Irish

When Cormac mac Airt was king of Ireland, he was a good king and wise, his people prospered and he was greatly loved. And if he was well loved, his children is wife was adored. And if his wife was adored, his children were cherished even moreso.

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All translations and spoken phrases are by Alexei Kondratiev (right).

For the Welsh versions of these phrases, please go here.

Alexei's background is in anthropology, linguistics and comparative religion. He taught Irish Language and Celtic History at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan before his passing in May of 2010.

Hearth Cultures: 

by Seán ÓTuathail

ADF rituals often include a few Irish phrases, so the following guide to Irish for Druids is copied on our site for easy reference.

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This is a generic solitary ritual template for Celtic rituals, adapted from a group ritual template. It's also available as a Word/RTF document with the chants filled in. Please note that while I frequently offer alcohol, you are free to substitute something else if you like.PreparationThe participant gathers the following offerings (vegetable oil may be substituted if necessary):Earth MotherCorn mealOutdwellersBeerBrighidOil or alcohol (e.g., Goldschläger)Fire/well/treeIncense, silver-colored item (e.g., coin), branchMannanan mac LirAppleAncestorsFood/breadNature SpiritsGrainGodsAlcoholDeity(ies) of the OccasionAs appropriateThe participant also fills the Well with fresh water and places the blessing cup and branch next to it. If necessary, s/he places an offering bowl on the altar as well. He/she then clothes in ritual garb and performs a brief pre-ritual meditation to quiet the mind.GatheringParticipant gathers at the ritual area and sounds a musical signal (such as a chime) three times, then says:I am here to honor the gods.Honoring the Earth MotherÁine Chliar, daughter of Manannan, woman of the hills and land...Great Earth Mother, my life is nursed from your bounty.You are the food that nourishes me, the wealth that enriches me, even the very ground I walk on.O bright goddess, all joy and prosperity comes from you, and it is you who sustains me.Áine, I honor you now to thank you for the bounty you bestow upon me.(Áine Chliar is pronounced "awnyeh cleer")P makes an offering and says:Earth Mother, accept my sacrifice.Participant sings Blossom Lifter 1xBardic InspirationP calls to Brighid asking for the gift of poetic inspiration:Bright Brighid, Daughter of the Dagda, Flame of Inspiration,Maker of metal, Maker of good health, Maker of song,With you as my mother I need fear no sickness,With you as my mother I need fear no dull swords,With you as my mother I need fear no empty words.I am triple-blessed, O shining light of the hearth,and I your child ask you to alight in my heart,Alight in my head, and alight in my voice,That I may give praise to the powers with good skill.(Brighid is pronounced breezh; Dagda is pronounced dahg'-duh)P sings Birgita 3xP makes an offering and says:Brighid, accept my sacrifice.Grounding and Uniting with the Tree MeditationParticipant performs the Two Powers MeditationStatement of Purpose(Participant recites the purpose of the rite, lore of the season, and lore of the deities of occasion.)OutdwellersP pours a cup for the Outdwellers and takes it out of the ritual space, then says:You who come from the outer dark,You who stood against the gods and man,You who are cold of heart and cruel of mind,Take this and trouble not my work.Establishing the Sacred Grove through Fire, Well, and TreeSacred FireParticipant says:I kindle the sacred fire,Claiming this land and time for my own.The shape-fire burns bright,This is the center of the world,My Meath, Tara, and Uisnech.Let none stand against me,Let the world turn around me,Let me have a good fire,As I call the Kindred forth.(Meath is pronounced mathe with a soft th; Tara is tah-rah; Uisnech is ish-nuck)P lights the sacred fire and places incense into it to hallow the space, then says:I kindle the sacred fire in wisdom, love, and power. Sacred fire, burn within me.Sacred WellParticipant says:I silver the sacred well,From which five rivers of wisdom run,Salmon swimming, hazel hanging high.Bubbling brightly Segais, source of the Boyne,This is the center of the world.Let none stand against me,Let the world turn around me,Let the well be deep with wisdom,As I call the Kindred forth.