Gairm Isteach (by Treasa Ní Chonchobhair)

The point of this ritual is to perform a deiseal turn, to follow the path of the sun (east to west) while focusing on the airts. What is an airt exactly? Airt (Modern Irish, aird) means ‘direction’ or ‘point of compass’, which signifies the four corners/provinces of Ireland—East: Leinster, South: Munster, West: Connaught and North: Ulster—all surrounding the sacred center of Meath (Tara). In Suidigud Tellaich Temra (The Settling of the Manor of Tara) we are shown that each province of Ireland is associated certain skills or attributes.

‘O Fintan,’ said he, ‘and Ireland, how has it been partitioned, where have things been therein?’
‘Easy to say,’ said Fintan: ‘knowledge in the west, battle in the north, prosperity in the east, music in the south, kingship in the centre.’

‘Her learning, her foundation, her teaching, her alliance, her judgment, her chronicles, her counsels, her stories, her histories, her science, her comeliness, her eloquence, her beauty, her modesty [lit. blushing], her bounty, her abundance, her wealth — from the western part in the west.’

‘Her battles, also,’ said he, ‘and her contentions, her hardihood, her rough places, her strifes, her haughtiness, her unprofitableness, her pride, her captures, her assaults, her hardness, her wars, her conflicts, From the northern part in the north.’

‘Her prosperity then,’ said he, ‘and her supplies, her bee-hives [?] her contests, her feats of arms, her householders, her nobles, her wonders, her good custom, her good manners, her splendour, her abun­dance, her dignity, her strength, her wealth, her householding, her many arts, her accoutrements [?], her many treasures, her satin, her serge, her silks, her cloths [?], her green spotted cloth [?], her hospitality, from the eastern part in the east.’

‘Her waterfalls, her fairs, her nobles, her reavers, her knowledge, her subtlety, her musicianship, her melody, her minstrelsy, her wisdom, her honour, her music, her learning, her teaching, her warriorship, her fidchell playing, her vehemence, her fierceness, her poetical art, her advocacy, her modesty, her code, her retinue, her fertility, from the southern part in the south.’

‘Her kings, moreover, her stewards, her dignity, her primacy, her stability, her establishments, her supports, her destructions, her war­riorship, her charioteership, her soldiery, her principality, her high-kingship, her ollaveship, her mead, her bounty, her ale, her renown, her great fame, her prosperity, from the centre position.’

By reflecting on each province, we bring within ourselves the attributes of Éire. It is for this reason that I call refer to this devotion as Gairm Isteach, which literally means ‘calling in’.

To Begin: Kindle a fire, be it an actual one contained within a fire-proof container or a few candles. Say a blessing over the fire, asking Bríde for the fire of each airt to be kindled within you this day. Perform a saining using either water or the smoke of juniper. Once you are done, take three deep breaths and commence.

I. Turn to the East (oirthear) and recite or sing:

Hearth of House,
House of Abundance,
Abundance of Splendour,
Splendour of Manners,
Manners of Hospitality,
Hospitality of Spirit,
Spirit of Gratitude,
Gratitude of Prosperity,
Prosperity of Peace, Be with me.

II. Turn to the South (deisceart) and recite or sing:

Melody of Wildness,
Wildness of Fertility,
Fertility of Wisdom,
Wisdom of Blessing,
Blessing of Music,
Music of Inspiration,
Inspiration of Poetry,
Poetry of Passion,
Passion of Peace, Be with me.

III. Turn to the West (iarthar) and recite or sing:

Science of Counsel,
Counsel of Stories
Stories of Otherworlds,
Otherworlds of Spirits,
Spirits of Vision,
Vision of Beauty,
Beauty of Eloquence,
Eloquence of Teaching,
Teaching of Peace, Be with me.

IV. Turn to the North (tuaisceart) and recite or sing:

Discipline of Strength,
Strength of Constitution,
Constitution of Endurance,
Endurance of Freedom,
Freedom of Contentions,
Contentions of Challenge,
Challenge of Conflict,
Conflict of Warriorship,
Warriorship of Peace, Be with me.

V. Stand in the Center (lár) and recite or sing:

Strength of Foundation,
Foundation of Holy Stone,
Holy Stone of Kings,
Kings of  Ériu
,
Ériu
of Sovereignty
Sovereignty of Land
Land of my Ancestors
Ancestors of my Blood
1
Blood of Peace, Be with me.


Footnote

1. Blood as in People, as if to say, “Ancestors of my People, People of Peace”