Searles odubha 2015-05-24 01:09:23
I am often asked about spells and invocations. Here is an answer that I
have recently given to this question:
Spells and incantations are really very close to prayers, blessings,
curses and invocations. These verbal and magical constructs are keyed to
our own spirits and their connection to deity and spirit within the
three worlds of life, as well as the Otherworld. Truly powerful spells
come out of the developmental process that occurs through long study,
constant discipline and a truthful relationship with all of creation.
Some excellent places to find such spells are on the sites of The
Summerlands that are available to members (go to The Crossroads and fill
out the “Sign Up” form). For that matter, some of our members are very
accomplished in Dra ocht (Druidism), Filidecht (Bardism) and spellcraft.
Some excellent resources that one can purchase through the Rowanleaf
Bookstore on our Marketplace are _Spell Craft, A Handbook of
Invocations, Blessings, Protections, Healing Spells, Love Spells,
Binding and Bidding_ by Robin Skelton; also _Carmina Gadelica, Hymns and
Incantations, Collections in the Highlands of Scotland in the Last
Century_ by Alexander Carmichael. To better understand the nature of the
forces involved in changing reality through spellcraft, courses are
offered in The Summerlands in the use of herbs, Ogham, Celtic tradition
and other esoteric knowledge.
Spells are actually the focused will of the spirit that are stated in
magical ways. The techniques of such spell working were formalized by
the Druids into certain forms by using specialized techniques to enhance
the poetry and power of the spell. Druid poems are mainly rhetorics
called roscanna. In this Irish one, known as Corrghu neacht Lugha, the
invoker is speaking the roscanna while he is dancing on one leg with one
arm hidden and only one eye open. He is marshalling the energies of
kinship, of Sun, Moon and stars, of sky, land and sea. He swears and
seals the oath before Ogma, warrior god of eloquence:
” r a thra cath co-mhart ann.
Isin cath iar ngall ro bhris comhlonna
for sl acht sl aigh. Silster ria sl aghaibh
S abra , ath fir fomna ,
cuif ciatha , fir gan rogain.
L antar gala. Ford m aisid,
ford m cloisid, forand chr ighid.
fir duibh. B ic finn nointam!
F F F F Cl a m’ ins !
No fit mann ar n alscoth
tr a treanncheardtaibh druag
N m’ chreadhbhadh catha fri cr ocha
N sitmeata m’itge for neamairches
for l achair loisces.
mart alt shuides, mart orainn trogais.
An comair s dh fri gach nae
go comair Ogma s chu
go comair neamh agus talamh agus muir
go comair grian agus gealach agus r alta .
Dreim niadh mo dhream-se d oibh
Mo sl agh-sa sl agh m r muireach
mochts ileach bruithe neart ireach
ro gheanaius agus tocra at for r e cath.
Co-mhart a thra . r a thra .”
Not every roscanna is an invocation of power for battle. Some are
blessings, while others are prophecies. IMO they should be said and
presented in their original languages and forms to retain the continuity
of their creation and the power of their alliterative wording. It is
the flow and the form of the words that gives them power, as it is also
the Ogham that defines and maintains their meanings. To understand and
use even this one roscanna requires much study in language, lore,
tradition and Ogham.
Here’s a bit of what the previous roscanna is all about:
A frenzy of battle invites you to embrace death.
Our hosting in this conflict will defeat the foreigners who have
destroyed the prosperity of the land.
Oh people of the S dhe, defenders of the land, ravens will come upon our
enemies with doom!
May the foreigners be hindered, may fear be heard among them and be
their shared torment!
They are sad and doomed.
Ninefold brightness is upon us!
Victory or defeat!
Faugh! Sod of Death!
Death Measure! Rod of Aspen!
Circling leftward I curse them!
Oh you my glorious ones!
The gods will sustain you from the clouds of the sky, in the beauty of
the land, and through the powerful skills of Druids.
My battle fire will not falter until the victory is won!
What I ask of you is not the work of cowards, in the dealing of death to
the enemy, in the burning fields of battle.
The shadow of death has taken form.
Death goes before us to the foe.
Before the people of the S dhe,
Before Ogma I swear!
Before the sky and the land and the sea, I swear!
