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The Lords Prayer And The Celtic Cross

The Lords Prayer and the Celtic Cross

Performing Our Father with the hands as well as the voice.

Prayer is one way of relating to the world. In prayer, we bring our desires into relationship with the Gods and spiritual forces of the world. Ritual prayer, such as the Lord’s Prayer, is an act of alignment with the Higher Will as well as a petition to that will for outcomes of goodness.

As part of my concern over developments in the modern world I joined a group that pray regularly, in harmony with each other, on the understanding that each additional person multiplies the efficacy rather than just adding to it. The focus of this group is to bring closeness and harmony where division and discord are appearing. As humanity increasingly individualizes, harmony has to be deliberately created, as it no longer flows instinctively as it once did. The strongest symptom of disharmony today seems to be the war in Ukraine. The group I pray with are hundreds, from across the world. The Lord’s prayer is the central focus.

I began to speak the Lord’s Prayer out-loud several times a day as an adjunct to meditating with it. Taking peace in Ukraine as a focus, I started using gestures to call up connection with the wide skies and golden fields of this garden-of-Europe. Following on to this, I noticed that the lines of the prayer also appeared to me in gestures. I began to perform these, and bit by bit worked out which ones felt most comfortable in connection with which line.

The two gestures in the cross are upright and horizontal. The Celtic cross adds a circle.

The upright speaks to our inner experience of Being. In our self-awareness, we find that we are a connection between earth and sky. Our moment by moment sense-experience results in inner images, feelings and impulses arising within. Our connections with the earthly are sometimes at odds with our more meditative, or spiritual connections, and we have to find a centre from which we can resolve this pull.

The horizontal speaks to our social connections. In our connections with other beings, human and otherwise, we recognise equality, yet many of those around us pull, this way or that, seeking allegiance from us. Again, it is in finding our own centre that we can create harmony within this tension.

The crucifixion of Christ upon the cross is an image of how painful it is to find this centre and hold it.

In the Celtic Cross, the circle speaks to our awareness of a periphery or limit to our experience. Finding our limits is as important as finding our centre. Both need ongoing rediscovery. The true source of our being is the periphery. Being incarnate creates a centre. Finding that centre allows us to establish a new connection with the periphery. Being born of water creates a centre. Finding that centre, and from there the periphery, allows the birth in the spirit.

The arms of the cross, stretching out in four directions through the circle, speak to us of the connections we must find, and the relationship we must build, between our centre and our periphery. You might view the centre as our experience of Christ within us, the periphery as our experience of the Father, and the connection between them as the Holy Spirit.

Making the gestures with the words is powerful. People I have shown this to have felt moved.  I do intend to film this at some point, but for the moment I offer it in words. What comes below is my guidance for those who wish to try this for themselves.

The gestures of the cross are simple.

  • There is an upright line formed by moving one or both hands, either the full stretch of the arms or part of it. Top down, or bottom up seem to suit different phrases.
  • The horizontal line seems to work best when formed from the centre out.
  • The circle can be done with one hand right around but mostly I do this with two hands, one forming each side of the circle.

Allow me to demonstrate

This is orientated for tablets and phones.

 

Here is the “order of play”

Words Gesture Mood
Our Father Vertical, up to down, Awareness of Divine connection.
Which art in Heaven Horizontal, Spreading out Heaven is Being at Peace, at One with All that Is
Hallowed be thy name Circle, could be one hand around, or two A halo around, expressing awareness of Sacred Presence.
Thy Kingdom come Horizontal, Spreading out Bidding this world to accept His
Thy will be done Vertical, 2 hands down Inviting His power into my life
On Earth as it is in Heaven. Circling 2 hands from bottom to top. Creating oneness between what is and how it could be.
Give us this day our daily bread Vertical: Cupping hands at top and receiving downwards Gratitude for all that is given
Forgive us our trespasses Horizontal, Spreading out from heart Confessional
As we forgive those who trespass against us Circle: 2 hands from top down Opening the portal of forgiveness for the other as it has been opened for us
Lead us Vertical, 2 hands from centre or from bottom up Going-before
Not into temptation Horizontal, Spreading, palms forward Protection
But deliver us from evil Circle, 2hands, top down Shielding
For Thine is the Kingdom Horizontal, Spreading out, possibly starting at base, up then out. Confessional, I am not the owner of my world, You are.
Thine is the Power Vertical, bottom up. Confessional, handing back the power I assumed from God
And the glory Circle, top down Confessional, I have sought glory but it is, in truth, yours, not mine.
For ever Right hand to heart Gratitude
And ever Left hand crossing right at wrist Dedication to divine awareness/Presence in the heart
Amen Right hand in left palm, facing up, over navel Hara-gesture: At Peace.

 

Five Crosses

As you can see in the image at the top of the page, each verse of three lines is linked into a Celtic cross, Five crosses can be seen as a circle. The relationships between them have drawn my attention. This is what I see so far:

  1. One could draw a line between the first cross at the top and the closing couplet in the centre. This appears to me like connecting head and heart. My head admits the Presence of the father, as/in Heaven, made holy/hallowed/haloed and my heart holds this in eternity, beyond time.
    1. While much of the prayer is a petition, this first verse is pure acknowledgement. It is outside of time in the same way as ‘for ever&ever’ is
  2. Connections appear between the second and the fifth crosses, (those at ‘arm’ height) what I have called “We Ask” and “We Confess.” There we see that this reflection:-
    Both start with horizontal where the others start with vertical,
Thy kingdom come Downward/request Thine is the kingdom Upward/confession
Thy will be done Downward/request Thine is the power Upward/confession
On Earth as in Heaven Requesting unity Thine is the Glory Confessing unity

3. Accepting the gifts, bread and forgiveness from Him, is the point where we turn from requesting a downward dispensation to a giving/confessing gesture when we open our hearts to forgive others. This, in turn, is reflected when we open our hearts to His leadership, guidance/protection and deliverance.

