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The master builder’s red Mohawk twitched in the rain-winds, his dusky claws clinging to a branch of my summer snowflake viburnum, his short beak clinching a foot-long piece of flimsy twine. At least, that’s the perception of my visitor who provides materials for his mate to use; she knows how to build the 4 x 3” cup-shaped nest for their brood, over the next nine days.

The work continues, outside my study window. I’ve much to learn…

From smarming mists beyond telling emerged the Celtic Druids with their rituals, prayers, stories, and incantations that swelled their oral tradition for long centuries and steeped their followers in a natural wisdom. Even though their power was indisputable, lawlessness still terrorized the land.

To ward off protection from bandits, travelers often invoked Nature in The Celtic Breastplate:

I arise today

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendor of fire,

Speed of lightening,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea,

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

Centuries later, when St. Patrick and his monks were evangelizing fifth-century Ireland, he spotted Celtic marauders on the road, intent upon their destruction. He remembered this prayer and used its blessing as a protection. “Immediately, a cloak of darkness went over them so that not a man appeared.”

The story from The Celtic Tradition by Caitlin Matthews continues: their enemy only saw a troop of eight deer and a fawn with a white bird on its shoulder. Patrick and his cohort continued their journey, unharmed.

So the Celtic Breastplate has become the St. Patrick’s Breastplate: I Bind unto Myself Today.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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