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Prayer in Gaelic Polytheism

by Annie Loughlin, Kathryn Price NicDhna and Treasa N Chonchobhair

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Published by An Chuallacht #haol Nao!a www gaolnao!a co" Published $% No&e"ber '%1' (irst edition Co)yright * '%1' Annie Loughlin, Kathryn Price NicDhna, and Treasa N Chonchobhair All +ights +eser&ed Published in the ,nited -tates o! A"erica Ty)ogra)hy and interior layout by Aestas Designs -)ecial than.s to P/l 0acA"hlaoibh and -.y Da&is !or the initial read1through and !eedbac. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owners and the above publisher of this book. If you are downloading this from any site other than or Gaol!aofa please know that you"ve downloaded an illegal copy.

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#aelic Polytheist )ractice is based on relationshi)s o! "utual res)ect and a!!ection between oursel&es and Na Tr Naomh2the deities, ancestors and s)irits o! nature 1 There!ore, )rayer is not an act )er!or"ed u)on the bended .nee o! ser&itude2nor do we beg, in&eigle, or treat the gods as "agic genies or )sychic )ets +ather, )rayer is an act o! co""unication, a!!ection, illu"ination, and a "eans o! raising our awareness o! the co""ingled .inshi) o! the sacred and "undane in our li&es Piety de!initely has a role in #aelic Polytheis", and )rayer ser&es as one such way to show our re&erence and res)ect 2our )iousness2!or the D ocus An-D 34gods and un1gods45 ' Though we do not beg or ca6ole Na Tr Naomh, we do so"eti"es )etition !or their assistance in certain "atters Through )rayer we "ight re7uest that a 6ourney we are about to ta.e be sa!e, or we "ight as. !or healing !or a lo&ed one 8! a natural disaster occurs, we "ay as. that they grant their blessing u)on the land, or to )lease )rotect our )eo)le !ro" an a))roaching stor" 9e )ray !or their aid in the con&alescence 3or )assing1 on5 o! our lo&ed ones, and that we understand their "essages to us :ne o! the core belie!s e"bodied in our #aelic Polytheist Li!eway $ is that this relationshi) between hu"ans and the s)irit world is based on "utual a!!ection and res)ect 9e ne&er treat Na Tr Naomh as "erely beings who are there to grant our e&ery undying wish As these s)irits are "ore )ower!ul than hu"an beings, we do not thin. it is our )lace or ability to try to co""and or control the" 9hile so"e 4"agical4 traditions "ay wor. that way, #aelic Polytheis" is based on a &ery di!!erent world&iew

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#aol Nao!a re!ers to this triune o! s)irit beings as Na Tr Naomh 3#aeilge5, An Tr Naomh 3#idhlig5, or Yn Tree Noo 3#aelg5, 4The -acred Three,4 who "ay also be re!erred to as the D ocus An-D 3-engodelc5, the 4#ods and ,n1#ods 4 -ee The Gaol Naofa FAQ !or "ore detail 8bid 8n #idhlig, Ar Digh-Beatha Ioma-Dhia hach Gh!i healach , and #aeilge, "r nD#igh Bheatha Il iach is Gaelach #aol Nao!a has coined this ter" to better describe our s)eci!ic tradition and belie!s, as )racticed by the core "e"bers o! #aol Nao!a This is )artly in order to distinguish oursel&es !ro" other #aelic Polytheist grou)s, but also to e")hasise our co""it"ent to our s)irituality as a $a% of life Although ad"ittedly a bit o! a "outh!ul, we !eel the )hrase s)ea.s to the heart o! #aol Nao!a;s )hiloso)hy and co""unity (or "ore on this, see The Gaol Naofa FAQ $ | www gaolnao!a co"

Sources for Prayers, Charms, and Songs

As Celtic +econstructionists,< we ta.e our cues !ro" the sur&i&ing e&idence that we ha&e at hand, and so we see "any o! the char"s, songs and )rayers recorded in wor.s li.e Ale=ander Car"ichael;s &armina Ga elica, Douglas >yde;s The 'eligious (ongs of &onnacht, and +ed!ern 0ason;s The (ong )ore of Irelan as being hel)!ul !or de&elo)ing our own daily )ractices, liturgy and )rayers ? through old 6ournals can also hel), but this can ta.e a bit "ore )atience to !ind anything use!ul 0ac@ain;s ;#aelic 8ncantations; article is es)ecially use!ul !or "any o! the )rayers Car"ichael )ublished and ins)iration B The si"ilarities between "any o! the songs, e&en though they are !ound in se)arate 8rish 3#aeilge5 and -cottish 3#idhlig5 conte=ts, is suggesti&e o! their anti7uity and co""on origin a"ong our distant ancestors These songs and )rayers, although so"eti"es rather Christian in outloo., contain "any a))arent )re1Christian ele"ents and "oti!s that ha&e sur&i&ed u) into the )resent day 9hile the "anuscri)ts containing these )rayers are not )re1Christian, they can be &iewed as being, at the &ery least, a direct continuation and ada)tation o! a co""on )re1Christian heritage and belie! 8t is in this tradition that we can re&i&e the use o! the non1Christian, earth1honouring )rayers and )oe"s that ha&e sur&i&ed 9e can also slightly 4bac.1engineer4 the )rayers and songs that ha&e ob&ious )re1Christian content 3and only a thin &eneer o! Christianisation5 And we can study the content and !or" o! the traditional char"s, )rayers and songs, learning to create our own )rayersC )rayers that continue our ancestors; tradition o! singing to the s)irits, deities and ancestors, o! calling down blessings u)on the land and our )eo)le, o! bringing healing, abundance and )eace


8rish )rayer, Dennis King;s -engodelc site is a good starting )lace !or !urther re!erences

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#aelic Polytheis", a.a #aelic +econstructionist Polytheis", is a subset o! the larger category o! Celtic +econstructionis" -ee The Gaol Naofa FAQ !or "ore on this 0ost o! these are !reely a&ailable through either #oogle @oo.s or The 8nternet Archi&e, although as !ar as the &armina Ga elica is concerned only &olu"es 11$ o! the si= &olu"e set are archi&ed !or !ree 3&olu"e three is currently only a&ailable at The 8nternet Archi&e5 -ee the reading list at the end o! this essay !or a&ailable lin.s ;#aelic 8ncantations ; -engodelc < | www gaolnao!a co"

Language in Prayer
9hile learning a #aelic language is not necessary to be a #aelic Polytheist, it is strongly reco""ended within #aol Nao!a D The reasons !or this enco")ass both the s)iritual and )ractical (or one, we would consider it res)ect!ul to at least try and )ronounce the na"es o! the gods and s)irits we are co""unicating with correctly (or "any o! us, learning a #aelic language is a way o! honouring our ancestors as well 0ost o! all, as an organisation that e")hasises cultural )reser&ation, we belie&e that language learning is a &ital )art o! contributing so"ething towards the )reser&ation, re&italisation and continuation o! #aelic languages and cultures as a whole E Language is the heart o! a culture, and ac7uiring an understanding o! how language is used within a culture can hel) gi&e us an idea o! the underlying world&iew, &alues and attitudes o! that culture Any study o! languages, as an intellectual e=ercise alone, is only going to lead to a su)er!icial understanding, howe&er Learning a language and using it can gi&e a !ar di!!erent )ers)ecti&eC a language that is learned but ne&er s)o.en can ne&er truly li&e inside us 0any o! us who are learning a #aelic language !ind that using it in ritual allows us to e=)ress oursel&es "ore clearly, and studying #aelic songs and )rayers are not 6ust a good way o! learning the language, but singing and saying the" aloud gi&es us the o))ortunity to use #aelic and gi&e our learning "eaning in our e&eryday li&es 1% The le&el at which #aelic is incor)orated into )rayer or ritual is u) to the indi&idual or grou), and !or "any it will de)end on their con!idence or le&el o! !luency in the language To start with, you "ay wish to learn so"e o! the )rayers in #aelic that need &ery little ada)tation, or incor)orate ones that ha&e been shared by others who are "ore
D 9e strongly reco""end that those who wish to learn a #aelic language should choose one language and stic. with it until they "aster it :nly a!ter !luency is obtained will you want to e=)and to other languages as well 9hile 8rish, -cots #aelic and 0an= are di!!erent languages there are also "any si"ilarities due to their co""on origin, and the di!!erences can easily beco"e con!using i! you try to learn "ore than one language at a ti"e -o"e language resources can be !ound in the #aol Nao!a library section o! the website E -ee The Gaol Naofa FAQ !or "ore on this, as well as the Languages )age on our website 1% 9e would stress that while we are discussing the use o! language in a ritual conte=t here, s)eci!ically, we are not ad&ocating the learning o! a #aelic language si")ly !or use in ritual or )rayer alone To do so would "ean that our use o! #aelic would be &eer dangerously close to an a!!ectation, so"ething su)er!icial, and this is not so"ething that we would consider to be res)ect!ul or )articularly "eaning!ul 9ithout daily, general use o! a language that is being learned, any ho)es o! !luency are sli", as well Learning to understand, read and s)ea. the language !ro" the ground u) is also in&aluable in learning to read and translate the traditional "aterials we use, and will e&entually enable you to e=)ress yoursel! in a way that "ore !ully re!lects a #aelic world&iew ? | www gaolnao!a co"

ad&anced in their linguistic abilities, into your own )ractices As your con!idence and !luency grows you "ight wish to try your hand at " your own )rayers in #aelic as well 9hate&er you decide, there are a nu"ber o! things that need to be ta.en into consideration when at )rayers and songs in a #aelic Polytheist conte=t, and these considerations a))ly no "atter which language you choose to use

