Hermetic Evangelism and Kerygma

No, despite the title of this post, I’m not going to go out into the world and spread the good word of Hermēs Trismegistos onto those who don’t want it.  I feel like my blog does enough of that as it is, anyway, letting the work here speak for itself; besides, I hardly feel competent enough to do so, given how much I myself have yet to learn and discover.  But that isn’t to say that there has never been evangelism (or proselytism, if you prefer to call it that) within the context of the Way of Hermēs.  Indeed, it’s absolutely present in the oldest texts we have, and the Corpus Hermeticum itself gives us two great examples of such calls to the Way.

The first example is from CH I.27—28 (Copenhaver translation here and below), the classic street-preacher scene.  This takes place immediately after Poimandrēs concludes his revelation to Hermēs, giving Hermēs the mission to go forth and “become guide to the worthy so that through [him] the human race might be saved by God”.  After this vision and revelation, Hermēs goes forth, “empowered and instructed on the nature of the universe and on the supreme vision”:

And I began proclaiming to mankind the beauty of reverence and knowledge: “People, earthborn men, you who have surrendered yourselves to drunkenness and sleep and ignorance of god, make yourselves sober and end your drunken sickness, for you are bewitched in unreasoning sleep.”  When they heard, they gathered round with one accord. And I said, “Why have you surrendered yourselves to death, earthborn men, since you have the right to share in immortality? You who have journeyed with error, who have partnered with ignorance, think again: escape the shadowy light; leave corruption behind and take a share in immortality.”

The second example, which reads much like an expanded version of the former, is the entirety of CH VII, which I won’t quote in full, but it’s not a particularly long section (CH III is longer than this).  It definitely reads as a sermon of the “save yourself from hell” fire-and-brimstone type, not as a dialog or letter between teacher and student, and Copenhaver and others notes its strong similarity to and influences from Gnostic and Jewish traditions.

Me being me, I couldn’t not take these bits and come up with my own versions for recitations, much as I did with CH V to make my Praise of the Invisible and Visible God hymnCH XVII to make my Royal Praises hymns, or CH I to make my simple Hermetic prayer rule.  There’s so much devotional and pious material in the CH and other Hermetic texts to work from to make a liturgy of sorts, and the sections of CH I.27—28 and CH VII are no exception.  To that end, I took the wording from these sections of the Corpus Hermeticum, reworded and reworked them, and came up with two evangelizing sermons, as it were: the “Call to the Way” and the “Stripping of the Tunic”.

The “Call to the Way” is based on CH I.27—28.  To me, this is a short…well, call, kinda like the adhān of Islam, except less a call to prayer than a call to metanoia—though it’s usually translated as such, it’s not quite “repentance”, but more like “thinking again” or “reconsidering”, like how the historical Buddha Shakyamuni went from town to town calling out “Anyone for the other side?”.  This “Call to the Way” is very much a wake-up call to learn how and in what way we humans might be saved on the Way of Hermēs.  To my mind, this could be recited before street-preaching, to be sure, but also as the first thing to be said in a temple setting generally to get people to wake up and “think again, think anew”, preparing themselves and orienting themselves for the holy work of devotion and reverence to God.

O all you children of mankind, o all you born of the Earth, o all who you have given yourselves over to drink and sleep in your ignorance of God! Make yourselves sober, cease your drunken sickness, end your bewitchment by unreasoning sleep! Why have you given yourselves over to death, since you have the power to partake of immortality? You who have wandered with Error, you who have partnered with Ignorance: think again, think anew! Be released from the darkness, take hold of the Light, take part in divine immortality, leave behind your corrupt destruction! Do not surrender to the way of death by your mockery or distance, but come, rise, and be guided on the way of life!

Then there’s the “Stripping of the Tunic”, based on CH VII.  In the Corpus Hermeticum, this is another sermon used to get people’s attention to come to the Way and abandon the twisted, twisting wiles of the world that drown and suffocate us.  However, I took a slightly different approach with this one.  Sure, it can be used to do the same thing that the “Call to the Way” does, but to me, the “Stripping of the Tunic” is more like a formal introduction into a temple or Hermetic group, a discursive initiation of sorts by beginning the process of cleansing the soul from the torments and tortures of incarnation, one that calls the initiate to a purpose.  This is especially important with the image of the “House of Knowledge”, which can be considered a sort of Hermetic rephrasing on the Egyptian “House of Life” (per ankh), the usual term for a temple that also doubled as a library, because…well, as the Hermetic tests attest, true knowledge is true Life.  Although others have tried to expand on the Egyptian temple imagery and how temples would be constructed so that sunlight would fall on the statues of the gods, Nock notes that “it is unnecessary to press the analogy with the Egyptian sanctuaries”.

Hear me, o child of mankind! Where are you going?
Sick and vomiting up the pure ignorance you swallow as you are,
which even you see and know that you cannot keep down!
Stop your drunken sickness! Stop your drinking! Stand firm! Be sober!
Look upwards with the eyes of the heart, if you can!

Do not drown in the flood of ignorance that floods this world,
which destroys the soul shut up in the body,
which keeps the soul from sailing to a safe harbor,
but ride the tide, ride the ebb, ride the flow,
and bring your ship to this safe harbor,
and be guided by the hand to the door of the House of Knowledge!
Here is the bright light clear of all darkness,
here is where nobody is drunk but all are sober,
here is where all gaze with the heart towards God,
the One who wishes to be heard and uttered and seen,
who is neither heard with the ears nor uttered with the mouth nor seen with the eyes,
but is heard in silence, uttered without words, and seen with the mind and the heart.

So you can enter the House of Knowledge,
you must be freed from the snare of the body,
this hateful tunic you wear that strangles you and drags you down,
which makes you so that you will not hate its viciousness,
so that you will not look up lest you see the beauty of Truth and the Good that abides within,
so that you will not understand its treachery and hate the evil of what it plots against you.
Your senses of sensibility have been made insensible, unapparent, and unrecognized,
so stuffed with gross matter and crammed with loathsome debauchery,
so that you do not hear what and how you must hear,
so that you do not utter what and how you must utter,
so that you do not see what and how you must see.

