Here, in one concise volume, are highlights from Carmina Gadelica, a 19th-century anthology of ancient Gaelic prayers and incantations. Enriched with a combination of pagan and Christian imagery, these texts are written witnesses to a centuries-old oral tradition—a rare literary feast of Gaelic folklore from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. This collection of prayers, hymns, charms, incantations, blessings, runes, poems, and songs sweeps the landscape of the Gaelic imagination. An extraordinary assembly of verse and prose, it reveals the mysteries of a culture's arcane knowledge and spellbinding lore. From incantations used in healing, to blessings on livestock, prayers for protection against the evil eye, and seasonal hymns that include Christmas carols, these religious texts fascinate with their dignified, liturgical style. A monumental achievement in literature, this written record of ancient prayers captures the beauty and wisdom of the oral originals, which were once recited around traditional peat fires. Drawn from the depths of Celtic Christianity, they are a lasting testament of Gaelic faith.
About the author
Alexander Carmichael (18321912) was educated at Greenock and Edinburgh. His work took him from Dublin and Cornwall to the Hebrides and the Highlands, and during his travels he recorded these poems and prayers.
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