Before the Sun and the Moon and the stars, I swear!
Oh warrior band, my host of battle,
My troops here, the greatest of hosts like the sea,
Mighty waves of golden, powerful, boiling fires, and battle l***
Are created in each of you!
May you seek out your foe upon the field,
Embracing death in a frenzy of battle!
(and alternative translation is to be found at:
In the original Irish, the words flow into one another through their
sharing of similar sound and mutated meaning. The images of the rosc
come one after another like the waves of the sea. Each exhortation is a
powerful doorway into a created future, a reality that will come from
the power within each warrior, which will be sealed by the oath before
the elements and the gods themselves. The entire incantation is given
(by Lugh) while circling the host on one leg, against the Sun, in a
crane dance, and invoking the left-hand power of Corrgu neacht against
the enemy, as a blessing upon his own troops. The elements of the rosc
1. To create the object of its working,
2. To identify the means of its accomplishment,
3. To swear before the realms,
4. To swear before the elements,
5. To swear before the gods,
6. To call forth the power of each into the troops,
7. To the close the circle at its beginning with the creation of doom
for one’s enemies through battle frenzy and death dealing.
Another important aspect of this type of invocation is that one must
embrace the power of the working with all aspects of being, accepting
ill consequences if there is no truth within oneself. For the spell to
have a force of its own, then the spirit of those involved must be at
risk for any falsehoods or lack of commitment to the outcome. It’s an
all or nothing and worse situation. In effect, what is being said is
that battle will be joined and death will be sought. Let the gods, the
realms and the elements determine the truth of our victory or our
defeat. Without risk and involvement there is no truth in such a working
and there is the greater danger of a horrible rebound. Be careful of
what is truly asked, for that is what will be truly given. Such a spell
or invocation is not a business for the weak willed or the untruthful in
spirit. That is why it is so important to know yourself, your techniques
and your deities, before undertaking such a dangerous working.
Mombu 2015-05-24 01:09:32
Wade 2015-05-24 01:09:42
Would a spell like the one below have any effect if it
was spoken in a language that no one understood?
I ask because I wonder where you think the power lies;
in the one doing the speaking or the ones doing the
listening… or both?
At Fall Fest last year an ADF group from the Midwest
was in charge of one of the rituals. The fellow doing
most of the speaking has been trying to recreate
the old Norse language, so the bulk of the ritual was
done in old Norse.
Now, he was a fairly good performer and the ritual was
moderately theatrical and engaging, but ultimately, it was
meaningless and had no truth or power IMHO. Primarily
because no one there (except the performers) had any
idea what was being said.
David dalton 2015-05-24 01:09:48
I guess that is similar to the old Catholic mass being
said in Latin, which some Catholics still prefer to hear once
in a while just for the beauty of the language. But I
agree with you that the non-performing participants need
to understand the words in order to add their will to
the ritual. However the main performer might argue that
well his gods and goddesses are lisetning and may appreciate
occasional use of the old language. But did he write the
ritual from scratch or incorporate fragments of old material?
If there was some old material then sometimes such old
material has multiple meanings and only one meaning comes
through in translation, and any poetic/lyrical rhythm can
sometimes be lost unless the translator is very good. One
compromise might be to run through a summary of the meaning
of the ritual just before the ritual, or alternate old
language and new as Andy M. Stewart and Manus Lunny did
in Bridget O’ Malley, for example, so that both the meaning
and the power of the old voices given new life are in effect.
Wade 2015-05-24 01:09:56
Indeed. It is a major concern. It is the main reason most
translated incantations would be better off being completely
It is almost impossible to translate a piece and recapture the
puns, double entendres, multiple meanings, poetic forms and
The power in words is the power to move people on a deep
emotional level. Now it might be argued, and rightfully so, that
the sound and form alone can create a sympathetic vibration
and so move people and affect change.
Though, if your intent is to curse the Seaforths for example,
you’re going to want to use words people can understand.
I suppose that could work to good effect in many circumstances.
David dalton 2015-05-24 01:10:02
You mention a battle spell, but are there any old peace spells?