So you may enter the House of Knowledge,
rip off from yourself your tunic of hate!
Free yourself from your garment of ignorance!
Release yourself from your base of vice!
Unbind yourself from your bond of corruption!
Liberate yourself from cage of darkness,
that God may renew you from your living death,
that God may quicken for you your sentient corpse,
that God may open up for you your portable tomb,
that God may protect for you your house from the thief within it,
the tormenting one who grudgingly hates what you love,
the torturing one who maliciously loves what you hate.

While pretty pieces of prayer, if I do say so myself, why should Hermēs Trismegistos be an evangelist at all?  Because, frankly, Poimandrēs charged him with being one.  At the end of Poimandrēs’ revelation to Hermēs in CH I.26—27, he concludes his speech with the following charge:

“…This is the final good for those who have received knowledge: to be made god. Why do you still delay? Having learned all this, should you not become guide to the worthy so that through you the human race might be saved by god?”

As he was saying this to me, Poimandrēs joined with the powers. Then he sent me forth, empowered and instructed on the nature of the universe and on the supreme vision, after I had given thanks to the father of all and praised him. And I began proclaiming to mankind the beauty of reverence and knowledge…

C. H. Dodd in his The Bible and the Greeks (1935) calls this and the following parts of CH I the Kerygma (κήρυγμα), a fantastic Greek word from the New Testament meaning “proclamation”, from the Greek word κηρύσσω “to cry/proclaim as a herald”, used here in the sense of preaching, which fits rather well with the whole image of Hermēs as not just teacher but also as herald (we shouldn’t forget that the Greek term for his wand is κηρύκειον, kērukeion, from the same root, which became in Latin “caduceus”).  But why should Hermēs be charged with this sort of proclamation, heralding, announcing of the “gospel”, as it were, of Poimandrēs?  Well, there is the simple historical fact that the revelation of wisdom of this sort just went hand-in-hand with such evangelism, because it was inherently considered a “way of life” or “way of God”, both in Jewish as well as Egyptian literature.  As Christian Bull in his The Tradition of Hermes Trismegistus (2018) notes, the notion of such a “way” necessitates a guide, without which one becomes lost; after all, it does follow that one who has walked the way, knows the road, and is familiar with the destination is one we should trust to follow, rather than trying to forge a way on our own blindly and only happening to come across the right way to the right destination, the “way of life” otherwise erring back to the “way of death” (Hermēs’ words from CH I.29).

Admittedly, this proclamation is not meant for all people; there is no notion of universal salvation as such in classical Hermetism.  Not all people will hearken to the message of Hermēs, nor will all people have the strength of heart necessary to be reborn in Mind (CH IV.4).  Yet, Poimandrēs charges Hermēs to become a guide to the worthy so that, through Hermēs, “the human race might be saved by God”.  Bull notes that this can be interpreted in several ways: that the human race only properly consists of a worthy few who can become true humans while the rest are no more than savage animals in human flesh, that all humankind will at some stage become worthy, or that the worthy few who can follow the way will somehow save the many (and Bull notes that “this latter option is preferable if we view the passage as taking place in the time when the brutish Bronze Age humans were being civilized”).  Bull also notes that “that the human race is saved by God, through Hermēs, should consequently not be understood as a message of universal salvation in a Christian sense, but indicates that Hermēs and his fellow culture heroes are considered to be saviors because they made civilized life possible” (consider also CH III, where humanity was charged with not just learning about the cosmos but also “to discover the arts of everything that is Good”).  Regardless how one perceives the notion of salvation and who’s eligible, Hermēs is still bound by obligation to guide and save those whom he can.  After all, once learning about truth, as Poimandrēs revealed to Hermēs, one cannot but be compelled to act in accordance with such truth, lest one deny such truth and fall into error because of it.  After all, having been freed from the suffering of the soul and the suffering of the body (insofar as it is possible), how could one not want others who can achieve that to do so?  In some ways, the parallels between Hermēs Trismegistus and Buddha Shakyamuni, at least as far as salvific impetus, are strong here.

In the end, there’s this notion of “having been taught, now teach”; Hermēs has learned, and now he seeks for others to learn what he himself has learned.  Part of that learning—and then applying such learning—is pointing out the problems people have and recognizing it as a problem, without which one cannot begin to fix it.  Not everyone is going to recognize those problems, whether because they honestly cannot recognize them or because they’re unwilling to do so; those people are not those whom Hermēs can help by being guide.  He doesn’t necessarily seek to convince people of the rightness of his teachings from the get-go, except by trying to convince people that they have biger problems than they might realize; he focuses more on saying “I have a way for you to fix your problems, follow me if you want to fix them”.  Following Hermēs, then, not only leads one to the “House of Knowledge” where “shines the light cleansed of darkness”, but also leads one to lead others to the same.  At some point, once one has gotten far enough along the Way of Hermēs to become familiar with both it and the destination, to become a guide is as much part of the Way as anything else; after all, “having been taught, now teach”.  The Way goes ever on and on, to be sure, and not everyone is going to be a guide in the same ways to the same people, but there are always waystations to give us rest and give us a chance to hand followers off to others who know the next stage of the way better than we do, or to give us a chance to find a guide for the next stage of the way ourselves.

