An Old Irish Prayer to the Archangels by the days of the week

I regret that I have not been writing as many informative or instructional posts lately as I'd like.  If you've worked with me fairly closely over the years and/or been reading my blog for a while, you may know that I'm feverishly trying to finish my PhD dissertation and *get the heck out of graduate school* where I have been for far, far too long.  So instructional/informative posts are not likely to be copious over the next few months.

But as part of my research I am working with a lovely Old Irish poem that I thought I'd share for you readers who work with, think about, and enjoy angels – it should be especially interesting for readers into esoteric prayer, working with the Seven Rays of the Archangels or any of the Rosaries of the Seven Rays, or those with a Roman Catholic or folk Catholic background – or, I daresay, an Irish background!  (If you aren't familiar with the Seven Rays material, see the tags on this post – they'll take you to other posts for more info.)

This is a prayer to the archangels giving one for each day of the week. 

A Prayer to Seven Archangels

Gabriel lim i nDomhnaighibh | is cumhachta ríg neime.
Gabriél lim hi comnaidi, | nachamthí bét na bini.

Michél dia Luain labraimsea; | focheird mo menma airi.
ni re nech nosamlaimsea | acht ré hIosu mac Maire.

Mad Mairtt, Raphiél radimsea, co tí in crich, dom chobuir;
in sechtmadh fer alimsea, | céin uér ar tuár in domhuin.

Uriél lim i cCétáinib, | int abb co n-uaisli ardi,
ar guin ocus ar gábudh, ar threthan gaithi gairgi.

Sáriel Dardain labraimsea | ar thonnuibh mera in mara,
ar cech nolc thic re duine, | ar cech ngalar nodgobha.

Dia na haíne didíni | Rumiél–rath reill–rocharus.
ní abbair acht fírinne, | maith in cara rogabus.

Panchel i sSatharnaib lim, | céin beó arin mbith mbuide
. . . . . . . . .  [*]

In Trinoid dom anacul. | in Trinoid dom shnádud.
in Trinoitt dom shæradh. | ar chach nguin, ar gach ngabud.


* [second half of verse missing in manuscript]

Modern English:

May Gabriel be with me on Sundays, and the power of the King of Heaven.
May Gabriel be with me always that evil may not come to me nor injury.

Michael on Monday I speak of, my mind is set on him,
Not with anyone do I compare him but with Jesus, the son of Mary.

If it be Tuesday, Raphael I mention, until the end comes, for my help.
One of the seven whom I beseech, as long as I am on the field of the world.

May Uriel be with me on Wednesdays, the abbot with high nobility,
Against wound and against danger, against the sea of rough wind.

Sariel on Thursday I speak of, against the swift waves of the sea,
Against every evil that comes to a man, against every disease that seizes him.

On the day of the second fast, Rumiel–a clear blessing–I have loved,
I say only the truth, good the friend I have taken.

May Panchel be with me on Saturdays, as long as I am on the yellow world
. . . . . . . .

May the Trinity protect me! may the Trinity defend me!
May the Trinity save me from every hurt, from every danger!


[translation is by Thomas O'Nowlan / Tomas Ua Nuallain, "A Prayer to the Archangels for Each Day of the Week," in Ériu vol. 2, pp 92-94, which you can also consult for manuscript info if you have an academic interest in this piece]

As you may notice, this is one of many extant traditions about the names of the "seven archangels" – the number varies too, of course!  But this is one Celtic tradition for the seven archangels to which we have early attestation (this poem dates from the 800s).  A different batch of archangels is listed in the Saltair na Rann lines 793-804:

Gabriel, Michél, maith an-greim, Raphiel, Panachel oebind, Babichél, Raguel roclos, Mirachel, Rumel rigdos. / Fafigial, Sumsagial slán, Sarmichiel, Sarachel saergd, Uriel, Hermichel maith mass, Sarachel, Barachel bladbras. / Lihigiel, Darachél cenchol, Segiel, laSariel sairdron, Lonachel, Arachél tan, Stichiel, Gallichiel gleglan.

I don't read Irish, never mind Old or Middle Irish, [**] and don't have time to learn it any time soon, and if these lines have been translated into modern English, I haven't run across the translation yet.  But if anybody knows where I can find one so I can learn what the context of this list is, I'd appreciate the tip!

