I prayed and my prayer beads exploded

Stella Maris, Star of the Sea
First light, Last light

Guide us all safely home

The 9 Mothers of Stella Maris


Can you pray too much? Never thought I’d ask such a question!

I’m pretty sure the answer is no, but I did have a week so full of prayer that it seemed that a whole new door into The Mystic opened and some amazing and miraculous things walked through.

The proof? My rosary exploded! Here’s what happened.

My son took the NY state bar exam on Monday and Tuesday. He was very nervous, so I decided the best way to support him was to set aside two days and do nothing but pray.

Now, you know as a prayer artist that I pray a lot already.

  • My day begins with prayer before I open my eyes
  • When I get up, I do a full-body sacred anointing in front of the mirror. This unusual prayer practice has kind of crept up on me. As I say the words and make the movements in the mirror, I will suddenly see something I’ve never realized before. It’s always a surprise and oh did I have an anointing surprise this week.
  • Then, I make coffee and settle into my sacred chair for a couple hours of soul writing and soul reading
  • Around 1, I say a rosary while carrying a symbol of my next book re-sacralizing the sacred title of witch
  • Then head upstairs for a few hours of work

I know that for most people this sounds like a lot of prayer. And maybe it is. But it fits my life perfectly and I love every minute. And I know in my bones that I am as wildly creative as I am because of my vibrant prayer life.

But this week was a whole new level of prayer. And a whole new explosion of creativity.

Monday, day 1 of the bar, began as usual with a prayer in bed followed by anointing. But when I went downstairs, instead of soul writing and reading, I started walking around the living room saying the Stella Maris novena for Jerry.

The Stella Maris novena has been quite the revelation. 

Perdita Finn and Clark Strand, authors of The Way of the Rose, led a 9-day Stella Maris novena last month. When I heard about it, I immediately joined because, well, why not. I’m a prayer artist, and I love the rosary—now that I understand how ancient and goddess-centric it really is.

Somehow in my Catholic upbringing, I never heard of the Stella Maris novena. Just like the rosary, this short prayer practice is a perfect example of “the goddess hiding in plain sight.”

Stella Maris means Star of the Sea. If you search online, you’ll see that title applied to Mother Mary, but it’s much older than that.

Star of the Sea is a real star—Polaris, the North Star, the brightest star in the Little Dipper, the star sailors use to navigate their way home.

Perhaps because this was the most important light in the sky, our ancient ancestors gave it to their most beautiful and powerful Goddesses: Isis, Ishtar, Aphrodite, and Venus.

In typical synchronistic overlay, the church took that epithet and attached it to Mother Mary. Artists have been having a field day ever since. Some of the most beautiful paintings of Mary are her as Stella Maris.

As I said the Stella Maris novena last month, I fell madly in love with this simple, short, powerful prayer. I loved it so much, I overnight mailed the prayer-packed chaplet to Jerry and he kept it with him throughout the test.

The novena ended on September 27, and I realized I wanted to keep going. So, I asked a small group of women if they’d like to join me to say the novena for 9 nights to support a woman who longs to heal a fractured relationship with her daughter.

Eight women said yes. Looking at our faces on zoom, I didn’t think we had much in common, but as we stated our sacred petitions to put in Stella Maris’ hands, the group began to jell into a beautiful circle of women praying for one another.

There is nothing more powerful or beautiful than a group of women in prayer!

So on Monday, I started my two day, all-day prayer commitment walking in a circle around my living room saying the Stella Maris for Jerry. Then I said three rosaries, the joyful, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries. And walked a couple more Stella Maris novenas.

I interspersed my prayers with some soul writing and sacred reading, until five, when I’d get a text from Jerry letting me know he'd survived day one. Finally, at 6:30, I opened zoom and the 9 of us said the Stella Maris novena for all our petitions.

By the time I went downstairs for dinner, I was a tad lightheaded from 9 hours of nothing but prayer. But it felt necessary and good.

Tuesday was repeat.

