Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Sea-Baptism: A Caution

It was the custom, the, and still is in some isles, for mothers to wet brow or finger of their newborn in the flow of the tide at the end of the third week of the child’s life. The twenty-first day, if a Sunday, was held to be the most fortunate, and a Thursday next to it: but a Friday was always to be avoided, and a Saturday was held in some fear, unless the child was dark in hair and eyes and colour ... It was above all needful to see that this wave-baptism happened when the tide was at the flow. If it were done at the ebb, woe to that child and that mother; soon or late the “baptism” would be called to sink in deep gulfs and be homeless and no more seen -- and, in the west, for the dead to have no green grave, for sleep-covering is a nakedness of sorrow ill to endure for those left to mourn.

-- Fiona Macleod, “Cuildh Mhoire” ("The Treasury of Mary')
((Mary or Mare, “The Sea”))


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