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Upon the waiting canvas of the mind a picture may be painted: words giving color and hue, light and shadow, voice alone, the brush. Shout, whisper, silence, pause, words flow at times in a slow gentle trickle and at other times words crash like a cascading flood washing away all else. File, poet standing at a grave giving a soft eulogy of praise for a beloved person or arms raised in the sacred place pouring honor to the Gods, at another time standing over the young warriors thundering an incitement to battle, sending them to victory. Wordcraft, perhaps the purest magic, is a tool which allows us to share tears, joys, laughter, all of the variegated experiences of life. For the Druidh words are a medicine that can heal or a weapon that can cut and in ritual they must be used with care and intention for as the sound flows, so does the rite.

The spoken word can inform and it can inspire, at times informing is enough but during a rite of worship inspiration is called for. Imbas should spring forth, a flickering fire in the head, tongue of flame becoming tongue of voice. Verb and noun, cold and sterile but they can become heated and fertile inciting spiritual force. We can be informed when the Drui calls “Lugh, great sky God we honor you, accept this gift and be welcome” but how much more we get when the Drui calls “Like a bright second day dawning, the long hand reaches, clearing skies and protecting the people, Lugh Lamhfada we call and honor you with these gifts, opener of gates, restorer of order, we welcome you and with your coming may a feast be laid before you, fires burn in your honor and the songs of your people ring”. The words in ritual are chosen with care and the statements decorated for beauty and effect.

Familiar words and phrases can give comfort and stability, so many Druidh will have a set of familiar phrases that are always used for certain of the passages in ceremonies. These phrases are composed and memorized by the Druidh and practiced so that they may flow readily from the lips when needed, never leaving the Priest/ess at a loss for what to say or how to say it. Simple blessings, dedications of space, sharing waters, establishing center and all of the constants that occur in ceremonies and rites when treated this way give a comforting familiarity to the listeners and the speakers and the minds easily follow these familiar trails to the deepest spiritual experiences.

Poetry flows at other passages in a rite taking the people with it, the right word and a flowing ripple of chills across the spines of the folk. Beautiful praise and the people feel a God step into the rite, a whisper and the wind responds and upon it rides a Goddess and the folk feel her there. Voice raises to the sky hearts beat faster and a shower of sparks ascend with an explosion of hearts. New passages, never heard before and never repeated, cast into the air only once to inspire as much as the familiar comforts.

Language of liturgy can be the language of the people but it may include languages of the ancestors also. Blended together in a rite the people hear their own language and they understand what is said then they hear the languages of the ancestors and still they seem to ken the meaning without understanding the words. A mixture of the known and the mysterious, one phrase clearly heard and another perceived at a greater depth. Give understanding and mystery in the same rite as the languages change there is clarity and wonder. Known and unknown elements factored together to create a rite that fulfills the needs of the people.

Wordcraft is the mystical skill of the Druidh as they speak thoughts and things into being. Prose and poetry pour out giving praise, inspiration and comfort. Word is spoken on breath and breath is life and so word may live and may bring change and growth. A simple phrase, a complex poem, comforting familiar words, oration, inspiring streams of flowing thought given form. Word is the magic of the Druidh.


Exercise # 1

Standard liturgical phrases in the local language should be learned and committed to memory by the student. These phrases should be practiced so that the student always knows how to do blessings, offerings, fire welcoming, establishing the center, establishing the edge. These are the standard acts that the Drui will perform again and again. This exercise serves two purposes the first is that it gives the student practice performing certain acts and allows the student to easily and effectively do those things via the memorized phrases. The second thing is that these phrases become familiar to the people and in the familiarity there is a certain comfort and these phrases start to act as comforting and automatic cues to the listeners.


Exercise # 2

The student should practice extemporizing calls of invitation to Deities and other major steps in the ritual format. During daily personal rites these extemporization skills may be practiced and polished. The ability to extemporize spoken sections in ritual is of great value in that it counterbalances the comfort of the standard phrase with the inspiration of flowing imbas. By regular practice the Drui develops the ability to create new phrases and calls as needed. While the skills developed in the above exercise allow for comfort the skills developed in this exercise teach the student to make hearts leap, eyes tear, chills sweep and breath catch.


Exercise # 3

The student should consider learning basic conversational skills in a Celtic language. The student should develop a set of standard liturgical phrases in this language and should commit those phrases to memory. The use of liturgical languages during a rite adds to the perception of mystery which inspires those present. To hear a part being spoken in a language of the ancestors can have a great deal of meaning to the people present. At first only use the phrases sparingly since you wish only to inspire a sense of mystery and not frustrate because things are being said with are not understood.