Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations: As collected by Alexander Carmichael, edited by C. J. Moore, Floris Books, 2006; ISBN 978-086315-520-8.

This is a truly magnificent collection of poems and prayers, sourced from both Pagan and Christian perspectives, as found within the Gaelic oral tradition. They were gathered from both the Highlands and the Islands of Scotland. These beautiful writings were compiled by Alexander Carmichael between 1855 to 1899 and as recently as 1910 Carmichael was still out collecting these Gaelic offerings, he being then in his late seventies.

To whet your appetite, some of the chapters  are: Invocations, Morning Prayers, the Nativity, Blessings, Invocation of the Graces, Moon Worship, Live Creatures and The Speech of Birds. Other selections include Fairy Songs and Charms for Healing, amongst an equally-enthralling chapters and topics. All are a joy to read and meditate upon. Previously the Carmina was only available as a bilingual edition covering six volumes, but now we have the complete English edition here before us.

There appears to be debate amongst some academics as to the authenticity of these poems and prayers: How true are they to the original Gaelic Oral Tradition? Did Carmichael edit them to a vast degree? and similar questions. But for myself, I simply love Carmina Gadelica for the words found therein, the images these words convey, and of a glimpse into a world that is sadly passing us by as we become more reliant on technology and move away from the things found within the realm of Nature and the tales of the Old Ones; as too, the Creator, Christ, and The Lord and His Lady-Love. Heathclyff St James Deville

Book Reviews