I suppose “evangelism” isn’t a great term to use for this; I was unfamiliar with “kerygma” up until now, but it’s a term I like much better.  I feel like there’s a deeper difference between the usual evangelism common with Christian preachers and the like and what Hermēs is doing here; to be sure, the salvific spirit is the same, but Hermēs isn’t trying to establish doctrine and convince people of the truth from the get-go.  Rather, Hermēs is announcing something new, a new way: a way to salvation, a way of life, a way to God.  The destination is known up-front, as is one’s starting point, but how one progresses from point A to point B might change depending on the person.  This may well be the case for lots of religious paths, let’s be honest, but it’s especially present in the Way of Hermēs.  No two people will necessarily follow the same steps, but under one guide who knows not just the detours but also the contingency plans in case one should stumble or get lost.  This is Hermēs saying “follow me, for I know the way”, not “follow me, for I am the way”; the difference there is massive.  This is Hermēs the Human guiding one to God; while Hermēs is, at the same time, a god, the focus of what Hermēs himself learned and taught is on the God.  Learning of himself—that classic maxim of γνῶθι σεαυτόν come to life—is just part of the overall impetus for him to learn “about the things that are, to understand their nature, and to know God” (CH I.3).  Rather than seeking veneration and worship for himself, Hermēs seeks for others to venerate and worship that which should truly be worshiped.  After all, the guide is not the destination.

The Prayer of Refuge

Do you want a 3000-word-plus prayer for protection against all harm?  Of course you do.  The whole thing will fit comfortably on six pages, less if you use a small enough font size.

Okay, I admit that I’ve been super busy lately, and even though the Salem Folklore & Witchcraft Festival has come to an end (which you can still get the recordings through the end of 2020 for all the classes!), there’s just…so much going on, and it’s easy to get bogged down, run through, and torn up by everything.  To that end, while I have a whole bunch of nebulous ideas of things I want to write, I’m having to prioritize my time between those and the things that actually need doing around my house and job.  To that end, there’re a lot of drafts piling up in my blog box, but not a lot coming out of it.  One day, I’ll get to them.

In the meantime, one of the things I’m going through is working through my own prayerbook again, reorganizing it, taking out the things I don’t use (or don’t care to use), rewording the things I’m not yet comfortable with, and the like.  One of the prayers is…well, I did come up with it, sure.  It’s one I call, rather boringly enough, the “Prayer of Refuge”, written as a generally Abrahamic-ish monotheistic prayer appealing to God for protection from…well, just about everything.  Protection from all evil wrought upon oneself, and forgiveness for all the evil one has wrought; why not?  The prayer was inspired largely by the famous Lorica of Saint Patrick, but also was based in part on the Benedicite, the Doxology of the Seventh Firmament from the Sepher haRazim, the Sanctus prayer, and the books Al-Ikhlās., Al-Falaq, and An-Nās from the Noble Qur’ān, along with a bevy of other Islamic supplications against witchcraft and spiritual afflictions.  I…may have gotten a little carried away when enumerating everything to ward against, but hey, go big or go home, and since we’re all already home anyway…

What I ended up with is, frankly, a beast of a protective prayer.  It’s far from the worst sort, to be sure, and it’s definitely got some oomph in it.  Besides, it’s not like such lengthy charms of protection aren’t otherwise extant across any number of traditions, but even this one is pretty sizable, indeed.  However, given the other tricks up my sleeve, this is one I just don’t have a need to turn to anytime soon, except perhaps if someone needs it said for them who’s under a severe case of spiritual affliction from a wide number of sources.  To that end, because other people might need such a thing more than me—and since we all have a fair chunk of free time nowadays, for some definition of “free”—I figured I’d share this bit of my own prayerbook today.  I’ll also move it up to the Prayers menu, too, for easier reference in the future.

Although this prayer is presented below as being broken up into segments, they are all intended to be read in a single sitting in succession.  For best results, try doing this after a period of fasting and purification while also making charity for those who are oppressed.

Preliminary Invocation

In the name of God, with God, from God, unto God, and in the way of God,
for there is no strength and no power save with God,
for we come from God and return to God,
and all things are done only through God!

The Glorification of and Appeal to God

All glory, all praise, all reverence, all honor be to God,
the Lord of the Great Throne, the Father of Heaven, the Fountain of Light,
the King of all kings, the God of all gods, the Creator of all creation!
God is prior to all things, for God was when Heaven and Earth was not.
God wills, and what he wills happens, and what he does not will does not happen.
God searches hearts before they are formed, and knows thoughts before they are made.
God has power over all things, and encompasses all things in his knowledge!
God made the whole of the cosmos and all within it,
God made the Day and the Night to follow each other in turn,
God made the Sun and Moon and planets and stars subservient to his command,
God gave to Heaven its strength, to the Stars their brilliance,
to the Sun its light, to the Moon its radiance,
to the Fire its splendor, to the Water its sweetness,
to the Lightning its speed, to the Wind its swiftness,
to the Sea its depth, to the Earth its stability,
to the Mountain its height, to the Forest its lushness,
to the Rock its firmness, to the Soil its fertility,
to the Winter its cold, to the Summer its heat,
to the Angels their greatness, to the Prophets their prophecy.
God created all things and ordered all things,
God sustains all things and judges all things,
God commands all things and rules all things,
and by all that God has ordained,
I appeal to God for his mercy, his forgiveness his refuge, and his protection!

Taking Refuge from Evil

I take refuge in God, the One and Only, the First and Last, the Highest and Holiest,
He who creates all things that exist and is not created by anything created,
He who depends upon nothing yet upon whom all depend.
He who surpasses every power and excellence,
He who has neither equal nor comparison,
I take refuge in God, the Lord of Dawn, the Lord of Daybreak, the Lord of Light,
from the evil that lies waiting within creation,
from the evil of darkness when it settles,
from the evil of those who work ill upon me,
from the evil of those who wish ill upon me.
I take refuge in God, the Lord of Mankind, the King of Mankind, the God of Mankind,
from the evil of the whispering enemy and of the whispering devils,
from the evil of those who whisper in the hearts of mankind,
from the evil of those who whisper in the hearts of spirits,
from the evil of those who retreat upon the remembrance of God.
I take refuge in God!