Modifying Existing Prayers and Songs

The &armina Ga elica undoubtedly !or"s the "ain )oint o! re!erence !or "ost #aelic Polytheists when to understand how )rayers and songs "ay be re&i&ed or ada)ted, but li.e any source we "ight loo. at, the Car"ina is not without its )roble"s -)anning si= &olu"es,11 Car"ichael collected the "a6ority o! the songs and )rayers !ro" &arious )laces in the >ebrides in the "id1late nineteenth century The !irst two &olu"es were )ublished at the turn o! the twentieth century, with !our !urther &olu"es being a!ter Car"ichael;s death in the 1E<%s and ;?%s The !irst thing to understand about the &armina Ga elica is that it does not )resent songs and )rayers !ro" a )re1Christian )eriodC while a nu"ber o! these songs and )rayers can be seen to be related to )rayers that are centuries, e&en a "illennia older 1' none o! the" can be said with any certainty to be e=)licitly, o&ertly )agan in origin >owe&er, although they "ay be Christian in conte=t we can see that there are a nu"ber o! ele"ents

11 :! which the !irst !i&e &olu"es )resent songs, )rayers and transcri)ts o! co""entary !ro" the "any in!or"ants Car"ichael s)o.e to, with the si=th &olu"e )ro&iding a detailed glossary and indices !or re!erence 1' C ! The lorica )rayers, !or e=a")le, the earliest o! which can be !ound !ro" around the eighth century and continuing in "any di!!erent !or"s to the )resent day The best .nown e=a")le is the 8rish 4-t Patric.;s @reast)late,4 also .nown as 4The Deer;s Cry,4 but there are )lenty o! e=a")les to be !ound in the &armina Ga elica and elsewhere Char"s that contain the conce)t o! healing 4bone to bone, sinew to sinew,4 or &ariations thereo!, ha&e a long )edigree in #aelic )rayer and "yth The sa"e !or"ula can be !ound in the 8rish tale &ath *aige Tuire , and can be !ound in #er"anic sources 3the 0erseberg 0anuscri)t5 as well The 0erseberg char" is thought to date bac. to the ninth or tenth century but the !or" o! the char" can also be !ound in Athar&a Feda and is li.ely to be !ar older than the tenth century -eeG 0ac@ain, ;#aelic 8ncantations,; in Transactions of the Gaelic (ociet% of In+erness ,olume -,II , 1DE', )''<C #ri!!iths, As.ects of Anglo-(a/on *agic , 1EEA, )1B111B'C &GII H1$1, 1$'I The liturgy used to in&ite @rJde into the house at L (hKill @rJghde can be !ound in the &armina Ga elica ,olume I 3)1AD5, and in older sources as well 0artin 0artin gi&es a descri)tion in the late se&enteenth century, and there is also another descri)tion written in 1B%% to the "inister o! Ness that shows a re" consistency in )ractice o&er the course o! se&eral hundred years -ee -tiLbhart, ;-o"e >eathenish and -u)erstitious +itesG A Letter !ro" Lewis, 1B%%,; in (cottish (tu ies 012 The 3ournal of the (chool of (cottish (tu ies, '%%A, )'1D1'1E A | www gaolnao!a co"

that see" to be stri.ingly )re1Christian in their o&ertones 0anannMn "ac Lir is "entioned in se&eral )rayers in the &armina Ga elica, and elsewhere,1$ and i! we loo. to the 8sle o! 0an there "ay be reason to belie&e that, as with their 0an= neighbours, at least so"e )rayers were altered when they were shared with Car"ichael in order to "a.e the" see" "ore acce)table to a Christian audience 1< This gi&es us so"e leeway with which to loo. underneath the Christian &eneer oursel&es 9hile the #aelic oral tradition has been incredibly solid and unwa&ering, 1? and this cultural attitude largely )ersisted when writing ca"e to the islands, Car"ichael did ta.e liberties with so"e o! his transcri)tions and translationsC this has led to so"e acade"ics to 7uestion the authenticity o! "any o! Car"ichael;s )rayers The contro&ersy has o!ten been o&er)layed in so"e 7uarters, but +onald @lac. has shown that while Car"ichael "ade a concerted e!!ort to 4)olish4 at least so"e o! the )rose narrati&e, the songs and )rayers he recorded do not show any sign o! inauthenticity when co")ared with other sources that are a&ailable 1A As we always tri)le1chec. Car"ichael;s #aelic as well as his translations, this 4)olishing4 should not a!!ect the .inds o! )rayers we "ight re!er to, then, although it is i")ortant to be "ind!ul o! the )ossibilities >owe&er, there are so"e other )oints to bear in "ind that ha&e "ore o! an i")act on how we "ight a))roach and, when needed, ada)t Car"ichael;s wor. As anyone who has seen the originals o! his !ield notes can attest, Car"ichael;s handwriting was atrocious1B and so"eti"es the assistants tas.ed with ty)ing u) his "anuscri)ts had to really guess at what he was trying to say This has resulted in so"e 4words4 e=isting in Car"ichael;s #aelic that are !ound nowhere else, there!ore necessitating studying the &ersions o! those )rayers recorded by others Ad"ittedly in so"e cases these words "ay not necessarily be wrong, but instead "ay be e&idence o! now obsolete &ocabulary !ro" certain dialects, or instances where a "inor "iss)elling or lac. o! accent "ar.s resulted in the wrong word being translated This

1$ @lac., The Gaelic 4ther$orl , '%%?, )'1EC e5g5, Car"ichael, &armina Ga elica ,olume I,, 1E<1, )'E%1'E1 1< :n the 8sle o! 0an a )rayer !or sa!e sailing was shared with !ol.lorists which called on -t Patric.C sus)ecting that so"ething was u), the !ol.lorist -o)hia 0orrison !inally "anaged to get one local to ad"it that the original &ersion o! the )rayer calls on 0anannMn, and that "any o! the )rayers that had been shared were altered by local to a&oid 6udge"ent or conde"nation !or )aganis", and as a "atter o! )ri&acy Douglas, 0orrison, #ilchrist, @roadwood, ;#ods, -)rites and (airies,; in 3ournal of the Fol6-(ong (ociet%7 ,ol5 87 No5 9:, 1E'<, )1%% 1? (or "ore on this seeG Nagy, The ;is om of the 4utla$2 The Bo%hoo Fee s of Finn in Gaelic Narrati+e Tra ition , 1ED?, )' 1A @lac., ;8 Thought >e 0ade 8t All ,)G Conte=t and Contro&ersy,; in The )ife an )egac% of Ale/an er &armichael , '%%D, )B< 1B Nou can see !or yoursel! in the scans a&ailable at the Car"ichael 9atson Pro6ect -ee also their blog B | www gaolnao!a co"

