Tag Archives: prayer

Akathist Hymn to the Martyrs Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus


Kontakion 1

 Our Heavenly Father, we are not worthy of Thy holy martyrs who gladly endured torture rather than denounce Jesus Christ. Even so, lest the suffering of Christ Himself be in vain, we assemble as Christians and we praise Saint Cyprian and Saint Justina who lived in Antioch and who, with Saint Theoctistus, were martyred in Nicomedia in the year 304. Let us therefore bow our heads in veneration of those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Jesus Christ, saying:

Have mercy, holy martyrs Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus: for your love is undying.

Ikos 1

 Saint Cyprian, thou wert a pagan priest, having been a pupil of evil devices since a child and in accordance with thine upbringing. Thou wert able to call forth demons, cast spells, and inflict diseases. Thou even taughtest others how to do the same, spreading the ways of evil and devastating the lives of many. Mercifully, thou wert to be called forth to serve the True God as a true priest. We likewise ask for mercy that any deviances from our spiritual path might be straightened:

Have mercy, for many people today are deceived by evil practices of witchcraft and sorcery.

Have mercy, for the devil useth tricks and disguises to entrap and dominate both the ungodly and the Christian.

Have mercy, for Jesus Christ kneweth that the devil desired the downfall of the holy Apostle Peter.

Have mercy, for the enemy of mankind despised Saint Peter’s dedication to the Only Son of God.

Have mercy, for the holy Apostle Paul warned the Ephesians that we struggle against wicked principalities.

Have mercy, for the devil trieth to sway individuals and also entire communities for his evil purposes.

Have mercy, for Saint John Chrysostom said that Satan grieveth when a person is delivered from sin.

Have mercy, for only the repentant can enter the Kingdom of Heaven and enjoy eternal life.

Have mercy, holy martyrs Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus: for your love is undying.

Kontakion 2

Saint Justina, thou wert also brought up in a pagan household, but thou becamest a Christian and then converted thy parents to the True Church. Young in years but strong in faith, thou didst devote thyself to a life of prayer. Thou didst continually crucify thine impure passions and desires, and lived virtuously for the sake of thy Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thine home became a sanctuary of unceasing worship, and everyone in it said: Alleluia!

Ikos 2

May the young find motivation in thy priorities, Saint Justina, and may the old find renewal in thy zeal. Like the Prophetess Anna, thou didst set aside all earthly matters and fervently prayed to God. Like Saint John the Forerunner, thou wert a messenger of the glad news within the wilderness of thy family. Thou art truly worthy of emulation, and we therefore offer thee these praises:

Have mercy, new convert to Christianity and a blessing to thy mother.

Have mercy, young follower of Jesus Christ and a revelation to thy father.

Have mercy, first in thine household to hear the Gospel and first to be martyred.

Have mercy, first in thy family to make the Sign of the Cross and first to repel the demons.

Have mercy, Christian in the city of Antioch and stranger to places of temptation.

Have mercy, worshipper in the Church of Christ and foreigner to temples of idols.

Have mercy, eager recipient of the glad news and deaf mute to evil murmurings.

Have mercy, golden vessel of the virtues and brick wall to unbefitting influences.

Have mercy, holy martyrs Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus: for your love is undying.

Kontakion 3

In thy dedication to a life of prayer, Saint Justina, thou didst refuse a marriage proposal from a conceited young man who was attracted to thy beauty and the excellence of thy character. He deemed thee suitable to become his bride, not understanding that thine honorable conduct resulted from thy conversion to Christianity. It was the True Bridegroom of the True Faith Who had transformed thee into a fragrant flower of blessings. Therefore, in faithfulness to God’s calling, thou didst say: Alleluia!

Ikos 3

Everything is to be done according to the will of God and for the glory of God. Whether to marry or to live in solitary prayer: it is not a personal preference, but the calling of God upon His people and the distribution of His gifts. Let us thank God for sending us holy examples from all walks of life, as we bring forth praises to Saint Justina who was martyred for truth and because of love:

Have mercy, for the faithful continue to preserve thy memory from one generation to the next.

Have mercy, for the persecuted arise to sainthood from every manner of Christian living.

Have mercy, for a pure heart is the acceptable habitat of God’s love.

Have mercy, for God showeth no bias toward the social status of persons.

Have mercy, for the gifts of God are diverse and in accordance with His Wisdom and mercy.

Have mercy, for the martyrs prove that all Christians are to be righteous and faithful.

Have mercy, for abundant reward is given to all who do the will of God.

