Monday, September 22, 2014

Days of Cyprian - Day Six and Devotion

Today is day six of the Saint Cyprian
Novena.  Today’s prayer deals with devotion to obtain success and advance your business.  Devotion is a loaded phrase – it brings to mind monks with candles in dark chambers, murmuring chants and sniffing the incense.  But in reality, one can be devoted to any number of things – people, objects, practices.  The list is endless and mind boggling in complexity.  But I feel that in today’s world of Instagram, Facebook and immediate results, a little devotion can go a long way toward focusing on a goal and (miracle of miracles!) actually obtaining it.

There was something of wonder attached to working toward a goal – and I am not talking about the completion of easy projects like tying your shoelaces or learning to ride a bike. Those are more of a rite of passage thing. No, I am talking about practicing to earn your chops by say, learning to play a musical instrument.  Unless you are a musical savant, it’s a time consuming, and yes, devotional practice.

Devotional practice is what makes a Vodou service so beautiful.  In a typical Vodou fet, we have to sing the entire service in Haitian Creole. It’s not French and it’s not African – it’s French with African syntax, a language complete and whole unto itself. And for those who are not attuned to language learning, it’s a challenge.  A typical service in Vodou works its way through no less than a hundred verses of the Priye (which is sung in French, Haitian Creole and Langaj, the forgotten African tongues of the ancients), followed by another 50 or so songs in Haitian Creole.  Adding to the complexity of the work is the clavĂ© and drum beat that accompanies those songs.  Mix all of that with the correct dance to welcome the Lwa, the specific movement in the Temple that accompanies said Lwa, and the proper salutes you must give and you’ve got choreography worthy of the Metropolitan Opera being performed in your basement on any given fet night.

Devotional work has its own rewards, though.  Practice is what makes the work feel authentic.  Authenticity leads to deep and profound understanding of the goal at hand.  And understanding can invoke the numinous moment when the Spirit collides with the living and creates heaven on earth.
A belly dancer of my acquaintance has the following Yoga Sutra tattooed on her hip.  It’s from the Yoga Sutras 1:14 of Patanjali in Sanskrit and it says – In order for your practice to be grounded in the Earth, it needs to be done consistently, for a long period of time, with devotion.”  I love that quote and I might just get that one placed on my hip like hers. A reminder that time is great teacher who gives gifts to those willing to pursue them earnestly.

Back to Cyprian then.  Devotion is the key here – with great practice comes grounding, and through devotion, we find our way to that ground.  My maestro, James tells me to “shed” before every event we do. It’s a reference to shedding doubt, fear, anxiety, but it’s also a call to taking on confidence, energy and love. Through love we can earn that devotion and find the ground to plant it on, making a garden of efforts to enjoy.

Say this prayer tonight so that you will shed your fears and anxiety, find the devotion to pursue your passions and build a garden of earthly delights for yourself. Here’s day six’s prayer to Cyprian:

In the name of the great power of God, I invoke the sublime influence of Saint Cyprian in Christ Jesus. I pray and carry my devotion so I may obtain success and advance in all my affairs and business that I may undertake, to overcome all difficulties that may be in my way, so that you may be my protector by the virtue that God has given you.  To you I surrender all my needs so that you may offer me your protection and that you may deliver me from all evil. In your company I shall conquer with your force, I shall protect myself, and from all evil influence will you deliver me. Amen.

Light a candle before you say this prayer.and thank you dear reader, for following me on this path to Cyprian’s power.

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