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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Raven Lore - translation

There's a fascinating bit of text called 'Fiachairecht ocus Dreanacht' or, roughly 'Raven Augury and Wren Augury' that outlines in detail what exactly omens with these birds mean based on where they are when the omen is received. I've decided to do my own translation of this work by dividing it up into sections, starting with 'Fiachairecht' (Raven Augury). As usual I'll give the original Irish text first followed by my English translation. 

Madh congaire an fiach os imdha comdluthta a medon an tighe is ardgres liath no chlerig ticc cucad, acht ata deithbir eturru .i. mad laoch clerech is bacach adeir an fiach, madh fer graidh is gradh gradh congair ocus is fo do do ló congair. Madh gresa oclaich no caintidh ticc and is graacc gracc congair, no as grob grob ocus i lleith ad diaigh congair ocus as as tecaid na gressa. Mad gracc gracc congair fordhighthir na hoicc dia ngair. Mad mna tic and is foda congair. Mad congaire don aird aniartuaidh don tigh meirligh ar ti na n-each do ghaid. Mad ar dorus an tighe congair coimighthi no amhuis ticc ann. Mad os dorus congair cainti no gresa do lucht comaitechta righ tic ann. Mad os imda in fir maith congair airm a mbia a gascidh ocus se ac dul for fecht ni ticfa slan ocus minab eadh ticcfa imslan. Madh í in ben nodbebhus is andsan adhart congair. Mad a cosuibh imdha in fir congair ticfa a mac no a brathair no a chliamain don tigh. Mad a forimel na cuiled airm a mbi an biadh inti congair is tormach mbidh don leith asa ngair .i. carna no cetbleghon bo. Madh ider an cuilidh ocus tene a aighidh, aidhigh combind ticc don tigh. Mad nesu do mnai an tighe airm a mbi na suidi it le na greasa .i. cilamuin no cara. Mad fri cuilid andes congair altrum no gresu a céin ticc don tigh. Mad guth bec asberu .i. err err no úr úr galar for nec[h] isin tigh no for ni dia ceathra. Mad coin ticc fona caorchaib as don cru caorach congair no a n-urcomuir na mna maithi ocus is edh adeir carna carna grob grob coin coin. Mad congaire do chleith an tighe an tan bithter ag longud caithid an longud sin. Mad do chloich congair tasc athaigh sin. Mad do chrund ard congair tascc oigtigerna indsin. Madh do chleith in craind tasc rig no meic saorcheneoil. Mad dia ndech leat for feacht no romat ocus mad failidh fair bidh maith do thurus ocus doberthar úrcharna duit. Mad tuathbil dotes ocus congair fort belaib is tru forsa ngair amlaid no fordergadh for neach don foirind. Mad for do belaib ac dul docum dala coimeirghi inti. Mad tuaithbel dodeocha marbthar nech don coimeirghe sin. Mad congaire de chuil na n-each rneirlig fora ti. Mad dia soa foen ocai ocus dia n-abra grob grob gadtar ni dona hechaib ocus ni fuidhbiter ocus rt.

- Best, R.I. "Prognostications from the Raven and the Wren," Ériu 1916

image courtesy of Rita Pilcher-Walters 

If the raven calls over an enclosed sleeping couch in the middle of the house grey-haired, noble guests or clerics are coming towards you, but there is a difference between them that is if lay-clergy then 'bacach' says the raven, if a man of ecclesiastical orders then 'gradh gradh' it calls and calls so twice a day. If warrior guests or satirists are coming it calls 'graacc gracc', or 'grob grob' and in the grayness of evening calls and the guests are coming. If it calls 'gracc gracc'  the youths are suffering for a short time. If women are coming its call is long. If it calls from the north-east point of the house bandits are about to steal the horses. If it calls from a doorway of the house foreigners or hirelings are coming there. If above the doorway it calls satirist or guests in the household attending a king are coming there. If it calls above a sleeping couch of the good man, where his weapons will be, and he ready to go for a time, he will not go safely yet he act gently however he will go in safety. If it is the woman who shall die then from a pillow it calls. If its from the foot of the man's sleeping couch it calls his son or his brother or his male in-law will come to his house. If it calls from the edge of the storeroom where the food is stored in the food will increase from the part of that quantity, that is meat or first milk-yield of the cow. If its face is between the storehouse and fire, sweet countenances will come to his house. If it calls near to the woman of the house, her usual place, it will be the guests of the aforementioned that is a male in-law or a friend. If it calls toward the right of the storehouse a new foster or long term guest are coming to the house. If it speaks with a small voice, that is 'err err' or 'úr úr' illness on someone in that house or on something in the herds. If wolves will come among the sheep , it calls from the sheep-stock or the raven calls by the good woman and it says 'carna carna', 'grob grob' 'coin coin' [wolves, wolves]. If it calls from the ridgepole of the house when they are eating their meal they cast away the meal there. If it calls from a stone it is news of a commoner's death there. If he calls in a high tree news of a young lord's death. If from a hidden tree a king or noble's son's death-news. If one go with you on a journey or before you and if happiness is on it [if it is happy] your journey will go well and new meat will be given to you. If it comes lefthand-wise and calls on you, he is doomed who this cry is on thus, or doom on someone in the group. If before you close to going to the assembly, an uprising at the aforementioned. If lefthand-wise it has come a death of someone at the uprising there. If it calls from the horses' corner thieves are about to attack. If it turns over on its back then and it says 'grob grob' some unlucky horses will be stolen and not be found and so on.

1 comment:

  1. So fun to read! Thank you! Now I am inspired to listen closely to the actual sound of the bird, not just to the "caw" of them.