Naming and Saining the Baby

Naming and Saining the Baby

There are several ideas about naming and saining ceremonies for a newborn baby. In Pre-Christianized Ireland, there are records of passing a newborn through a fire three times while asking the blessing of the Gods on the baby or of carrying a baby three times around a fire to bless it.

Several charms that were collected from Christianized Ireland were published in Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael. "Silvered water", which is water that has had silver in it, figures prominently in these charms. Most of these were to be done as soon as possible after birth.

There are other legends about places where the newborn baby was passed through a hole in a stone for protection from Fairies. Most customs that have come down to us are for the protection of the baby from unseen forces.

In the case of the Fairies, it was for protection from changelings. Other objects used for protection were iron, especially in the form of iron nails and fires. There are records from the sixteenth century in the Isles of Skye of women carrying torches around the house where a baby was being born up until the time it was baptized.

For this ceremony, I've attempted to use parts of the older customs as well as a charm directly from the Carmina Gadelica.

1) This should be done as soon after birth as possible, while still in the hospital if permitted. Hospitals usually have a problem with candles, so if candles can't be used, wait until the baby is home. Water that has been used in the Well during ritual is used for the blessing. This has the advantage of being sacred and of having had silver in it.

2) The mother is given an iron nail bent in the form of a circle and told to keep it near the child as it sleeps. This should be done right after birth. As the parents hold up the baby, a small candle is passed under, over and around the baby while saying:

"We ask the Spirits of Nature for protection.
We ask the Ancestors for protection.
We ask the Shinning Ones for protection."

3) A drop of the water is placed on the baby's forehead as the following are said:

"We call for the blessings of the Spirits of Nature on this wee one.
We call for the blessings of the Ancestors on this wee one.
We call for the blessings of the Shinning Ones on this wee one."

4) The following are said to finish this section:

"We ask for this to guard you from the Fae.
We ask for this to grant to you the graces.
We ask for this to give to you long life."

5) A splash of water is then dropped on the baby while saying each line:

"A wavelet for thy form,
A wavelet, for thy voice,
A wavelet for thy sweet speech;

A wavelet for thy luck,
A wavelet for thy good,
A wavelet for thy health;

A wavelet for thy throat,
A wavelet for thy pluck,
A wavelet for thy graciousness;
Nine waves for thy graciousness."


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"Naming and Saining the Baby." submitted by SkipEllison on 15 May, 2019. Last modified on 19 February, 2022.
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