Taking Refuge in the Glories of God

I take refuge in all the wondrous names of God!
I take refuge in the might and power of God,
I take refuge in the strength and pride of God,
I take refuge in the presence and sovereignty of God,
I take refuge in the justice and judgment of God,
I take refuge in the beginninglessness and endlessness of God,
I take refuge in the immanence and transcendence of God,
I take refuge in the assistance and security of God,
I take refuge in the protection and preservation of God,
I take refuge in the nourishment and restoration of God,
I take refuge in the resurrection and life of God,
I take refuge in the kindness and guidance of God,
I take refuge in the mercy and forgiveness of God,
I take refuge in the sight and hearing of God,
I take refuge in the awareness and knowing of God,
I take refuge in the wisdom and knowledge of God,
I take refuge in the nobility and highness of God,
I take refuge in the glory and greatness of God,
I take refuge in the beauty and majesty of God,
I take refuge in the grandeur and subtlety of God,
I take refuge in the peace and splendor of God,
I take refuge in the holiness and perfection of God,
I take refuge in the truth and light of God,
I take refuge in God!

Taking Refuge on All Sides and All Times

I take refuge in God throughout my life!
I take refuge in God on my right,
I take refuge in God on my left,
I take refuge in God above me,
I take refuge in God below me,
I take refuge in God before me,
I take refuge in God behind me,
I take refuge in God inside me,
I take refuge in God outside me,
I take refuge in God around me,
I take refuge in God when I sleep and when I awake,
I take refuge in God when I lie and when I sit,
I take refuge in God when I arise and when I stand,
I take refuge in God when I move and when I abide,
I take refuge in God when I speak and when I think,
I take refuge in God when I hear and when I see,
I take refuge in God when I eat and when I drink,
I take refuge in God at all times,
I take refuge in God on every day,
I take refuge in God in every place,
I take refuge in God with every act.
I take refuge in God!

Taking Refuge from Every Harm

I take refuge in God from all evils threatening me!
I take refuge in God from the evil of every devil and demon,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every archon and prince,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every influence and power,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every corruption and temptation,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every fear and terror,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every lie and deceit,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every delusion and hallucination,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every treason and espionage,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every snare and trap,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every gossip and smear,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every suffering and affliction,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every instability and infirmity,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every pain and plague,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every illness and injury,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every weakness and wound,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every chaos and tragedy,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every calamity and accident,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every fire and flood,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every earthquake and disaster,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every storm and gale,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every famine and drought,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every pursuit and war,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every accusation and imprisonment,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every abandonment and neglect,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every loss and impoverishment,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every creature and beast,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every spirit and ghost,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every witch and poisoner,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every smith and mage,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every alchemist and astrologer,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every priest and scholar,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every thief and brigand,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every killer and rapist,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every abuser and torturer,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that I am aware,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that I am unaware,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that I am frightened,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that I am unfrightened,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to me intentionally,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to me unintentionally,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my body,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my soul,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my spirit,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my mind,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my food,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my drink,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my possessions,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my land,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my home,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my household,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my work,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my roads,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my family,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my friends,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my secrets,
I take refuge in God from the evil of the evil eye,
I take refuge in God from the evil of the untimely death,
I take refuge in God from the evil of the curse,
I take refuge in God from the evil of the cross,
I take refuge in God from the evil of the binding,
I take refuge in God from the evil of the whisper,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who threaten me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who hate me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who despise me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who are envious of me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who are jealous of me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who are fearful of me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who are enraged towards me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who perform mischief and trickery,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who perform witchcraft and rituals,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who perform incantations and spells,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who perform conjuration and inscription,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who perform sacrifice and bloodletting,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who perform false prophecy and false blessings,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who inspire others to evil,
I take refuge in God from every evil, from all evil, from evil itself!
I take refuge in God!

The Breaking of Evil

In the name of God, with God, from God, unto God, and in the way of God,
for there is no strength and no power save with God,
for we come from God and return to God,
and all things are done only through God!
God the Most High, God the Most Holy,
God the Most Merciful, God the Most Compassionate,
God the Almighty, God the All-Aware, God the All-knowing, God the All-Seeing!
I entrust all I am and I all I have and all I do to God,
I am safe from the evils threatening me in the refuge of God!
God judges in truth, evening the scales of justice and speaking in righteousness!
God upholds those who uphold him!
God keeps faith with those who keep faith with him!
God keeps the pure close to him in his mercy and protection,
but drives the impure away in his unconquerable wrath!
In all the Heavens God is feared, and by all the angels God is revered,
For when God raises his voice the gods themselves tremble,
and when he roars the pillars of Heaven and Earth shake.
Nothing and no one can repel the might of God,
nothing and no one can annul the commands of God!
God seizes all events that would threaten me and blocks them from occurring!
God seizes all things that would threaten me and smashes them into nothing!
God seizes all magics that would threaten me and unravels them in an instant!
God seizes all people who would threaten me and casts them out now!
God seizes all spirits who would threaten me and banishes them utterly!
God seizes all enemies who would threaten me and vanquishes them easily!
Nothing and no one is as great as God is, nothing and no one is as mighty as God is!
All the evils that threaten me cannot reach me in the protection of God!
All the evils that threaten me cannot harm me in the protection of God!
All the evils that threaten me are cut off in the protection of God!
All the evils that threaten me are destroyed in the protection of God!
I take refuge, seeking protection from the evils threatening me, in God!
I am safe from the evils threatening me in the refuge of God!

The Appeal for Forgiveness from God

And as I take refuge in God for protection from the evils threatening me,
I implore God for his forgiveness and his mercy for the evil within myself that harms myself.
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil within me,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of what I have done that I should not have done,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of what I have not done that I should have done,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my vice,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my lust,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my gluttony,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my greed,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my sloth,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my wrath,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my pride,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my apathy,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my attachment,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my addiction,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my intentions,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my neglect,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my ignorance,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against God,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against the angels,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against the prophets,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against Heaven,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against Earth,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against creation,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against mankind,
I seek the forgiveness of God.