latter )roble" is )articularly i")ortant to bear in "ind, because in the !irst two &olu"es Car"ichael chose not to use gra&e or acute accents 3or chose to use the" &ery s)aringly5 9ithout the accents we "ight end u) with so"e rather un!ortunate wording -o"e care!ul is there!ore necessary when getting into the nitty1gritty o! the #idhlig, and dictionaries that include archaic &ocabulary are necessary !or this wor. 1D Additionally, Car"ichael had his own biases in translation, )articularly when it co"es to wo"en and Christianity -o"eti"es his Onglish &ersion will be addressed to Pesus and angels, when the original #aelic actually says, si")ly, 4guardian s)irits4C other ti"es wo"en or s)irits who are described as strong and so&ereign in the #aelic are si")ly called 4)retty4 in Car"ichael;s Onglish 8t is in learning to translate #aelic oursel&es, and in the ti"e to do the detecti&e wor. on "istranslations and !aulty transcri)tions, that the "any layers o! "eaning re&eal the"sel&es in the #aelic te=t 8t is also i")ortant to re"e"ber that Car"ichael;s biases and desire to )ortray the >ebridean )eo)le in a )ositi&e light also led to his decision to withhold the )ublication o! "any )rayers that he !elt were too 4)agan,4 1E and the "ost notable area in this res)ect are any songs or )rayers to do with -a"hain '% O&en so, so"e o! the &armina )rayers need no 4bac.1engineering4 at all They sing o! s)irits and )owers o! the land, sea and s.y, o! guardians and guides and the sun and the "oon :ther )rayers are ob&iously "uch "ore recent, rooted in a world&iew that worshi)s Pesus, #od, the (ather, the -on and the >oly -)irit, and so"eti"es "a.e obli7ue re!erences to the re)etition o! Christian liturgy !or )rotection or healing, and so on '1 The )ieces that ob&iously originated !ro" a Christian world&iew can not2and arguably should not2be bac.1engineeredC while they "ay )ro&e interesting !or understanding Celtic Christianity and so"e o! our recent ancestors, they ha&e little rele&ance to us as #aelic Polytheists This lea&es a nu"ber o! )oe"s, songs and )rayers that are in a "iddle groundG "i=ing both )olytheist, earth1honoring ideas with Christian ones These are the ones that "ay be used only a!ter bac.1engineering, and the )rocess has a nu"ber o! considerations that need to be ta.en into account, including the language being used @ac.1engineering
1D 1E '% '1 Dwelly;s, and ety"ological dictionaries li.e 0ac@ain and )articularly use!ul 0ee., ;Ale=ander Car"ichael and Celtic Christianity,; in The )ife an )egac% of Ale/an er &armichael, '%%D, )D' @lac., The Gaelic 4ther$orl , '%%?, )A%% -o"e )rayers re!er to 4se&en Paters4 and so !orth, which re!ers to the re)etition o! the Lord;s Prayer se&en ti"es in order !or the )rayer to be e!!ecti&e O g H1$BI, Car"ichael, &armina Ga elica ,olume II, 1E%%, )$A1$B D | www gaolnao!a co"

needs to be done with an understanding o! the )oetic structures in the original #aelic, the "ulti)le layers o! "eaning in the original #aelic, and the understanding o! the )ur)ose !or which the char" or )rayer was used Any deities that are swa))ed in !or saints, !or e=a")le, "ust only be done so with an understanding o! which saints or angels "ay ha&e ta.en o&er the 7ualities and 6obs o! the deity who )receded the" a"ong our )olytheistic ancestors -t Pohn the @a)tist see"s to be associated with 0anannMn in so"e cases, !or e=a")le,'' but as )atron saint the sea, -t 0ichael '$ "ight also ha&e ta.en o&er roles otherwise associated with 0anannMn 0ichael;s warrior associations, as well as his associations with horses and har&ests, "ay also indicate so"e o&erla))ing with Lugh or 0acha Li.e these two deities, 0ichael is associated with a har&est !esti&al that is celebrated with horse1racing, and the si"ilarities between the LLnastal and 0ichael"as !esti&als in -cotland suggest that there "ay ha&e been so"e con!lation or deliberate shi!ting !ro" one !esti&al to another '< -o"eti"es )rayers in the Car"ina #adelica do not call on s)eci!ic saints or angels, but instead re!er to #od, Christ, the >oly -)irit, or else they are re!erred to collecti&ely This collecti&e ter" is gi&en as An Tr, 4The Three4 or An Tr Naomh, 4The -acred Three,4'? and while the ter" o!ten re!ers to the >oly Trinity in a Christian conte=t, it is 6ust as rele&ant in a )olytheistic conte=t as a collecti&e ter" !or the gods, s)irits and ancestors :therwise, in #idhlig )rayer we "ight wish to address the gods, Diathan instead o! #od D<, or Christ, &ros 9e "ight also include the ancestors, (innsearan, and the s)irits, Daoine (th or (ail-(.iora an 34Peo)le o! Peace4 or 4#uardian -)irits4 res)ecti&ely5 8n 8rish, we "ight address the Dithe 3gods5, (insir 3ancestors5, and Aos ( or Daoine ( he 3the !ol. o! the "ounds5 (or 8rish )rayers there are a slightly di!!erent set o! considerations to ta.e into account when a))roaching the .inds o! )rayer the sources ha&e to o!!er There are "any di!!erent sources we can loo. to in !inding )rayers and blessings that "ight be a))ro)riate !or use in a #aelic Polytheist conte=t, and this can "ean ha&ing to do 7uite a bit o! si!ting

'' @oth are associated with 0idsu""er, !or e=a")le, with the 0an= )ractice o! )aying the rents to 0anannMn being )er!or"ed at 0idsu""er 3the !east o! -t Pohn the @a)tist5 0anannMn "ay also be !ound in the !igure o! -hony @lac., The Gaelic 4ther$orl , '%%?, )?E%1?E1 '$ Car"ichael, &armina Ga elica ,olume I, 1E%%, )1ED '< -ee !or e=a")le, 0ichael"as (or the shi!ting o! !esti&al custo"s, see 0cNeill, The (il+er Bough ,olume II, 1E?E, )E' '? :!ten gi&en as An Tr Numh by Car"ichael, !or e=a")le -ong QD<, but Naomh is the )ro)er s)elling E | www gaolnao!a co"

and sorting through di!!erent boo.s 3a list is gi&en below, !or so"e )laces to start5 The "ain issues re&ol&e around the linguistic side o! things because, li.e any language, 8rish is not static 8t has changed and e&ol&ed o&er ti"e, and so while there are )rayers in 8rish that "ight be e=tre"ely old, we "ight !ind oursel&es ha&ing to get to gri)s with either :ld 8rish or 0iddle 8rish, and the ways they can di!!er substantially !ro" any o! the "odern dialects 8! we want to wor. with these )rayers in 8rish, then any changes to these )rayers will need to be done in either :ld or 0iddle 8rish, as a))ro)riate, including the gra""ar o! that ti"e )eriod 8! this cannot be done with a reasonable degree o! accuracy, )erha)s it is a better alternati&e to ada)t the )rayer into "odern 8rish or #aelic, i! you ha&e "ore gra""atical s.ill with those languages A )oint that we cannot stress enough, howe&er, is that it is essential that any translation into "odern languages be done !ro" the original 8rish 9e ha&e all seen )oor 4translations4 out there that were clearly translated !ro" an Onglish1only &ersion into "odern 8rish, resulting in "odern 8rish &ersions that bear little rese"blance to the "eanings in the original 8rish )rayer Translation o! :ld and 0iddle 8rish wor.s can be daunting !or e&en the scholars o! :ld 8rish, let alone the student >owe&er, one o! the biggest ad&antages in at these )rayers is that where we !ind &ery old language being used, we can be "ore con!ident that they "ight bear e&idence o! )re1Christian roots 'A The wor. is di!!icult but, with )erse&erance, can be highly rewarding There are so"e 8rish ter"s that are co""only used by #aelic Polytheists, but trying to crow1bar the" into #idhlig )rayer 3or &ice &ersa5 is not reco""ended !or a nu"ber o! reasons Although #aelic languages ha&e a co""on origin they ha&e e&ol&ed, and while they certainly still ha&e a lot in co""on they also ha&e their di!!erences, with their own 7uir.s, idio"s, and )hraseology This "eans that inserting )hrases !ro" one language to another without ada)ting the" "ight resulting in bad gra""ar or unintended "eanings 8n ter"s o! gra""ar, si")ly )utting the #idhlig An Tr Naomh into an 8rish )rayer would be incorrect, so it should be ada)ted into 8rish as Na Tr Naomh As !ar as unintended "eanings go, this is es)ecially true o! the the :ld 8rish )hrase D ocus An-D 34#ods and ,ngods45, a )hrase that cro)s u) 7uite !re7uently in #aelic

'A -ee !or e=a")le a blessing !ro" 4The -tory o! the (inding o! Cashel,4 1 Dillon, 4The -tory o! the (inding o! Cashel,4 =riu >?, 1E?', )AE 1% | www gaolnao!a co"

