palms facing upward and outstretched hands. Read aloud this marvelous prayer to the divine:
Most holy and everlasting Redeemer of the human race, you kindly cherish our lives and bestow the consoling smiles of a mother upon our hardships. There is no day or night, not a moment in time, that is not filled with the eternity of your mercy.
You protect us on land or sea. You chase away the storms of life and stretch out your hand to help the dejected and troubled. You can untangle the hopelessly entwined threads of the Fates. You can mitigate the tempests of Fortune, and check the stars bent on an unfortunate course. The gods of heaven worship you. The gods of hell bow before you. You rotate the globe. You light the sun. You govern space. You trample hell. The stars move to your orders. The seasons return, the gods rejoice, the elements combine. At your nod, the breezes blow, clouds collect, seeds sprout, blossoms increase. The birds that fly in the air, the beasts that roam on the hills, the serpents that hide in the earth, the fishes that swim in the ocean tremble before your Majesty.
My voice has no power to utter what I think of you. Not a thousand mouths with a thousand tongues, not an eternal flow of unwearied declaration could give you sufficient praises. Poor as I am, I shall do all that a truly religious person can do. I will hold your divine countenance within my breast, and there in the secret depths I shall keep divinity for ever guarded.
To celebrate October in your own way, visit our page of fall gifts and give something thoughtful.