Gàidhlig / English
Orthannan na Buana

Orthannan na Buana

Posted by Calum on 19th August, 2021
It is August and the harvest isn’t long until the Harvest will be here and the Gaels have many a verse and phrase about it as well, with some of them recorded in “Carmina Gadelica: Volume 1” by Alexander Carmicheal. The book doesn’t look at religious prayers only, it looks at incantations and weather, work charms and a smattering of other verses. In the work ones – and with the Harvest not too far away – I thought it would be great to pick some of them that are connected to the harvest. We will start with “The Consecration of the Seed,” that happened months ago, and we will continue with “The Reaping Blessings” themselves and “The Blessing of the Parching” afterwards.
The Consecration of the Seed
I will go out to sow the seed,
In name of Him who gave it growth;
I will place my front in the wind,
And throw a gracious handful on high.
Should a grain fall on a bare rock,
It shall have no soil in which to grow;
As much as falls into the earth,
The dew will make it to be full.
Friday, day auspicious,
The dew will come down to welcome
Every seed that lay in sleep
Since the coming of cold without money;
Every seed will take root in the earth,
As the King of the elements desired,
The braird will come forth with the dew,
It will inhale life from the soft wind.
I will come round with my step,
I will go rightways with the sun,
In name of Ariel and the angels nine,
In name of Gabriel and the Apostles kind.
Father, Son, and Spirit Holy,
Be giving growth and kindly substance
To every thing that is in my ground,
Till the day of gladness shall come.
The Feast day of Micheal, day beneficent,
I will put my sickle round about
The root of my corn as was wont;
I will lift the first cut quickly;
I will put it three turns round
My head, saying my rune the while,
My back to the airt of the north;
My face to the fair sun of power.
I shall throw the handful far from me,
I shall close my two eyes twice,
Should it fall in one bunch
My stacks will be productive and lasting;
No Carlin will come with bad times
To ask a palm bannock from us,
What time rough storms come with frowns
Nor stint nor hardship shall be on us.
Reaping Blessing
God, bless Thou Thyself my reaping,
Each ridge, and plain, and field,
Each sickle curved, shapely, hard,
Each ear and handful in the sheaf,
Each ear and handful in the sheaf.
Bless each maiden and youth,
Each woman and tender youngling,
Safeguard them beneath Thy shield of strength,
And guard them in the house of the saints,
Guard them in the house of the saints.
Encompass each goat, sheep and lamb,
Each cow and horse, and store,
Surround Thou the flocks and herds,
And tend them to a kindly fold,
Tend them to a kindly fold.
For the sake of Micheal head of hosts,
Of Mary fair-skinned branches of grace,
Of Bride smooth-white of ringleted locks,
Of Columba of the graves and tombs,
Columba of the graves and tombs.
Reaping Blessing
On Tuesday of the feast at the rise of the sun,
And the back of the ear of corn to the east,
I will go forth with my sickle under my arm,
And I will reap the cut the first act.
I will let my sickle down
While the fruitful ear is in my grasp,
I will raise mine eye upwards,
I will turn me on my heel quickly.
Rightway as travels the sun
From the airt of the east to the west,
From the airt of the north with motion calm
To the very core of the airt of the south.
I will give thanks to the King of grace
For the growing crops of the ground,
He will give food to ourselves and to the flocks
According as He disposeth to us.
James and John, Peter and Paul,
Mary beloved, the fullness of light,
On Michaelmas Eve and Christmas,
We will all taste of the bannock.
The Blessing of the Parching
Thou flame grey, slender, curved,
Coming from the top pore of the peat,
Thou flame of leaps, breadth, heat,
Come thou nigh me with thy quips.
A burning steady, gentle, generous,
Coming round about my quicken roots,
A fire fragrant, fair, and peaceful,
Nor causes dust, nor grief, nor havoc.
Heat, parch my fat seed,
For food for my little child,
In name of Christ, King of the elements,
Who gave us corn and bread and blessing withal,
In name of Christ, King of the elements,
Who gave us corn and bread and blessing withal.
There are more charms and work verses for the Harvest, and about other work around this time of the year, I will have to write another blog about them another time. Do you know any of the charms or verses above? Do you have another version of them? Let us know on facebooktwitter and our own website!
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