Polytheis" 8n "odern 8rish it beco"es Dithe agus An-Dithe, and it can be used in 8rish )rayer where a collecti&e ter" !or the gods, s)irits and ancestors is called !or The ter" would "ost li.ely beco"e Diathan agus Neo-Diathan in #idhlig, but here the )re!i= neo1 can ha&e negati&e connotations, i")lying that the ,ngods are e&il, which is not so"ething that is i")lied in the 8rish As a result, we do not belie&e that the ter" can be )ro)erly ada)ted to a -cottish conte=t, and we would reco""end with An Tr Naomh !or #idhlig )rayers Another thing to consider in ada)ting e=isting )rayers is that #aelic Polytheists "ight de&elo) close relationshi)s with a nu"ber o! deities, and so "ay wish to address the" in )rayer 8! a s)eci!ic deity, or nu"ber o! deities are to be addressed then there are a nu"ber o! issues to consider 8nstead o! denoting a s)eci!ic goddess or god to in&ariably ta.e the )lace o! Pesus R Co 3always using Danu in )lace o! 0ary, or Lugh or 0acha in )lace o! -t 0ichael !or instance5, in "any cases )rayers are best ada)ted on an indi&idual basis and na"es substituted with the )articular goddess or god you !eel "ost connected to, and )re!erably ha&e a relationshi) with, using research, your own intuition, and co""unity !eedbac. to guide you 9hile a )articular deity "ight see" to be )er!ect !or inclusion in a )articular )rayer, i! you do not ha&e a relationshi) with the" the )rayer is unli.ely to ha&e "uch resonance with you 'B 8n this case, it "ight be "ore satis!ying to co"e u) with your own )rayers, re!erring to traditional sources in order to ca)ture the o&er all style, !eel and )ur)ose 9hen "odi!ying e=isting )rayers, one should also .ee) in "ind the sounds, rhyth"s and !unction o! the )rayer As "uch as is )ossible, any ada)tations or additions should stay consistent with the rhyth"ic structure and sound )atterns in which the original )rayer is s)o.en or sungC this hel)s to retain the dee)er "eanings and s)irit o! the )rayer (or e=a")le, when the "etre o! a )rayer changes, it "eans so"ething :n the "ost basic le&el, it "ay be that the best words !or the conce)ts necessitated a di!!erent "etre 8n other cases, it indicates a shi!t in "ood, which can be !elt as the rhyth"s o! the words change the )ace o! your breathing 8n other cases, it indicates that additional &erses were added to the )iece a!ter the !act, es)ecially when the )rayer abru)tly shi!ts !ro"

'B Though in so"e cases ada)ting or co")osing a )rayer !or a deity "ay be a way o! introducing yoursel! to the" and e=)loring the )ossibility o! a relationshi) 11 | www gaolnao!a co"

nature "oti!s to Christian ones 8n these cases, the aty)ical 3and )robably tac.ed1on5 &erses o! traditional )ieces can usually be discarded rather than ada)ted Another e=a")leG i! a goddess or god does not ha&e connections with healing then they )robably would not be best suited !or a healing char" or )rayer @earing this in "ind, one should choose traditional )ieces that are in line with the interests and s)ecialities o! your guardian s)irits or deities, so as to change as little as )ossible 9hen you share )ieces you ha&e bac.1engineered, we strongly reco""end that you !ootnote thoroughly, so )eo)le without the original te=t in !ront o! the" can understand what you changed and why @y reading the )ieces aloud in #aelic, you will begin to internaliSe the rhyth"s and )oetic structures, and the way these as)ects in!luence s)iritual states and "ood

Making Your Own Prayers

As we ha&e already touched u)on, so"eti"es it is necessary or desirable to "a.e our own )rayers and liturgy The reasons !or this are "any2either because there are )rayers that are not suitable to ada)t, !or one reason or another, or because the changes that would need to be "ade to a )articular )rayer would alter the )ur)ose and conte=t o! it too "uch Perha)s one o! the biggest reasons, howe&er, is that " our own )rayers can hel) gi&e our own &oice to our belie!s and our tradition, which allows us to "a.e a "ore )ersonal and tangible connection with what we;re doing and who we;re co""unicating withC on a &ery basic le&el, so"eti"es we 6ust need to )ray !ro" a heart!elt )lace and we don;t necessarily ha&e a traditional )rayer that 7uite co&ers what we want to say A de!inite ad&antage o! " our own )rayers is that it is a good way o! dee)ening our understanding o! our #aelic Polytheist world&iew, and the sy"bols and conce)ts that under)in our belie!s and tradition 9hate&er our "oti&es, it is i")ortant to re"e"ber that 6ust as ada)ting e=isting )rayers needs to be done sensiti&ely, res)ect!ully, and a))ro)riately, the sa"e a))lies in " our own )rayers Li.e any religion, #aelic Polytheis" is rooted in a cos"ology and sy"bolis" that e=)resses the belie!s and conce)ts that under)in our s)irituality, and our )rayers and liturgy e")loy this sy"bolis" 6ust as "uch as our "yths do As a result o! this, a nu"ber o! "oti!s or
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ele"ents can be !ound cro))ing o&er and o&er again2certain .inds o! i"agery, ter"s and )hrases that hel) to su" u) the !unda"entals o! belie! 8n addition to )hrases li.e An Tr Naomh or Dithe agus An-Dithe, we !ind recurring conce)ts li.e the three real"s o! land, sea and s.y, )articular e)ithets and ani"als that sy"bolise or suggest certain deities or s)irits, and so on The sy"bolic use o! nu"bers is also a recurring ele"ent, es)ecially threes, !i&es, se&ens, and nines All o! these ter"s and conce)ts hel) us e=)ress how we see the world around us, according to our belie!s, and also hel) us e=)ress the nature o! our relationshi) with the gods, nature s)irits, and ancestors 8n this sense, these )hrases and conce)ts can be incor)orated into our own )rayers as "uch as they can be used in ada)ting e=isting ones >owe&er, " our own )rayers is not 6ust a si")le case o! adding in a !ew stoc. )hrases, i"ages or nu"bers here and thereC we need to loo. dee)er than that Although e=isting )rayers "ay not always be suitable to ada)t into a )olytheistic conte=t, we can loo. at the" as a whole to get a broader )icture o! the styles and !or"s that "ight be a))ro)riate !or certain ty)es o! )rayer -o"e o! the oldest e=a")les o! )rayer and )oetry ha&e a certain style and "etre, with a certain nu"ber o! syllables used in each line, or the last word o! one line being re)eated in the ne=t 'D Conce)ts li.e enco")assing, shielding, or binding can be !ound o&er and o&er again, with )rayers !or blessing or )rotection "entioning &arious s)atial relationshi)s or locations, ti"es, di!!erent .inds o! )eo)le, and so on, in an e!!ort to "a.e sure the )ower o! the )rayer is co")lete, o!!ering co&erage o! the household or indi&idual !ro" all sides Certain actions !re7uently acco")any )rayers2 eiseil 3sunwise5 "o&e"ents, the li!ting o! hands and lowering o! head, and so on 'E 8n "any )rayers we can see that the )ower o! the )rayer is seen to be in the words the"sel&es, and their re)etition and rooting in traditionC a )rayer o! )rotection or blessing is )ower!ul because it is s)o.en, and has been s)o.en "any ti"esC a rest blessing or a s"ooring )rayer is )ower!ul because it is re)eated, and so on

'D The technical ter" !or this in 8rish is conachlonn An e=a")le o! this can be seen in the 0orrgan 3or @adb;s5 )ro)hecy in &ath *aige Tuire 3see below5 8n ter"s o! s)eci!ic "etres, in :ld 8rish the word @richt describes a 4s)ell4 3which "ight be seen as a .ind o! )rayer5, but it also re!ers to a certain "etre2eight syllables in each line This conce)t can also be !ound in e=a")les o! #aulish efi/iones 3curse tablets5, suggesting a wider Celtic, )re1Christian origin 0ees, &eltic &urses, '%%E, )1DDC )1B' 'E O g -ong DD, &armina Ga elica ,olume I, 1E%%, )'<'1'<$C -ong $%E, &armina Ga elica ,olume III, 1E<%, )'E%1'E1 1$ | www gaolnao!a co"

+e)etition and alliteration !or !low and e")hasis is also so"ething that is o!ten used in )rayer, and it is only in studying the" as a whole, and the di!!erent .inds o! )rayers as well, that we can understand how we "ight create our own )rayers that are in .ee)ing with the styles and !or"s o! )rayer that can already be !ound in tradition 8n writing our own )rayers we can always ad6ust and ada)t as our understanding e&ol&es, but when it co"es to " our own )rayers s)ontaneously in the "o"ent, trying to incor)orate all o! these things can be a daunting thought i! one is new to all o! this @ut in )ractice2and with )ractice2these things will !low "ore easily 3honestT5 9ith ti"e and study, and with i""ersion in the language and world&iew, one can e&entually learn to )ray s)ontaneously !ro" the heart, in #aelic, in a "anner that !ully enco")asses and is enco")assed by the traditional !or"s

