I am planning on incorporating the original Madrian prayer texts and the Matristic writings on performing the prayers into the upcoming 4th edition of the ECE, but enough people have posed questions recently about Madrian prayer traditions that, in the meantime, I have decided to post a little summary here for easy reference, especially since some of the texts found in Philip P. Jackson’s Sacred Myths and Rites of the Madrians have not yet been digitized.
The Madrians seem to have seen the Rosary as the paramount devotion, writing far more on its proper performance and use than on any other prayer or ritual. They even established a devotional order around it—the Handmaidens of the Sacred Rose (see TCA 3:15). Membership in the order was based on daily performance of the Rosary, but required no other formal act or registration, meaning that the Order was effectively endowed in perpetuity—the only institution left to us that was directly authorized by the Madrian priestesshood. While Filianists are not required to perform the Rosary daily, if you choose to do so, you are entitled to consider yourself a Handmaiden of the Sacred Rose, part of a proud tradition stretching back to 1977!
The design of the Madrian Rosary consists of a central medallion and five “decades” each containing ten beads, with a single bead separating each decade from the next and separating the central medallion from the decades on either side of it. This is very similar to the common five-decade Rosary used by Roman Catholics, with the exception that the Madrian Rosary has no “tail” of beads leading to a Crucifix (what Catholics call the “antiphon beads”), and the Madrian Rosary has an extra single bead on either side of the medallion. It is therefore fairly easy to adapt a Catholic Rosary for Filianic use by removing the antiphon beads and Crucifix and, if possible, reinserting two of the beads you removed as single beads on either side of the medallion. If you are not able to add the extra single beads on either side of the medallion, I personally would recommend simply saying the prayers for those beads on the medallion itself (this is what I do, because the Rosary I am currently using cannot be easily unlinked for such modification). It goes without saying, of course, that this whole operation works best if you have chosen a Rosary with a Marian medallion!
Before starting, I kiss the medallion in keeping with Catholic tradition, though I am not aware of a Madrian source that instructs one to do that. I also make the sign of the Pentacle over myself, as several Madrian sources do enjoin that both before and after praying. To make the Pentacle, simply touch your forehead, left hip, right shoulder, left shoulder, right hip, and forehead in that order. The Aristasians later simplified this gesture in many cases to a touching of the forehead and the heart. Thus, while that was not Madrian practice, it has a good precedent.
To make the Madrian Rosary, begin on the medallion and recite the Rosary Prayer:
Beloved Kyria, Who have suffered in a way I cannot understand that you might come to me, I offer you my hand. Lead my soul into the garden of the Rosary, that she may rest among the mystic roses of your love.
Then move to the first single bead, and recite the Eternity Prayer:
Eternal is the Light of the Mother, eternal is the Love of the Daughter, eternal is Their completion in the Wholeness of the Absolute, and glorious is Eternity.
Then move to the first bead of the first decade, and recite the Silver Star:
Silver Star of the Waters, That have laughed all the world into being, beyond all knowing is the splendour of Your Light. Enfold my spirit in Your mighty hand, that the pure stream of Your force may flow within me in this world and in all the worlds to come.
Then simply move around the Rosary one bead at a time, reciting the Silver Star on each decade bead and the Eternity Prayer on each single bead separating the decades.
I always close by reciting the doxology: In the name of the Mother, and of the Daughter, and of the Great Mother, Blessed is She while touching the forehead, heart, and then circling the heart respectively, and finally making the sign of the Pentacle. This is mentioned in a number of Madrian sources as a proper way to close a prayer.
That covers what your hands and lips do during the Rosary. The internal, meditative component is richly described by Sister Angelina in TCA 2:6–8, 11–14. I strongly recommend reading those articles. In them, she references the Rose and Pentacle meditation. This was described in one of the Lux Madriana pamphlets and consists of visualizing a flame kindled at each of the points of contact I mentioned previously (in the instructions for making the Pentacle upon oneself). After completing making the Pentacle, one then envisions the flames growing until they meet in the middle at the heart, forming the five petals of a flaming rose.
Other Common Prayers
The Madrians left a small collection of prayers for common occasions, which was later supplemented by the Aristasians. Some important Madrian ones are:
The Morning Offering
Celestial Mother, grant me this day that every work I do may be as lovingly and well-performed as though I were to give it into Your Divine hands. Fill me with Your energy, that I may both give beauty to the world and perceive the beautiful in all of Your Creation. Grant that this day may add a stone to the temple of my soul.
The Prayer upon Retiring
Mother, to Whom all the thousands of the days are as one, and yet Who knowest more of the small events of my past day than I, receive my spirit at the ending of the day, and protect her through the night.
These two form a lovely bookending of the day, as is enjoined by the Madrian Catechism, which instructs the faithful to pray at least once upon rising and once upon going to bed (question 116). When performing them, I open and close by making the Pentacle, as indicated above, and I also insert the Silver Star before making the closing Pentacle, as this is the practice commended by the Catechism (question 121). I personally like to recite the Filianic Creed before making the Morning Offering, though I do not know of any source that instructs one to do so.
The Madrians also said grace over food before consuming it. I am aware of multiple versions of the text for this, all of which appear to have been valid. One version is:
Mother of all nature, we offer You this food. Take it, and bless it, that we may be nourished.
(When I am back in my own study I will look up the other versions again and edit this post.)
The Madrian Catechism does specify that a prayer should be recited in the morning and the evening. It does not require the use of the specific texts given above, but they are lovely and traditional and I have found them richly rewarding to recite. The Rosary was not required (except on certain days of the liturgical year), but its daily use was heavily recommended (question 120), and it makes a nice mid-day break for prayer and reflection when this is possible.
Hopefully, this summary will enable those who have been uncertain how to start a regular prayer practice to begin one. If there is something needful to know that I have left out, please let me know in the comments and I will add it.
Additionally, I know a couple of my readers had direct experience of the Madrian households. If there is something I have gotten wrong in interpreting the writings, or simply something that has been left out, please do let me know! There is a great deal of oral tradition from the households that I am anxious to see preserved while it remains in our community’s living memory.