A skiing 'pagan' prays for snow

Can a wedding-day prayer in South Dakota affect Juneau's weather?

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2007

A few weeks ago in the middle of my wedding Mass, I managed to slip in a request for a winter with lots of snow.

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Everyone with skis, a board, or snowmachine do-ing nothing should take up the cause in their own way, every chance they get.

As a non-Catholic standing before 150 new Midwestern family members at my wedding, I asked them all to pray for a banner snow year in Juneau.

Over the priest's glare and in that obedient group-thing that happens at Catholic Mass, they all replied, "Loving God, hear our payer."

I've developed a pagan thing that is more manageable than organized religion. Comfort and guidance derive from the teachings of atmospheric sciences, wisdom and humility through daily mountain worship, so the prayer was offered with little "faith" that five words could deliver 48 to 100 inches of snow by Thanksgiving.

Now as the snow level creeps closer the sea and the cooling effects of a mild La Nina grows weekly since that wedding Mass, I have to ask if there is something to my new relatives' prayer.

Snow has fallen almost every night since then.

I've heard talk of violent crime dropping by 25 percent for 72 hours in Detroit because a group of Tibetan monks sat meditating in the center of the city sending out good energy.

There was good energy on my wedding day.

Last March a researcher from the University of Arizona concluded that intercessory prayer had an effect on its subject. He found that "prayer offered on behalf of another yields positive effects."

Could the effects of that big South Dakota prayer be compounded here?

It's the time of year when the local faithful flock to Centennial Hall taking in snow sermons by the longtime traveling revivalist Warren Miller, then getting some fresh preaching from the good folks at Teton Gravity Research.

According to a wise friend, it's really group energy that affects weather most. To best affect the weather, he says, you have to get the heart pumping with a little dance and "send a little vibration."

A local weather-shaman in the Juneau office of the National Weather Service acknowledges there is some room in forecasting for faith. I asked him if the prayers of 150 Catholics in South Dakota could affect global weather patterns.

Unfortunately his faith is limited to the three-day forecast model: snow today, a 40 percent chance of rain and snow showers Monday, and rain and snow likely Tuesday.

• Greg Skinner can bereached at 523-2258 or at greg.skinner@juneauempire.com.

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