Examples of


9hile so"e )rayers need no ada)tation or bac.1engineering at all, other )rayers need a bit "ore wor. :thers still "ight need so "uch wor. to ada)t the" that it is better to "a.e your own )rayers that are essentially 4ins)ired4 by traditional )rayer rather than a direct ada)tation The "ore wor. that is done, the "ore desirable it is to annotate your )rayers thoroughly so others can see what you "ight ha&e changed and why >ere we will ta.e a loo. at so"e e=a")les o! each .ind o! a))roach, to show the .inds o! things that can be done :ur !irst e=a")le, Alas an t-(niamh, or 4Char" !or -)rain4 is a )rayer !ro" the &armina Ga elica that essentially needs no wor. done to it at all The second e=a")le, The Bro.hec% of An *orrgan is one that has needed a lot "ore wor. done to it, and notes and co""entary are )ro&ided to gi&e an idea o! the .inds o! annotations that "ight be use!ul !or others to wor. !ro" The third e=a")le, An )iuthail or 4The Lustration,4 shows an 4essentially ins)ired4 )iece based on a )rayer o! the sa"e na"e in the &armina Ga elica

#$las an t%&niamh, or, Charm for Sprain This )rayer is !ro" Folu"e 88 o! the &armina Ga elica, and the only wor. that has been done on it is to u)date so"e o! the #idhlig 3"odern #idhlig uses slightly di!!erent
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s)elling co")ared to the older #idhlig5 and add in the a))ro)riate accents 9hen the archaic #aelic is correct and, we do not generally u)date it @ut as we touched on abo&e, Car"ichael did not tend to use accents on any o! the #idhlig he ga&e in &olu"es 8 and 88 $% This lac. can be )roble"atic Aside !ro" the !act that the accents lengthen the sound o! the &owel, thus changing the )ronunciation and rhyth" o! a )rayer, so"eti"es the lac. o! accents can cause so"e rather un!ortunate con!usions between words li.e agh 34hei!er45 and !gh 346oy45C @an1 34!e"ale45 and @!n 34white45C or @as 34)al" o! the hand45 and @!s 34death45C a"ong others :ne o! the "ost !eatures o! this )rayer is the !act that the language used 1 4bone to bone !lesh to !lesh 4 etc can be !ound in "uch older 8rish sources, such as &ath *aige Tuire 34The -econd @attle o! 0ag Tured45, and in other languages as well A ninth or tenth century #er"anic "anuscri)t uses the sa"e !or"ula and attributes it to :din, while the !ar older Athar+a ,e a also echoes the conce)t $1 9hile we cannot conclusi&ely say that it is )re1Christian in origin, it certainly has a long )edigreeG !"idhlig &hai h Br e mach *a ainn mhoch7 )e c!rai eachC Bhris each a chas7 )e Dinich och7 Bha si mu seach7 &huir i cn!mh ri cn!mh7 &huir i feil ri feil7 &huir i f<ithe ri f<ithe7 &huir i cuisle ri cuisleC *ar a leighis ise sin Gun leighis mise seo5 English @rJde went out 8n the "orning early, 9ith a )air o! horsesC :ne bro.e his leg, 9ith "uch ado, That was a)art, -he )ut bone to bone, -he )ut !lesh to !lesh, -he )ut sinew to sinew, -he )ut &ein to &einC As she healed that 0ay 8 heal this $'

$% This is not such an issue in the rest o! the &olu"es because these were )ublished a!ter Car"ichael;s death a!ter being edited by Car"ichael;s daughter or son1in1law $1 -eeG 0ac@ain, ;#aelic 8ncantations,; in Transactions of the Gaelic (ociet% of In+erness ,olume -,II , 1DE', )''<C #ri!!iths, As.ects of Anglo-(a/on *agic, 1EEA, )1B111B'C &armina Ga elica ,olume II H1$1, 1$'I $' :riginalG Car"ichael, 4OUlas an t1-nia"h 1 Char" !or -)rain H1$%I 4 &armina Ga elica ,olume II, 1E%%, )1D11E Alas also "eans 4.nowledge,4 as in elas-selai h, 4intuition4 and elas-inntinn, 4"eta)hysics4 3literally, 4"ind .nowledge45 -ee Dwelly;s 0issing accents ha&e been added where a))ro)riate, and a !ew o! the archaic s)ellings u)dated &hai h Bri e mach V Car"ichael gi&es char at the start o! the char", which is a local )ronunciation o! chai h in the Lochbroo" and #airloch area -ee Dwelly *a ainn mhoch V The s)elling o! ma uinn that Car"ichael ga&e has been u)dated to ma ainn 1? | www gaolnao!a co"

The !or"ula2re)airing !lesh and &eins2suggests a))lications !or healing beyond s)rained or bro.en legs as a literal inter)retation "ight indicate This "eta)hor has also been used in )rayers that bonds o! co""unity be re)aired, changing 4 Gun leighis mise seo 1 0ay 8 heal this4 to 4Gun leighis sinne seo W 0ay we heal this 4

#he Prophecy of

n Morr$gan

(ollowing the de!eat o! the (or"orians by the Tuatha DX Danann in the -econd @attle o! 0ag Tuired, @adb 3or the 0orrgan daughter o! Orn"as5 sings a )oe" celebrating the &ictory, and a )ro)hecy o! a co"ing ti"e o! )eace and )ros)erity This is that )ro)hecy The -engodelc original is in a solid bloc. o! te=t

@ased on other 8rish )oe"s !ro"

the )eriod that ha&e the sa"e or si"ilar )oetic !or"2notably, rosc, where the last word o! a line alliterates with the !irst word o! the ne=t line, a"ong other !actors2Kathryn has added line brea.s to the original to 3ho)e!ully5 "a.e the rhyth" and !low o! the )iece "ore a))arent, as well as o!!ering a new translation 0uch o! the 8rish here is archaic, with inconsistent s)ellings, words that are not !ound elsewhere, and )ossible scribal errorsC this has resulted in a certain degree o! guesswor. and di&ergent inter)retations a"ong scholars @y annotating the )oe" e=tensi&ely, it will ho)e!ully be clear how we ca"e to these decisions in wording

Sengo$delc (ith co nem5 Nem co oman5 Doman fo nm7 nert hi cach7 En forlann7 lan o mil7 mi co saith5 (am hi ngam7 gai for sciath7 sciath for urn 5 Duna lonngargC longait-tromfo fo i u7 ross for@iur @enna a@u7 air@e imetha5

English Peace to the s.y -.y to the earth Oarth under s.y, strength in us all, a cu) so !ull, !ull o! honey, "ead in )lenty -u""er in winter, s)ear o&er shield, shield strong in hand (ort o! !ierce s)earsC a battle1cry land !or shee), bounti!ul !orests "ountains !ore&er, "agic enclosure

$$ &ath *aige Tuire G The -econd @attle o! 0ag Tuired, Te=t 1AA 1A | www gaolnao!a co"

*ess for crannai@7 crao@ o scis scis o Ess7 saith o mac mac for muin7 muinel tair@ tar@ i arccoin7 o h@ o crann7 crann o ten5 Tene a nn-ail5 Ail a n-ur uch a m@uai@7 @oinn a m@ru5 BrF lafefai ossglas iaer errach7 foghamar forasit etha5 Iall o tir7 tir co trach lafea@rae5 Bi rua rossai@7 srai@ rithmEr7 GNach scel lautHG (ith co nemh7 @i sirnae5 5s5

Nuts on branches, branches hea&y hea&y with !ruit, wealth !or a son a gi!ted son, strong bac. o! bull a bull !or a )oe", a .not on a tree, wood !or the !ire (ire !ro" the stone -tone !ro" the Oarth wealth !ro" cows, !ro" the wo"b o! @oann (ro" the "ist co"es the cry o! the doe, a strea" o! deer a!ter s)ringti"e, corn in autu"n, u)held by )eace A warrior band !or the land, )ros)erous land, reaching to the shore (ro" wooded headlands, waters rushing, 49hat news ha&e youY4 Peace to the s.y, li!e and land e&erlasting Peace $<

