Indigenize!

Spiritual ecopsychology and the arts, including bioregional awareness, animism, shamanism, & no-tech DIY fun.

Power of Raven (Good Wish) May 21, 2010

“Good Wish” is one of the many lovely blessings collected in the Scottish Highlands by Alexander Carmicheal, and compiled into his book Carmina Gadelica.  (Page 282. No, I don’t currently own a copy. My birthday is in December… :-) )

I like that it starts out by conferring “power of raven.” Ravens so often get a bad rap – in fact, all of the Corvidae do: ravens, crows, magpies, and jays. Those smart, big-mouthed birds are the avian equivalent of theater people, anarchists, feminists, culture jammers – a bit trickstery with their sense of humor, a bit wiser than you might expect, unafraid of death or gory weirdness, with one eye out for anything flamboyant and interesting; not subtle business-suited or cute-plumaged boop-boop Paris Hilton-type chirpers at all. Viva la Raven!

This invocation attempts to confer the great powers and riches (“goodness”) of nature on its recipient. Along with these, it also confers the blessings of two great human leaders, Christ and Fionn; and to top it off, it confers three valued internal qualities: honor, compassion, and love. There is evidence that in pre-Christian Irish society, maintaining one’s personal honor, including integrity of word and deed, was extremely important. Ah, for the good old days.

My favorite part of this Wish, though, is “death on pillow.” This is not something we ordinarily think of as a positive prayer since we’re so alienated from the realities of death in this culture, but by considering the many hideous alternatives, we can understand how it truly is.

By request, I like to sing an original variation of this poem to participants in my open singing group EnChantMent! while they collectively hold a single drone note, like a sung bagpipe; in this way to end our sessions with a blessing for them.

May it likewise bless all reading this now.

 

Drawing Down the Moon (painting by Tina Fields)

Drawing Down the Moon (painting by Tina Fields)

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Power of raven be thine

Power of eagle be thine

Power of the Fiann.

Power of storm be thine

Power of moon be thine

Power of sun.

Power of sea be thine

Power of land be thine

Power of heaven.

Goodness of sea be thine

Goodness of earth be thine

Goodness of heaven.

Each day be joyous to thee

No day be grievous to thee

Honour and compassion.

Love of each face be thine

Death on pillow be thine

Thy Saviour’s presence.

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I made the watercoloured drawing on the right a looong time ago!  It’s very fun to be letting these old pieces fly into the world now, here.