The Gorsedd Prayer

There is a prayer commonly used at druid gatherings. When I first encountered it, I had no idea where it came from or how it might fit in the history of druidry. I learned it, and intoned it, although I found that people vary the endings and some of the words. Deity, and spirit words are often interchanged to fit the nature of the gathering, and at Bards of the Lost Forest, we never quite agreed on what order the end came in. But the gist of it is something like…

Grant, oh spirits, thy protection

And in protection, strength,

And in strength, understanding

And in understanding, knowledge

And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice

And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it,

And in the love of it, the love of the gods and goddesses

And in the love of the gods and goddesses the love of all existence, and all goodness.


I’ve done a lot of deep contemplative work with this prayer, both before knowing that it’s probably Iolo Morganwg’s work, and after. I’ve meditated on the connections between ideas and the implications of each line. In short, I have tried very hard to come to a proper understanding of its significance, and I’ve never got there. For some months now I’ve been entertaining the idea that I should re-write it, taking the form of the original as inspiration, but coming up with a line of progress that makes more sense to me. Yesterday, I woke up with a fire I my head, and what happened, was this…

Grant, oh spirits, thy protection,

And in protection, insight,

And in insight, understanding,

And in understanding, compassion

And in compassion, rightful action,

And in rightful action, the love of it,

And in the love of it, the love of all existence,

And in the love of all existence, a sense of the sacred

And in that sense of sacredness, peace.


I feel I’ve focused more on engagement and action than the original does, not imagining a flow that entirely comes in from the outside, but a space in which we can be opened to opportunities for our own development. The causality in this works better for me, and I’ve tested it on my bloke and child to good effect.

I’m a huge believer in evolving tradition, in taking what we have and doing it over so that it suits us better and makes sense for where we are. On the folk side it’s called ‘folk process’. If anyone likes what I’ve done and wants to make off with it, then please do so. Or if you like some bits of it and not others, take those and folk process them until you get what you need, or write your own from scratch and send that out into the world. Or keep the original, because I’m guessing there are people who do understand the deeper currents within it  and for whom the language works perfectly.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

4 responses to “The Gorsedd Prayer

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