We Pray with Magick

I have to come clean.

I have been a Unitarian Universalist since the middle of November.

Now, this may not be a shocker since Unitarian Universalism is the only denomination I am aware of that accepts neopagans in their midst. And I also have to admit that I still have a lot to learn about it.

Here is a good joke about Unitarians from Garrison Keillor:

How do you drive a Unitarian Universalist family from town?

Easy- you burn a question mark on their front lawn!

So, let me describe today’s service, lead by the Senior Minister, Rosemary Bray McNatt of 4th Universalist Society.

Since it was the first Sunday service of the New Year, she had us reflect on something we wanted to keep from last year, and something we wanted to get rid of.  We wrote these two things on two different pieces of paper. For a moment she mentioned burning them, and I thought:

“My goodness, she is going to use the lighted chalice!!

(For those of you who don’t know, a fire lit in a chalice is the symbol of Unitarian Universalist faith and is present during Sunday services.)

Instead, she wheeled in an industrial strength paper shredder.

This little expression of the New Year bowled me over. This is exactly the kind of praying we do in Wicca, the kind of magickal thinking we use all the time! I joked with her later that it was a “witchy” thing to do and it was an excellent tool because the paper can be recycled and reclaimed, energetically as it is,  rather than simply go up in smoke (like a burnt offering, perhaps…hmmm.)

One by one, the members of the congregation shredded the bad, and kept the good- to put somewhere, she said, where we can be reminded of something hopeful.

It got me thinking- whenever my coven needs to meditate on healing for someone, or whenever we gather together to determine what we want to accomplish for a given sabbat, what sort of energy we are trying to raise- for whatever purpose- because we feel we need healing (or someone we know needs healing and we need to send it energetically to that person), or because we need a new start or a new set of ideas for the Spring- something we did last Spring- or because we need to “get some advice” in the form of an oracle-

We are praying with magick.

Today, I learned, we are not the only ones who do so!

Signing out,


About Valerie Freseman

Valerie Freseman is a Unitarian Universalist minister and a 2014 graduate of Union Theological Seminary. She completed a chaplain residency at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, CT, and served as the first year-long Killam Ministerial intern at the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland. She is passionate about spinning the inter-dependent web, creating a more just world, and applying the arts to faith.  She is also becoming increasingly well-known for her sock collection.
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