(Segais is pronounced sheh-gaish; Boyne is pronounced boin)P silvers the well and pours water from the well to the blessing cup, then says:In the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters, flow within me.Sacred TreeParticipant says:I tend the sacred tree,Towering high, hanging heavy with hazel,Strength of Taranis, the thunder and wheel,From Tara to nemeton, star-reaching bile,This is the center of the world.Let none stand against me,Let the world turn around me,Let the tree be tall and strong,As I call the Kindred forth.(bile is pronounced bill-uh)P dresses and censes the bile, then says:From the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred tree, grow within me.Opening the Gates Between the WorldsP prepares an offering for the gatekeeper and says:Oh Manannan, powerful son of the sea, holder of the magics of the crane bag, I ask that you hear my call. Oh Lord of the Otherworld, bearer of the silvered apple branch, join with me this day, so that you may guide me in my workings. Mist-shrouded rider of the maned waves, accept my offering and open the gates between my realm and yours.(words by Ian Corrigan)P sings Gatekeeper Open the Portals 3xP makes an offering and says:Manannan mac Lir, accept my sacrifice.(Manannan mac Lir is pronounced mah-nah'-nahn mak leer)P says:Let the fire open as a gate, let the well open as a gate, and let the tree connect all the worlds as Manannan walks with me in all ways. Let the gates be open!Honoring and Inviting the Three KindredsAncestorsP says:Great ancestors, you who have come before,A child of the Earth calls out to you.You whose blood flows in my veins,You who I hold close to my heart and thoughts,You who were heroes of the ancient world,I offer you welcome.Mighty Ones, you who reside in the house of Donn,I remember you, and will not forget, for it is you who gave me life.O Ancestors of blood and heart, I call you forth!P sings Mothers and Fathers of Old 1xP makes an offering and says:Ancestors, accept my sacrifice.Nature SpritsP says:Great nature spirits, you who frolick in the wild world,A child of the Earth calls out to you.You who change shapes with the wind,You who pass between the worlds as I walk through air,You who for whom day is night, and night is day,I offer you welcome.Noble Ones, you who reside in the hills and sidhe mounds of the land,I honor you, for you are the spirits in the earth I live by.O Spirits of the natural world, I call you forth!(sidhe is pronounced shee)P sings Fur and Feather 1xP makes an offering and says:Nature spirits, accept my sacrifice.Gods and GoddessesP says:Great gods, you who are mightiest in all things,A child of the Earth calls out to you.You who are the people of the goddess Danann,You who count among you the spear of Lugh,  the sword of Nuadha, and the cauldron of the Dagda,You who brought the Lia Fal and cast out the Fir Bolg and Fomoire,I offer you welcome.Shining Ones, you who rule this world and the other,I praise you, for it is you who provide sustenance and guidance in my life.O Shining ones of magic and might, I call you forth!(Danann is pronounced dah'-nawn; Lugh is loo; Nuadha is noo'-ah; Dagda is dahg'-duh; Lia Fal is lee-uh fahl; Fir Bolg is feer'-bulug; and Fomoire is fo'-moor)P sings Hail All the Gods 1xP makes an offering and says:Gods and goddesses, accept my sacrifice.Meditation of Merging the Energies and Re-Centering(A meditation of merging and re-centering is done.)Honoring the Spirits of the Occasion(Participant makes appropriate offerings to the spirits of the occasion.)General Praise Offerings to the KindredsP says:I have called the Kindreds here today and it is right to give them praise: A round for the ancestors, a round for the nature spirits, and a round for the gods.