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A Pagan reader might skip this book based on its title, and that’s a shame, it offers more ideas for incorporating spiritual actions into daily practice in a manner so approachable and practical that it rivals Pagan dedicated books.  Each chapter focuses on a prayer method such as prayer beads, icons and ecstatic dance. Shannon explains the origin of the method, provides an example or an anecdote of this method in action and concludes the chapter with ideas for using the practice.

The book explores prayer practices from a broad-based selection of world religions, including Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Goddess worship. While the author comes from a Christian background and the book includes an introduction from an Episcopal priest, no belief system is espoused over another. Shannon’s goal is to encourage the reader to continue to bring spirit into daily life by offering a buffet of practices to feed the spirit.  She succeeds.

Shannon’s research appears thorough, and she credits her sources while maintaining a light and easily readable style. The book frequently quotes scripture as means of supporting the practices; the author draws not only from the Bible, but from the Q’ran, the Baghvad Gita and in some cases, Confucianism. Shannon presents her research so meticulously that she immediately acknowledges scriptures and philosophies that disagree with the prayer practices she presents before she continues by providing an example of the practice when applied. Shannon also discusses Native American practices such as sweat-lodges and vision quests with marked sensitivity towards cultural assimilation often suggesting a seeker look for methods of honoring spirit besides Native ritual. After detailing a prayer practice, and offering quotes and examples of the living practice, she then gives a bulleted list of ideas for incorporating the practice into everyday life.

Shannon has accomplished a quality of writing and presentation that few authors can, and this writing deserves respect from people of any spiritual path.

~review by Diana Rajchel

by Maggie Oman Shannon
Citadel Press, 2001
pp. 220, $15.95
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