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Sacred Chants & Prayers

Updated on August 9, 2010

What is Chanting?

Chanting is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, often primarily on one or two pitches called reciting tones. Chants may range from a simple melody involving a limited set of notes to highly complex musical structures, often including a great deal of repetition of musical subphrases, such as Offertories of Gregorian chant. Chant may be considered speech, music, or a heightened or stylized form of speech. In the later Middle Ages some religious chant evolved into song.

Chanting the Name of God/Spirit is a spiritual practice that is commonly used. Chants form part of many religious rituals, and diverse spiritual traditions consider chant a route to spiritual development. Some examples include chant in African and Native American cultures, Gregorian chant, Vedic chant, Jewish liturgical music (chazzanut), Qur'an reading, Baha'i chants, various Buddhist chants, various mantras, and the chanting of psalms and prayers especially in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, and Anglican churches.


Hands in Prayer
Hands in Prayer

Types of Chants

There are many types of chants used for a variety of reasons. For example, magical chants are used in the casting of spells and charms. In addition, religious chants are used in prayer, mantras are used as an aid in meditation, and magical chants are used in the invocation of spirits. Chants can be found in sacred texts such as the Egyptian pyramid texts and in the Hindu Vedas. The Bible includes numerous examples of blessings, curses, and prayers that can be considered chants. The Carmina Gadelica is a collection of Gaelic prayers, hymns, charms, incantations, blessings, chants, and runes, and is a highly respected text by folklorists and contemporary students of Gaelic language and folklore.



A charm can be a blessing or a spell.As a blessing, a charm refers to the infusion of something with holiness, divine will, or one's hopes. As a spell, such as that used in magical systems, it is often traditional in form and often in verse.

Charms are often spoken or written or physically constructed using a particular set of ingredients. The failure of a charm or spell to work may be attributed to many causes, such as failure to follow the exact formula, unfavorable general circumstances, lack of magical ability, or downright fraud. Charms are thought to be effective:

· by virtue of the act itself;

· by the strength of the magician's will;

· by the belief or faith that spirits can be commanded through the correct utterance of specific words.


Charm for Banishing Fever (Lithuanian)

Perkūnas was the common Baltic god of thunder, one of the most important deities in the Baltic pantheon. In both Lithuanian and Latvian mythology, he is documented as the god of thunder, rain, mountains, oak trees and the sky.

Charm for Banishing Fever

In the name of the sun,
In the name of Perkunas, (God of thunder and lightning )
By thunder,
I command you, fever,
I hunt you from men, from animals, from birds, from each living being,
To the green forest, the deep pools, the somber swamps,
There where the sun does shine,
Where no man walks,
Where no animal wades,
Where no bird flies.
If you do not obey me,
I will dry you on the rays of the sun,
I will wear you out with the intensity of the sun,
I will drown you in the bitter dew,
I will feed you bewitched bread.
I order you to leave (name the patient )
To no longer torment him (or her).



Mantras were originally conceived in the great Hindu scriptures known as the Vedas. Usually in the Sanskrit language, a mantra is a religious or mystical syllable or poem. The literal translation of the word mantra is “instrument of thought”. They are primarily used as spiritual conduits, words or vibrations that instill one-pointed concentration in the devotee. Other purposes have included religious ceremonies to accumulate wealth, avoid danger, or eliminate enemies.


Images Containing Chants and Sacred Symbols

Sacred Hindu syllable Aum (Om) in Devanagari script
Sacred Hindu syllable Aum (Om) in Devanagari script
Page from a sacred Hebrew text
Page from a sacred Hebrew text

Gayatri Mantra - Hindu

The Gayatri Mantra is a highly revered mantra in Hinduism and second only to the mantra Om. It was first recorded in the Rig Veda (iii, 62, 10) about 2500 to 3500 years ago. Itis devoted to the solar deity Savitr. Savitr refers to the Sun of all suns, as opposed to the sun of our solar system. Sun illuminates the soul; it is the eternal light that provides life, knowledge and enlightenment.

Gayatri Mantra

We meditate on the glory of the Creator;
Who has created the Universe;
Who is worthy of Worship;
Who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light;
Who is the remover of all Sin and Ignorance;
May He enlighten our Intellect.


Address to the Supreme Deity - Assyrian

The Assyrians were polytheistic, meaning they believed in many gods. The religion of this area was centered on the cult of regional patron deities, such as Marduk at Babylon, Ishtar at Agade, or Sin at Ur and Harran. Their primary deity is believed to be Ashur. The ancient Assyrians believed Ashur to be the "Sky Axle" or "he who makes the world turn", based on the ancient Sumerian deity referred to as Anshar of the same likeness. Gradually, his status was elevated to the leader of the gods by his worshippers.

