Slowly, slowly – I’m reading through Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael. It’s an absolutely fascinating read, and a must for anyone following a Celtic-inspired path. Although it’s focus is on the Scottish Highlands and surrounding islands, those who have an Irish hearth culture would benefit greatly from its contents.
Anyway, the other day I reached a “Prayer for Protection.” It is Christian, of course:
Christ be between me and the fairies,
My frown upon each tribe of them!
This day is Friday on the sea and on land –
My trust, O King, that they shall not hear me.
A healthy respect, and even fear, of fairy-folk has existed in Celtic nations for generations. Today, many Pagans insist that fairies are all light and goodness, possessing an altruism towards humanity. That can be true for some, especially Tuatha Dé Danann like Brighid, but most (based on lore, my few experiences, and the work of others) are ambivalent, mischievous, and occasionally malicious. They are part of nature which encompasses the creative as well as the destructive. Their varied natures should surprise no one. Thus the above prayer makes a lot of sense, especially considering that many of the people interviewed by Carmichael lived in rural areas and struggled with the hardships of Nature regularly.
In ADF, we work with our allies – some of whom may be considered fairies. Spirits who do not fit that category are Outsiders (or Outdwellers). They are spirits who have stood against our Gods, destructive beings, illness, ancestors who don’t care for us… hell even mosquitos can be considered Outsiders in a ritual! They are not necessarily evil – their goals just don’t align with our own. Outsiders are a natural part of the cosmos. When we hold our rites, we ask for our allies to be with us and the Outsiders to leave us in peace. Every grove goes about this differently. Some give offerings during ritual, some at the end and only if the rite has gone without disturbance. Some groups turn their back on the Outsiders while a warrior confronts them. Others still consider internal stresses and anger to be Outsiders. They envision them going into a box which is moved out of the ritual space.
The above prayer from Carmina Gadelica could easily be rewritten and used in an ADF rite to ask for protection from the Outsiders.
Kindreds be between me and the Outsiders,
My frown upon each tribe of them!
This day is (Imbolc, Saturday, etc) on the sea and on land-
My trust, Kindreds, that they shall not hear me.
2 thoughts on “Prayer for Protection”
Beautiful rewrite. Carmina Gadelica is a book I’ve been trying to read, but keep putting it down to work on other projects. I have often thought of taking a crack at some of the prayers, while as they are beautiful in a historical sense, not really something rooted in any neo-Paganism practice, eh?
It can be difficult to get through, especially because many of the poems and charms are presented several times with slight alterations. There are actually many things to inspire a Neo-Pagan in its pages, though. Despite the overt Christian themes, there are many magical chants and spells to be found. Brighid is there in the guise of a Saint along with others. Not all of it will be useful, of course, but I’m getting to the part on augury which I’m sure will be a wealth of useful information!
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