The Beltane Blessing
Originally from the Carmina Gadelica I, 183–185
Taken from Esther de Waal, editor, The Celtic Vision (Liguori, MO: Liguori/Triumph, 1988, 2001), pp. 26–27
Bless, O Threefold true and bountiful,
Myself, my spouse, and my children,
My tender children and their beloved mother at their head.
On the fragrant plain, on the gay mountain sheiling,
On the fragrant plain, on the gay mountain sheiling.
Everything within my dwelling or in my possession,
All kine and crops, all flocks and corn,
From Hallow Eve to Beltane Eve,
With goodly progress and gentle blessing,
From sea to sea, and every river mouth,
From wave to wave, arid base of waterfall.
Be the Three Persons taking possession of all to me belonging,
Be the sure Trinity protecting me in truth;
Oh! satisfy my soul in the words of Paul,
And shield my loved ones beneath the wing of Thy glory,
Shield my loved ones beneath the wing of Thy glory.
Bless everything and every one,
Of this little household by my side;
Place the cross of Christ on us with the power of love,
Till we see the land of joy,
Till we see the land of joy.
What time the kine shall forsake the stalls,
What time the sheep shall forsake the folds,
What time the goats shall ascend to the mount of mist,
May the tending of the Triune follow them,
May the tending of the Triune follow them.
Thou being who didst create me at the beginning,
Listen and attend me as I bend the knee to Thee,
Morning and evening as is becoming in me,
In Thine own presence, O God of life,
In Thine own presence, O God of life.
NOTES: Beltane was an annual celebration on May 1. Kine = archaic word for cow or cattle. Sheiling = archaic word for pasture.
NOTE: For sixty years the folklorist Alexander Carmichael (1832–1912) traversed Scotland's Outer Hebrides isles collecting and translating the traditions of its Gaelic-Catholic people. His eventual trove contained a little of everything — their ballads, prayers, proverbs, hymns, charms, incantations, runes, poems, tales and songs. Carmichael's labor of love was published in six volumes across seventy years as Carmina Gadelica ("Hymns of the Gael") Hymns and Incantations, With Illustrative Notes on Words, Rites, and Customs, Dying and Obsolete: Orally Collected in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Carmichael published the first two volumes in 1900. His daughter Ella continued the project. Volumes 3 and 4 were published by his grandson, James Watson, in 1940–1941. Volumes 5 and 6 were published by Angus Matheson in 1954 and 1971.