(Three rounds of praise offerings: Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Gods.)P says:Shining Ones, Noble Ones, and Mighty Ones, I have given you praise and honor! A gift calls for a gift, and I pray to you as I offer up these sacrifices. Accept them, open my heart, and give to me of your blessings.Omen for the BlessingsP quietly chants Come Druids All (1x)P then takes the omen, interprets it, and records it.Receiving the Blessings of the Gods and SpiritsP raises the blessing cup high and says:Shining Ones, Noble Ones, and Mighty Ones, I have praised you and received your blessings. Hallow these waters and give to me of your power and inspiration and vitality. Seo iad uisci na beatha! Behold the waters of life!("Seo iad uisci na beatha" is pronounced "shee ahd ishka nah bah-hah", meaning "behold, the waters of life")P sings Pour the Waters 1xP then drinks a draught from the blessing cup.Thanking the Kindreds and SpiritsP says:I have called upon the Kindreds and they have answered! With joy in my heart I carry their magic into my life and work. Each time I offer to the powers they be come stronger and more aware of my needs and worship. So as I prepare to depart let me give thanks to those who have aided me.<Deity of the occasion>, Go raibh maith agait!Brigid, Go raibh maith agait!Manannan mac Lir, Go raibh maith agait!Gods and Goddesses, Go raibh maith agaibhNature Spirits, Go raibh maith agaibh!Ancestors, Go raibh maith agaibh!Aine, go raibh maith agait.("Go raibh maith agait" is a singular thank you and is pronounced "gora mah ahgit"; "Go raibh maith agaibh" is plural and is pronounced "gora mah ahgeev")Meditation of Regrounding and Recentering(A meditation of regrounding and centering is done.)Closing the Gates and Ending the RiteP says:Now by the keeper of the gates and by my magic I end what I began.Let the fire be flame,Let the well be water,Let all be as it was before.Let the gates be closed!I have done as my ancestors have done, and as my children will do, and the Kindreds have answered. I go now, a child of the Earth, in peace and blessings. The ritual is at a close. Biodh sé amhlaidh!("Biodh sé amhlaidh" is pronounced "bee shay ow-lee", and means "so be it")
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Many of our Celtic rites use Gaelic phrases, so we have a pronunciation guide available.GeneralSamhainYuleImbolcOstaraBeltainneMidsummerLughnassadh
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This is an example of a ritual created according to the original ADF liturgical outline. The English prayers were written by Sally Eaton, myself, and others. This particular ritual, with appropiate modifications, has been performed on several High Days by the members of the Mother Grove.During good weather, the ritual is set up outdoors, in as natural an enviroment as is possible. If the weather is foul, try to use a cave, cabin, yurt or other premedieval enclosure. The altar is set up in or near the center of the grove. Whenever safe, there should be some sort of main fire availiable (in the actual center). Two chalices are on the altar, along with a sickle and a small (ceremonially cut) branch (12" - 18") of a seasonal appropiate tree.Each person present should have brought a work of art to offer in praise. The presiding clergy should be dressed in long white robes, all others in white tunics or dresses, all with colorful embroidery and trimming. Regardless of culture represented, the general effect should be premedieval.As currently written, the ceremony assumes that there are two Druids leading, one of whom is more fluent in Irish than the other, who are referred to as "D1" and "D2". All of these lines and actions may be taken by a single Druid, or may be parceled out differently according to local circumstances.The people are called to order and formed into two parallel lines some short distance away from the grove. D1 and D2 stand at the head of the lines and speak:D1: Tá muid anseo leis na Déithe a adhradh.D2: We are here to honor the Gods.D1: A Dhéithe, a dtugann bhur gcumhacht beatha do gach aon rud atá beo, bígí anseo linn.D2: O Gods, whose power gives life to everything which is alive, give to us your presence.All begin to process towards the grove, singing an appropiate song. Those musicians who have instruments that can be played while walking, should do so. Banners and (if safe) torches may be carried as well.When they arrive