I have been spending my day writing a beautiful druid ceremony for a baby blessing, and finding myself pondering an interesting part of the druid ritual, deciding whether to include it or not, the Gorsedd Prayer.
There are slight variations, but these are the words spoken by The Order of Bard, Ovates, and Druids, and at the Anderida Gorsedd Open Ritual I attend by the Longman of Wilmington.
Grant, O God and Goddess, Thy protection;
And in protection, strength;
And in strength, understanding;
And in understanding, knowledge;
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;
And in that love, the love of all existences;
And in the love of all existences, the love of God, Goddess and all goodness.
The prayer is something I never took to in the beginning partly because it used the word God.
I loved everything else about the druid ceremony, the Awens, the connection to nature, the stories linked to the seasons, our history and folklore, the Eisteddfod, all beautiful stuff. When i first stood on that hill under the Longman of Wilmington in a circle, I felt like I was home, my soul and my body just felt so right. It was an Imbolc ritual, in 2004, I was so taken, I'll never forget the feelings as the Eisteddfod took place and people stood forward offering poems and songs.
But as the druid's prayer was spoken with the dreaded word God, I'd send my own words and love every time. I did that for ten years.
It wasn't until I stood in the circle pregnant with my fourth baby (my third on this path), that the words one day sunk in. I suddenly understood the use of the word God being so palpable and fluid. Christianity, or rather the place I'd attended had scared me quite deeply as a child so the word God scared me too, but suddenly it was no longer in that box, it was just the words spoken for the term 'universal spirit', male and female in everything, in nature, suddenly it sank in. I had that summer also understood and felt my own connection to the Goddess too.
The words of the prayer flowed through me and my unborn baby as everyone in the circle spoke them aloud.
I felt myself root deeper in the earth on the side of the hill we stood on, and my heart opened more flowing out into the circle centre, the cauldron of Awen.
Paganism/ wicca/ druidry as a modern path, in its modern form, is relatively new, recreated, or created from written historical texts, stories, history, intuition, folklore, drawn from deep roots into our land. However moulded and formed into today's beautiful format by two naked blokes at a nudist camp ;-) (I can't shake that image after Damh the Bard put it in my mind at an Obod gathering, so I've shared it to you too ;-) )
I often felt the prayer was placed there to god by people with one foot in Christianity and the other in a new druid path, almost to ask gods approval. To stay safe in God's keeping incase the devil took over.
May be it was? ... But it is a beautiful prayer. Even more so heard in Welsh!!
Llyma weddi'r orsedd o Lyfr arall
Dyro Dduw dy Nawdd;
Ag yn nawdd, nerth;
Ag yn nerth, Deall;
Ag yn Neall, Gwybod;
Ac yngwybod, gwybod y cyfiawn;
Ag yngwybod yn cyfiawn, ei garu;
Ag o garu, caru pob hanfod;
Ag ymhob Hanfod, caru Duw.
Duw a phob Daioni.
It'll go in my written ceremony today and I'll remove it if the family don't connect with it.
I'm sure by now you have created your initial feelings on the Druids prayer, my blog, perhaps druidry.
I'd like to suggest you read the words of the Gorsedd Prayer to yourself, then perhaps say it out loud a few times. How does it feel? What is your relationship with prayer, with the words?
I was so anti prayer until I understood it could have a use outside of Christianity, I now use prayer daily in various forms, and it works so well.