$< (or the original te=t, see OliSabeth A #ray 3ed R trans 5, &ath *aige Tuire 2 The (econ Battle of *ag Tuire , section 1AA, 1ED'C and &ath *aige Tuire G The -econd @attle o! 0ag Tuired, Te=t 1AA Farious discussions on :LD 8+8->1L )ro&ided &aluable !ood !or thought Aside !ro" the line brea.s, the :ld 8rish here is untouched >owe&er, in choosing how to structure the Onglish, 8 ha&e used considerable )oetic licence in an atte")t to "a.e the translation "ore e&ocati&e and re!lecti&e o! the "any layers o! "eaning in the original Any " in translation are "y own The original :ld 8rish, as one bloc. o! te=t, is in the )ublic do"ainC this arrange"ent and translation co)yright *'%1' Kathryn Price NicDhna !or #aol Nao!a Doman fo nm V Doman is 4Oarth4 as in, 4the world 4 Nert hi cach7 En forlann V Anforlann as one word V 4su)eriorityC nu"bers 4 )an o mil7 mi co saith V An abundance o! bees, resulting in honey and "ead, is a sign o! the !ertility o! the land During the inauguration rite o! an 8rish .ing, he would recei&e a cu) o! "ead !ro" a wo"an, a sy"bol o! the .ing;s "arriage to the so&ereignty and the land The 0orrgan is o! course a so&ereignty goddess, and the the"e o! so&ereignty2and the )ros)erity o! the land that is needed during a leader;s reign in order to 6usti!y that leadershi)2runs throughout this )iece (ciath for urn V (ciath is shield, but can also "ean 4wingC4 this is a)t as it is the crowWbattle goddess who is singing this )oe" Durn is unclear, but "ost li.ely a &ariation o! uirn !ro" orn 34hand, !ist, sword1hilt45 -o"e o! these i"ages "ay see" a bit odd in a )rayer !or )eace, but #ray;s co""entary on the &ath *aige Tuire is that 4the continuing "ilitary strength o! the TZatha DX Danann, HisI ulti"ately the basis o! their )ros)erity 4 =igse >I, )'A% Duna lonngargC longait-tromfo V Duna or Fna is a te")orary or )er"anent enca")"ent, !ort or ar"y )onngarg is not a))arent, so inter)reting as lonn gargG lonn V 4!ierce4 or 4o! a warrior4 [ garg V also 4!ierce4, or s)ears or roughness 3as in rough seas or rough s)eech5 )ongait-tromfo V longait see"s to be lonJnK gait Gait V 4ta.ingC )urloiningC the!t4 -o, 4warriors; )lunder 4 Perha)s also this indicates low1le&el, !riendly raiding, but not on the scale that tends to start wars :r, "ore li.ely gi&en the :8 tendency to swa) the letters and t, longait could be loingi , !ro" the earlier !or" longai V 4banishes 3o&er sea5,4 and trom V 4elder treeC li&erC hea&yC slee)C "ightyC battle4 [ fo V 4cry 4 4Cry4 "ay be es)ecially rele&ant here gi&en the )ossible re!erence below to the -tone o! Destiny crying out !or the .ing who has been acce)ted and e")owered by the land AltG 4-ea1 raiders banished with a battle cryY4 The )ossible double1"eaning and resulting a"biguity is here, as both "a.e sense A certain a"ount o! raiding was the nor" at the ti"e the )ro)hecy was written, since it was how .ings .e)t their warriors ha))y and society relati&ely stable @anishing sea1raiders would li.ewise be a )ositi&e thing !or society so either would !it here Benna a@u7 air@e imetha V Benna a@uG "odern 8rish has a@FL V 4;hooray, u) with, !ore&er;C )laced a!ter a noun to indicate su))ort !or that thing 4 Benna can also "ean 4)ea.s 4 -o, alternately, 4)ea.s o! the ri&er 4 Air@e imetha V 1B | www gaolnao!a co"

This )rayer !or )eace and )ros)erity is in use as a daily "editation and blessing by so"e o! our "e"bers, and has been sung by re)resentati&es o! #aol Nao!a at inter!aith gatherings !or )eace, adding an :ld 8rish &oice to those o! our !riends !ro" other traditional cultures

the &arious enclosures described !or air@r include 4;druidic hedge,; na"e o! so"e "agic obstruction to .ee) o!! an ene"y4 and 4yew !ence 4 +e!erencing the crann ogham, yew is connected to i""ortality and the s)irit that sur&i&es beyond death Atha re!ers to graSing, so a "ore )rosaic i"age here is also that o! )enned shee), graSing (urther down we ha&e "ore re!erences to enclosures that could be either )hysical, "eta)hysical, or both, and )erha)s the dual "eaning is intentional and i")ortant, re!lecting the interwo&en nature o! s)iritual health and the health o! the land *ess for crannai@7 crao@ o scis V *ess can "ean, 4"ast4 as in !ruit or nuts As !ruit is "entioned in the ne=t line, " this 4nuts4, to !urther allude to the story o! the well o! wisdo" and the creation o! the +i&er @oyne (cis connotes !atigue, and trees tired !ro" )roducing, so so"e )oetic licence is called !or here -ee the eD8L *ac for muin7 muinel tair@ V *uin is "ost co""only 4nec.,4 but has a wide range o! "eta)horical "eanings such as, 4on the bac. 3to)5 o!C o! the to) or ridge o! a hill Fine 9ile, ruse or tric. 4 *un is a !or" o! man V 4gi!t, bene!it, wealth, cattle, dignity, honour 4 For connotes 4su))orting4 and 4engaged in 3an occu)ation or tas.5 4 A gi!ted sonY A &aluable sonY A sonY A son on the hillY A son abo&e all othersY *uinel is the na)e o! the nec., so either nec. or bac. wor.s here, de)ending on whether we are s) literally o! a yo.e on the nec. o! a bull, or in "eta)hor o! a son who is as strong1bac.ed as a bull Tar@ i arccoin7 o h@ o crann V Arccoin is not !ound Ar coin V 4!or hounds4 or 4!or wol&es4 is )ossibleC or )erha)s ar-cain V 4"etrical co")osition, )oe"C )oetry 4 -.illed )oets were highly estee"ed by our ancestors, and a bull could be a !itting co")ensation !or an e=cellent )oe" &rann, 4wood,4 is used !or all sorts o! things "ade o! wood, !ro" li&ing trees the"sel&es to !irewood, s)ear sha!ts, oars, 4a=is in oga" writing4 and 4wooden )iece used in casting lotsC lot, destiny, !ate 4 Tene a nn-ail5 Ail a n-ur V 4(ire !ro" the stone,4 so"e ha&e translated this as 4(ire on the cli!!s,4 which brings to "ind the signal !ires lit on the hills o! Tlachtga, Tara, and ,isneach on -a"hain and @ealtaine Ail can also indicate a boundary stone or a "e"orial stone, such as the )ia FEil 3-tone o! Destiny5 which crowns the >ill o! Tara, and which cries out at the inauguration o! the right!ul leaderC again, we see the the"e o! so&ereignty Mr is obscure, and o)en to inter)retation Li.e we see when dealing with Car"ichael;s handwriting, 8 a" we "ight ha&e a scribal error here, so going with Fir V 4earth 4 Mch a m@uai@7 @oinn a m@ru5 V Mch is also obscureC chancing c V 4)ay"ent, healing, satis!action4 3)oetic licence 1\ wealth5 -o"e ha&e also wondered i! icne V 4sal"on4 could ha&e been "eant here Boinn V so"e ha&e translated this as 4a ri&er4, but it see"s to re!er s)eci!ically to the ri&er @oyne andWor cattle, and @oinn a m@ru to BrF na B#inne 3Newgrange5, with all the attendant "ythology o! this sacred site The goddess @oann;s na"e "eans, 4she o! the white cows,4 so there are "ulti)le le&els o! "eaning here, with cowsWcattle 3sy"bolising wealth5, the ri&er she created and which bears her na"e, the sal"on o! wisdo" and the haSel nuts that !all !ro" the trees into the well !ro" which the ri&er s)rings, and the hostelW BrF itsel! as her wo"b 3!ro" which ]engus ]g was born5 BrF lafefai V BrF V 4belly, edgeWban., doe 4 )afefai is not in the D8L Fa "eans 4cry4 or 4"usical sound4 3o! hu"ans, ani"als or "usical instru"ents5 which brings to "ind the 8rish )rayer !or )rotection, 4The Deer;s Cry 4 Perha)s the alternate "eaning o! 4doe4 is the rele&ant inter)retation o! @rF in this case A doe could also indicate the so&ereignty goddess (lidais, who is associated with both deer and cattle As !or lafe, a and e are so"eti"es used interchangeably in :8, so it could be le f 34with !enceW)en45 or le fe@ 34with e=cellenceW)ros)erityWwealthWstatus5 or le fe 34withW!ro" the "ist45 8n "ore detailG F V 4!ence4 3again the the"e o! enclosure, whether 4druidic4 !or )rotection, a )en !or li&estoc., or both5 Fe@ V 4e=cellenceC wealth, !ortune social status 4 Fth V 4a "agic "ist or &eil,4 which has so"eti"es been rendered as fe, notably as fe fia h V 4a "as. or hood that rendered the wearer in&isible or un.nowable 4 AltG BrF le f fai V 4Cow in )en, "usical cry 4 4ssglas iaer errach V 4ssglas is not in the D8L Probably osJsK, which can re!er to a deer, stag or o=, 4orig )rob a bo&ine ani"al o! any .indC4 [ glas 4ranso", !etter o! a yo.eC or descri)ti&e o! &arious shades o! light green and blue, )assing !ro" grass1green to greyC !resh, youngC strea", current La"entation 4 Glas rach 1 4green1grassy 4 1D | www gaolnao!a co"