** [The manuscript of the Saltair na Rann is in Bodleian MS Rawl. B 502; its handwriting dates to the 12th century, so this is Middle Irish, I suppose, or maybe "early Middle Irish" more properly?] 

Seven Rays of the Archangels rosary; on inspiration and partial possession

Today’s mantra: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  I’m going to repeat it until I am over having my designs and ideas ripped off, or until my tongue goes numb, whichever comes first.

New auction: One of a kind Rosary of the Seven Rays: this one is a 7 Rays of the Archangels rosary. [link removed, was to old ebay auction]

seven rays of the archangels

Description below the cut. First, a bit about ritual creation and esoteric prayer.

When I started making voodoo loa and hoodoo/medium’s rosaries (back in 2003 – when they weren’t to be had anywhere else online nor in any shop I ever set foot in; I had never seen them before and they didn’t exist as far as I knew, but I wanted an Erzulie Dantor rosary, so I taught myself to make rosaries… but I guess I’ll leave that alone what with my mantra working and all (sigh) ), I had a bit more time on my hands, and I’d usually make a few every month, and usually had a few for sale at any given time.  In looking over my old listings this weekend, I realized I hadn’t made any new ones in about six months – or more.  I have a list of requests from folks who’ve written about various custom things, and I try to make them as I have time, going down the list but sometimes skipping things if I’m not in the mood to make a piece on the list or don’t have the materials on hand, but time has been really scarce the last year or so.  But I really *miss* making rosaries, and I especially miss making the loa rosaries and the esoteric prayer rosaries – every one is a unique piece of folk art and I really like to see how they unfold, or bloom, or whatever the metaphor is, as I make them.

I don’t usually have a strict plan going in when I sit down – usually I’ll start with an individual spirit or saint or loa, or at least a family of loa, and I’ll fuss with the altar for a while – cleaning, dusting, setting out fresh water or flowers or whatever, depending on the spirit or saint, etc. And then I sit down with my bead box and my tools and I start working, letting the loa or spirits guide me.  This often isn’t a very different process from what any writer or artist or craftsperson might call “inspiration” – the next object or line or shadow or phrase or chord just comes to you when you’re “in the zone.”  Sometimes you get stuck or blocked, sometimes you hit a snag, back up, and reroute (much easier with beading than with knitting, let me tell you). Sometimes there’s on-the-go consideration and revision, choices between one shade or another, a decision about one metal or another.  Sometimes the loa chime in loudly and specifically; sometimes they do not (Simbi never seems to yell; Freda I don’t even have to be in the same room with to know what she wants.)

And then sometimes there’s no on the spot consideration or revision at all – it’s like a tidal wave.  Sometimes writing comes like that to writers, or an image to painters, where it all pours out instead of the usual work work work of such projects.  It’s like suddenly plugging in to some source, or tapping into some wellspring, that you don’t have access to all the time.  When this occurs in a certain context, this is what I call “partial possession” – it’s not the same as being completely ridden by a loa, where your consciousness is entirely displaced, but there is definitely a “flow” to it that is not your regular sitting-down-to-make-something flow.  It’s the same thing that happens a lot when I’m doing one of those all-day-into-the-night marathon ceremonies or spiritual bath events – I am moving stuff and making stuff and mixing stuff and handling stuff and saying stuff, but if you ask me later, I’m not always going to have any idea what I told you or what I put in that herbal mixture or what I wrote down for you (granted, some of that is sometimes sheer exhaustion.  But then again, that kind of full-on-body-mind-and-spirit exhaustion also makes possession much easier to slip into).  The spirits don’t always just hop in and take over, though – sometimes they sit on your shoulder, or talk in your ear, or seize your hands (in the case of work like making baths or making jewelry or pakets), or seize your eyes, as the saying goes, where your consciousness is not fully displaced, but a spirit is involved at some more narrow or circumscribed level, often involving one faculty or sense, or one set of appendages (so partial possession of the hands is common, if for instance La Sirene comes by when I’m giving a spiritual bath to someone, and she might come mix the bath herself, through my hands. It’s not a full possession but she is nevertheless involved in the action through me as a medium for that action).