Have mercy, for Heaven awaiteth those who glorify Him here on earth.

Have mercy, holy martyrs Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus: for your love is undying.

Kontakion 4

Saint Justina, the menacing young man insisted upon taking thee for his wife. Furious and spiteful, he went to a warlock and paid for a spell to be cast upon thee. That warlock was Saint Cyprian, who was renowned throughout Antioch for his knowledge of sorcery and his actual contact with the devil and hordes of demons. Thou wert to encounter vicious attacks, Saint Justina, but through prayer and fasting thou wouldst continue to say: Alleluia!

Ikos 4

Summoned by the sorcerer Cyprian, the forces of evil began attacking thee. The demons took on various disguises, and tried in different ways to distract thee from prayer and deposit thee into the arms of a scoundrel. Saint Justina, thou didst not surrender to any repressed desires or entertain romantic fantasies in thy mind, but made the Sign of the Cross upon each attack. Thou remainedst loyal to God’s calling and, as such, thou wert a formidable warrior in the face of terrible and cunning demons. For this reason, we reverently bring praises to you:

Have mercy, for we are surrounded by false images of pleasure and power in every facet of our daily living.

Have mercy, for we are admonished by foolish experts to be tolerant of moral deviations and all manner of evil.

Have mercy, for there are some who rewrite the Scriptures to suit their evil and unholy inclinations.

Have mercy, for there are others who dismiss the holy fathers and mothers in order to scatter and not to gather.

Have mercy, that our instinct may always be to rely upon God for help.

Have mercy, that our response may always be repentance and prayer.

Have mercy, that our purpose may always be to please God and serve Him.

Have mercy, that our disposition may always be humble and meek.

Have mercy, holy martyrs Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus: for your love is undying.

Kontakion 5

Although thou wert the object of obsession and the target of attack, thou didst overcome all evil by making the Sign of the Cross. This sent the pagan priest Cyprian into a violent rage. He summoned the demons for more attacks – this time, attacking thy parents and relatives, as well as friends and neighbors. He afflicted them with diseases, including their animals, causing sorrow and lamentation. Saint Justina, thou wert also stricken horribly ill, but thou turnedst to the Psalms for comfort, and said: Alleluia!

Ikos 5

Finally, the entire city was afflicted with a plague. The people became angry with thee, Saint Justina, and demanded that thou shoudst marry the young man and satisfy his carnal desires. However, thou neither internalized their blame nor rejected their needs, but thou toldest them that the God of the Christians is sovereign over all the earth. Saint Justina, thou didst pray with all thy being, and the city was miraculously delivered from its misery. Many people then became Christians, for everyone saw the defeat of the sorcerer and the victory of prayer. It is therefore fitting that we sing praises to God’s wonderful saint:

Have mercy, for during all suffering thou didst remain centered in thy life of unceasing prayer.

Have mercy, for during all hardship thou didst never waver in thy dedication to Christ.

Have mercy, for while calamity invaded the city, thou didst remain focused on the authority of God.

Have mercy, for while destruction fell upon all living things, thou didst never succumb to Satan.

Have mercy, for thou leddest the people to the True God by thy powerful prayers.

Have mercy, for thou didst turn their grief into celebration.

Have mercy, for thou rosest from thy bed of sickness by thy faith.

Have mercy, for thou didst receive grace in every circumstance.

Have mercy, holy martyrs Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus: for your love is undying.

Kontakion 6

Saint Cyprian, through the marvelous powers of the God of the Christians, and therefore through Saint Justina, thou wert able to observe and experience the inferiority of the devil and his devices. Yes, Saint Cyprian, thou thyself hadst been greatly deceived and cheated by the enemy of mankind. Upon the depletion of thy sorcery, thou didst criticize Satan to his face for his inability to win the spiritual war against Saint Justina. This was a turning point in thy life, for thou wouldst soon hasten to the True God, and thou wouldst say: Alleluia!

Ikos 6

Thou hadst lost all credibility in Antioch, and now the devil was enraged over thy confrontation of his fear of Jesus Christ and Saint Justina. The devil therefore leaped forward and tried to strangle thee to death. In desperation, and yet with clarity and conviction, thou didst cry out, “O God of Justina, make haste to help me.” The devil cowered, and thou madest the Sign of the Cross. The devil then retreated into darkness, and thou gavest thanks unto God for thy deliverance. Saint Cyprian, we also thank God for thee, and we offer these praises:

Have mercy, defeated in battle by the holy Saint Justina and triumphant over the forces of evil.

