January 28, 2019


I'm shaking up my daily practice for the first time in many years. Now that I'm working a day job, with daylight hours and often rising before dawn, morning prayers are hard to fit in as I rush about and evening prayers are when I'm trying to force myself to go to sleep too early. So I need something new.

In one of my classes, we were forking with a short strand of beads to count off syllables of the chant "Bakkheios himself has freed me". I found the chant running through my head at odd time, and counting beads off with it much easier than full rituals and prayers. So I decided to try a daily practice of chanting beads.

I make strands of 100 beads, with some kind of separator every 10 beads plus a centerpiece, and do 10 repetitions each of 8-syllable chants for 5 gods daily and 5 gods and spirits that rotate weekly, the same weekly rotation I've used for years now. Of course, this entailed writing all those chants. But they actually adapted pretty easily from the prayers I already had, once I sat down to do it. So now my daily practice (or attempt at one) is to spritz my hands and face with khernips and then chant the 100 beads. It's working reasonably well, as I can usually fit it into a break at work.

Trying this, I discovered that I'd left out the Many Dead, and that I missed using the Litany. So I added a round using the separator beads (of which there are 11 -- one at the beginning, one at the end, and 9 in between the sets of 10), to be said as I got into bed and settled down. Which caused me to expand my usual recitation considerably! But I'm finding that good, too, to acknowledge more groups of the Dead. The Queer and Trans Dead, the Weaving and Spinning Dead, and the Spacefaring Dead, all of whom mean a lot to me personally.

Today, by the way, marks the 33rd anniversary of the day I stood in a school yard and watched seven people launch to their deaths. Please, drink a toast to the memory of the crew of the Challenger today:

Francis R. Scobee, Commander
Michael J. Smith, Pilot
Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist
Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist
Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist
Gregory Jarvis, Payload Specialist
Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Teacher


Centerpiece to open:
I make offering of breath and praise to the gods and spirits of my household, may it please them.

Hekate showed me the crossroads
Bakkheios himself has freed me
Sweet Mistress leads me in and out
Hermes has made light my feet
Honor to Agatha Tyche

Weekly round:


Dionysos who liberates
Apollon who knows and who tells
Arakhne who ruse what she did
Ambrosia who nourishes us
Empousa with hair all aflame


Persephone who welcomes us
Melinoe double natured
Erigone vine's beloved
Eudora who kindly gifts us
Lamia with the razor-sharp teeth


Ariadne crowned with bright stars
Aphrodite who inspires action
Ariadne who died and rose
Pedile who dances in joy
Mormo of the thousand faces


Hermes of the staff and fleet feet
Hekate who brings forth the Dead
Helen the Lady of Sorrows
Coronis who crowns us with stars
Lampades the dark torch bearers


Heroes walked these paths before us
Heroines sorrowed before us
Cassandra beloved and cursed
Polyxo who cradled a child
Gorgons of the snakes and bright wings


Band Above who dance and drink wine
Band Below who welcome our shades
Medeia, Witch and High Priestess
Phyto who waters the grapevine
Sirens who call the Dead below


Nymphs who sing on mountain and spring
Satyrs whose hooves drum on the earth
Kirke, Sorceress and Goddess
Thyone Nurturing Mother
Eidolons who wander hungry


Centerpiece to close:

Hekate guide me in my choices
Dionysos free me from my chains
Ariadne watch over me through my changes
Hermes guard me on the road
Heroes guide me
Dead abide with me
Agathoi keep me
Familiars help me
Nymphai welcome me
Monsters show me truth

The Litany on the Beads


I make offering to the Listening Dead
You who are relegated to the Quiet Lands
Beyond the rivers and springs
Accept my prayers
I make offering to the Listening Dead


I pray to the Many Dead
All over the world and throughout history
All those who have gone before me
I remember you and hold you in my prayers
I pray to the Many Dead

I pray to my Beloved Dead
My ancestors of flesh and spirit
I remember the names of those I knew
I praise those whose names are lost to me
I pray to the Beloved Dead

I pray to the Blessed Dead
You who lived great lives
You who were the chosen of gods
May you continue in joy and glory below
I pray to the Blessed Dead

I pray to the Kindly Dead
You who watch over the living
You who still love the quick
May we know and love you too
I pray to the Kindly Dead

I pray to the Restless Dead
You whose names go unspoken
You who died with things undone
May you find release at last
I pray to the Restless Dead

I pray to the Joyful Dead
Who find as much happiness in death
As anyone ever has in life
May your hearts sing with it forever
I pray to the Joyful Dead

I pray to the Queer Dead
You who were beaten and killed in hatred
Thrown out to starve on the streets
We fight on in your names
I pray to the Queer Dead

I pray to the Trans Dead
Whether you were warriors
Whether you only wanted to live as yourselves
I will speak your true names
I pray to the Trans Dead

I pray to the Weaving Dead
Weavers of wool or silk
Weaves of canvas or brocade
Without your work we'd all go naked
I pray to the Weaving Dead

I pray to the Spinning Dead
You who sang and dreamt and laughed as you spun
When spinning connected all women
The work not an end but a step on the road
I pray to the Spinning Dead

I pray to the Spacefaring Dead
You who dared, who went beyond
Who did not cross the horizon, but left it behind
You who walked amongst the stars
I pray to the Spacefaring Dead


I give thanks to the Many Dead
For all that you have given us
For our bodies and ourselves
For the whole world passed down to us
I give thanks to the Many Dead