This was originally posted by Tall Skinny Kiwi, but it is very much worth reprinting!
Beannacht (“Blessing”) by John O’Donohue,
from his book of Christian and Celtic wisdom titled Anam Cara.
On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.And when your eyes
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.
The language is beautiful. Our usual blessing to each other is “Have a nice day”, or “Get well soon”. That’s nice but this is poetic and well thought out. In my childhood, I think something like this would have been looked at as purely sentimental and flowery – a waste time. But can words like this actually have power? No, I’m not talking about a Wiccan-esqe magic spell kind of power. Or a “good vibes” karma spreading kind of power. But something maybe CLOSER to that than having no significance beyond the words on the page.
At the most basic level it can communicate that the one giving the blessing actually put some time and effort into it. That can communicate love. Like going out of the way to buy your wife the exact kind of special orchid she likes instead of just getting her any old bouquet of flowers at the grocery store. So that’s real power, but it doesn’t leave the confines of our own heads.
Some would say that God is very INTERACTIVE with mankind in real time. He works with our prayers (or blessings in this case) and that what we think and do actually has an effect on God and how he then chooses to act and relate to us. Others think the very notion of that is silly and even dangerous. So what kind of power does a blessing like this have?