Have mercy, scorned by the city of Antioch and uplifted from the domain of darkness.

Have mercy, attacked by the enemy of mankind and delivered by the God of Saint Justina.

Have mercy, exhausted of evil curses and invigorated by the Sign of the Cross.

Have mercy, that we give no opening to Satan.

Have mercy, that we never have recourse to evil enchantments.

Have mercy, that we learn from the saints and martyrs.

Have mercy, that we trust only in the True God.

Have mercy, holy martyrs Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus: for your love is undying.

Kontakion 7

In thy state of profound repentance, Saint Cyprian, thou didst gather up all thy books of sorcery and asked the bishop to burn them and to baptize you into the True Church. Although thou mettest with distrust, thine heartfelt weeping over thy sins convinced the bishop of thy sincerity. Thou were baptized, then ordained a true priest of the True God, and later becamest a bishop. Meanwhile, Saint Justina had entered a monastery. It was thy great honor to ordain her a deaconess, and then thou didst appoint her the abbess. In all things thou didst continually praise God, and said: Alleluia!

Ikos 7

Saint Cyprian, thy wondrous conversion and holy demeanor attracted many pagans to the Faith. Seeing these amazing events take place, the devil became envious. He provoked other pagans to falsely accuse thee and Saint Justina of misleading the people and subverting the government, and they demanded that both of you be executed. Yet, you continued to worship the God of the Christians, and we who are Christians therefore bring our supplications to you:

Have mercy, for the devil wageth war against Christians to this day.

Have mercy, for the evil one also trieth to obstruct the conversion of souls.

Have mercy, for there are devious people who manipulate our weaknesses.

Have mercy, for there are profane books and divers arts which entice the unguarded.

Have mercy, for the lust for power is in defiance of the sovereignty of God.

Have mercy, for the desire for fame is in opposition to the Christian virtues.

Have mercy, for we need to be reminded of our upward calling.

Have mercy, for we wish to be found holy in the sight of God.

Have mercy, holy martyrs Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus: for your love is undying.

Kontakion 8

The governor of Antioch ordered Bishop Cyprian and Abbess Justina to be tortured. In their refusal to denounce Jesus Christ, the governor finally decided to kill them by plunging them into a cauldron of boiling water. The saints prayed fervently and, miraculously, were not harmed. A pagan priest arrogantly thought that he also could be submerged into the water without harm. Calling upon a pagan god to protect him, he hurled himself into the cauldron and was scalded to death. In wonderment at this vivid contrast between truth and falsehood, we all say: Alleluia!

Ikos 8

The governor of Antioch was stunned at the victory of Saint Cyprian and Saint Justina, and filled with fear over the failure of the pagan priest. He therefore senteth the saints to the governor of Nicomedia for the completion of their punishment. After years of interacting with each other, they were now to be martyred together. These true servants of Jesus Christ were then beheaded by the sword. Let us therefore lift our voices to Heaven where they dwell eternally:

Have mercy, martyrs of Nicomedia and citizens of Heaven.

Have mercy, knowers of truth and habitats of love.

Have mercy, resented by demons and venerated by the Church.

Have mercy, despised by pagans and admired by Christians.

Have mercy, united in Christ and fruitful in service.

Have mercy, joined in worship and generous in blessings.

Have mercy, members of the Body and bearers of the Cross.

Have mercy, friends of the saints and teachers of mankind.

Have mercy, holy martyrs Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus: for your love is undying.

Kontakion 9

There was a soldier, Theoctistus, who looked on as Saint Cyprian and Saint Justina were being tortured. Moved by their faithfulness and called forth by the True God, Theoctistus declared himself a Christian and was straightway martyred with them. Their bodies were left unattended for six days. Then, some unidentified Christians collected the bodies and transported them to Rome for burial. A kindly Roman woman called Rufina gave the three martyrs a proper Christian funeral. People then obtained healings at their gravesites, and we today also pray to be delivered from evil and strengthened in faith. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Closing Verse

Let us declare ourselves Christians: receiving the blessings, facing the consequences, and always trusting in the True God to lead us to spiritual victory.


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Prayer for the Addicted


This is an experimental prayer for those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. It is designed to be prayed for another person, but can of course be prayed for oneself, with a little adjustment to the wording. As this is still a draft, I would welcome any feedback you may have at this time.

℣. In the name of the + Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
℟. Amen.

