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Life Prayers

From Around the World: 365 Prayers, Blessings, and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey
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Paperback Book
May, 1996
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$21.99 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

New in 1996 from the editors of the magnificent Earth Prayers, this much-talked-about follow-up anthology eloquently honours the cycles, wonder, challenges, and mysteries of human life on earth.

It’s difficult to assign a section for this book, because it crosses a lot of boundaries. It comes from the centre, from the great heart. It is intended to in-spire (to “breathe”) us; it contains writings from many spiritual and literary traditions of the world (all chosen with a deeply feeling “jeweller’s eye”); and it re-frames “prayer” in a context of living blessing, good writing, and truth telling. It’s a lovely fat little book to hold, to read, and especially to read aloud from. And it’s not just “nice,” either. It’s got guts, acknowledges the heart-wrenching way life can be . . . and yet, it’s beautiful.

Arranged under the themes of Affirmations and Invocations; Kinship with All Life; The Dark Night of Our Soul; Prayers for Solidarity and Justice; Womansprayer; Initiations (Coming of Age, Courtship, Marriage Vows and Blessings, Healing Prayers, Midlife, Growing Older, and Death); Moments of Grace and Illumination; and Earth Praises, Life Prayers presents the poetry of Gary Snyder, Hildegard of Bingen, Sappho, Rumi, Homer, the Psalms, Whitman, Rilke, and writers from Igbo, Tewa, Arapaho, Navajo, Gaelic, Druid, and many other cultures worldwide.

As well, there are marvelous writings from contemporary poets, activists, and healers; political wisdom from the likes of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr.; classical Chinese and Japanese verse; sacred utterance from Buddhist, Christian, Iroquois, neopagan, and many other traditions;  indigenous chants and blessings; and much more you’ll discover for yourself.

When the ripe fruit falls

its sweetness distills and trickles away

into the veins of the earth.


When fulfilled people die

the essential oil of their experience enters

the veins of living space, and adds a glisten

to the atom, to the body of immortal chaos.


For space is alive

and it stirs like a swan

whose feathers glisten

silky with oil of distilled experience.

—D.H. Lawrence

This is an ideal handbook of readings for daily reflection, for marking life’s special events and passages, and for just plain wondering at the incredible miracle of human life. Every page of this masterpiece of the anthologist’s art has something memorable, many of them perhaps familiar to you yet welcome in this context, and many of them new, and surprising, and touching.

We look with uncertainty

Beyond the old choices for

Clear-cut answers

To a softer, more permeable aliveness

which is every moment

At the brink of death;

For something new is being born in us

If we but let it.

We stand at a new doorway,

Awaiting that which comes . . .

Daring to be human creatures.

Vulnerable to the beauty of existence.

Learning to love.

—Anne Hillman


Publisher’s Description: 

An eloquent anthology honoring the wonders and challenges of life on earth and celebrating the seasons of our lives.

The mysteries and delights of life on earth are illuminated in this richly eclectic collection of poetry, wisdom, prayers, and blessings from thinkers and writers around the world. Here you will find the poetry of Hildgard of Bingen and Gary Snyder; the political wisdom of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr.; a treasury of women's prayers, classical verse from China and Japan; and beautiful chants and prayers by Native Americans. A joyous affirmation of the human journey in all its forms, in all its struggles and glories.

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