The Thanksgiving for Forgiveness

God is abundant in his forgiveness and unsurpassed in his mercy,
whose forgiveness and mercy are immeasurable, everlasting, indefatigable,
in whose forgiveness and mercy I take refuge from my own evil!
I am safe from the evil within myself that harms myself in the refuge of God!
For all that he has forgiven me and all that he has given unto me,
do I give my thanks to God, do I bless God!
All glory, all praise, all reverence, all honor be to God,
the Lord of the Great Throne, the Father of Heaven, the Fountain of Light,
the King of all kings, the God of all gods, the Creator of all creation!
In God do I take refuge, and from God do I seek mercy!

The Song of Glory

Blessed be God in his refuge, and blessed in his forgiveness and mercy!
Blessed be God in the Heavens on high, and blessed in the lands of the Earth.
Blessed be God in his might, and blessed in the beauty of his power.
Blessed be God in his glory, and blessed in the beauty of his dignity.
Blessed be God in his splendor, and blessed in the beauty of his strength.
Blessed be God in his majesty, and blessed in the beauty of his throne.
Blessed be God in the mists of brilliance, and blessed in the clouds of glory.
Blessed be God in the storehouses of snow, and blessed in the rivers of flames.
Blessed be God in the chains of fire, and blessed in the ropes of flame.
Blessed be God in the peals of thunder, and blessed in the bolts of lightning.
Blessed be God amid all the deserts, and blessed amid the waves of the sea.
Blessed be God in each generation, and blessed in all the people of every land.
Blessed be God in the heights of the Earth, and blessed in the depths of the Earth.
Blessed be God in the mouths of all people, and blessed in the song of every creature.
Blessed be God for ages and ages, and blessed for an eternity of eternities.
Blessed be God, now and forever!
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts,
Heaven and Earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!*
Blessed is he who comes, has come, and will come in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

The Concluding Invocation

In the name of God, with God, from God, unto God, and in the way of God,
for there is no strength and no power save with God,
for we come from God and return to God,
and all things are done only through God!

Brief Hiatus, but Have Some Prayers in the Meanwhile

As the title of the post suggests, I’m going to go on a brief hiatus for July and August.  Nothing bad, I assure you, it’s just that I’ve been cranking out a lot of work on my blog and social media generally while other work has piled up, and I need to focus on those projects for the next few weeks.  The bulk of this focus—in addition to The Adocentyn Temple Almanac project (which you should get your voice heard regarding options and desires if you haven’t yet!) and various book-writing projects—is to prepare my presentation for this year’s Salem Summer Symposium.  Yes, it’s still being held this year, though in an online format only due to the ongoing Reign of the Lady of Crowns, so even though we can’t all meet up in Salem, Massachusetts this year, there’s still plenty of awesome classes, presentations, and lectures being held that I thoroughly encourage you all to sign up for and participate in!  This year, I’m presenting my lecture at 1pm EDT on Saturday, August 15: Spelling by Spelling: Greek Alphabet Divination & Magic:

A variety of divination systems were used in ancient and classical Greece, ranging from oracles and prophets to common forms of sortilege. One of the more fascinating kinds of divination that was used in the ancient Hellenic world was that of grammatomancy, divination through the individual letters of the Greek alphabet. This lecture will cover the history of this useful and direct form of divination, and how it can build into an overarching spiritual practice of devotion to the Greek gods, theurgy, contemplation, and magic.

I’ve brought up grammatomancy a number of times on my blog before, and even though I don’t bring it up a lot nowadays, rest assured that it’s still a system I use often, both for the sake of divination, calendrics, and various other aspects of mysticism and theurgy.  I’m thrilled to be able to present on this topic, and hope you’ll join in!  I just need to get my ass in gear and actually develop the actual lecture and material for it, hence the hiatus so I can focus on that.

In the meantime, I don’t want to leave you high and dry, so let me leave you with something to mull over and busy yourself in the meantime.  As I’ve brought up in a number of previous posts, I’ve spent a good chunk of my time writing and developing a novel set of prayers, some of which are original and some of which are based on or influenced by the existing prayers and scriptures of religions that have played a role in my own spiritual development and growth.  Over time, some of these prayers get used more or less, depending on how my own practice develops further, and some I intend for general purpose stuff eventually get relegated to specific uses or vice versa.  To tide over my readers with some prayers that I invite them to give a whirl, or to at least share some of the logic and reasoning I use when coming up with such prayers, I’d like to show off a bit of my own stuff with three of my own prayers which I use to varying degrees in my own practice.

The first prayer is one I call the “Invocation to the Almighty”.  This prayer is based heavily on the biblical Book of Daniel, specifically verses 2:20-23, 2:28, 4:2-3, 4:35, and 6:26-27.  The wording of the original verses has been generalized somewhat to be more deistic than Jewish or Abrahamic at points, but what results is a simple invocation and praise of God, which I find to be a good one to open up a session of prayer in general focused on the Divine.

O God, may your holy name be blessed forever and ever,
for wisdom and power are yours.
You change all times and seasons, you remove and install all kings;
you give the wise their wisdom and knowledge to those who know;
you reveal deep and hidden things, and you know what is in the darkness.
Light abides with you, and Light comes forth from you.
I adore you and I praise you,
o God of the angels and the prophets,
o Lord of Heaven and Earth,
o Master of the Seen and Unseen,
o you who gives me wisdom and power.

Truly, he is the God of Gods, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords!
Bless the God of the angels and the prophets, he who is Most High,
the Ever-Living One who reigns forever,
whose dominion is everlasting,
whose kingdom endures throughout the generations,
whose might surpasses the end of time!
None can hold back his hand from acting,
none can challenge his deeds once done!

Praise, exalt, glorify, and bless the King of the All,
whose works are just and whose ways are right,
who humbles those who behave arrogantly,
who relieves those with burdened hearts,
who delivers and saves from perdition,
and who performs signs and wonders in Heaven and on Earth.