℣. Lord, open Thou my lips;
℟. And my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

℣. Incline unto mine aid, O God;
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

℣. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
℟. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord;
And where there’s doubt, true faith in you.


Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope;
Where there is darkness, only light;
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.


Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
In giving to all men that we receive,
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.


Antiphon. Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom ye have from God, and ye are not your own?

6:ii-iv, vi-vii; 31:ix-x

Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak:
O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed.
My soul is also sore vexed: but Thou, O Lord, how long?
Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for Thy mercies’ sake.

I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim;
I water my couch with my tears.
Mine eye is consumed because of grief;
it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.

Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble:
mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.
For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing:
my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

James 1:xii-xv

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

℣. But Thou, O Lord;
℟. Pour forth Thy glory upon us.

Pistis Sophia, Book 5

Having heard what the Spirit sayeth through the holy David and James, and calling to remembrance the faith and love of our Holy Lady Sophia, let us invoke the Father of Truth and the Purifiers of Souls:

Hear me, O Father, Father of all fatherhood. I invoke you yourselves, ye forgivers of sins, ye purifiers of iniquities. Forgive the imperfections of the souls of all who seek after the Light. Purify their faults and weaknesses, and make them worthy to be reckoned with the kingdom of the Father of the Treasury of the Light.

Now, therefore, O Father, Father of all fatherhood, let the forgivers of souls come, whose names are these:


Hear me, invoking you, forgive the imperfections of these souls and blot out their faults and weaknesses. Let them be worthy to be reckoned with the kingdom of the Father of the Treasury of the Light.

I know Thy great powers and invoke them:


Forgive the imperfections of these souls, blot out their iniquities which they have knowingly and unknowingly committed unto this day; forgive them then, and make them worthy to be reckoned with the kingdom of the Father. May they be healed and made ready vessels to receive the Gnosis of Love, Life, Liberty, and Light. Amen.



Let us pray. O God of mercy, we bless Thee in the name of Thy Son, our Lord the Christ, who ministered to all who cameth to Him. Give Thy strength to (name of the one you are praying for), who is bound by the chains of addiction. Enfold him/her in Thy love and restore him/her to freedom through Thy grace.

Lord, look with compassion upon all those who have lost their health, and have broken relationships because of their attachment to the object of their addiction. Restore to them the assurance of Thine unfailing mercy, and strengthen them in the work of recovery. To those who care for them, grant patient understanding, and a love that perseveres.

Lord, in Thy servant, the holy Matt Talbot, Thou hast given us a wonderful example of triumph over addiction, of devotion to duty, and of lifelong reverence of the Blessed Sacrament. May his life of prayer and contrition give (name of the one you are praying for) the courage to take up his/her cross, and follow in the footsteps of our Savior, our Lord the Christ. Amen.

℣. Our help is in the name of the Lord;
℟. Who hath made heaven and earth.
℣. Our love is in the countenance of the Lady;
℟. Who filleth the earth with Her sweetness.

℣. May the Lord grant us His peace.
℟. And life eternal in the Fullness. Amen.
℣. May Divine aid toward Gnosis remain with us always.
℟. Amen.

Holy Sophia, pray for us.
Holy Michael, pray for us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Martin, pray for us.
Holy Jude, pray for us.
Holy Monica, pray for us.
Holy Matthias, pray for us.
Holy Matt Talbot, pray for us.

*Capitalized words should be intoned or vibrated, such that the sound resonates throughout your body and out into the universe.

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Praying for the Saints

calledtoholinessAs we conclude this Hallowmastide Triduum, a time when we’ve prayed with and for the dead, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the Communion of Saints, and the tripartite Church.

The earthly Church – called the Church Militant, is connected with two other assemblies: the Church Triumphant, and the Church Suffering. We on earth are Militant because we struggle against the evils of the archons in the world. The Church Triumphant consists of the liberated spirits in the Fullness (Pleroma), those blessed souls traditionally referred to as saints. Finally, the Church Suffering is made up of those souls and spirits who are neither in earthly embodiment, nor in the freedom of the Fullness, but in the purgatorial immaterial realms. Joined together, these three assemblies make up what is known as the Communion of Saints.

Today being All Souls’ Day, we devote the holy day particularly to praying for the dead. Yesterday, of course, we honored all the saints, both known and unknown. It occurred to me that while we often talk about praying to the saints – which in practice is really praying with the saints – we never talk much about praying for the saints.

