Everyday Sacred

Everyday Sacred

“How you see determines what you see”. ~ John O’Donohue
Na Déithe libh mo chairde,
It seems like Summer just won’t let go this year. It’s October and still in the 80’s F where I live (Louisville, KY). It’s like being suspended between two states of being before emerging into the new. Twilight weather? I think there’s a metaphor in there somewhere, perhaps about Nature not hurrying yet all is accomplished. 
The experience of being caught between seasons has me reflecting upon the sensation of… anticipation. Feeling impatient for the Summer heat and humidity to just move on already, coupled with a romantic expectation of brisk temperatures, vibrant fall foliage, persimmons, pumpkins, mulled apple cider, and preparations for the holytide of Samhain.
But how do we bring these slower and grander seasonal cycles of Nature down to the everyday? How can we relate to these on a personal, intimate level in daily life? The remedy is in what I call the “Everyday Sacred”, and that has everything to do with relationships. More precisely, it is in how you relate to the experiences you encounter in your everyday life. 
Celtic folklore reveals a profound depth of practical wisdom about this. The most obvious means is the prolific corpus of prayers, charms, and blessings so beloved and preserved throughout Celtic cultures that address all facets of everyday life, from rising in the morning to tucking in for sleep at night, and everything in between.
The mythic sensitivity here is that the sacred dimension of life permeates everything. Seemingly ordinary tasks are imbued with sacred qualities, because the sacred is not something separate; it is ever present, everywhere and in everything, and we can connect with this - if we relate to it in the proper way. It just takes a subtle shift in state of being and perceiving, and a receptivity of spirit.
This doesn’t mean being inauthentically cheerful or “seeming”. Being whole requires authenticity which is rooted in acknowledging all of life’s experiences with honesty, courage, and compassion. Mindfulness of the sacred dimension of life encourages you to integrate the truths of your existence by living in a way that invites blessings and the presence of kindness into your life, and by extension, the lives of others.
When you are feeling melancholy, out of balance, “not yourself”, or weary from the grind of daily life, taking a few moments to invoke blessings, engage in prayer, or perform a simple purification rite will consciously realign you with sacred principles that rejuvenate your body-mind-spirit and restore you to wholeness. The wisdom within our Celtic traditional cultures offers practical inspiration for living in a way that grounds us and reconnects us with Divinity, enabling us to feel awe and Beauty in our lives.

For those of us engaged in the vital work of recovering our traditional cultural wisdom from obliteration by imperialism and modernity in their processes of cultural alienation, disenfranchisement, and assimilation - and for those just trying to get through their day as best they can - the wisdom of the Ancestors is there to guide us, in the preserving shrine of Nature and the cultural memory of our music, food, folklore and mythology, language, seasonal holytides and everyday customs. And especially, in the way we relate to each other, both human and other.


Here is a selection of translated Gaelic charms and prayers from the Carmina Gadelic by Alexander Carmichael that you can call upon to help you as you go about your day, whether work or play. I often sing them as part of my daily Devotional practice, adapting a turn of phrase where necessary for personal relevance. May they bring you blessings. Bíodh sé amhlaidh.


Prayer at Rising:

Bless to me, O God,

Each thing mine eye sees;

Bless to me, O God,

Each sound mine ear hears;

Bless to me, O God,

Each odor that goes to my nostrils;

Bless to me, O God,

Each taste that goes to my lips,

Each note that goes to my song,

Each ray that guides my way,

Each thing that I pursue,

Each lure that tempts my will,

The zeal that seeks my living soul

The Three that seek my heart,

The zeal that seeks my living soul,

The Three that seek my heart.


A Prayer when Going to Bed at Night:

God shield the house, the family,

Everyone who dwells herein tonight,

Shield myself and those I love,

Preserve us from violence and from harm;

Preserve us from foes this night,

For the sake of peace and prosperity

In this place, and in every place wherein they dwell tonight,

On this night and every night,

This night and every night.


Prayer for Protection: Thou, My Soul’s Healer

Thou, my soul’s Healer

Keep me at even,

Keep me at morning,

Keep me at noon,

On rough course faring,

Help and safeguard

My means this night,

I am tired, astray, and stumbling,

Shield Thou me from snare and delusion

Prayer for Traveling:

Life be in my speech,

Sense in what I say,

The bloom of cherries on my lips,

Till I come back again.

A Blessing Charm: (from Irish tradition)

Neart mara dhuit (Strength of sea be yours)

Neart talamh duit (Strength of land be yours)

Neart néimhe (Strength of heaven)

Mathas mara dhuit (Goodness of sea be yours)

Mathas talamh duit (Goodness of land be yours)

Mathas néimhe (Goodness of heaven)


~ Reverend Erika Rivertree


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