'n (iuthail, or, #he Lustration This !inal e=a")le is a )rayer )enned by Treasa, based on a traditional )rayer o! the sa"e na"e !ro" Folu"e 1 o! the &armina Ga elica The co")lete ritual in which this is used can be seen in the rituals section o! the #aol Nao!a website $? 8 a" bathing "y !ace 8n the blessXd waters, As @/and bathed hersel!

Cattle1yo.eY #rey deerY #rey !awnY A strea"Wherd o! deerY Iaer is also "issing Iar V 4a!ter, beyond, behind, across, by reason o!C4 ar V 4end, hinder )artC blac., dar., sloeY4 Arrach V 4the season o! s)ringC !alcon or sea1 eagle 4 Foghamar forasit etha V Forasit is )ossibly fora s or fora sith The letters and t are so"eti"es used interchangeably, which would gi&e us si V 4)eaceC the !airy "ounds4 3and in so"e cases used !or @rZ na @/inne in )articular5 (ith V 4)eace4, the s)elling "ost1used in this )oe", is also )ossibleC while "issing an 4h4 at the end o! a word is odd, the 4h4 o! lenition elsewhere in words see"s to be a hit or "iss a!!air in te=ts o! this )eriod, so )robably not too wild a guess Oither s)elling would result in 4with )eace4, 4in )eace,4 or 4u)held by )eace 4 Atha is !ro" ith V grain, corn, seed, )lain AltG 4Autu"n;s 3corn5 har&est, u)held by )eace 4 (urther underscoring this inter)retation is the co""on lin. between the condition o! )eace at #enig 3asse"blies5 that too. )lace at the !esti&al o! Lugnasad, which heralds the start o! the har&est season Peace between all tuatha who attended was i")erati&e at the asse"blies, but )eace between the gods and the )eo)le who wor. the land is also i")ortantC it is through a treaty between the Tuatha DX Danann and the 0ilesians that the cro)s began to grow again in 8reland, a!ter the 0ilesians too. o&er and sued !or )eace with the TDD -ee De Ga@ail in t-si a, or The o! the -d and the Dindshenchas !or Car"un and Tailltiu The line also brings things bac. neatly to the start o! the &erse with @oann and the brughsWsid1"ounds The &erse is as cyclical as the seasons Iall o tir V -o"e ha&e translated this line as 4a bond to the land,4 which 8 lo&e, but 8 don;t thin. it;s accurate Iall or all V 4a !loc. or !light o! birdsC a co")any, troo), band 4 9ith the 0orrgan;s association with crows as well as warriors, along with #ray;s inter)retation o! ongoing "ilitary strength insuring )eace, a warrior band or standing ar"y see"s the "ost ob&ious choice here Tir co trach lafea@rae V Trach loo.s li.e a #idhlig orthogra)hy TrEcht V 4strand, shoreC sole o! the !ootC strength, &igourC breadthC4 is )robably the )ro)er 8rish word here Could it be le fe@-raeY )e fe@ V 4with e=cellenceW)ros)erityWwealthWstatus4 'ae is !ro" r V 4ti"e, s)ace, distance4 4Pros)erous land down to the shoreY4 AltG 4-trong, enduring, )ros)erous land4 or 4O=cellent, strong, )ros)erous land 4 Bi rua rossai@7 srai@ rithmEr V Bi rua is )robably @i -rFa Bi !ro" @ith V 4land, territory, soilC4 as intensi!ying or alliterati&e )re!i=, 4lasting, )er"anent, )er)etual 4 'Fa V 4red, brown1red, red1hairedC4 !igurati&ely, 4strong, "ighty, !or"idable, sturdy 4 'ossai@ is !ro" ros V 4a wood, !re7 o! a wooded height or o! a )ro"ontory on shore o! a la.e or ri&erC co""on in )lace1na"es 4 This note in the D8L is es)ecially rele&antG 4 issin ross imtheit Boin the wood round which the @oyne !lows4 V -o the +i&er @oyne itsel!Whersel! can be seen as the "agic enclosure re!erred to abo&e -o 4eternal red woodlands,4 4strong red woodlands,4 4wooded headlands,4 4e&erlasting "ighty woodlands,4 or 4strong wooded headlands 4 (rai@ from sr V 4long, lasting, constant, eternal 4 'ithmEr is )robably rith mEr 'ith V 4running, !lowing4 could !igurati&ely be a water1course or the wa&es o! the sea *Er V is a &ariant on m#r V 4great, "ighty 4 (ore&er1!lowing waters 3o! the ri&er or seaY5, "ighty watercourse Nach scel lautH V (cl is 4story, narration, taleC story told o! a )articular )erson, hence !a"e, re)utationC news, tidingsC in!or"ation 4 AltG 49hat story ha&e youY4 or 49hat story is yoursY4 (ith co nemh7 @i sirnae 5s5 1 Bi sirnae is "ost li.ely @i sr nae Again we ha&e bid !ro" @ith V 4the worldC land, territory, soilC e=istence, li!e 4 as a )re!i=G 4lasting, )er"anent, )er)etual, eternal 4 (r V 4long, lasting, constantC eternal 4 9ith this re)etition in "eaning, 4eternal4 or 4e&erlasting4 is )articularly stressed here Nae 3! 5 V 4a wo"an4 -o&ereigntyY -tressing !e"ale nature o! land andWor )oet who is deli&ering )ro)hecy 3@adb5Y :r )ossibly deri&ed !ro" noe 3" 5 V 4a hu"an being 4 (or good or ill, 4world without end4 would also wor. here The 5s5 )robably stands !or sith V 4)eace,4 or sthe V 4o! )eace,4 either o! which brings us bac. around to the !irst word o! the )ro)hecy, as it should be !or this traditional )oetic !or" (ith co nemh7 @i sr nae5 (ith $? An Liuthail 1E | www gaolnao!a co"

8n the waters o! wisdo" -weetness be in "y "outh, 9isdo" be in "y s)eech The lo&e the !air @/and ga&e her ]engus @e in the heart o! all !lesh !or "e The lo&e o! @righid in "y breast, The !or" o! 0anannMn )rotecting "e, There is not in sea, in s.y nor land That can o&erco"e the shelter o! thee The hand o! @righid about "y nec., The hand o! 0anannMn about "y breast, The hand o! @/and la&ing "e, The hand o! the three sa&ing "e $A

This ins)ired )rayer was written with deities in "ind that Treasa !eels a close, )ersonal connection with The !irst stanSa contains the "ost changes !ro" Christian to a "ore )olytheistic nature >ere Christian i"agery o! 0ary bathing Christ was switched to nati&e, #aelic )olytheistic i"agery o! @/and bathing hersel! in To@ar (egais The rest o! the )rayer "erely consists o! ha&ing 0ary, Christ, and -t 0ichael substituted with @/and, ]engus, and 0anannMn

%ow that & know the words'''

8n this "odern era, "any )eo)le were raised without a relationshi) to healthy )rayer -o"e were raised with no religion, others in a religion that conce)tualiSed )rayer as either rote "e"orisation o! "eaningless !or"ulae or a sel!ish act o! begging #od !or tri&ial !a&ours :thers were luc.y to grow u) !ree o! dog"a and surrounded by nature, listening to the winds and the waters, and hearing the &oices o! the s)irits 9hate&er our bac.grounds, it is this wonder and o)enness to the "ysteries o! nature, to the &oices o! the s)irits and the lo&e o! the di&ine, that we see. to culti&ate with )rayer As discussed earlier, in "r nD#igh Bheatha, we see )rayer as a )rocess o! ongoing

