Blog Post #2
The following books are recommended for those seeking additional information regarding Ukrainian pysanky and the practice of prayer writing. Leaving your e-mail in the contact section will ensure that you receive notification of posted blog updates that are meant to support the practice of prayer writing.
Decorating Eggs: Exquisite Designs With Wax and Dye, by Jane Pollak, (Sterling, 1998)
This book showcases Ms. Pollak’s love for the pysanky art form. It features her skillful egg designs, know-how and a selection of egg artistry by other people. Her research on pysanky folklore shows the enduring legacy this cultural, talismanic writing has achieved. She relates the following:
“While every decorated egg has its own beauty, Ukrainian Easter eggs are special.....people have been mesmerized not only by their beauty and intricacy of the patterns but by something deeper they perceive in the designs. They are right."
“I asked her what design it carried. ‘It had a stalk of wheat on it,’ she said. ‘Did you have a bountiful year?’ I asked. She looked startled. ‘That’s exactly how I would describe this past year.’ I told her that the wheat symbol promises the recipient a bountiful harvest. It is often surrounded by a wave pattern that represents wealth."
“Pysanky have always been powerful talismans – bringers of good fortune."
A Prayer Journal, by Flannery O’Connor, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013)
This book provides a perfect example of writing to God as a devotional practice centered in the heart. Although prayer writing is meant for God alone, this special book, published years after the author’s death, gives insight into the sincerity and the simplicity of its practice. Ms. O’Connor writes in her journal:
“I do not mean to deny the traditional prayers I have said all my life; but I have been saying them and not feeling them. My attention is always fugitive. This way I can have it every instant. I can feel a warmth of love heating me when I think and write this to You."
“I do not know you God because I am in the way. Please help me to push myself aside... I want to feel. I want to love. Take me, dear Lord, and set me on the direction I am to go."
In the book’s introduction, William A. Sessions, editor and long-time friend of Flannery O’Connor, concludes: “...the prayers of her journal had been answered.”
Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, (Self-Realization Fellowship, 1946)
The life story of this yogi delights, inspires, mesmerizes and educates as it delivers thought-provoking reasons for God, prayer and meditation. A spiritual classic, it is filled with compelling truth. Paramahansa Yogananda’s lessons on meditation and his other writings uplift heart and mind, offering a true path to Self-realization. He states the following in the book:
“Truth is no theory, no speculative system of philosophy, no intellectual insight. Truth is exact correspondence with reality. For man, truth is unshakable knowledge of his real nature, his Self as soul. Jesus, by every act and word of his life, proved he knew the truth of his being – his source in God."
“God is Love. Every saint who has penetrated to the core of Reality has testified that a divine universal plan exists and that it is beautiful and full of joy."
The spiritual principles of prayer writing:
Write Prayer: The Spiritual Practice of Ukrainian Pysanky, Nancy Kopack
An illuminating new interpretation reveals the inspiring spiritual essence of Ukrainian pysanky’s symbolic beauty, elevating this art to an ancient practice to know Divinity through the simple, devotional act of handwriting prayer. Presented herein are the spiritual principles of an ageless, talismanic writing that embraces the pursuit of happiness by increasing personal awareness of God and His willingness to help in life's journey.
Lovers of art will appreciate the fine beauty. Lovers of Ukrainian Easter eggs will find their hearts touched by a metaphoric grace transcendent in the joy of Spirit. Lovers of God will discover an endearing way to enrich their relationship with Him, awakening greater meaning to the eternal truth that God’s omnipresent, all-pervading love is knowable and indeed desirable. The curious will find a new – but ancient – impetus for thought.
Excerpts From The Book:
"The ancient prayer writers used a keen, careful observation of their environment to detect the formless, omnipresent reflection of God’s divine Self in all aspects of nature. Exemplifying a quality of divinity that they were aspiring to manifest, these objects symbolized the written word in their conversation with Him. "
"Meditation creates a soothing awareness of God’s peace. It also develops intuition: the ability of the soul to perceive God’s silent voice answering prayer with unfailing inspiration. Patient listening is necessary."
"The effectiveness of prayer writing depends upon the concept of God held within one’s heart: personal, meaningful, influential in all aspects of life."
Copyright © 2017 Nancy Kopack.
All rights reserved.