at the grove, the lines split and go around the opposite halves of a circle, meeting at the far side. Assuming that there's room to do so, D1 and D2 continue to process around the ring of people in opposite directions, completing a circuit and then going straigt towards the altar. They pass on either side of it, then continue until they are slightly beyond the edges of the ring on the opposite side from their entrance. They then turn inwards and return to the altar (thus making a Druid Sigil: {symbol in originial}). They wind up behind the altar, D1 on D2's right.In a large congregation, the ring of people will close up behind them. The torches may then be carefully put into the fire, or otherwise disposed of. After all have settled, the following song may be sung by ALL, accompanied by Harp, drum or pipes.All:O Earth-Mother!We praise Thee:that seed springeth,that flower openeth,that grass waveth.We praise Thee:for winds that whisper,through the shining birch,through the lively pine,throught the mighty oak.We praise Thee,for all things,O Earth-Mother,Who givest Life.D1 leads the Tree Meditation. Musicians present may accompany this.D2 discusses the deities of the occasion and the meaning of this particular festival.D1 and D2 invoke the Gate Keeper:D1: A Oghma, a thiarna na nGeataí, a thiarna an fheasa, oscail na geataí dúinn. Tá muid ag siúl i do lorg, tá muid ag siúl ar do bhealach. Scaoil dúinn do theagasc taispeain dúinn cén chaol a siúl faidh muid slán. Molann muid thu mar gheall ar do chumhacht. Siúil linn a Oghma!D2: O Ogma, Lord of the Gates, Lord of Knowledge, open the ways for us. We walk in your footsteps, we walk your roads. Reveal to us your teaching, reveal to us the way to walk in safety. We praise you for the brightness of your power. Walk with us, Ogma!D1: Siúil linn a Oghma...D2: ...walk with us Ogma!D1: Siúil linn a Oghma...D2: ...walk with us Ogma!D1: Siúil linn a Oghma...D2: ...walk with us Ogma!All join in on the following song:D1: We invoke thee Ogma,Opener of every GateAll: We invoke thee Ogma,Opener of every Gate.D2: You shall reach us,You shall teach usAnd reveal our fate.All: You shall reach us,You shall teach usAnd reveal our fate.ALL repeat until D1 signals. Usually this will be when the four lines have been sung a total of three times each.The main chalice should now be filled with the Waters of Life (Irish whiskey, preferably), and a secondary cup filled with ordinary water or some other nonalcoholic liquid. Both cups are now consecrated to the Ancestors.While each is speaking, the other is directing the energy flow, from the center of the grove downwards and out in a radiating cone, and back again.D1 takes the main chalice in his / her right hand, and the secondary one in his / her left (vice versa if he / she is left-handed), raises both chalices, and speaks:D1: A sheana, a shinseara, a mhuintir, beannaígí na h-uiscí seo dúinn. Roinnigí orainn ceangal na beatha ar talamh. Roinnigí orainn suaimhneas, eolas, agus beannacht. Labhraígí linn inár gcroí, le go mbeadh muid in aon bhall libhse.D1 sips from either or both cups, then passes them to D2. When D2 has them firmly in her / his hands, D1 blesses her / him with the Druid Sigil marked in the air, saying:D1: Seo iad uiscí na beatha!D2 acknowledges this, then holds the chalices up and repeats the invocation, while D1 controls the energy flow:D2: People of the old times, our ancestors, our kindred, hallow these waters. Share with us the bond of life upon earth. Share with us comfort, knowledge, and blessing. Speak to our hearts, that we may become one with you all.D2 sips from either or both, then passes both in a sunwise fashion (to the person on her / his left), blessing them with the Druid Sigil and saying:D2: Behold the waters of life!The chalices go around the grove, each person receiving the blessing from one person and passing it along with the cups to the next. Eventually the return to D1 and are placed back on the altar.The Chalices are refilled, then consecrated twice to the Spirits, all as before, with sipping, passing and blessing. While each is speaking the other is directing the energy flow, from the center of the grove outwards (and back again) on the horizontal