The second prayer is one I call the “Servant’s Call to God”.  This prayer takes on much looser influence from a variety of sources, including the Surah al-Fātiḥah from the Qur’ān and some of the wording of the prayer used for Ṣalah, while also taking in symbolic and literary references to the Three Holy Youths and the archangel Michael from the Book of Daniel and from some Syrian Orthodox Christian daily prayers.  Both an invocation and a supplication, this is also another good introductory prayer, but it also works well as a concluding one or one that stands well enough on its own.

How gracious is my God, how merciful is my Lord!
How holy is my God, how truly great is my Lord!
Who can match his power, who can be his equal?
Who can judge, but the one Lord of Judgment alone?
We are but guests in the world he has made for us,
but travelers along the road he has built for us!
For God is more gracious than any royal king, more merciful than any noble host,
more holy than any sacred priest, and greater than all he created!

May these prayers of pure speech and intention reach the Throne of God,
that God may be pleased with my offering to aid me in this life,
for it is to God that I pray, to God that I praise,
to God that I thank, and to God that I bless!
May God guide me along the straight path and empower me over my enemies.
May God purify me through his light and protect me from the darkness.
May God inspire me with his spirit and nourish me with his word.
May God correct me when I err and lift me when I fall.

The third prayer is one I call the “Prayer of Remembrance”.  Many people are familiar with the convention in Islamic cultures to sprinkle certain religious phrases throughout conversation and writing, like inshāllāh or alḥamdulillāh or subḥānallāh, which is frankly and honestly a beautiful and devout thing to do, constantly invoking God even in mundane communication as a means to pray without ceasing.  I basically took all these sayings—some used more often than others—and combined them all into one prayer.  There’s a dash of Hermetic stuff in this prayer, but it’s otherwise a general deist prayer with heavy Islamic flavor and origin.  This is a prayer I use every day, usually at the end of my own prayer sessions, though I’ll also use it on its own if I either cannot afford the time or energy to a full session of prayer or if I’m just taking a moment to myself for prayer outside my usual routine.

With God we begin, and with God may we always continue, God willing,
until such time as God sees fit to bring our lives to an end.
It is to God we all belong, and it is to God we all return,
for God is great and perfect in all things,
and there is no might nor power except in God.
In this and in all things do we thank God
for all his work, all his blessing, all his mercy, and all his Light unto us.
In this and in all things do we praise God, for only God knows best.
All glory be to God.

Although I didn’t include them as part of the prayers above, feel free to append “amen” or whatever sealing phrase you prefer.  Generally, nowadays, I only say “amen” if I’m declaring something to be or asking for something.  So, as an example, I typically won’t end the Invocation to the Almighty with “amen”, because I’m just praising God which does not need a seal (and rightfully so, as such praise should never end), but I do for the Servant’s Call to God, because I’m asking for something as a blessing from God.  I will, however, use “amen” for the Prayer of Remembrance, as that’s often my final prayer that I use to seal my entire prayer sessions with.  This is all just a thing I do, don’t feel obliged to follow my rule on this; end them with “amen” or not as is your own prayer custom, if you use these prayers at all.

For easier access of these prayers, I’ve updated the menu of the website, adding in the submenu Prayers → General Prayers (under which I’ve also put some of my older original prayers as well).  Just use the menu at the top of the website to navigate and take a look.

And with that, I’m off!  We’ll get back to our usual irregular posting again after the Symposium.  In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to sign up for my self-directed courses on Renaissance Hermetic planetary ritual theurgy or the practice of European geomancy, please feel free to contact me!  And yes, I’m still available for readings and consultations, too, if desired.

The Prayer Whispered In The Temple

I have to admit: it’s not the being home and away from friends, family, and colleagues in person for three and a half months that’s getting to me, nor is it the fear of being Kissed by the Lady of Crowns.  It’s not being shut in with the same people whom I love every day, even when the little things add up that frustrate and annoy me, more than ever before given that I’m home all the time and can’t escape it.  It’s not the hypothetical worries of financial solvency in a time when the economy is constantly degrading and when there are threats looming on the horizon of the next bank statement.  It’s not seeing the cracked and corroded political system of my country implode with constant protests the whole nation over for over three weeks, with more and more people being murdered in grotesque ways every day.  It’s not seeing people I’ve heard about or know die, sometimes naturally, sometimes unnaturally, and usually before their time.  It’s not seeing global climate change catch scientists by surprise with trends that are happening a century earlier than expected.  It’s not seeing the constant war, famine, plague, and death sweep the world (when has it ever not?) in ever-encroaching circles.

It’s not any one thing, but it’s…kinda all of this at once.  (Except the working-at-home-indefinitely bit, I sincerely dig that.)  I know I enjoy at least some measure of safety, however temporary, secluded and swaddled in comfort as I am in my home, free to spend my time mostly as I please, but…

I’m a staunch believer in the claim of Ecclesiastes 1:9, that “what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the Sun”.  We, as a species, are pretty much the same as we were 60,000 years and more ago: we still have the same fundamental needs of sleeping, eating, fucking, and wondering, and everything else is just accessorizing and window-dressing.  We still love and hate, we still learn and ignore, we still live and die, as we and every single one of our ancestors always have going back to the beginning of humanity.  It’s this cyclical continuity that, although it might have been dreary to the author of that book, gives me hope and comfort in that, no matter how bad things get or seem, everything can be survived and surpassed, one way or another, just as it always has been before.  But…it’s hard even for me to not realize that, even if the melody is the same, the key of the music can and does change, and although the lyrics may rhyme, it’s never the same thing being said.  And in that, things may never have been good, depending on whom you ask, but on any large scale by pretty much any measure, things are definitely not great right now, and despite what I want to see, it also seems like things are getting less great by the day.