$A Ada)ted !ro" -ong Q'$, Car"ichael, &armina Ga elica ,olume I, 1E%%, )?D1?E '% | www gaolnao!a co"

relationshi), gratitude and co""union with the di&ine Along with o!!erings, )rayer is a !oundational )ractice o! hos)itality and s)iritual engage"ent 9e see. a balance between the traditional2)oe"s and )rayers that were used by our ancestors2with the culti&ation o! ins)iration and &ision, learning to still the "ind and o)en the heart to the di&ine 0any o! us start our day with "orning )rayers The really traditional get u) at dawn to do thisC others si")ly rise a bit earlier so they will ha&e so"e ti"e to )ray and "editate 8n the stillness be!ore the day begins, we can dee)en our breathing, and trust the rhyth"s o! tradition to carry us dee) into the stillness !ro" which all things begin $B Prayer is a ti"e to culti&ate the )arado= o! !ocus and o)enness2letting all e=ternal and "ental distractions "elt away as you still and !ocus your "ind 8! unwanted thoughts enter your "ind, 6ust watch the" dri!t )ast and re!ocus on your breathing, and on the words Praying aloud with words, whether traditional )rayers or !ro" the heart, is easier than trying to co")letely e")ty the "ind in silence (ocus on the words, on their sounds, on their sha)e in your "outh As you learn "ore o! the language, the words will carry "ulti)le le&els o! "eaning !or you, 6ust as good )oetry in your nati&e language is resonant and "o&ing +hyth" is essential, and our ancestors .new this @y s) and singing the traditional )ieces aloud, you will gradually internaliSe the #aelic rhyth"s o! )rayer Nou will !ind that the )rayers restructure your breathing and the way your "ind wor.s, creating altered states As you learn "ore #aelic )rayers, songs and )oe"s, you will begin to recognise which )rayers are connected, and share a traditional use and )ur)ose, by the )resence o! )articular rhyth"s and )hrasings Though we strongly ad&ise against co"bining #aelic ways with )ractices !ro" other cultures, those who ha&e so"e !a"iliarity with >indu )rayer and song will recognise that so"e :ld 8rish and #aelic )rayers ha&e the sa"e rhyth"ic structures and tunes as traditional >indu Nlo6as and @haOans 3de&otional )rayers and songs5 This could )ossibly indicate the anti7uity o! these rhyth"s, and their origins in the ancient 8ndo1Ouro)ean culture be!ore the &arious tribes branched a)art Perha)s these rhyth"s were sung by our ancestors !or as long as our
$B A good "orning )rayer is the (ong to the (un P AG Ghrian, Q$1A in the 4rtha nan G!i heal 3&armina Ga elica5, translation by KathrynC co")aring this to Car"ichael;s Onglish, the wor. that was needed on this )iece illustrates so"e o! the issues we !ace with Car"ichael;s so"eti"es1inaccurate translations when it co"es to describing !e"ales, be they hu"ans, s)irits, or goddesses (or additional discussion o! this as)ect o! translation, see the )rayers in the #ealach ,r article and +ite 3Posted No&e"ber '%1', a&ailable to "e"bers o! #aol Nao!a5 '1 | www gaolnao!a co"

ancestors ha&e sung to the s)irits A!ter the words o! a traditional )iece are "e"oriSed, there will again be an o)ening !or your "ind to wander, and a ris. o! the )rayers beco"ing rote This is why it is good to !ollow traditional )rayers with )rayers !ro" the heart :nce you ha&e internaliSed the &arious rhyth"s, and learned a nu"ber o! )rayers, songs and )oe"s, you will !ind yoursel! able to co")ose new )ieces that are in the s)irit and tradition o! the originals (or e=a")le, traditional songs use a call and res)onse !or"at, in which new &erses are i")ro&ised to the e=isting structure, as the rest o! the grou) re)eats the chorus Nou "ay !ind that as you begin to s)ea. !ro" the heart, you naturally !all into the traditional styles -o"e li.e to engage the body as well, by co"bining )rayer with )hysical acti&ity, and this is a &ery traditional #aelic thing to do 0any o! our )rayers and songs traditionally acco")any household or cere"onial tas.s, be they the churning o! the butter, the o! the cloth, or the lighting o! a !la"e -"ell and sight are also triggers that can co""unicate to the unconscious "ind that it;s ti"e to still and dee)en, and "any belie&e the !i&e strea"s o! .nowledge in :ld 8rish lore re)resent the !i&e senses, and that wisdo" is attained by !ro" all o! the strea"s42engaging all o! the senses


s"ell o! burning 6uni)er or the sensation o! s)rin.ling water !or a saining rite, the !lic.ering !la"e o! a candle or !ire2o&er ti"e and re)eated associations these actions will tell your unconscious "ind that it;s ti"e to to dee)en and o)en to the s)irits 8n this way the "ind, body and s)irit are all engagedC in this way you culti&ate ins)iration, or i"bas @y !ro" all the strea"s o! .nowledge, by acce)ting the gi!ts o! our ancestors, we breathe li!e into the ways and words they ha&e le!t us, ani"ating and illu"inating tradition, and engaging with the s)irits o! the world (lEinte *haithW(l!inte *hathW(la%nt ,ie $E

$D The !i&e strea"s o! .nowledge !low !ro" the 9ell o! -egais, as described in the tale o! how Cor"ac was gi&en the golden cu) o! truth !ro" 0anannMn -ee ;Cor"ac;s Cu) ; -ee also 0ac Coitir, Irish Trees2 *%ths7 )egen s an Fol6lore , '%%$, )B? $E 4#ood >ealth, -trength and 9holeness4 in 8rish, -cottish #aelic, and 0an=, res)ecti&ely :!ten used as a toast, and as a traditional ending to so"e "odern #aelic Polytheist )rayers '' | www gaolnao!a co"

)eading (ist
Although the &armina Ga elica is a great source o! ins)iration !or "any #aelic Polytheists there are )lenty o! other sources we can loo. to !or ins)iration and re!erence 8n )articular, i! you would )re!er using 8rish )rayers you will "ore than li.ely ha&e to dig around in a &ariety o! )laces >ere are so"e suggestions to hel) you get startedG Pu(lic )omain
Car"ichael, Ale=anderG &armina Ga elica ,olume I 31E%%5 Car"ichael, Ale=anderG &armina Ga elica ,olume II 31E%%5 Car"ichael, Ale=anderG &armina Ga elica ,olume III 31E<%5 >yde, DouglasG The 'eligious (ongs of &onnacht7 ,olume I 31E%A5 >yde, DouglasG The 'eligious (ongs of &onnacht7 ,olume II 31E%A5 0ac@ain, Ale=anderG Gaelic Incantations 31DE'5 0ac@ean, LG The (ongs an Q%mns of the Gael 31E%%5 0acKenSie, 9illia"G Gaelic Incantations7 &harms an Blessings from the Qe@ri es 31DE?5 0ason, +ed!ernG The (ong )ore of Irelan 31E1%5 0eyer, KunoG (elections from Ancient Irish Boetr% 31E115 0eyer, KunoG Qail Brigit2 An 4l Irish Boem on the Qill of Alenn 31E1'5 0eyer, KunoG An 4l Irish Bra%er for )ong )ife 31E1<5 0oore, A 9G *an/ Balla s an *usic 31DEA5, 9hitley and -trachan, PohnG Thesaurus Balaeohi@ernicus ,olume I 31E%15, 9hitley and -trachan, PohnG Thesaurus Balaeohi@ernicus ,olume II 31E%15

&n Print
@lac., +onaldG The Gaelic 4ther$orl 3'%%?5 Dillon, 0ylesG Aarl% Irish )iterature 31EE<5 Pac.son, KennethG (tu ies in Aarl% &eltic Nature Boetr% 31E$?5 0ees, @ernardG &eltic &urses 3'%%E5 0ur)hy, #erardG Aarl% Irish )%rics 31E?A5

'$ | www gaolnao!a co"

-tiLbhart, Do"hnall ,illea"G The )ife an )egac% of Ale/an er &armichael 3'%%D5 9at.ins, Cal&ertG Qo$ to Rill a Dragon2 As.ects of In o-Auro.ean Boetics 31EE?5 9illia", P O Caerwyn and (ord, Patric. KG The Irish )iterar% Tra ition 31EE'5

COLT The Celtic Literature Collecti&e -engodelc

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