Be Blesséd, Daily Devotions for Busy Wiccans and Pagans provides a new sub-genre to the growing list of pagan books. Be Blessed could be called a prayer book for pagans, except that it provides so much more than mere words to offer to our gods and goddesses and to ourselves.
We’ve all seen book after book of spellwork available, but this is the first book I’ve seen that offers a purely spiritual perspective for pagans. It provides a framework for integrating daily devotions into your pagan life. If you’re at all familiar with prayer books from Christian traditions, you’ll understand what the author is attempting to provide. Many Christian traditions have prayers for each occasion, often for each time of the day or week. Denise Dumars sets her Wiccan and pagan devotions in a similar fashion.
Ms. Dumars also includes anecdotes from a variety of traditions with examples of to fashion a devotion for a particular tradition. Her visualization scripts are very readable, and it seems that she did substantial research on the individual tradition to provide an authentic experience for the devotee. But any of these exercises and devotions can be customized for your needs.
For example, the book opens with chapter “Greeting the Sun” and gives appropriate affirmations to begin the day. Also included are chi gong exercises to rev up the body as well as the spirit. Other chapters include the very well-presented “Self-Esteem for Life”, chapters on work, health, relationships and one about dialogue with Deities. Each chapter follows a similar format. Long time practitioners of any tradition may take exception to some of the advice about talking to deities. Ms. Dumars does follow an informal format in her writing, which makes this book very readable. However, not everyone will feel comfortable calling a deity “a bud.” And in fairness, she doesn’t advocate using that term with every deity.
Ms. Dumars does not try to give in-depth guides and invocations for each pantheon and every pagan persuasion; rather, she frames her chapters to cover a time or situation, and suggests affirmations and meditations that can be customized to an individual’s needs. Her well-taken point is that all time can be sacred time, and that as pagans, we can feel the divine at all times.
I did enjoy reading this book, and I would recommend it especially to someone new to paganism that came from a background where daily prayers were a part of their spiritual practice. It is a very positive book, the affirmations are very well written and it gives the reader a springboard to launch their own daily devotions. If the only concept you take away with you from this book is that making time for the sacred in your life is a priority, then it is time and money well-spent.
~review by Karen Phillippi
New Page Books, 2006