This may strike some as strange – perhaps even wrong: praying for the saints. Why would saints need our prayers? As I often say, prayer is not bound by space and time. God applies our prayers exactly when and where they are needed. And so if we remember this, praying for the saints seems just as appropriate as praying for the dead – especially when you consider that some of the dead we may have prayed for today could actually be unrecognized saints who are not publicly known or venerated by the Church Militant.

By praying for the saints, our prayers may be strengthening the martyr 500 years ago, as he’s marched to his death for his faith. They may be providing grace to the young 3rd century consecrated virgin, whose pagan father wished to marry off for political and/or financial reasons. They may be offering courage the saint who, centuries ago, struggled with his faith or experienced a “dark night of the soul”. We never know how our prayers are used, but as three parts of One Church, we should all do our best to pray for each other. This is why, in my tradition, we hold annual Requiem Masses for the Holy Cathar Martyrs, as well as for the Holy Templar Martyrs. We pray for them, not only in whatever state of existence they may be in now, but also for their final moments of earthly life.

Hallowmastide, my favorite time of year, is perhaps the best time to emphasize the reality of the Communion of Saints. We are all part of the same Church – interior, invisible, secret, and universal; one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. It is important to pray for the departed, no matter who they are; and it is particularly important that just as we ask the saints to pray for us, we also have the piety and love to pray for them.

Blessed All Souls’ Day everyone!

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The Divine Office, Little Offices, and Devotion

Book of Hours

As some of you may know (and most probably don’t), for the last several months I’ve been working on a Little Office of the Blessed Sophia, which I hope to have published and available by the start of Advent — God willing. Now if you come from a Catholic background, you’re probably familiar with the concept of a “little office”. If not, you may be wondering, “What the heck is a little office?” Well I’m glad you asked! 😉

The most popular little office is The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which saw a rise in popularity amongst Christian laity in the Middle Ages, and still remains popular to this day. It’s modeled after the Divine Office, but is much shorter and contains less variation. It started off as simply the common office of the Blessed Virgin Mary — that is, the regular set of psalms, readings, and prayers appointed for Marian feast days. It gradually began to be prayed on a daily basis, in addition to the Divine Office, in monasteries to honor holy Mary. At certain points in history was even considered obligatory for clergy, and also because a popular form of Marian devotion for lay people because it was less complicated than the Divine Office.

Allow me to break for a moment and explain the Divine Office, for those who not familiar. The Divine Office has been called the official “prayer of the Church”, with roots in ancient Jewish daily prayers, and early monastic practices. The ancient Jews would pray at certain times of day, as recorded in scripture. This was a practice that the apostles and other early Jewish Christians continued. When the first monastics started retreating to the desert to live a life of solitude and prayer, it is said that they would pray the entire psalter (the 150 Psalms of David) in one day. By the time St. Benedict wrote his monastic rule of life, he offered a schema for praying the psalter in a week. In the Divine Office, the psalms are divided up by day, and into 8 canonical hours, or times of prayer throughout the day: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, Compline. Since Matins (the midnight office) and Lauds (the sunrise office) are often counted as one, 7 canonical hours are often spoken of. In addition to the psalter, which forms the most important part of the hours, there are also lessons from scripture and Church Fathers, prayers, hymns, and antiphons. Though each time of prayer is called an hour, this refers more to the time of day the office is said, and not the length of time it takes to pray an office. As time went one, praying the Divine Office became binding upon the clergy, in addition the monastic orders according to their rules and constitutions.

The divine office and canonical hours have taken on different forms in the East and West, and many monastic orders have their own particular rite — but no matter the place or traditions, the focus has always been the same: to sanctify the day by turning to God in prayer. The Divine Office has been the Church’s way to fulfill the teaching of St. Paul: “pray without ceasing.”

To return to The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this form of devotion offered devout Christians a way of participating in the Church’s daily prayers without requiring a lot of effort to learn the breviary. Unlike the Divine Office, it doesn’t use the entire Book of Psalm, only a small selection which with regular use can be easily memorized. But this isn’t the only little office one can pray, it just happens to be the most popular. The Little Office of the Passion is attributed to St. Francis, who took various scriptures and organized them into unique psalms to be prayed throughout the day. The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception and The Little Office of the Guardian Angel are quite a bit shorter, and rather than utilizing the psalms, a short hymn is recited at each hour. I’ve even offered some little offices here on Gnostic Devotions, for both morning and evening prayers, and my own church has a few different vespers services for public use, as well as an Office of St. Michael for private devotion. Of course, another little office that is often forgotten is the Office of the Dead (the proper office for All Souls’ Day), which consists only of Vespers, Matins, and Lauds — and which inspired the Office we use in the Gnostic Confraternity of All Departed Souls.