The value of any of this lies in the doing. If it interests you, give it a try and see how that feels. Let me know in the comments what happens for you.

Esoteric thoughts :

An esoteric look at the Lords Prayer asks “what is hidden, or enfolded, within these verses?” Many of the rituals of both churches and spiritual traditions are contained in a line or two from this prayer.

  • Our father
    • “Father” is a kind of code for the “Is-ness” of everything. Beyond all speculation, so intrinsic to life that we rarely notice it, is one fact. This, is.
      It matters not what ‘this’ you choose. Everyting you see or connect to with any of your senses is there. There it is. Any experience you have inwardly, also is and experience you have. It IS.
  • Which art in heaven
    • Heaven is a state of being. Essentially it means to be at peace. This is so complete and simple we usually need a double-negative to explain it: Not being in opposition to anything. This acceptance of the isnness of isness, is where our father is.
      In these two lines we affirm our awareness of FATHER and of his state of being. In spiritual tradition to live in this awareness is the highest state of being, the seventh level of initiation. Someone is in this state is given the title, Father. In Eastern wisdom they have attained “Mana” the spiritualisation of the forces that create the physical body.
  • Hallowed be thy name
    • A halo in a painting is an acknowledgement of our deep respect for someone. When a person has reached a stage where their life no longer reflects the evil, transgression and error that most of us live with we feel a light glow around them. When we speak this ‘making holy’ of our father we are making bowing down to the love, goodness and truth that flow from Him. The act of making this bow creates the conditions in us by which we, too, can spiritualise our habit-life, or etheric body.
  • Thy Kingdom come.
    • The kingdom is where the rulership of the king holds good. When we truly hallow His name we enter into His kingdom. This state-of-being will come on the earth when a majority of us can do this. Once we have purified or transformed the astral body we find ourselves living in this state of being.
  • Thy will be done
    • This line individualises the line above. My ability to be true to what I know God asks of me is weak. In this line we are asking for his strength to fill us. In doing so we begin the process of spiritualizing the astral body, our field of thoughts, feelings and decisions.
  • On earth as it is in heaven
    • As above, so below. This is a hinge-point in the prayer. So far we have been acknowledging our place in relation to God. From this line on we begin to turn to what we can do for him. This line also acknowledges that the true state of being, that underlies the chaos of daily life is the perfect reflection of the starry/natural world in the human inner life.
  • Give us this day our daily bread.
    • Our physical body needs nourishment. We need to take in the love-nature of ‘The Mother’ if we are not to float away. In order that we may serve Christ and become ‘One with the Father’ as He was, we need to care for our physical presence in the world. We need not fear for tomorrow, only forge our trust in Him today. This line reminds us to place our trust in this process, by which we fulfil our destiny here as much as it fulfils our recognition of dependency.
  • Forgive us our trespasses
    • Confession is a necessary part of uplifting our nature. If we do not confess our trespass we are hiding from God, from our higher nature. This line and the next refer particularly to our etheric body where our habits and our feelings of expansion over others are held. Forgiveness transforms our etheric body.
  • As we forgive those who trespass against us.
    • The act of extending forgiveness open a portal for the other to experience their relationship with God. So long as we hold anger and blame we are projecting denial and untruth onto the other. Projecting this closure makes it more difficult for us, also, to open to forgiveness. Nothing that remains unforgiven can be transformed.
    • From the bread to the us extending forgiveness we turn in the bottom of the U and begin to ascend towards Oneness.
  • Lead us
    • Mostly this line is not separated from the next line, but it only makes sense to me when it is. Why would God lead us into temptation? His leadership is into goodness and awakening to His presence in all that is around us and within us. This line and the next refer particularly to our astral body in which the fires of desire can be calmed with good inner leadership.
  • Not into temptation
    • When we accept the leadership of the Highest, of the Father, temptation does not distract us in the same way. The Greek myth of Jason, tying himself to the mast so as not to be drawn by the voices of desire is a valuable image. The upright mast powers the forward movement of the ship. Giving ourselves to that begins the action of purifying the astral body.
  • But deliver us from evil
    • Evil is such a complex question. Does it even exist, or is it an issue of circumstance and interpretation? Most acts of evil are motivated by a fear that the actor may lose everything if that action is not taken. The question then becomes: Do I need what I might lose? This is the context we need delivering from – The idea that what we have must be preserved. This idea lives in the ego. We are asking, here, for our ego to be opened up to higher thoughts so that we may be delivered from the fear of losing what we hold to be essential and discover a greater good in allowing Christ and the Father to be our context of being.
  • For Thine is the kingdom.
    • We acknowledge that we cannot create the Kingdom we asked for in line four, it is not in our individual power to do so. My attempts to impose my idea of the good will not lead to this coming about. This line hands back the efforts I took unto myself to apply God’s nature to the world. Again, this reflects the efforts we need to make to transform our individual astral body
  • Thine is the Power
    • As above, but in going one deeper we raise our acknowledgement one stage higher. Giving up the Power, back to the Father is the process by which the etheric body spiritualises.
  • Thine is the Glory
    • Who, among us, does not glory in their actions, their intent or even their physical beauty. Who among us does not seek credit for what they have done well. It is necessary for our development that we receive this acknowledgement. Yet, a stage comes where we have to hand this back to the Father. What I have done well is not I but is Christ, action through me. When we truly hand this back the spiritualisation of self goes right down into the physical body.
  • For ever and ever, Amen
    • We began the prayer in the timeless IS-ness of All that is. We end it by acknowledging that timelessness. Amen, ‘So Be It,’ rests us in this heavenly timelessness, in total acceptance.
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