plane, not just to the Four Quarters, but in all directions.D1: A sprideanna na seanaimsire, agus na háite seo, a chomhghuaillithe, a mhúinteorí, beannaígí na h-uisci seo dúinn. Roinnigí orainn athbheochan na Talún. Roinnigí orainn suaimhneas, eolas, agus beannacht. Labhraígí linn inár gcroí, le go mbeadh muid in aon bhall libhse...Seo iad uiscí na beatha!D2: Spirits of the old times and of this place, our companions, our teachers, hallow these waters. Share with us the renewal of earth. Share with us comfort, knowledge, and blessing. Speak to our hearts, that we may become one with you all...Behold the waters of life. The chalices are refilled once more, then consecrated twice to the Gods and Goddesses, all as before, with sipping, passing and blessing. While each is speaking the other is directing the energy flow, from the center of the grove upwards and out in a radiating cone, and back again.D1: A Dhéithe na seanaimsire, a mháithreacha, a aithreacha, beannaígí na h-uisci seo dúinn. Roinnigí orainn bhur gcumhacht le go nginfeadh muid an domhan. Roinnigí orainn suaimhneas, eolas, agus beannacht. Labhraígí linn inár gcroí, le go mbeadh muid in aon bhall libhse... Seo iad uiscí na beatha! D2: Gods of the old times, our mothers, our fathers, hallow these waters. Share with us your power to regenerate the Earth. Share with us comfort, knowledge, and blessing. Speak to our hearts, that we may become one with you all ... Behold the waters of life! At this point there should be a double helix of energy spiraling both upwards and down, with a slow vortex of energy coming in from the sides as well. After a pause for all to absorb the invoked spirits, D1 speaks:D1: Has anyone brought praise for the Lady and Lord of this feast, or for the other High Ones?All present offer Praise, beginning with D2, and moving sunwise around the grove, ending with D1. Each sings a song, recites a poem, performs a dance or plays a tune in turn. During this offering of Praise, the energies flowing through the grove should slowly become stronger and stronger. The D1 ends his / her Praise.D1 takes the branch and sickle from the altar and goes to the center of the grove. There she / he holds the branch up in her / his right hand (unless lefthanded), touches the sickle, and offers it as a symbol of the energies already sacrificed.Instead of a Bhantiarna (o Lady) and a Thiarna (o Lord), the proper names of the deities of the occasion may be substituted. The energies moving through the grove are focused into the branch "and out the other side" to the deities of the occasion.D1: Téann ár moladh suas chugat ar sciatháin iolar; beitear ár nglórtha suas chugat ar ghuailne na gaoithe. Eistigí anois, a Bhantiarna, a Thiarna, más é bhur dtoil é, agus sinn ag ofráil na h-íobairte seo ar son na beatha. Glacaigí léi, más é bhur dtoil é, agus glanaigí ár gcroíthe, ag roinnt arainn do chuid síochana 'is do bheatha. D2 joins D1 in holding the branch, and repeats the sacrifice in English:D2: Our praise goes up to thee on the wings of eagles; our voices are carried up to thee on the shoulders of the wind. Hear now, O Lady, O Lord, we pray thee, as we offer up this sacrifice of life. Accept it we pray thee, and cleanse our hearts, giving to us of your peace and life. The branch is placed back upon the altar, or (if one is present) into the fire. The energies in the grove should be very still at this point.D1 asks all present to meditate upon their deepest needs. Those who wish to speak their's out loud may do so. The D1 waits to be sure that all who wish to speak have done so, the turns to D2 and speaks:D1: Of what does the Earth-Mother give, that we may know of the continual flow and renewal of life? D2: The waters of life. D1: From whence do these waters flow? D2: From the bosom of the Earth-Mother, the ever changing All-Mother.D1: And how do we honor this gift that causes life?D2: By partaking of the waters of life.D1: Has the Earth Mother given forth of Her bounty?D2: She has.D1: Then give me the waters!D2 refills the two chalices and hands them to D1, who consecrates them for the fourth and final time in Irish. The consecrations should be modified to refer to the deities of the occasion. During the