Dream Gates

Dream Gates

St Patrick’s breastplate

Bronze shield from Lough Gur in National Museum of Ireland

It may be good to start St Patrick’s Day with a Celtic blessing that has been given his name. The blessing is known as Saint Patrick’s Breastplate. It is a lorica, or “breastplate-charm”, believed to offer a shield of protection as we journey through life.

The translation of Saint Patrick’s Breastplate was made from the Old Irish by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1889. The original text was probably written down in the 8th century, some 300 years after Patrick’s ministry in Ireland.


But my favorite verse, moving in the waves of a traditional druidic incantation for protection on a journey, probably predates the saint and the coming of Christianity to Ireland by many centuries:

I arise now through
the strength of heaven
light of sun
radiance of moon
splendor of fire
speed of lightning
swiftness of wind
depth of ocean
stability of earth
firmness of rock 

We often speak these lines on the last morning of the retreats I lead, claiming our connection with the elemental powers that are named, and with the power of heaven, through our body language as well as through speech.


In its fuller version, as a Christian hymn, the blessing begins with this affirmation:

I bind unto myself today
the strong name of the Trinity
by invocation of the same
the Three in One and One in Three 

You can easily find the full version online by searching for “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate” or “I bind unto myself today”. You’ll notice there are different versions of the text, which is also in many hymnals.

If you want to say this blessing today, in whatever form, you will want to speak the words three times. All Celts know that three times makes the charm.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Patricia

    Interesting how feminine that breast plate looks?
    Thank you Robert for reminding me of this druidic saying.

Previous Posts

Approaching Halloween: when the veil between the world thins
The hair salon on the corner advertises, "Halloween Makeup Done Here." There are spooks and scarecrows at the doors of the houses on my block. As we approach Halloween, I am thinking of the many meanings of the festival, from trick-or-treat to ...

posted 10:42:07am Oct. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Whatever you think or feel, the universe says Yes
Whatever you think or feel, the universe says yes. Perhaps you have noticed this. Yes, we are talking about the law of attraction. It is indeed an ancient law, never a secret to those who live consciously. “All things which are similar and ...

posted 1:33:33am Oct. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Why Dreaming Is Important
A dream is a wake-up call. It takes us beyond what we already know. Dreams are the language of the soul, and they are experiences of the soul. There are “big” dreams and “little” dreams, of course. In big dreams, we go traveling and ...

posted 12:20:30pm Oct. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Dream symbols - Excremental issues
"Shit is good!" The elderly Italian grocery store owner's eyes twinkled as she bagged tomatoes and homemade pasta. "If you crap in your dreams, it means money." Her reading is an ancient one, still alive in many family traditions. The ...

posted 3:15:14am Oct. 15, 2015 | read full post »

Aboriginal Dreaming into the Dreamtime
Aboriginal Australians believe that we dream our way into this world, and dream our way out of it. "We talk to the spirit-child before a baby is born," naturopath and traditional healer Burnham Burnham explained it to me. If the father-to-be ...

posted 9:00:10am Jul. 08, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.