Loop of Brighid: The Nine Pure Choice Graces, Part 2 – The Grace of Voice

The second of the nine “pure choice graces” is the grace of voice. In the Gaelic culture, as in many other traditional cultures, no clear distinction was drawn between poetry and singing until recent times. Singing was understood primarily as a way to remember the words of a poem and share them with others, so there was less emphasis on having what our culture would define as a “good singing voice.”

Instead, a good voice in Gaelic terms had two primary qualities: clarity and emotional expression. A clear, well-enunciated voice made it easier to hear and understand the words of the poem or song, and the honest expression of heartfelt emotion made those words come alive for the listeners. An imperfect note or two was not seen as being especially important by comparison.

While the grace of voice could just as easily refer to ordinary speech, Brighid’s association with poetry makes it especially appropriate to cultivate this grace through singing aloud in a pleasant tone. The other steps in this practice are the same as for the grace of form, but I’m repeating them here for convenience:

1- Prepare a bowl of the lustral fire using milk, honey and either wine, mead or berry juice. Bless the lustral fire by reciting the “Invocation of the Graces” over it.

2- Sit in front of your bowl of lustral fire. Recite the first verse of the “Invocation of the Graces” while anointing your palms and cheeks with the lustral fire:

I bathe thy palms
In showers of wine,
In the lustral fire,
In the seven elements,
In the juice of the rasps,
In the milk of honey,
And I place the nine pure choice graces
In thy fair fond face,
The grace of form,
The grace of voice,
The grace of fortune,
The grace of goodness,
The grace of wisdom,
The grace of charity,
The grace of choice maidenliness,
The grace of whole-souled loveliness,
The grace of goodly speech.

3- As you recite these words, imagine that it is Brighid Herself who is speaking and purifying you.

4- Sitting before the lustral fire, sing aloud with an emphasis on the voice. The goal is to cultivate a calm, peaceful and clear tone with deep emotional connection to the words.

Clann Bhride: The Children of Brighid

 

 


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About Christopher Scott Thompson

Christopher Scott Thompson is the president of the Cateran Society, and the author of several books on the historical Gaelic martial arts. Under the name C.S. Thompson, he is the author of the Noctiviganti dark fantasy novels. Under the religious name of Gilbride or “Servant of Brighid,” he has been active in the pagan community for a number of years, serving as the vice president (and briefly the president) of Imbas, a board member of the Fellowship for Celtic Tradition, a flamekeeper of Ord Brighideach and now the Cauldron Cill, and a member of the Kin of the Old Gods temple. He is a member of Clann Bhride, an organization of Brigidine devotees. He lives somewhere between this world and the Sidhe in the company of his wife Cicely and daughters Leila and Rowan.