I have never tried to empower warriors in real conflict but
once I think helped a woman softball teammate hit a really
good hit, unless it was coincidence. I have tried to
magickally separate fighting dogs before too with apparent
success on at least one occasion though not recently,
and attempts to ease tensions between people may have
had partial effect.
I have attempted global peace workings a few times and it
might help if all those who do magickal workings, prayer
or meditation all do a global peace working at the same
time (i.e. those who do magickal workings with or without
invocation could do a global peace spell whether alone
or with local others or thinking of working with others
around the globe and in near space; those who don’t but
who do prayer could do a global peace prayer; those who
do neither but do mediation could do a global peace
My most recent global peace working, of I think last
night, was to take the combination of my two related
strong musical driven global peace workings of a
few months ago (which invoked my “dove” vision of 1997
in one and my blue rose vision of 1991 in the other, to
two live versions of Lizband’s song M*********** )
and pass the construct on to those with needed abilities
and/or training (in spiritual, magickal, shamanic and/or
paranormal areas) who are in or directly affected by
areas of conflict around the world, so that they can
with their will build upon my construct including
with local detail.
But in my global peace workings so far I have gotten the
sense back that to attain peace within the species we
must also move towards better relations between
species and within the environment, and certainly
allowance of birth control in religious paths that
currently prohibit them, and working towards a
better distribution of population.
Also lots of old spells are local so sometimes new
is also important.
Searles odubha 2015-05-24 01:10:09
Where does the power of a spell arise? Is it in the words or in the
meaning or both? I think that’s the answer to your question. Does the
power flow through the invoker or does it come from somewhere else (like
deities or the Otherworld)? If it’s through the invoker, then that
person should understand the meaning and the power of the words so that
their energies can be focused and their purpose can be made clear to
them. If it’s from a deity or the Otherworld, then the meaning must be
conveyed to them through the invoker’s words (oe his/her response to the
words). Again, who understands? The spell or words are a focus. They are
not a source. They are a key that must fit the door they unlock. They
should not be a source of entertainment.
Whether the spell/ritual was meaningless depends on what it was trying
to accomplish and what it actually accomplished. Without this
information, one has no way of evaluating meaning. Does a drum beat have
meaning? If it does, perhaps it communicates in a way that is
independent of language and on a different level than ordinary
consciousness. I agree with you that not knowing a language cuts one off
from its nuances and its most powerful communicative effects. At times
like those, I try to find other ways and levels in which to communicate.
Searles odubha 2015-05-24 01:10:20
There are a few that are used to give blessings. Here’s two translated
by Se n Tuathail and found at http://www.imbas.org/eaw.htm :
F istine leis an M rr gu
S dh go neimh
neimh go domhan
domhan fo neimh
neart i gc ch
n forl n
l n do mil
m d go s ith
sam i ngram
gae for sciath
sciath for d nadh
d nadh lonngharg
f d di u
ros forbiur beanna
ab airb imeachta
meas for chrannaibh
craobh do sc s
sc s do s
saith do mhac
mac formh in
muinr al tairbh
tarbh di arcain
odhbh do crann
crann do thine
tine a n- il
ail a n- ir
u ch a mbuaibh
Boinn a mbr
br le feabh faid
sghlas iar earccah
foghamar forasit eacha
iall do t r
t r go tr cht le feabh r idh
b odh r ad rossaibh s oraibh r ochmh r
s dh go neimh
b odh s orno .
Peace to (as high as) the sky
sky to the earth
earth beneath sky
strength in everyone
a cup very full
a fullness of honey
summer in winter
spear supported by shield
shields supported by forts
forts fierce eager for battle
“sod” (fleece) from sheep
woods grown with antler-tips (full of stags*)
forever destructions have departed
mast (nuts) on trees
a branch drooping-down
drooping from growth
wealth for a son
a son very learned
neck of bull (in yoke)
a bull from a song
knots in woods (i.e. scrap-wood)
wood for a fire
fire as wanted
palisades new and bright
salmon* their victory
the Boyne (i.e. Newgrange) their hostel
hostel with an excellence of length (size)
blue (new) growth after spring
(in) autumn horses increase
the land held secure
land recounted with excellence of word
Be might to the eternal much excellent woods
peace to (as high as the) sky
be (this) nine times eternal
Br ocht S othlaithe Cheannmhara
S othal l n, s othal sl n.
