Grant, O Spirits, thy protection…

This is the first line of one version of the Druid or Gorsedd Prayer originally published by Iolo Morganwg in his work Barddas in the late 1800’s.  He gives multiple versions but this is a variant on the one adopted for use in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD)

The full prayer in the version I used to use is as follows:

Grant, O Spirits, 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 the love of it, the love of all existences
and in the love of all existences the love of Spirit and all Goodness.

For various reasons which I won’t go into here I stopped using this prayer on a regular basis years ago but recently the words have been simmering in the background of my mind.  I think this was partially triggered by a recent blog post by Philip Carr-Gomm on The Call for Justice: In the USA and Everywhere

I have been reminded of a story of Iolo Morganwg hosting a series of early gorseddau (basically a series of Druid meetings for those not familiar with the term gorseddau) in 1797. His first that year was at midsummer, the next three months later, presumably at the autumn equinox. During that one due to his known political leanings the meeting was observed by twelve local justices accompanied by a troop of mounted and armed vigilantes. This is referred to in Professor Ronald Hutton’s books “Blood and Mistletoe” and “The Druids”.  P169 in “Blood and Mistletoe” (published 2009) and p161 in “The Druids” (published 2007). Around the time the books were due out I heard a talk by Prof. Hutton in which he brought that story to life in a way that the best storytellers can. I can’t remember his words but he said that a version the Gorsedd prayer would probably have been said at that meeting.  Prof. Hutton brought to life the idea of being at a gathering on a hillside with hostile armed men observing while reciting one of the original Welsh versions of that prayer.  I find it a powerful story.

Would I have the courage to stand reciting that prayer with hostile observers around me? I don’t know. I would first have to overcome my social anxiety to be at any size gathering and that in itself is not an easy thing now.

I am, however, finding the words of that prayer more relevant now than ever before and intend to start using it more often once more.  Where once I used the words Spirit and Spirits I think I will now use Gods so I am addressing the many deities I honour.

Grant, O Gods, 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 the love of it, the love of all existences
and in the love of all existences the love of Gods and all goodness.

Author: potiapitchford

Autistic mother with autistic kids. Hearth Druid and Heathen

2 thoughts on “Grant, O Spirits, thy protection…”

  1. The Welsh-language version of this prayer is still used in the Gorsedd ceremony at the National Eisteddfod. There they have always begun (as did Iolo) “Dyro Dduw, dy nawdd” (Grant o God …) so with ‘gods’ you are nearer to the original.

    By co-incidence I had also referred to Iolo’s Gorsedd in my current post!

    Liked by 1 person

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