Despite the breadth of my writings, my focus in my various spiritual practices is decidedly on the small-scale.  Sure, I do readings and consultations for clients, and I study and practice rituals in case I need them should the need arise, but I don’t need a lot, seeing how much I already have; in a way, I’m kinda living one of the messages of the Double Sice bone in reading dominoes, where your material life is in a state of fulfillment so now you need to turn your sights higher.  Instead of trying to advance myself worldly, I do what I can to maintain things in a state of peace and satisfaction for myself, my husband, my housemates, my family, and my godfamily—those near to me and dear to me, and those for whom I can do the most at the time being.  It’s not that I’m being greedy with my power, but necessarily rationing it; even with what little I’m doing to maintain my standards of living, I still have high standards of living, and keeping up with it all can sometimes be soul-wearying and heart-tiring.  (How much worse, then, for people who have it worse?  Why can’t I help them more beyond offering mere words or some meager support here and there, especially in the face of Just So Much where any gain feels like a loss?)  And that’s not even bringing up the work and Work that will surely need doing once the current situations pass—or, if they don’t, and some of them won’t, the work and Work that will still need doing even then.  Gotta save some spoons for what comes later.

There’s an undercurrent here of everything I’m doing being all the running I can do just to stay in the same place.  Even with a legion of spirits, ancestors, angels, and gods at my back supporting me and uplifting me, there’s just so much to tackle on even such a small scale as my own personal life, even without broader problems that so many of my friends and online colleagues I see suffer routinely or constantly.  Even with keeping to a quiet, daily routine of the same-old same-old, logging into work every day to earn a paycheck to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly, it’s hard to not hear the klaxons growing louder every minute and every mundane, routine thing I do seem increasingly, surreally, laughably absurd in comparison, and operating under this kind of farce is tiring.  It gets harder and harder to chop wood and carry water when the hairs on the back of my neck rise as the insidious question arises in my mind: “what happens when there’s no more wood to chop or water to carry?”, not out of a sense of completion, but out of a sense of running out through faults both mine and not my own.  I’m not saying this to complain (maybe a little?), but…even if nothing else, it’s hard to look forward to the future in general with more than a modicum of hope, and even that feels forced more and more often.  None of this is me just being self-pitying and grieving uselessly, but it’s hard to not feel the pressure of everything bearing down with no end in sight, and it gets to everyone at different rates and in different ways.  And, so, I turn to those same spirits, ancestors, angels, and gods in prayer and contemplation as a way to resolve this pressure.

In my various searches through the rich body of Islamic prayers and supplications, I found one that struck a particular chord with me: the Munajāt, or the Whispered Prayer, of Imām `Alı̄ ibn ‘Abī Ṭālib (as) in the Great Mosque of Kūfa.  This supplication attributed to the first Shia imam invoked during the lunar month of Sha`bān is simple, if a bit long (though nowhere near as long as many other such supplications).  The structure of the prayer can be broken down into two movements: the first movement calls upon the blessing of Allāh on the day of the Judgment at the end of time, when all else fails and there is nothing good left in the world, while the second movement calls upon the mercy of Allāh according to his various attributes and epithets, and how the imām relates to Allāh by them (e.g. “you are the Creator and I am the creature…you are the Powerful and I am the weak”).  It’s a touching monologue of a prayer that emphasizes the connection between the divine and the mundane, the immortal and a mortal, the One and a one.  In some ways, it kinda encapsulates a particular kind of mood I often find myself in nowadays.  Not to say that I feel the world is ending, but…when things keep looking like they keep getting worse, when the world looks like it’s all downhill from here, it’s hard to keep the mind from thinking about what it’s like at the bottom of that hill.  Even in the pleasant summer nights that make me pine for a walk on the beach under the stars, wind-rustled dunegrass on my left and moon-soaked seafoam on my right, there’s a poignant and quiet terror laced throughout the humidity that fogs the heart more than it does my glasses.  It’s not the impermanence and dissolution and passing-away of things in a world that constantly changes that I fear, I suppose, but rather the lived process of waiting for it and undergoing it at the slow, painful pace of the day-by-day.

All this reminded me of that infamous part of the famous Hermetic text of the Asclepius, specifically sections 24—26.  In this part of the dialog between Hermēs Trismegistus and his disciples Asclepius, Tat, and Ammon, Hermēs begins by praising Egypt as the image of Heaven, and how Egypt is the temple of the whole world, where the gods themselves reside on Earth and where all good order is maintained, and why it is necessary to revere not just God but also humanity made in the likeness of god and the ensouled statues of gods that we ourselves make from divine nature.  “And yet,” Hermēs continues after such praise, “since it befits the wise to know all things in advance,” Hermēs foretells the future of this temple of the world, a harrowing prophecy and prediction of the ultimate fate of Egypt and the world as a whole, a cataclysm and eventual apocalypse that, although ultimately ending in a renewal of all that is beautiful and good, necessitates the utter destruction of everything that is, both by its own hands and by divine impetus.  In some ways, it’s not unlike the Stoic notion of ekpyrosis, the periodic conflagration and destruction of the cosmos that is renewed through palingenesis, or the recreation of all things to start a new cycle—except, when seen from a personal perspective on the ground instead of an academic theoretical one, it’s…well, terrifying, and makes Asclepius weep on the spot in that point in the dialog.  (In some ways, one might argue that more than a fair chunk of the prophecy has been fulfilled, and that we’re well on our way to the rest, at least on some timescale or another.  Such people who argue thus have a point that I can’t really argue against, except maybe vacuously.)

In this, I saw a bit of an opportunity for inspiration to strike, given my recent introduction to the Munajāt.  I did a bit of prayer writing and rewriting, and adapted the Munajāt through a Hermetic lens, substituting the Islamic cataclysm with the Hermetic one from the Asclepius. Instead of using Islamic epithets and names of Allah, I scoured the Hermetic texts for the various epithets and attributes of God with a Hermetic understanding and approach.  Not living in Egypt myself, I spatially generalized the prophecy a bit to take place more generally, but the effect of the wording is the same for me as it might have been for Hermēs and his students.  Nothing new under the Sun, after all.  It’s not my intention to rip off or appropriate the Imām’s prayer, but to make use of it in a way that better befits my own practice, communicating the same sentiment with the same devotion and reverence to, ultimately, the same One.

