Chapter 24: Prayer
Edie looked at Corrie. Her roommate shrugged at her. Neither of them knew what to expect, apparently. The only prayers Edie knew were the ones her parents had sung for Hanukkah and Passover--they had never been a very religious family. She was pretty sure this group was not going to be using those Jewish prayers. Then she realized that Elena was reaching toward her. She looked around and saw that everyone had spread themselves out on the couches as much as possible--Darcy was nervously moving to the middle of her couch--and starting to hold hands. She moved herself a little bit over as Corrie moved closer to the other end of their couch and took Elena's hand in her right and Corrie's in her left. She hoped her palms weren't too sweaty. But holding hands to say a prayer seemed to make sense. She hoped that one person would lead the prayer and the rest of them (herself in particular) wouldn't be expected to say anything.
Payton was the one who started, in a low, chanting drone. "Diana, Isis, Nut, Nephthys, Innana, Hekate, Brighid, Freya," she intoned.
Elena picked it up. "Morrigan, Ereshkigal, Brunhilde, Danu..."
Edie felt her mouth go dry. She hoped she wasn't going to be expected to go next. She didn't even know who all the goddesses Payton and Elena had mentioned were, not to mention being able to come up with more. Thankfully, Payton began speaking again. "We call you, you all, we are yours, you are us..."
And then it was back to Elena again. "Join us, bring us, guide us, show us..."
And finally they chanted together, though Elena sounded as though she had a little more melody in her voice than Payton did. "We are here this night, give us the ability to see."
Edie felt a tingling sensation sweep through her, then Elena dropped her hand. Following suit, she let go of Corrie's hand, and saw the others do the same. The air felt different in the room now. She looked around but couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. She reached slowly and surreptitiously into her pocket and touched the four-leaf clover she carried there. Nothing changed, and she looked around at each of the girls in the room to make sure: they all looked the same as they had before. She didn't feel much more relaxed, but at least she knew that there were no faeries in the room. Then again, she thought suddenly, if faeries existed, who knew what other creatures and beings from stories could exist as well?
The only other person who still looked nervous was Darcy, but that was no different. Edie wondered if anyone else had felt the tingling sensation, but didn't feel comfortable enough to ask. Besides, after a moment of silence, Payton started to hum. Was this another prayer? There didn't seem to be any melody to her humming. After a moment, she realized that Elena was humming too, on a different note, but similarly without a tune. What was going on?
A moment later, Ash smiled suddenly and opened her mouth, making an "o" sound, moving up and down between two different notes. Soon Erika and Chandra joined in as well; Edie thought that Chandra was humming and Erika seemed to be making a beatboxing kind of sound. Ash nudged Meg and the other girl looked at her, then started to hum as well. Corrie, Edie, and Darcy all looked at each other. Obviously, none of them knew what they were supposed to be doing. Edie guessed that they were expected to join in making some kind of sound, but she didn't know what kind of sound to make. They didn't seem to have any kind of consistency.
As she sat there awkwardly listening, some of the sounds changed; Elena started to sound out loud, making an "ah" sound, and Payton added a tune. It was a jumble of different sounds, but it was strangely compelling. Eventually they started to fade out, and then there was silence in the room.
Payton smiled at the three of them--Darcy, Corrie, and Edie in turn. "That's an energy-raising exercise we like to do. Maybe next time you three can join in. You don't need to feel self-conscious with us."
"Well! That feels good," said Elena, stretching her arms in the air. "Since this is the first meeting, we probably won't do too much, but if anyone has any spells they want cast, let's talk about them. Tonight the moon is waxing, almost full."
"That's good for spells of healing, growth, and change," volunteered Corrie.
Payton grinned at her. "That's right! Of course, you told us you grew up pagan, didn't you? You could be leading us in prayer."
"Well, I don't know about that," Corrie said, shrugging. "I've never done anything like what we've been doing at this meeting. My mom and grandmother just do little things, with plants, food and stuff like that."
"But you have done spells before," said Elena.
"Yeah. Like I said, just little ones."
"Well, maybe you'll understand what we're doing, then," said Payton.