I read a wonderful quote that (I believe) is Thelemic in origin: “Invoke often. Inflame thyself in prayer”. It matters not who originally said/wrote it, but I like the concept and have been applying this to my spiritual discipline. And really it can be applied to ANY religious belief system; this is the genius of the statement. It captures the path of the passionate spiritual seeker, forgoes the madness and gets to the heart of progress. To understand and apply properly, I have broken it down into two essential parts: 1) Inflaming Prayer and 2) Frequent Invocation. By examining these two concepts separately, I believe eventually these two sides of the same coin will come together, fulfilling the pursuits and answers to questions long held in my heart.
To inflame is to be impassioned, caught in a frenzy of feeling. This is similar to many different ways of being ‘moved’ or inspired; such as when viewing amazing art, listening to meaningful music, having an orgasm, or anything else associated with a beauteous rapture. It is a trance of sorts, a fleeting euphoria which we try so hard to grasp onto and save for a rainy day. I remember experiencing this for the first time in a religious act. I was learning to say the “Hail Mary” prayer for my catechism class as a kid. For me, practice makes perfect so I kept repeating it all the time: at night when I was laying in bed trying to sleep, walking to the school bus, on the playground when I was by myself.
It wasn’t until I made my first confession I learned what it was to be ‘inflamed’ in the fervor of prayer. I was sitting in the pew, praying with my rosary the penance I had been charged by the Monsignor as the price for lying to my parents (3 decades of ‘Hail Mary’ and a few ‘Our Father’ thrown in for good measure seemed fair). As I was sitting there, looking at the large Madonna with Her feet stepping on the snake, candles lit for novenas, that I allowed myself to really think and FEEL the words I was saying. They were not just words thrown into the universe at random, it was a petition to the Queen of Heaven; asking Her to pray for me, and all the other sinners: for as I was led to believe as a Catholic, we all cannot help but sin. I wanted to be like Her: ‘full of grace’, “blessed amongst women’ and to have the Lord with me. My aspirations were too high, but in that moment it felt completely possible. The prayer became a song in my mind, a rhythmic chant of becoming, I was guided to the Goddess within and without at the ripe age of 12. She wrapped Her arms around my spirit, knowing every hurt and mistake, the compassion was overwhelming in my little heart. I knew then my soul was much more capable then what my church could ever offer. And so, before making my Confirmation and becoming an adult in the eyes of the holy Roman Catholic Church, I left Christianity and embarked on a journey to replicate this experience many times over, until I became Goddess.
Invocation is not something taught in most religious educations. I don’t even think people quite understand what it means, usually confusing it with ‘evocation’; meaning to summon or call forth an being/spirit/deity. To truly invoke is more than petitioning for guidance or help; it is actually inhabiting or becoming a host for the energies of the being/spirit/deity. Evocation is without oneself, whereas Invocation is from within. My experience with the “Hail Mary” prayer was not initially intended to become an invocation, but due to the frequency of petitions it ended up with me experiencing the ecstasy of Her energy inside my little body.
Now as an adult I work with Hekate and whilst I intentionally invoke Her, She remains aloof and outside myself. To become enraptured in Her flames and carried off into the serpentine trances is the easy part; allowing my heart to fully open and let Her in is something which will come with devotion, time and patience. As I repeat my prayers and adorations, the focus does not turn toward petitions which may come in future times. My pagan prayers are filled with more love and reverence than begging to forgive unknown sins. The responsibilities are mine and the compassion comes from within.