  • Stella Maris
  • Three rosaries
  • More Stella Maris
  • Soul writing and sacred reading
  • One more Stella Maris
  • Text from Jerry: second day was brutal, but the love and support was palpable
  • He knew his father was with him. It was the 17th anniversary of his death

In the early hours of Wednesday, I was awakened with words for a new prayer—The 9 Mothers of Stella Maris.

I was thrilled but…

It’s one thing to receive prayers as love songs, prayers that are unique and fresh and new.

But a novena?

How does an ex-Catholic, Goddess-adoring, post-patriarchal witch write a novena?

Wednesday evening, when the Stella Maris women gathered for our 9th and final circle, I asked them to listen to the new prayer and say it with me. As they prayed, I could see everyone’s eyes light up. As we talked about this prayer, and how it feels, and what it means, and how healing it would be right now, we suddenly realized we were all given this prayer. Not just me.

Sure, I was given the words, but they had the rest of the arts.

  • One woman makes rosaries and chaplets
  • One has water from Mary’s Well to bless the chaplets
  • Three are movement geniuses who can take this prayer into a whole new full-body sacred dance level
  • One is an artist-witch who makes the most miraculous altars you’ve ever seen
  • One is a spoken word performer with the equipment to record this prayer professionally

As we shared what each of us could do, we looked with wonder at one another and realized Oh, this is the underlying reason the Star of the Sea called us to pray together.

She wants us to create this prayer so She can shine a bright light to guide us all safely home through the chaos ahead. 

On Thursday, I was awakened with an essential change. She wants each of the 9 lines to end with “guide us safely home.”

Of course!

Everything right now is about finding home. Home in our bodies, our lives, our relationships, our work, and our world.

The soul community gathering right now for the prayer intensive Finding Home that opens this Tuesday will be the first to receive this prayer.

I spent Thursday morning walking around the living room saying the 9 Mothers prayer to see how it feels in my body, and then soul writing about what wants to happen next.

When everything felt ready, I came upstairs, typed the prayer and a list of all the ways each of us is helping to bring this prayer into the world. As the day was ending, I sent the list plus the final version of The 9 Mothers of Stella Maris to our novena circle and closed the computer.

I sat here for a moment reflecting on what a glorious week of prayer this had been. I felt the words “prayer artist” singing in my heart. I’d gone from a solo artist to having a whole band! And boy do we sound good together!

I headed down the stairs to make dinner. I was grinning and practically dancing. And then—pow! The rosary I always wear exploded.

I mean exploded.

The dark orange beads bounced off the walls and tumbled down the stairs amid a shower of tee-tiny red seed crystals.

I burst out laughing!

I always knew prayer was powerful, but in just 4 days, prayer had

  • carried my son through a major test
  • healed his relationship with his father
  • generated a whole new Stella Maris novena
  • miraculously gathered a circle of artists to bring that prayer to life
  • taught me what “prayer artist” really means
  • and filled my prayer beads so full they exploded!

This week, prayer taught me what it means to be home. Really, truly, and fully home.

Thanks to this wild year of pandemic and this deep explosive week of prayer, home is revealing her much deeper and holy meanings.

We all want to be guided to feel at home in our lives, our work, our prayers, our relationships. And yes, we want to feel at home in our spaces, our places, the very land on which we stand.

And we can get there, because the land where we stand is sacred ground. It is Mother—Mother Earth. Our feet are at home on Her, and when we look up, Her brightest most powerful star guides us safely home.

No wonder, that's how the prayer ends:

Stella Maris, Star of the Sea
First Light, Last Light
Guide us all safely home. 

I do hope you'll join us in Finding Home prayer intensive, where we will find home as we explore 3 profound questions:

  1. Am I seeking home?
  2. Am I creating home?
  3. Am I becoming home?

We open this Tuesday, October 13 for 3 Tuesdays.

FINDING HOME prayer intensive

to following the Star that guides us safely home, 

PS: that anointing surprise I mentioned at the top of this story? It's a big one.

As I looked in the mirror this morning, I realized our body already holds our 5 homes. The anointing prayer practice simply reminds us what our 5 homes are and how prayer can guide us home.

I'll tell the story on opening night on Tuesday. Come and play and pray with us.

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