An Deiseal (by Annie Loughlin/Seren)

“The Caledonians paid a superstitious reverence to the sun, and practically every religious festival began with the ceremony of walking thrice deiseil, that is, in a sunwise direction, round the circle, cairn, altar or bonfire that marked the site, the object of the rite being to aid the sun by virtue of mimetic magic.”1

This can be done as a devotional on its own, or as an opening to a larger ritual. It helps to have a focal point for your devotions, either a hearth, altar or specially prepared space to put your candle, offerings and libations on.

Begin with paying your respects to the ancestors, spirits of the place and the gods. Light the candle/fire saying something like:

“I light this flame in welcome:
For the gods and ungods, noble and honoured;
For the ancestors, beloved dead;
For the spirits of this place, peace be to you.”

Give an offering and a libation, a sign of your devotion, saying something like:

“Mar a bha,
Mar a tha,
Mar a bhitheas…

(As it was,
As it is,
As it shall be).2

A blessing of blessings
Upon all three.”

Taking a quaich or glass of milk (or whatever else) raise it before the gods, spirits and ancestors and take a drink. Make the sunwise turn and a Good Wish, going round three times, saying:

Gliocas beithir dhuit,
Glucose fithich dhuit,
Gliocas fiolar euchdaich.
Wisdom of serpent be yours,
Wisdom of raven be your,
Wisdom of valiant eagle.
Guth na h-eala dhuit,
Guth na meala dhuit,
Guth mhic na reula.
Voice of swan be yours,
Voice of honey be yours,
Voice of the son of the stars.
Tacar mara dhuit,
Tacar talamh dhuit,
Tacar nèimhe.
Bounty of sea be yours,
Bounty of land be yours,
Bounty of skies.3

Some quiet contemplation and meditation can follow before finishing with some words of thanks and a final offering. Alternatively, a saining of the space can also be performed (a protective warding, performed especially on the Quarter Days, usually with water or the smoke from burning juniper), before feasting and further ritual, or whatever you feel is appropriate.


1 F. Marian McNeill, The Silver Bough Volume 1, 1957, p53-54. Brief note: My original intent for putting this together was to give a ritual that would give a good framework for devotional work. As such, the wording I used was somewhat derivative from other sources, and I hoped that it would provide a springboard for me to put things into my own words (and the same for anyone else who wanted to use it). I’ve updated the ritual now according to how I’ve developed it in my own practices since I first put it together a few years ago. Mostly I’ve put it more in my own words, though I’ve kept a few bits inspired by the Carmina Gadelica because I still feel these work well. The focus of the Good Wish has changed as it seemed more natural to give it to those being addressed, than bestow it on oneself.
2 Taken from song ‘Fragment’, number 216 found in volume 2 of Carmina Gadelica. I have to admit strong inspiration from Patricia Kennealy-Morrison’s Keltiad series for her use of it as well…
3 Liberally adapted from song 288, Good Wish, in volume 3 of Carmina Gadelica.