Irish language for ritual - Eimear Burke: Druid, Celebrant and Storyteller

Irish is a living, modern language, spoken by many people and communities in Ireland and studied by people all around the globe.  I would be doing Irish a great disservice if I were to present it as an ancient tongue used only for ritual or reading ancient texts. 

However, our Grove does use Irish for certain elements of our ritual, as it is the language of the land and of our ancestors.  Participants, even those who have no Irish, have often told me that hearing ritual in Irish was a moving or exhilarating experience for them.  

As this page develops, I hope to post videos of Irish being used in ritual, and short lessons to help with pronunciation.
Imbas and Awen

As OBOD Druids, we are accustomed to chanting the Awen.  Awen is a Welsh term for the poetic inspiration which flows through us in the moments when we are truly connected.  The equivalent Irish word is Imbas, and as Irish Druids we sometimes chant Imbas instead of, or as well as, Awen.

Here is a short video of myself and Philip Carr-Gomm teaching workshop participants how to chant the Imbas:

Paidir an Draoi - The Druid's Prayer
Tabhair dúinn a OllSpiorad do chosaint
Grant, Oh Great Spirit, your protection
Agus i gCosaint Neart
And, in protection, strength
Agus i Neart Tuiscint
And, in strength, understanding
Agus i dTuiscint Eolas
And, in understanding, knowledge
Agus i nEolas Eolas an Chirt
And, in knowledge, the knowledge of justice
Agus i nEolas an Chirt an grá faoi
And, in the knowledge of justice, the love of it
Agus i nGrá faoi an grá do na beathaí ar fad
And in the love of it, the love of all existences
Agus i nGrá do na beathaí ar fad an Grá do OllSpiorad
And in the love of all existences, the love of the Great Spirit
agus gach maitheas a bhaineann leis
And of all goodness.
Translated by Eimear Burke
Special thanks to Eleanor Cantwell for her support and advice  with this translation.

​The Directions in Irish

​For those wishing to hear how spoken Irish works in ritual, I recommend the following video.  It records a ritual held at the sacred site of Uisneach to show Irish solidarity with the water protectors of Standing rock.  At 3 mins 30 secs, four priestesses call the four directions in Irish.

​Taking 3 Breaths with the Land, Sea and Sky

In OBOD ritual, we take 3 breaths at the start of ritual.  Here is that segment of the ritual in both English and Irish.

Calling for peace

We call for peace, for without peace, no work can be....

This content was originally published here.

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