When my son was very little, I struggled (like many of you probably do) with how he could experience the richness of our spiritual lives without running afoul of the other parents at nursery school or our right-wing neighbors.
About that time I stumbled across The Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations with Illustrative Notes on Words, Rites, and Customs, Dying and Obsolete: Orally Collected in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and Translated into English by Alexander Carmichael, published in 1928 as Volumes I and II .
I love the lyrical feel of the verses. And it’s obvious even to my unscholarly eyes that the gentle Christianity reflected therein is but a thin veneer over a rich pagan past.
From there I discovered Mike Nichols’ pagan adaptation of the Carmina Gadelica. I cherry-picked pieces of his verses and adapted them into a night blessing and warding.
Even now, with my son all but out of grade school, we still use it. Here it is, in case you find it useful too.
(Standing by the bedside):
Be thy soft breast, O Goddess, under my son’s head.
(Cup under his head with my right hand)
Be thy radiant light, O God, over my son shining.
(Bring hand to pause over eyes, then rest on chest.)
And be the pentagram upon him, protecting him
(Draw an invoking pentagram on his chest with right forefinger, then dot the top.)
From the crown of his head (cup forehead)
to the soles of his feet (cup feet),
From the crown of his head (cup forehead a second time)
to the soles of his feet (cup feet a second time)
(Kneel by bedside, hold arms bent at elbows and perpendicular to body, palms up):
O Powerful Goddess,
Ward the house, the hearth, the animals
And all who dwell herein tonight.
Shield myself and those I love.
Preserve us from violence and from harm;
Preserve us from foes and evil intent,
For the sake of She who stands at the crossroads
And He who shines in hilltop fire.
Within and without and round about.
Goiti, Beiti, Eman, Hetan.*
Be it so.
*Although I’ve been unable to find a good source to confirm it, these words are given to be a form of Basque, and to mean “Above. Below. Here. There.”
© Trothwy 2006