Luigsim f in f in ra cach m l.
S othal shuain, s othal s mh.
Bear r uaibh
do cheann sl aigh d’Fhiachaigh m l.
S othal glan, s othal gart
um r gh mborb.
S othal sl n, s othal suain.
Do Mhogh Chorb
s othal airgid agus ir agus cruain,
s othal sh og agus r gh agus r ain
l thar libh agus uaibh do Mhogh Ruith
is d’fhir Coirb
is do Bhuan
l thsat f in
feacht fo thr
ra feacht f th
beact for r gh.
B idhfe tart.
Beofaidh br gh,
f irfidh cach,
s efidh s ath. S othal.
Kenmare’s Pacification Spell
Melt away (expire, soften) fully, melt away completely.
I swear this myself to every prince.
Melt into sleep, melt in tranquillity.
Be borne a bright newness
to (the) head of the hosts of Fiacha of princes.
Melt clean(ly), melt (with) generosity
(all those) around an ignorant (unjust) king.
Melt away completely, melt away into sleep.
Be borne a fresh newness.
(But) of Mogh Corb
melt away his silver and gold and enamel (jewelry),
melt away fairy (allies of the king) and king and great ones,
empowered with you and from you to Mogh Ruith
and from (the) men of Corb
and to Buan
a sight (seen to be done) three times
with that a sight of wisdom
the (high) king made humble.
The draught will be drowned.
(Magical) energy will enliven,
each will be healed,
will transform into peace. Melt away.
Kevin jones 2015-05-24 01:10:28
Umm! That’s an old argument. In antiquity it was thought that the power
resided in the words, words having a connection to the reality of whatever
it was you were altering. Some words had a really deep connection to the
nature of reality – they were also incomprehensible to humans. Have a look
at the Greek ‘outlandish names of power’ in Hellenistic magic. For the same
reason religious languages fossilised – the Salii (Roman priests) used a
version of Latin so ancient that it wasn’t understood even in Republican
Rome, the Catholic Church used a later version of Latin, and of course
there’s Sanskrit. some of these ideas are continued in modern ritual magic,
The idea that you actually have to understand what’s being said is a more
modern idea, which is based on the idea of rituals (religious or magical)
having a largely or solely psychological dimension. Now if that’s a
simplistic argument, and it doesn’t depend on a psychological dimension,
then the older argument has more validity. One could of course argue that
it’s the will and intention of the person doing the ritual that matters –
Crowley’s position – in which case they do not need to understand the words
themselves. They only have to know what they do.
There you go – both sides of the coin! 🙂
Wade 2015-05-24 01:10:33
Oh, I’m well aware of this aspect. The idea that if you know
the *true* name of something you can wield power over it.
You say “in antiquity it was thought” – do you believe it today?
OK… once again, what do you think?
I’ve tossed this particular coin about quite a bit. I guess I’m
trying to pin you down and get you to tell us your personal
Kevin jones 2015-05-24 01:10:53
:-) Well, from practical experience it isn’t necessary for a person who is a
target to even know a ritual has been done, so whether they understand the
words of it is immaterial. In short, I’d go along with Crowley on this one.
As to where the power comes from – depends on what you’re doing. Sometimes
its most definitely from elsewhere – sometimes you could say its from you.
That however begs the question as to what your relationship is with
elsewhere – is there really a discontinuity between you and anything
Other? – plus other related things such as what’s meant by ‘you’ and
trifling things like the nature of perceived reality in the first place.
There you go – a whole can of wriggling worms to play with. Answers on a
postcard please! 🙂
David dalton 2015-06-01 22:18:12
Thanks, Searles, some good images in those, maybe I’ll
pattern something after them when my lyric ability
returns if ever.
I have a big deadline in three weeks though so must say
goodbye to this group until after then but can still be
found as resident kook on alt.music.s-mclachlan . But
if you start an off-topic thread there start the subject
with an “OT: “. Her web site is
http://www.sarahmclachlan.com and she once toured with
The Chieftains and also collaborated with Seamus Egan on
The Brothers McMullen movie soundtrack.
(with mild hopes for full moon)