A Non-Theistic Invocation

One of the useful ideas I picked up when reading The Twelve Wild Swans was the idea of invoking sacred actions and concepts without referencing specific gods.

As I've chronicled in the past, I have a confusing relationship with the concept of deity and personified divinity. Coming into the Religion Project, I felt very comfortable classifying myself as an atheist. While it's probably still a mostly correct word, it doesn't capture the appropriate sense of uncertainty. I'm an agnostic, but that only catalogs my lack of knowledge and says nothing about my very complicated relationship with the divine.

Ultimately, the word I'm most comfortable with when it comes to describing my practice and my relationship with divinity is "non-theist". I focus on my actions and the beliefs that motivate them. I revere Nature and the Universe itself. I don't spend a lot of time pondering whether gods exist.

Like a lot of people under the Pagan umbrella, I inherited much of my initial ritual structure from Wiccan traditions, and the part of a formal ritual that always felt "off" to me was the invocation of deity. I addressed Nature herself. I spoke to the land I call home. I mostly veered into animistic territory because invoking deities didn't really feel like a good match for my personal religion.

Inspired by Starhawk and Hilary Valentine, I have taken to using impromptu spoken word pieces involving a set of behaviors and actions that inspire feelings of divinity in me. This process has felt significantly more in line with my personal beliefs, and it has made my rituals more effective as a result.

Recently, while I was doing a lot of thinking about whether or not my wife and I should have children, I came up with this invocation. In the spirit of Open Source Spirituality, I offer up this invocation for any who care to use or adapt it for their own personal spiritual practices:

I honor she who gives birth. I honor she who can never give birth. I honor she who gives birth to monsters. I honor she who gives birth to poetry. I honor she who gives birth to new ideas. I honor she who gives birth to revolutions. I honor she who gives birth to spreadsheets. I honor she who gives birth to magic.

The invocation is released under a Creative Commons Attribution License. You may reprint or republish it as long as you credit me as the author, and you can also use and adapt it for your own private uses.

Hopefully someone will find the invocation and the ideas that inspired it useful.