Hallowing the hours of the day with periods of prayer is wonderful; but why do it? I could write an entire series of posts on the benefits of praying the psalms regularly, but I’ll save that for the future. We all know that taking small breaks from one’s daily obligations has tremendous benefits for us, mentally and physically. But as Gnostics, seekers of the Light, regular prayer turns us inward and upward toward the Divine, keeping us constantly conscious of the divine spark within, and stilling our minds from the stresses of our day-to-day lives. Through the discipline of regular prayer, we can free our minds to let the Gnosis flow, so to speak. And it is a discipline, it takes practice and effort to form a daily practice and keep oneself accountable enough to stick to it — but that effort also plays an important part in experiencing divine Gnosis. By striving to maintain our practice, even if we don’t necessarily feel like it that day, we exert our will over our bodies so that we can “win the victory over our lower selves!”

I’m a firm believer in the necessity of having a devotional practice, especially if you’re Gnostic. As Gnostics we are esotericists, and let’s face it: many Gnostics are also practicing magicians. Ritual magic is a powerful way of elevating one’s consciousness to higher levels, and allowing us to experience and unite with our Holy Twin Angel. But often we see magicians driven mad in their practices because they lack a devotional component. They can intone magic words and divine names, draw their circles and pentagrams, experience visions… But without a grounding devotional practice, they can risk not being prepared for their experiences, which can quite literally drive them mad.

Devotional practice keeps us grounded. It is the simple act of worshiping the Divine, without necessarily invoking, or asking for anything — but just communing. Remember that at the core of our being, we are divine. God dwells in us, and us in God. A good devotional practice keeps us mindful of that.

Devotions do not have to be set rituals, although a good ritual can be helpful in getting into a regular practice. Whether using one of the offices I’ve linked to in this post, or simply reciting the Our Father, the Jesus Prayer, Kyrie Eleison: establishing a regular practice to stick to is what is important. The practice can be changed and modified, additions can be made; and when one is comfortable, one can improvise. But the important thing is to do it with a humble and open heart, mind, and spirit. But whatever you do, as the saying goes: Just do it!


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A Candlelight Prayer Service

Novena CandlesThis service is based on the Hoodoo tradition of setting lights.  While it has nothing in particular to do with Gnosticism, setting lights for prayer is a common religious practice, and one that Gnostics can do as well.

In the African American magio-religious system of Hoodoo (or Rootwork) there is a long tradition of lighting colored candles for specific needs, and praying psalms over them.  For centuries, Rootworkers have ascribed to each of the 150 Psalms of David certain esoteric value, largely influenced by Kabbalistic interpretations of scripture from traditional grimoire magic. For both esoteric and poetic reasons, the most preferred English translation of the Psalms for this sort of work comes from the King James Version of the Bible, but any translation one finds appealing will work – I use the Douay-Rheims translation successfully myself. 

What follows is a traditional method of setting lights, and is designed for a group, but can be prayed alone with some small modifications.  It is appropriate for most any need one can imagine. For help in choosing the most appropriate psalm for a particular situation, refer to the short list of psalms given after the text of the ritual.  For more extensive information on the use of each psalm, consult Anna Riva’s book Powers of the Psalms, or Godrey Selig’s book Secrets of the Psalms.  These are both available for sale at a reasonable price, but with a little effort, free PDFs can be found online (though you’ll have to do that research on your own!).

The altar should be laid out according to the diagram below.  This ritual uses three altar candles at the back of the altar, representing God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  In the middle are Angelic day candles, which will be explained further down.  At the front are the specific colored novena candles for the work, along with a Bible (or psalter), holy water, and incense.  There should be enough novena candles for each person present, including the leader.  If necessary, each person may use a white candle, but the leader’s candle should be of an appropriate color for the intent of the work (see below).  If one prefers, a 3-tiered altar may be used, with the altar candles at the top, angelic day candles in the middle tier, and the tools for the work proper at the bottom.


Opening Ritual

The leader approaches the altar with palms of both hands together, and thumbs against the heart.  This is the default posture for this ritual, unless performing some other action.  The leader genuflects or bows; then rises, and makes the Sign of the Cross, saying:

In the name of the + Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The leader dips his/her fingers in the holy water and makes the make the Sign of the Cross again, and reciting Psalm 51:10-12 with the antiphon, remembering to return to the default posture.

