I make habitual, ritual prayers and offerings of thanks at special, liminal times. Daily and monthly prayers are offered to the morning sun and the rising crescent moon to offer gratitude for the many gifts and blessings given, and to ask for blessings at the renewal of their cycles, when their power and light is growing. Morning and evening prayers are said to bless the home upon both rising and retiring, and the home is ritually sained at each feis, or feast day, with prayer recited in each room, moving sunwise through the house. All of these are times of renewal, returns of cycles, mythic times, which are fused with daily life through ceremony.
These come from and are based on those found in the Carmina Gadelica, a collection of Scottish Gaelic prayers, charms and lore collected in 1900 in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland by Alexander Carmichael. One can purchase both an all-English complete version, and a bilingual partial version presented in Gaelic and English. The bilingual partial version is also available online at Sacred Texts. For myself, learning and offering the prayers in Gaelic forges strong links to the Powers and the Ancestors.
These are the English translations of the Gaelic prayers I recite regularly, in addition to the hearth prayers given on another page:
The Sun Prayer, offered to the morning sun while facing east:
Hail to you, o Sun of the Seasons, as you traverse the lofty skies.
Your way is strong in the height of the heavens; you are the glowing Mother of the Stars.
You have your lying-down in the destroying ocean, without harming, without fear.
You rise on the serene fairy-hill crest, like a Young Queen in bloom.
A libation of milk might be poured out while reciting the prayer.
A New Moon Prayer, addressed to the new crescent moon in the west:
Hail to thee, Queen of the Night!
Beauty of the heavens, Jewel of the Night!
Mother of the Stars, Jewel of the Night!
Fosterling of the Sun, Jewel of the Night!
Majesty of the Stars, Jewel of the Night!
A libation of milk, ale, or cider may be offered while reciting the prayer.
The House Blessing Prayer, slightly adapted; recited on the Feast Days and when moving into a new residence, to sain or bless the home:
Brìde, bless the house
From site to stay,
From beam to wall,
From end to end,
From ridge to basement,
From balk to roof-tree,
From found to summit,
Found and summit.
An offering of your festival feast and a libation of milk may accompany this prayer, made at your household's hearth, and removed out of doors the following day. I often include this in our Holiday celebrations.
My daily social interactions are guided by many of the traditional ethics and manners found in the Irish Triads and Gaelic Proverbs. I practice these myself, and read and discuss them with my boys to instill in us a sense of living with Truth and Honor, respecting ourselves and others. They form our household's core values.
A Selection of Irish Triads:
- Three things by which excellence is established: Taking all things in moderation with nothing in excess; abidance to oaths; and acceptance of responsibility.
- It is easier to determine the truth when these three prime evidences are existent: physical items which tell a story; trustworthy witnesses which tell their story; and concurrence with known truths. .
- Three things from which never to be moved: one's oaths; one's Gods; and the truth.
- Three things which strengthen a person to stand against the whole world: Seeing the quality and beauty of truth; seeing beneath the cloak of falsehood; and seeing to what ends truth and falsehood come.
- There are three things excellent among worldly affairs: hating folly; loving excellence; and endeavoring constantly to learn.
- Three manifestations of humanity: Affectionate bounty; loving manner; and praiseworthy knowledge.
- Three things without which there can be nothing good: truth; peace; and generosity.
- Three beautiful beings of the world: the upright, the skilful, and the reasonable.
- Three tendencies of a persons lifetime: hope, love, and joy.
- Three things excellent for anyone: bravery, learning, and discretion.
- Three things must be united before good can come of them: thinking well, speaking well, and acting well.
- Three things are becoming a person: knowledge, good deeds, and gentleness.
- Three things it is everyone's duty to do: listen humbly, answer discreetly, and judge kindly.
- Three things one should keep always before them: their worldly duty, their conscience, and the Laws of Nature.
- Three sureties of happiness: good habits, amiability, and forbearance.
- Three things without which there can be nothing good: truth, bravery, and generosity.
- Three marvelous deeds: to forgive a wrong done, to amend everything possible, and to refrain from injustice.
- Three joys of the happy: avoidance of excess, peace, and loyalty.
- Three antagonists of goodness: arrogance, passion, and covetousness.
- Three rewards of those who learn to temper their emotions: experience, strength, and introspection.
- Three things beside which the baneful cannot be: conformity to law, knowledge, and love.
- Three things must wait long before they are attained: honesty from covetousness, wisdom from arrogance , and wealth from sloth.
- Three things hard to obtain: cold fire, dry water, and lawful covetousness.
- Three duties of the excellent person: to cherish their mate and children, to love their country, and to obey the laws of their people.
- Three manifestations of excellence : the honoring of parents, the respecting of the aged, and instructing the young; and to this a fourth, defending of infancy and innocence.
- Three reasons to war against fault: to not do to others as you would not have them do to you , that you not be arrogant , that you might always let the light of wisdom shine.
- Three ways to lose excellence: to become a servant to one's passions, to not learn from the examples set by others, to indulge to excess.
- Three fair things that hide ugliness: good manners in the ill favored; skill in a common person; wisdom in misshapen.
- Three candles which illumine every darkness: truth, nature, and knowledge.
A Selection of Scottish Gaelic Proverbs:
- Say but little and say it well.
- The man who farthest away did roam, heard the sweetest music on returning home.
- First story from the host, and tales till morning from the guest.
- He who will not look before him, will look behind him.
- What is delayed will be forgotten.
- If it is worth taking, it is worth asking for.
- A good tale is not the worse for being twice told.
- No door closes without opening another.
- Promising but not fulfilling, that is worse than refusing.
- Better than gold is the tale well told.
- Great gaps may be filled with small stones.
- Do not judge by appearances, a rich heart may be under a poor coat.
- Choose your company before you choose your drink.
- The world will pass away, but love and music will endure.
- Three that come unsought- fear, jealousy, and love.
- A house without a dog, a cat, or a little child is one without affection or merriment.
- Neither seek nor shun the fight.
- Cleverness will win over strength.
- Renown is more lasting than life.
- A man is known by his company.
- Anger may look in a wise man's heart, but it will abide on the heart of a fool.
- Don't lift me up until I fall.
- Better a small portion with a blessing than a large portion with a curse.
- Remember the people from whom you come.
- Keep closely to the ways of your ancestors.
- He that is courteous will be courteous to all.
- A smooth tongue will blunt wrath.
- Felicity follows generosity.
- There is no fireside like one's own.