Address to the Supreme Deity

IN HEAVENS who is great? Thou alone art great!
On earth who is great? Thou alone art great!
When thy voice resounds in heaven, the gods fall prostrate!
When thy voice resounds on earth, the genii kiss the dust!


African Chant to Oshun


In Yoruba mythology, Oshun is an Orisha (Yoruban goddess) of love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy. Like many women, Oshun went through difficult times. According to legend, she had to become a prostitute to feed her children and the other Orishas removed her children from her home. Oshun went insane from grief and wore the same white dress every day. It was the only dress she had at the time and so she went to the river to wash it every day. Eventually, it turned yellow. Aje'-Shaluga, another Orisha who lived in the river, fell in love with her while she was washing her dress. He offered her cowries, money, and jewels which he collected from the bottom of the river. She accepted this act of love and they were married and she was subsequently reunited with her children.

African Chant to Oshun

Oshun, I bow to you!

You are very rich

Digging in the sand to hide money there.

Oshun, I bow to you!

You are very beautiful,

with your coral hair combs and your cast-copper jewelry.

Oshun, I bow to you!

You are very powerful. You have seized the crown.

Look at you dancing with it!


Blessed Be - Wiccan

Wicca is a pagan, nature-based religion popularized in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant, who at the time called it Witchcraft and its adherents "the Wica". He said that the religion, of which he was an initiate, was a modern survival of an old witchcraft mystery religion which had existed in secret for hundreds of years, originating in the pre-Christian paganism of Europe. Recently, the term Wicca has come to include a number of traditions inspired by, but independent of traditional Gardnerian Wicca. The phrase Blessed Be is a greeting, farewell, and blessing in Wicca and other Neopagan traditions.

Blessed Be

Blessed Be Your Eyes, That You May See Clearly

Blessed Be Your Ears, That You Might Hear With Compassion,

Blessed Be Your Lips, That You May Speak The Truth,

Blessed Be Your Hands, That You Might Help Others, Blessed Be Your Feet,

That You Might Walk The Path Of Beauty And Spirit All The Days Of Your Life.



Blessed Face of Jesus - Christian

Jesus (8–2 BC/BCE to 29–36 AD/CE), also known as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, and is also an important figure in several other religions. The word “Christ” is derived from a Greek word meaning Anointed One, and corresponds to the Hebrew-derived Messiah.

Blessed Face of Jesus

O Blessed Face of my kind Savior,

by the tender love and piercing sorrow of Our Lady

as she beheld You in Your cruel Passion,

Grant us to share in this intense sorrow and love

so as to fulfill the holy will of God to the utmost of our ability.




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    • Kukata Kali profile image

      Kukata Kali 

      5 years ago

      Beautifully expressed. Great pictures and balanced info...voted up!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Just can't waitto learn from a great deal more online websites of yours it was actually really essential!


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Ref. No: 1890/2010/11 Date: 15/11/2010


      We are writing this letter on behalf of CHINYARD, hereby we would like to enlighten you about our organization. CHINYARD is operating in North Karnataka region over the last 21 years. Chinyard is one of the development initiatives rendering service to poorest of the poor. Chinyard’s prime vision is to bring destitute people into mainstream society. Because underprivileged masses are deprived from economic, social and institutional opportunities. Chinyard was registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act-1950. For overseas assistance purpose Chinyard was registered under Ministry of Home Affairs for the Foreign Contribution and Regulation Act-1976.

      Chinyard’s operation is recognized in drought prone areas; most of the marginal and poor farmers depend only on agricultural, due to scarcity of rains land remains fallow. Therefore peasants are not getting adequate employment opportunities here. Hence farmers are migrating towards metropolitan cities for search of livelihood options. Consequences of parent migration children are deprived from education. Chinyard organization has been implementing several social development programmes for upliftment of destitute people. These programmes are as follows.

      1. Promotion of Livelihood Activities: Under this programme Chinyard has organized various livelihood activity trainings like tailoring, dairy farm, poultry, embroidery and vermin-compost training to women self help groups. After the training Chinyard has helped them startup their own enterprises and provided market linkage to sell their product in the market.

      2. Rural Small Micro Entrepreneurship Development Programme: Under this Chinyard has given training to 976 women on various rural micro enterprises. After the training Chinyard supported them to begin their own enterprises.