consecrations, the energies returning to the grove from the Lord and Lady are focused on the chalices.D1: A Thiarna, a Bhantiarna, Eistigi agus freagairt orainn! Bean-naigi na h-uisci seo duinn. Muide do chlann, a mhol thu, agus anois iarrann muid ort leigheas, beannachtai, cumhacht agus tinfeadh... Seo iad uisci na beatha!D2 repeats the consecration for the fourth and final time in English:D2: O Lord, O Lady, hear us and answer us! Hallow these waters! We your children have praised you, and now we ask from you healing, blessing, power and inspiration .... Behold the waters of life!The chalices are passed around the grove as before (with sipping, passing and the blessing), filling each person who drinks with the power of the deities of the occasion.When all have drunk from the chalices, a song or chant should be sung, coordinating the divine energy flow through breath and movement, thusly: on each exhalation while singing, half the energy is sent in both directions around the grove and the rest is sent towards the ritual center of the grove (and thus to the deities of the occasion).On each inhalation, energy is absorbed from both the other people and the deities. This should produce a rythmic and ever increasing flow, back and forth between the people and between them and the deities. This will fade away natureally as the song ends, leaving all present stronger, healthier and more unified.If there is an urgent need for healing or other serious magical working to be done, it would take place at this point, when all present have been filled with the powers of the Lady and Lord of the occasion. Alternately, if any members of the Grove are ready for a rite of passage, such as Paganiing, handfasting, funeral, or elevation (such as installation of a new Bard for the grove), this would occur now.In any case, the presiding clergy should have been notified before the ceremony began, and the necessay tools gathered. Except for an emergency or a rite of passage, the only Druidic spells to be cast in a High Day ceremony should be those of general blessing upon the Grove and the surrounding land (including any ecological magic that may be needed). Magic done at this point of the ceremony is primarily a matter of channeling the divine energy into the person or thing being affected, rather than the additional generation of human energy.After a pause for silent contemplation, the D1 speaks:D1: Tá beannacht na Bantiarna agus an Tiarna orainn!D2: The Lady and the Lord have Blessed us!D1: With joy in our hearts, let us return to the realm of mortals, to do the will of the Gods and our own.D2: Every time we invoke them, they become stronger and more alert to the needs of their people.D1: But now comes the time when we must prepare to depart. So let us give thanks to those whom we invited here today.D1: A Bhantiarna, a Thiarna, O Lady, O Lord --D2: Go raibh maith agaibh! We thank you!All: Go raibh maith agaibh!D1: A dhéithe na seanaimsiri, O Gods and Goddessess of the old times --All: Go raibh maith agaibh!D1: A sprideanna na seanaimsire, agus na háite seo, O spirits of the old times, and of this place --All: Go raibh maith agaibh!D1: A sheana, a shinseara, a mhuintir, People of the old times, our ancestors, kindred --All: Go raibh maith agaibh!D1: A Oghma, a Thairna na ngeataí, a Thairna an Fheasa, an Fheasa, bíodh na ngeataí idir na saolta a druidte!D2: O Ogma, Lord of the Gates, Lord of Knowledge, let the Gates Between the Worlds be closed!D2 leads a brief reversal of the Tree mediatation to provide recentering, grounding of excess energy, and unlinking.D1 gives the final benediction:D1: Teigheadh muid amach faoin domhan, agus muid lan-chinnte, gur thug ár n-íobairtí taitneamh do na déithe, gur fhreagair siad ár n-urnaí, agus go bhfuil muid ag dul amach faoin domhan faoina gcoímirce.D2: Let us go out into the world, secure in the knowledge that our sacrifices have pleased the Gods and Goddesses, and that we go forth upon the Earth under Their protection.D1: Tá an searmanas críochnaíthe againnn!D2: We have finished this ceremony!D1: Bíodh sé -- So be it!All: So be it!All may now disperse, perhaps singing a Recessional song.


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