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The Caim or Sanctuary of Brigit



brigit's girdle



"Caim (encompassing), is a form of safeguarding common in the west. The encompassing of any of the Three Persons of the Trinity, or of the Blessed Virgin, or of any of the Apostles or any of the saints may be invoked according to the faith of the suppliant. In making the caim the suppliant stretches out the right hand with the forefinger extended, and turns round sunwise as if on a pivot, describing a circle with the tip of the forefinger whilst invoking the required protection. The circle encloses the suppliant and accompanies him as he walks onward, safeguarded from all evil, without and within. Protestant or Catholic, educated or illiterate, may make the caim in fear, danger, or distress...." So writes Alexander Carmichael in his notes to The Carmina Gadelica. This sanctuary or circle of protection may be made whilst invoking Brigit, or Bride (another version of her name). By encompassing yourself in this way you are enclosed by and in touch with her protective power wherever you are, wherever you go; safeguarded from harm - inner or outer, material or spiritual, physical or psychic. Below are two invocations you may like to use or adapt as you wish. I've based them on similar invocations in the Carmina Gadelica, and a piece in the Irish St Broccan's Hymn.


The Caim of Bride

Be the compassing of Bride around me
Keeping me from ill and evil,
Keeping me from death and doom,
From malice and misfortune.
Be the fiery sword of Bride
Defending me from all black swarms.

Be the shield of blessed Bride
Protecting me from all sharp edges.
Be the cloak of gentle Bride
Encircling me.

Be the compassing of Bride around me,
Keeping me from hurt and harm,
Keeping me from wound and woe,
From darkness and despair.

Be the compassing of Bride around me
This day and every day,
This night and every night.



The Caim of Bride (2)

Be the cross of Bride between me and all bad spirits
That move invisible.
Be the cross of Bride between me and all ill,
All ill-will and ill-mishap.

Be the compassing of Bride around me,
From every spectre, every evil,
From every shame that harmful moves,
In darkness, in power to hurt.

Be the compassing of holy Bride
Shielding me from every harm,
Keeping me from every doom
Coming towards me this day,
Coming towards me this night.

Be the fiery sword of Bride
Defending me from all black swarms,
Be the shield of blessed Bride
Protecting me from all sharp edges,
Be the cloak of gentle Bride
Encircling me.

Be the compassing of Bride about me,
This day and every day,
This night and every night.

  Hilaire Wood





Blessing the Rushes for making a Brigit's Cross


brigit's cross


I ask for your blessing, Brigit,
On the Eve of your day,
Brigit the generous, Brigit the fair,
May your blessing be upon me.

I ask for your blessing on these rushes,
Brigit beloved.
On tip and root,
On stalk and stem,
On brown and green,
On one and many.


Moving rightways with the sun
May they weave and bend,
Bend and weave,
All goodness, all prosperity
Into this house, into this home.
May these rushes weave all goodness
Into our lives.


I ask for the blessing of the Three
On these my rushes,
I ask for the blessing of Brigit
On these my rushes.

 Hilaire Wood 1999




Traditionally the rushes were not cut but picked by hand on 31st January, the night before St Brigit's Day. They were blessed and the crosses were made in a sunwise direction, from left to right. They were sometimes placed in the eaves of the roof, or in the cattle-byre or by the hearth to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year.

Click here for instructions on how to make a four-armed Brigit's Cross.



Four-armed Brigit's Cross


Rune of Writing

by Sarras Heather, Ord Brighideach, Cill Cuileann, 5th Watch

Eloquence of Brighid
Without searching
Eloquence of Brighid
Ever at the tips of my fingers
For art of voice, for art of shape, for art of telling stories
For art of scene, for art of suspense, for art of subtlety
For art of motion, for art of passion, for art of excitement
For art of rhythm and pacing
For art of action and character
For art of myth and drama
On high, at hand, with no end
Eloquence of Brighid
I contain you now
Without seeking, without searching
I contain you now

 (Note from the Author: This one really does always help me write.  It's original,
 but I based it on a healing prayer in the Carmina Gadelica.  I picked the specific
 gifts to lean toward areas I'm weakest in.  Anyone else who wants to use it might
 retool it accordingly.)


The Descent of Bride


The genealogy of the holy maiden Bride,
Radiant flame of gold, noble foster-mother of Christ.

Bride daughter of Dugall the brown,
Son of Aodh, son of Art, son of Conn,
Son of Crearer, son of Cis, son of Carmac, son of Carruin.

Every day and every night
That I say the genealogy of Bride,
I shall not be killed, I shall not be harried,
I shall not be put in cell, I shall not be wounded,
Neither shall Christ leave me forgotten.

No fire, no sun, no moon shall burn me,
No lake, no water, nor sea shall drown me,
No arrow of fairy, nor dart of fay shall wound me,
And I under the protection of my Holy Mary
And my gentle foster-mother is my beloved Bride




"May the beacon of your flame show us a path to peace that all may follow"
Picture of 'Saint Brigid' by Ann MacDuff
 from 'The Little Book of Celtic Saints', Appletree Press

Prayer for Peace  

We ask for the light of your flame
To enable us to see clearly,
To illuminate the darkness,
To show us the shadows
Cast by our own light.

May the flame of your inspiration
Help us to express and comfort,
To understand and explain -
Encourage us and guide our actions.

We ask for the gift of your healing
To soften our pain,
And mend the wounds
We have inflicted on one another -
Bless us and make us whole.

May the fire of your forge
Enable us to shape our future
With courage and determination,
Using the flame of justice,
Tempered by compassion.

We ask for your protection
Against all that would harm us.
May the beacon of your flame
Show us a path to peace
That all may follow.

Rob fír/May it be true.

Hilaire Wood 12.9.01




Invocation of the Light

I kindle this little light
On the Earth plane
I dedicate it to the
Service of the Spirit

I guard and cherish
This light as a living symbol
And an act of faith
In the reality of the powers of Light.




extract from St Patrick's Breastplate or The Deer's Cry


I arise today,

Through the strength of Heaven,

Light of Sun,

Radiance of Moon,

Splendour of Fire,

Speed of Lightning,

Swiftness of Wind,

Depth of Sea.

Stability of Earth,

Firmness of Rock.

deer and moon

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