      3. Women Empowerment: Under this programme Chinyard formed 5243 women self help groups and provided bank linkage. Chinyard believes in UNITY IS STRENGTH keeping this quote in mind Chinyard organized women into self help groups. For this accomplishment Chinyard has received state level second award. For women self help group member’s skill up gradation purpose Chinyard has organized various trainings and workshops.

      4. Biodiversity Conservation and Natural Resource Management Programme: Under this project Chinyard formed watershed committee, community based tank management committee and village forest committee this projects prime objective was to create awareness about Biodiversity Conservation and Natural Resource Management. For this accomplishment Chinyard received National level productivity award, given by central agricultural ministry of India.

      5. Capacity Building Training for Self Help Group Members: Under this programme Chinyard has given training on the concept of SHG, Credit Management, Unity and Cooperation, Problem Solving, Panchayat Raj System, Right To Information Act, Leadership and Effective Communication, Book Keeping and Account Maintenance.

      6. Road Safety Awareness Programme: By this programme Chinyard has taken initiative to provide road safety awareness among vehicle owners, school and college students through street plays, photo exhibitions and dramas.

      7. Eradication of Violence against Woman: Through this programme Chinyard organized several human rights awareness programmes among rural people under this Chinyard gave awareness about gender sensitization and mitigation of dowry system. And those who were facing violence Chinyard has provided legal assistance for them.

      8. Tribal Handicraft: Through this programme Chinyard has taken initiative to conserve ancient tribal handicraft, and give technical training to upgrade their handicraft skills. Promote market linkage to sell their product in the market. Chinyard has given training to 300 Kasuthi Artisans, 107 Mirror Artisans and 40 Quilt Production Training.

      9. Scholarship Amenities to Merit Students: Through this programme Chinyard has been providing scholarships to economically background merit students to continue their studies through this yearly 150 merit student’s benefit.

      10.Computer Literacy Programme: Through this programme Chinyard is providing computer education to rural and slum students. Chinyard has also been giving basic computer training to unemployed youths.

      11.Animal Welfare Programme: Through this programme Chinyard has taken initiative to construct water ponds in rural areas and started animal fodder center from this center Chinyard has been disbursing fodder to farmers.

      12.Micro Credit Programme: By this programme Chinyard has been supporting Micro Credit facility to rural poor masses. This programmes prime vision is support to startup micro enterprise and to generate income generation activities to rural masses. Chinyard has supported 53,200 women self help groups. Till date women self help groups cumulative savings is 4.50 crore and Internal lending is 9 crore.

      13.Drinking Water Project: Under this project Chinyard has given bore well repair training to 35 Tribal women to take initiative to repair bore wells.

      14.Documentation: Chinyard has been keeping day to day activity reports, if higher authorities, donors require Chinyard will submit the report immediately. Chinyard has done rating care by M-Cril rating agency, Mumbai and also done external evaluation of rural women empowerment by Mahamad Guttigar. Chinyard has published annual reports. Chinyard provides opportunities to researchers to do a study at the organization.

      15.Human Resource: In Chinyard’s organization there are 32 well qualified, experienced staffs working over the last 21 years. Chinyard’s staff has passion towards social work and work for underprivileged development upliftment purposes.

      Now we are unable to carry out the above activities, due to lack of financial sources. In this connection we are requesting your assistance for further development work. Your one contribution can bring brightness among the underprivileged masses. Your kind donations will get tax exemption under 12(A) and 80G Income Tax Act-1961. Further any more information, visit our organization website:

      If you have friends, or donors who would like to donate for this noble cause please kindly forward these details to them and help in serving the purpose.

      Looking forward to your positive response.

      Yours Faithfully

      Tracey. Rodrigues


    • Voodoo Mama profile imageAUTHOR

      Voodoo Mama 

      9 years ago

      Thank you, I had no idea my hub was nominated as a hub nugget! A pleasant surprise!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I am amazed that there are so many forms of chants. I also do some chanting as an act of healing prayer. Thank you for writing about this topic.

      Did you know that your hub has been nominated? Yes -- a Hubnugget nominee. See it for yourself: Enjoy the hubnuggets. vote vote vote!

    • megmccormick profile image


      9 years ago from Utah

      Good job on your first Hub and thanks for the great info on chanting. I was just at Burning Man and they would have lots of opportunities for group chants but my favorite was the daily "Monkey Chant" Congratulations on being nominated as a Hubnugget

    • Captain Jimmy profile image

      Captain Jimmy 

      9 years ago from WV

      I am a former worlock, Beware my friend! Seek ye the Lord!

    • Voodoo Mama profile imageAUTHOR

      Voodoo Mama 

      9 years ago

      This is my first hub, so leave me some feedback, okay? Thanks!


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