Ant. Asperge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence,
And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation,
And strengthen me with a perfect spirit.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

Ant.  Asperge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.


1.  Leader lights Altar Candle #1 saying:

Blessed be God the Father, Who by His almighty power and love hast emanated us, making all mankind in the Divine image and likeness.

2.  Leader lights Altar Candle #2 saying:

Blessed be God the Son, Christ our Lord, incarnation of God’s love, Who came forth from the Father to show us the path that leadeth to the Kingdom, and life everlasting amongst the saints.

3.  Leader lights Altar Candle #3 saying:

Blessed be God the Spirit, sent to us by the grace of the Father, as promised by the Christ, sanctifying us, and Who shall continue to sanctify all of God’s children.

4.  Leader lights the appropriate Angelic Candle for the day from the flame of the Holy Spirit candle, and prays the following (refer to the table of angelic rulers which follows the prayer):

Blessed be God’s holy Archangel _________, who through the will of the Father can aid us in our lives.  For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways (Psalm 91:11).  Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire (Psalm 104:4).




Angelic Ruler

Candle Color






















5.  Leader bows and recites the Glory Be.

6.  Leader lights some incense, which can be any appropriate scent for the purpose of the ritual.  As this is done and the smoke rises, the leader chants:

Blessed be God the Eternal, now and forever.

7.  Leader picks up the bowl of holy water, and sprinkles every corner of the room in a clockwise direction.  Then the leader sprinkles some of the holy water to the right of the altar, the left of the altar, and finally in front of the altar.  Psalm 91 is then recited, traditionally used for protection from all kinds of dangers:

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress:
my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the hunters,
and from the sharp sword.
He shall cover thee with his feathers,
and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night;
nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness;
nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side,
and ten thousand at thy right hand;
but it shall not come nigh thee.
But thou shalt behold with thine eyes:
and thou shalt see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord,
which is thy refuge,
even the most High, thy habitation;
There shall no evil befall thee,
neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

For he hath given his angels charge over thee,
to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands,
lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Thou shalt tread upon the asp and the basilisk:
the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
Because he hath set his love upon me,
therefore will I deliver him:

I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him:
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him, and glorify him.

With long life will I satisfy him,
and shew him my salvation.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

8.  More incense is placed in the thurible, to meditate for a few moments upon the purpose of the ritual.  Then the leader takes up the bowl of holy water.  Walking in a clockwise direction, the leader makes the Sign of the Cross on the forehead of each person present, giving the following benediction (this is omitted if the ritual is performed by only one person):

May this Holy Water cleanse thee in mind, body and spirit, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, that God may judge thee worthy to receive His blessings.

When finished, the Holy Water is returned to the altar.

9.  The leader will now hand each person present one seven-day novena candle, leaving one for the altar.  The candles given to the people present may be white, if this is easier, but the candle on the altar should be colored appropriately for the work of the ritual (see below).  After everyone has their candle, the leader will then pour a few drops of an appropriate anointing oil on top of each of the novena candles, asking each person to rub the oil in a clockwise direction while concentrating on their prayer.

10.  As the people are concentrating on their prayer, the leader will turn to the altar and recite Psalm 21, traditionally prayed to bring spiritual blessings:

The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord;
and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
Thou hast given him his heart’s desire,
and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.

For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness:
thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him,
even length of days for ever and ever.

His glory is great in thy salvation:
honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.
For thou hast made him most blessed for ever:
thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

For the king trusteth in the Lord,
and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.
Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies:
thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.

Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger:
the Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath,
and the fire shall devour them.
Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth,
and their seed from among the children of men.

For they intended evil against thee:
they imagined a mischievous device,
which they are not able to perform.
Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back,
when thou shalt make ready
thine arrows upon thy strings
against the face of them.

Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strength:
so will we sing and praise thy power.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

11.  The leader will then light the appropriately colored candle from the already burning Angelic Candle, symbolizing the purpose for the candlelight service.  Each person will then, one at a time, approach the altar and light their seven day candle using a taper from the flame of the colored candle.  The seven day novena candles are placed in a semi-circle around the main colored candle, which is placed in the center of the altar.

12.  Once all present have lit their candles and returned to their places, the leader will kneel in front of the altar and all begin to chant the Psalm appropriate for the candlelight service (see below).  This may be done as a responsory, or in unison.  The Psalm is chanted in this manner 3 times, followed by the Glory Be.

