Essential Celt: A Song/Poem For Samhain [‘The Circle Is Turning’]

161009-song-for-samhain-standard-poetry-liturgy

The Earth continues to move around the sun in it’s great circle, its orbit. The circle is turning.

Soon, with Samhain (pronounced like ‘sowin’ (with ‘ow’ like in ‘glow’*)) on 31 October/1 November – the Celtic new year – we will be leaving autumn and entering the season of winter. Winter, being that time when we look northward on the compass point, and reflect upon the earth, its blessing to us, it’s store. It’s a time when we brace ourselves for shorter days and longer nights, colder temperatures and harsher conditions, and maybe, even snow.

The circle is turning.

It is a time when trees are bare and the soil is naked. A time when little or nothing grows. A time of nature’s sleep. And yet, underground, in the womb of the earth, unseen, seeds slumber, and the hope of spring is contained therein.

Winter is a’coming, and the following poem heralds its approach.

The words below, a poem or liturgy for a Samhain ceremony, to celebrate the movement into winter, can be read or verbalised, but also sung to the tune ‘Fear a’ Bhàta’.

This wonderful traditional song, ‘Fear a’ Bhàta’ (pronounced ‘fair-ah vart-a’, and is translated as ‘The boatman)’, is a Scots Gaelic song from the late 18th century, and is sung by a woman who captures in the lament the emotions of a courtship now ended. Another understanding of the song is that is sung from the viewpoint of a fisherman’s wife waiting on the quayside, anxious for her husband’s fishing boat, long overdue, to return. She fears the worst. It is a song of sorrow, and yet expectation, and hope for the future.

The circle is turning.

The tune is a great one for the moving into winter. It is full of depth and pathos – click here for the tune – and the following poem ‘fits’ the tune (with a bit of manoeuvring). The poem/song:

– oOo –

The Circle is turning,
(and) autumn  becomes winter.

The Circle is turning,
(and) autumn  becomes winter.

The Circle is turning,
(and) autumn becomes winter.
And nature sleeps, as the darkness falls.

The trees, they slumber.
Deep roots are dreaming.

The trees, they slumber.
Deep roots are dreaming.

The trees, they slumber.
Deep roots are dreaming.
I’m listening to the winter’s sacred rest.

The snow is falling,
the earth is bless-éd.

The snow is falling,
the earth is bless-éd.

The snow is falling,
the earth is bless-éd.
The hope of spring, ye-et to come.

The Circle is turning,
(and) autumn becomes winter.

The Circle is turning,
(and) autumn becomes winter.

The Circle is turning,
(and) autumn becomes winter.
And nature sleeps, as the darkness falls.

– oOo –

If you listen to the tune and the abovementioned words don’t seem to ‘fit’, please email me.  I’ll then attempt to sing it, record it, and send a very simple acapella version of it to you – please request by email to me at: tadhg@tadhg.cymru

(I will gladly oblige, if you’re going to use it at Samhain or thereabouts, but please email only if necessary, to spare my blushes, as my singing isn’t that good).

(Note: * Their are several ways to pronounce Samhain. I’ve used the one I’m most familiar with).

One thought on “Essential Celt: A Song/Poem For Samhain [‘The Circle Is Turning’]

  1. Pingback: Essential Celt: Samhain 2016. Something Of Its Meaning, And Resources | Tadhg Talks…

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