The Rev. Docteur Tau Michael Bertiaux refers to partial possession of this type, when a spirit is involved in “your” faculty of vision, as “la prise des yeaux,” the possession (or holding or taking or seizing) of the eyes.  Now, it’s a lot more complex in Bertiaux’s scheme, and what I’m giving here is the “exoteric” interpretation of partial possession, but in all cases it’s describing a type of sight that’s akin to clairvoyance in a certain sense, but with a key difference: it’s a faculty that is absolutely based within the human being, the psychosomatic body/mind/spirit unity of the person plus his or her interaction with the spirit, with the human being as nexus or “container” (or depending on your vocabulary, battery or lodging place or even point-chaud, or the material “half” of the point chaud or pwen), and so the faculty of vision, the change that enables this to happen, is internal to the serviteur.  This is often different from, say, someone scrying, where he or she “sees” in a triangle or mirror or gazing ball or any external “screen”.  In prise-des-yeaux, the “other world” doesn’t get projected onto something you can see in your field of vision, like a crystal ball or a candle glass you might “read” the signs from.  Rather, the intersection, if you will, of the visible and invisible worlds is *inside* the practitioner.  Bertiaux calls it Esoteric Vision, and he also calls it a sacrament (VGW p. 254), and discusses it in terms that suggest he would not equate “exoteric” vodoun’s “partial possession” necessarily with the type of interactive relationship he’s discussing in the VGW.  But there are enough similarities in terms of how it works “on the ground’ to make it worth mentioning.

I am out of time to keep trying to sort my thoughts out on partial possession, but I want to get in writing some of what I see as the implications of possession and partial possession in my religion, how it differs from what that means and how it works in other traditions and vocabularies, and what the implications are for points-chauds or pwen work; they are significant, and even though I’ll likely make a mess of it, I can definitely still see some connections to some of the principles Bertiaux outlined back when he wrote the VGW, even though the Great Arabia Working participants and our current points chauds working group folks are working pretty far away from the original Bertiaux-inspired core set of points and articulation of their workings and ontology.  So, maybe I”ll get to it soon.

In the meanwhile,  this weekend I sat down to make a Seven Rays of the Archangels rosary.  These are esoteric prayer beads, a little more complex than a traditional Marian rosary.  Description (and a rant about people fundamentally misunderstanding angels) below the cut:
Continue reading “Seven Rays of the Archangels rosary; on inspiration and partial possession”

two new one of a kind rosaries

Rosary of the Seven Rays.  Glass beads in seven colors are separated by Czech glass cathedral beads.

Rosary necklace for Oshun.  Fire-polished Czech glass bicone beads and a stunning pink chalcedony pendant.

rosary of the seven rays (SOLD)

rosary of the seven rays
Originally uploaded by Karma Zain

This rosary is made of pressed glass pumpkin-cut beads in seven decades: pink, dark blue, sky blue, red, blue, black, and crystal. The centerpiece is an Italian glass medallion in blue and purple with a gold foil stripe, which terminates in three crystal beads and a large Murano glass heart pendant. Absolutely one of a kind.

This particular type of Rosary of the Seven Rays is used in devotions to the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This devotional practice is a prayer and meditation method that can raise human consciousness, and this particular rosary is designed according to techniques that focus on the heart chakra. Thus it is an excellent tool for those working with esoteric prayer and those who need help in opening and balancing the heart chakra. It can also be prayed on behalf of those who need divine assistance with emotional and spiritual imbalances and is a powerful tool in the arsenal of healers and lightworkers.

Entire piece is 22.5 inches long from end to end. Decade loop is 18".

This is a serious piece for the serious practitioner devoted to esoteric prayer. It won’t do you much good if you just keep it in its bag and look at it a couple of times a year – it’s not like a talisman you keep in your pocket. It’s more like a musical instrument — it’s designed to be used, and its powers increase with regular use.

Bishop Tau Michael Bertiaux says of the rosary, in his chapter on Upadhi I in The Voudon Gnostic Workbook, that prayer beads are among the most effective ways to generate spiritual energy and "hook up" to God energy. He conceives of the rosary as a "prayer machine" and emphasizes that the rosary is further blessed and empowered through use. I have blessed and empowered this rosary, but it will absorb deeper spiritual energies through your repeated use. For more information, see The Voudon Gnostic Workbook.

For info on the Seven Joys of Mary, go here.

For a Wikipedia entry on the Seven Rays, go here.  I don’t normally post links to Wikipedia entries (that is another rant entirely), but this one has a good references list and a good section on Further Reading.