13.  Before extinguishing the candles (which should be done in reverse order), the leader places some more incense on the burner and all recite Psalm 150, a prayer to express gratefulness for God’s blessings.

Praise ye the Lord in his holy places:
praise ye him in the firmament of his power.
Praise ye him for his mighty acts:
praise ye him according to the multitude of his greatness.
Praise him with sound of trumpet:
praise him with psaltery and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and choir:
praise him with strings and organs.
Praise him on high sounding cymbals:
praise him on cymbals of joy:
let every spirit praise the Lord.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.  Alleluia!

14. The Angelic Candle is extinguished with a prayer of thanks to the angel for his assistance.  Before extinguishing the altar candles, the leader says the following prayer:

As the Father knows me, so may I know the Father, through Christ our Lord: the door to the Kingdom of the Father. Show Thou me the way.

The leader kneels and bows his/her head, then rises and extinguishes the altar candles in reverse order of lighting them.

15.  This brings the candlelight service to an end.  All who participated in the service must daily recite the psalm for seven days.  The colored candle should be allowed to burn for one hour.  The other novena candles may be given to the people present, to take home and use in their daily recitation of the psalm.  The colored candle is relit each day by the leader while the psalm is recited for seven days, and allowed to burn for one hour.  On the last day, all novena candles may be allowed to burn themselves out.


Candle Colors

The colored novena candle should be a color appropriate for the focus of the ritual.  A general list follows, but you may find a color more specific to your need:

White – spiritual blessings, purity, healing, rest, truth
Blue – peace, harmony, joy, kindly intentions, healing
Green – money, prosperity, business, a good job, good crops, cooperation, fertility
Yellow – devotion, prayer, money, cheerfulness, attraction, confidence, charm
Red – love, affection, passion, bodily vigor
Pink – attraction, romance, love, morality, friendship
Purple – mastery, power, ambition, strengthens willpower
Orange – opening the way, prophetic dreams, encouragement, concentration, adaptability
Brown – court cases, neutrality
Black – repulsion, sorrow, freedom from evil



The following is a short list of psalms by purpose.  For a more extensive explanation of the esoteric value of the Psalms, consult Anna Riva’s Powers of the Psalms or Godfrey Selig’s Secrets of the Psalms.

For greater spiritual awareness – Psalm 99
For blessings when moving to a new home – Psalm 61
For all yours undertakings to be fortunate – Psalm 65
For good luck in all you do – Psalm 57
To change an unhappy situation into a happy one – Psalm 16
For your daily needs and to protect from harm – Psalm 77
To rid yourself of negative influences – Psalm 19
To release deep seated hate from the heart – Psalm 137
For defense against enemies and rivals – Psalms 3, 59, 70
For illness or bad health – Psalms 23, 35, 38
For thanksgiving after recovery from illness – Psalm 30
To bring peace or blessings to the home – Psalms 1, 128
For spiritual support in stress or affliction – Psalms 3, 25, 54
For harmony between people or groups – Psalm 133
To petition for material needs – Psalm 41
For slander – Psalms 38, 39
To receive grace, love and mercy – Psalm 32
To be respected and loved by others – Psalm 47
To protect against unjust slander – Psalm 36
To protect from idle gossip – Psalm 36
Protection from a persistent enemy – Psalm 109
To be freed from harmful or evil habits – Psalm 69
To reconcile with an enemy – Psalm 16
To overcome an enemy in a just manner – Psalm 70
To have more friends – Psalm 111
To keep the love of friends and acquire more friends – Psalm 133
To bring peace and harmony between families – Psalm 98
To do good and void evil – Psalm 87
To cast out evil influences from another – Psalm 29
For someone in prison to be released early – Psalm 26
To be safe from robberies or danger – Psalm 50
For safety when traveling alone at night – Psalm 122
For a safe ending in your travels – Psalm 34
To be accepted, liked a respected by all – Psalm 47
To removed negative influences around you – Psalm 10
To win a lawsuit by an unjust or vengeful person – Psalm 35
For a favorable verdict when appearing before a judge – Psalm 20
To receive justice and a favorable hearing from a lawsuit – Psalm 119:89-96
For anyone who drinks too much – Psalm 87
If the law is taking measures to punish you – Psalm 35
For reconciliation between spouses or partners – Psalms 45, 46
For possession by an evil spirit – Psalm 66
For revenge against secret enemies – Psalm 53-55
To make your home lucky – Psalm 61
To receive Holy Blessings – Psalm 62

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