By John O’Donohue
As light departs to let the earth be one with night
Silence deepens in the mind and thoughts grow slow;
The basket of twilight brims over with colours
Gathered from within the secret meadows of the day
And offered like blessings to the gathering Tenebrae.
After the day’s frenzy may the heart grow still,
Gracious in thought for all the day brought,
Surprises that dawn could never be dreamed,
The blue silence that came to still the mind,
The quiver of mystery at the edge of a glimpse
The golden echoes of worlds behind voices.
Tense faces unable to hide what gripped the heart,
The abrupt cut of a glance or a phrase that hurt,
The flame of longing that distance darkened,
Boquets of memory that gathered on the heart’s altar,
The thorn of absence in the rose of dream.
And the whole while the unknown underworld
Of the mind turning slowly in its secret orbit.
May the blessings of sleep bring refreshment and release
And the Angel of the moon call the rivers of dream
To soften the hardened earth of the outside life,
Disentangle from the trapped nets the hurt and sorrow
And awaken the young soul for the new tomorrow.
A GAELIC BLESSING
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be at your back
May the sun shine upon your face
May the rain fall on your fields
May the rain fall softly on your fields
And until we meet again
May your God hold you gently
In the hollow of his hand.
By John O’Donohue
Somewhere, out at the edges, the night
Is turning and the waves of darkness
Begin to brighten the shore of dawn.
The heavy dark falls back to earth
And the freed air goes wild with light,
The heart fills with fresh, bright breath
And thoughts stir to give birth to colour.
I arise today
In the name of Silence
Womb of the Word,
In the name of Stillness
Home of Belonging,
In the name of the solitude
Of the Soul and the Earth
I arise today
Blessed by all things,
Wings of breath,
Delight of eyes,
Wonder of whisper,
Intimacy of touch,
Eternity of soul,
Urgency of thought,
Miracle of health,
Embrace of God
May I live this day
Compassionate of heart,
Gentle in word,
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.
Translated by. Caitlin Matthews
Deep peace of running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you;
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you;
Deep peace of the watching shepherds to you;
Deep peace of Christ to you
500 BC. From Irish Mythology:
The poem is from Amergin’s incantation to Ireland, with origins perhaps five hundred years before Christ. In the poem, Amergin, A Milesian warrior, as well as poet, and Ireland’s “First Druid,” takes on the spirit of Ireland and speaks for it’s soul. Originating in North-west Spain’s Galicia, the Milesians are the ancestors of the Gaels who conquered the country and became the dominant tribe. Their essentially pantheistic earth-based religion, (what modern man might call “New Age”), formed the basis of spirituality until the coming of Christianity; that retained political power at Tara until the arrival of the Anglo-Normans.
Who is it that creates in the head of man the fire of thought?
Who is it that enlightens the assembly upon the mountain, if not I?
Who tells the ages of the moon, if not I?
Who shows the place where the sun goes to rest, if not I?
ANOTHER VERSION OF AMERGINS’S MYSTERY
I am the Wind that blows over the sea;
I am the Wave of the Ocean;
I am the Murmur of the billows:
I am the Ox of the Seven Combats;
I am the Vulture on the rock;
I am a ray of the sun;
I am the fairest of Plants;
I am a Wild Boar in valour;
I am a Salmon in the Water;
I am a Lake in the plain;
II am the Craft of the artificer;
I am a Word of Science;
I am the Spear-point that gives battle
I am the god that creates in the head of man the fire of thought.
ST. PATRICK’S BREASTPLATE
Christ behind and before me,
Christ beneath and above me,
Christ with me and in me,
Christ around and about me,
Christ on my left and my right,
Christ when I rise in the morning,
Christ when I lie down at night,
Christ in each heart that thinks of me,
Christ in each mouth that speaks of me,
Christ in each eye that sees me,
Christ in each ear that hears me.
PRAYERS FOR PROTECTION
(another version of St. Patrick’s Breastplate)
I gird myself today with the might of heaven
The rays of the sun,
The beams of the moon,
The glory of fire,
The speed of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth
The hardness of rock.
I gird myself today with the power of God:
God’s strength to comfort me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to lead me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s angels to save me
From the snares of the devil,
From temptations to sin,
From all who wish me ill,
Both far and near,
Alone and with others.
BLESSING FOR PROTECTION
Through the power of the Trinity,
Through faith in the threeness,
Through trust in the oneness,
Of the Maker of earth,
And the Maker of heaven.
BLESSING FOR GOOD HEALTH
Translated by Caitlin Matthews
I wish healing upon you,
The healing of Mary with me,
Mary, Michael and Brighid
Be with me all three.
Your pain and sickness
Be in the earth’s depths,
Be upon the grey stones,
For they are enduring.
Fly with the birds of the air,
Fly with the wasps of the hill,
Swim with the sea-going whale,
For they are swiftest.
Be upon the clouds of the sky,
For they are the rainiest,
Be upon the river’s current
Cascading to the sea.
Translated by Meyer
Be not too conceited, nor too diffident, Be not too haughty, nor too humble,
Be not too talkative, nor too silent,
Be not too hard, nor too feeble.
If you be too wise, one will expect too much of you;
If you be too foolish, you will be deceived;
If you be too conceited, you will be thought vexatious;
If you be too talkative, you will not be heeded;
If you be too silent, you will not be regarded;
If you be too hard, you will be broken;
If you be too feeble, you will be crushed.
Translated by Meyer
I was a listener in woods,
I was a gazer at stars,
I was blind where secrets were concerned,
I was silent in a wilderness,
I was talkative among many,
I was mild in the mead-hall,
I was stern in battle,
I was gentle towards allies,
I was a physician to the sick….
I did not deride the old though I was young….
I would not speak about
Anyone in his absence
XENOPHANES (c. 570-475 BC)
The gods did not reveal from the beginning,
All things to us; but in the course of time,
Through seeking we may learn, and know things better.
But as for certain truth, no man has known it,
Nor will he know it; neither of the gods,
Nor yet of all the things of which I speak.
And even if by chance he were to utter
The final truth, he would himself not know it
For all is but a woven web of guesses.
THE SUMMER DAY
By Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
By John O’Donahue - Anam Chara (Soul Friend)
On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
the gray window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colors,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the curach* of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.
*curach (a small wooden frame row boat covered with canvas)