John O’Donahue – Celtic Blessing

This week’s radio programme On Being, by Krista Tippett, is dedicated to the Irish poet John O’Donahue and is titled ‘The Inner Landscape of Beauty‘. I have listened with fascination the interview, from which the poem/blessing above was extracted. I believe it is worth giving an hour for this.

In the next video O’Donovan is reciting the blessing during one of his conferences.

Finally, you may watch Irish landscapes, reading yourself the words of the blessing.

Here are also the words of the poem:

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
freeze behind
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.

(Source, HERE)

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

2 thoughts on “John O’Donahue – Celtic Blessing”

  1. Thanks Danut, a true revelation.
    Here are a few bits from the interview which have really worked for me:

    “…landscape recalls you into a mindful mode of stillness, solitude and silence where you can truly receive time…”

    “…the reason that so many people turn away from religion in these times is that “God” question has died for them; because the question has been framed in such repetitive, dead language…”

    “…at the heart of Christianity is this idea of intimacy, which is true belonging…the homecoming…”

    Looking forward to the summer when I can escape again to the kind of landscapes he was talking about…


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