Scottish Gaelic Divination Prayer \ Charm – The firth

by Scott
Scottish charming and divination

Those following along on  social media will know I have been discussing divination for a while and researching the below bit of Audio exploring authentic Scottish Prayers or charms to use as part of my divination practices. I happened across the below recording from 1950’s of a spoken charm from Uist for the Frith (I think). The Frith was undertaken on quarter days and this charm refers to that process at least I think it might do. There are many forms of divination used in Scotland and the Hag of the hills website has some great information about the different forms of divination that folk practised I suggest you check it out.



The kind people at Gaidhlig na a alba helped tremendously with the translation which i have provided both below the Gaelic and the English.

“Tha mise a’ dol a shealltainn a-mach ann an ainm an athar, ‘s a’ mhic ‘s an spiorad naomh, Dia romham is Dia nam dhèidh is Dia a bhith leam, mise ann an lorg Dhè, Dia gun robh rom lorg, tha mise (a’ dol a shealltainn) a’ dol a dhèanamh òran mar a rinn Moire dha mac, labhair Brìghde ro glaic, is thuirt i siud ri Rìgh nan Dùl, is thuirt Rìgh nan Dùl gum bi ceart, tha mise a’ dol a shealltainn a-mach a dh’ iarraidh fios fìrinneach gun fios brèige, mar a fhuair Moire fios air a mac prìseil gum faic is gum faigh mise fios air an nì a tha mi a’ dol a dh’iarraidh.

The English:

“I am going to look out in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy ghost, God in front of me and God behind me and God be with me, me in God’s footprint and let God be in my footprint, I am (going to look) going to make a song as Mary made for her son, which Brìghde recited before a hollow (palm), and she said that to the King of the Elements, and the King of the Elements said it will be right, I am going to look out to search for true evidence and no false evidence, as Mary got word of her precious son, that I may get knowledge of the thing that I am seeking.”

The kind folk who translated it thinks the reciter, makes a false start with the bit in brackets. Brìghde in Gaelic tradition was Mary’s midwife and the King of the Elements is just another term for God. There are two words they were not sure of. It could be ‘òran’ or ‘orra’, the former means ‘song’ whilst the latter means ‘charm’. It sounds like the former but the latter makes more sense. They were also not sure of the word ‘glaic’, especially where it is situated. Normally it means a hollow but sometimes it is used for the palm of the hand.

In the book, Survival of belief amongst the celts, Henderson, 1911, a similar rann for divination can be found with  instructions that might help with the translation and the “how to” element of it. (Thank you to for this information and helpful discussion):

In making the frìth some enjoin the reciting of the formula through the hand loosely closed. A formula used in Benbecula is:

Mise dol a mach orra (= air do) shlighe-sa, Dhé! Dia romham, Dia ’m dheaghaidh ’s Dia ’m luirg! An t-eolas rinn Moire dha ’mac, shéid Brighd ’romh băs (glaic). Fios fìrinne gun fhios bréige; mar a fhuair ise gum faic mise samlaladh air an rud a tha mi fhéin ag ìarraidh,

i.e. ‘I am going out on thy path, O God! God be before me, God be behind me, God be in my footsteps. The charm which Mary (the Virgin) made for her Son, Brigit blew through her palms,—knowledge of truth and no lie. As she found, may I see the likeness of what I myself am seeking.’

So combining these two Gaelic and Scottish translations and approaches giving us a very usable Rann to use before divination takes place and not only necessarily a Frith.

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ellenwaff 2nd July 2016 - 4:30 pm

Wonderful! Thank you so very much!

Cailleachs son 2nd July 2016 - 6:34 pm

Your welcome Ellen


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