Invocation, Tefilah, Prayer, Du’a

These are the words of communion with one’s god, gods, or goddess, but also with loved ones lost to death. The ancients communicated with their blessed dead, the ancestors, who were believed to have transcended to an afterlife, a hallowed place much like the land of the living. An earthly Creator was fashioned, originally the Goddess, who was then joined by gods and others. In time, God was born.

Communion with Goddess or God varies in intent and intensity, form and spirit. Devotees seek a way favorable to their Creator.

Communion with the Goddess involves invocation, calling upon the Goddess for Her blessing or favor. From the Old French, “prayer” or “summoning,” through the more ancient Latin invocationem, “to call upon, appeal.”

Communion with Adonai takes the form of tefilah, an ancient Hebrew word. The meaning of this word relates to judging oneself, which speaks to the act of going first within before calling upon YHVH.

Communion with God is named, by moderns, prayer. Again, Latin forms the backbone, and through Old French, to pray means to “ask earnestly, to beg.” The noun form describes that which has been “obtained by prayer.”

Communion with Allah begins with a supplication, du’a, an Arabic word meaning “to summon, to call.” Classical Arabic traces to the 6th century CE, with deeper roots in the Central Semitic language family.

How does one feel when blessings are bestowed by way of invocation, tefilah, prayer, or du’a? For those who worry about these words, that for devotees initiate a conversation with their Goddess or God, they are not used as weapons of conversion, but instruments of love.

For one who is not religious, the act of another, initiating invocation, tefilah, prayer, or du’a will not offend; it is welcomed for what it is, an act of devotion.


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