In keeping with the structure and theme of the Munajāt, there are two movements in this Hermetic rendition of the Whispered Prayer, the first seeking protection and the second seeking mercy. Although it might be odd to see such an emphasis on protection and mercy in a Hermetic prayer to the divine, both of these things are extant in Hermetic texts, too: in the Prayer of Thanksgiving given at the end of the Asclepius, also extant in PGM III as well as the Nag Hammadi Scriptures, a plea for “one protection: to preserve me in my present life”, and in Book XIII of the Corpus Hermeticum, when Hermēs describes to Tat the method and means of rebirth, he says that it is unobtainable except for those “to whom God has shown mercy”, and that “whoever though mercy has attained this godly birth and has forsaken bodily sensation recognizes himself as constituted of the intelligibles and rejoices”.  In this, the goal of Poimandrēs as given in the First Book—the end of the Way of Hermēs—is fulfilled.

And, to be frank, both divine protection and divine mercy sound like good things to pray for, both in general and especially now, especially in this admittedly dour mood of mine.  We should pray and work for everything else good, too, to be sure—good health, long life, prosperity, happiness, peace, and all the rest of the things we seek in life—but maybe it’s also appropriate to think about what what we ask for instead when none of that can be found or given.  In this, too, I suppose there is hope; it might be small and distant, but there is still hope, because there is always, and must always be, hope.  Even when all I can eke out is just a whisper of a prayer from my heart, knowing that even the deepest refuge of the strongest sanctuary must one day still fall, that hope that I whisper for is enough and will have to be enough.  So sit satis; let it be enough.

In reciting this prayer, after every supplication, silently recite “Oh God, my God, be merciful, be gracious, be propitious to us all”.  In keeping with the Munajāt, it is preferable to recite this prayer in a low, hushed, or whispered voice.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all devotion will have been in vain.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all worship will have borne no fruit.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all the gods will have abandoned the Earth and returned to Heaven.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all reverence will have fallen into neglect.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when the divine teachings will have been mocked as delusion and illusion.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all religion will have been outlawed and all sacred traditions lost.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when the reverent will have been executed for the crime of reverence.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all temples will have become tombs.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when the dead will have outnumbered the living.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when darkness and death will have been preferred to light and life.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when the cosmos will have ceased to be revered and honored.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when the world will have been filled with barbarity.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all the people will have turned to cruelty against each other.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all the rivers will have filled and burst with blood.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all the lands will have crumbled under stress.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all the seas will have ceased to be navigable.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all the winds will have stalled lifelessly.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all earth will have become sterile, bearing only withered fruit.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all the heavens will have gone dark.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all the bodies of heaven will have ceased their courses.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when all the voices of divinity will have gone silent.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when you will have ceased to be worshiped and glorified.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when you will dissolve all the world in flood, fire, and pestilence.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when you will restore the world to worthiness of reverence and wonder.

O God, I ask you for your protection,
on the day when you will return all that is good and sacred to the world.

O God, you are the Father and I am the child;
who else can be merciful to the child except the Father?

O God, you are the Creator and I am the created;
who else can be merciful to the created except the Creator?

O God, you are the Unbegotten and I am the begotten;
who else can be merciful to the begotten except the Unbegotten?

O God, you are the Pervasive and I am the blind;
who else can be merciful to the blind except the Pervasive?

O God, you are the Invisible and I am the mistrustful;
who else can be merciful to the mistrustful except the Invisible?

O God, you are the Good and I am the one the one immersed in evil;
who else can be merciful to the evil except the Good?

O God, you are the Pure and I am the one immersed in defilement;
who else can be merciful to the defiled except the Pure?

O God, you are the Complete and I am the one immersed in deficiency;
who else can be merciful to the deficient except the Complete?

O God, you are the Perfect and I am the one immersed in excess;
who else can be merciful to the excessive except the Perfect?

O God, you are the Still and I am the one immersed in motion;
who else can be merciful to the moved except the Still?

O God, you are the Unchanging and I am the one immersed in change;
who else can be merciful to the changed except the Unchanging?

O God, you are the Imperishable and I am the one immersed in decay;
who else can be merciful to the decaying except the Imperishable?

O God, you are the Beautiful and I am the one immersed in crudity;
who else can be merciful to the crude except the Beautiful?

O God, you are the Ineffable and I am the one immersed in babble;
who else can be merciful to the babbler except the Ineffable?

O God, you are the Cause of Liberation and I am the one immersed in torment;
who else can be merciful to the tormented except the Cause of Liberation?

O God, you are the Cause of Temperance and I am the one immersed in recklessness;
who else can be merciful to the reckless except the Cause of Temperance?

O God, you are the Cause of Virtue and I am the one immersed in vice;
who else can be merciful to the vicious except the Cause of Virtue?

O God, you are the Cause of Truth and I am the one immersed in deceit;
who else can be merciful to the deceived except the Cause of Truth?

O God, you are the Cause of Mind and I am the one immersed in ignorance;
who else can be merciful to the ignorant except the Cause of Mind?

O God, you are the Cause of Life and I am the one immersed in death;
who else can be merciful to the dying except the Cause of Life?

O God, you are the Cause of Light and I am the one immersed in darkness;
who else can be merciful to the darkened except the Cause of Light?

O God, you are the Propitious and I am the one given favor;
who else can be merciful to the one given favor except the Propitious?

O God, you are the Gracious and I am the one given grace;
who else can be merciful to the one given grace except the Gracious?

O God, you are the Merciful and I am the one given mercy;
who else can be merciful to the one given mercy except the Merciful?

O God, you are the Glory of the All and I am the one who is in the All;
only you can be merciful to all in the All, for you are the Glory of the All!

O God, be merciful, be gracious, be propitious to me,
and be pleased with me by your mercy, your grace, and your favor,
you who are the source of all mercy, all grace, and all favor!
O God, be merciful, be gracious, be propitious to me and to us all!