Nature Wisdom

with Pat Tuholske; Naturalist

The Deer’s Cry – An Irish Invocation

Everyone claims their Irish roots at this time of year as we celebrate the man behind the day with green beer, bagpipes and parades. I have always wondered who the real Patrick was and in my studies have found my namesake to be a man filled with compassion and intelligence.
Starting life as a wealthy nobleman’s son he was kidnapped into slavery at a young age. He spent years living in an isolated hillside hut tending animal herds. I can imagine him there on clear starry nights contemplating the vastness of creation.

He was eventually pressed into service to the Chief Druid of the clan. Legends say that Patrick received training as a Druid and was schooled in love of earth, ritual and healing arts.
On one occasion Patrick and his company were traveling across the hills of Ireland making their way to Tara, the seat of the High King. The danger of ambush unexpectedly arose. With the enemy near, Patrick uttered the words of the Deer’s Cry. In the blink of an eye, Patrick and his companions shapeshifted into a herd of wild deer. Those seeking to harm him unknowingly passed him by paying no attention to the animals.

The Deer’s Cry is a prayer poem attributed to Patrick and has crossed cultures with numerous translations ranging from Christian to Druidic interpretations. It’s one of those universal prayers that can be plucked from the ethers when one is in need of solace or shelter.

From the legacy of his words, Patrick was deeply in touch with the power and the beauty of the elements. He serves as a bridge between Christian ethics and the Druid respect for the earth.
I go outside every morning to stand under the big sky and greet the growing light. This prayer poem gives me a peaceful and centered way to start my day. With it I feel a connection and awareness of the elements that surround and nourish me through my waking hours. It refills the reservoir of deep strength in body and soul.

I arise today
Through strength of sky
Light of sun
Radiance of moon
Splendor of fire
Speed of lightning
Swiftness of wind
Depth of sea
Stability of earth
Firmness of rock.

May this prayer poem grace you with sanctuary and sustenance.
Check out Pat Tuholske’s journal “Nature as Healer” for musings on the Human-Nature relationship. Go to elementalearthcamp.com. Pat is the facilitator of Elemental Earthcamp “off the grid” eco-camp and shamanic retreat in the Missouri Ozarks.

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