FOR A SWARM OF BEES

 

Wiš ymbe: nim eoržan, oferweorp mid žinre
swižran handa under žinum swižran fet and cwet:

Fo ic under fot, funde ic hit.
Hwęt, eorše męg wiš ealra wihta gehwilce
and wiš andan and wiš ęminde
and wiš ža micelan mannes tungan.

And wišon forweorp ofer greot,
žonne hi swirman, and cweš:

Sitte ge sigewif, sigaš to eoržan.
Nęfre ge wilde to wuda fleogan.
Beo ge swa gemindige mines godas,
swa biš manna gewhilc metes and ešeles.
Against a swarm: take earth, throw it with your
right hand under your right foot and say:

I take this under my foot, I have found it.
Lo, earth prevails against all beings
and against malice and against jealousy
and against the powerful man's tongue.

And from above throw over the soil,
when they swarm, and say:

Sit you, war-females, sink to the earth.
Never should you fly wild into the woods.
Be you so mindful of my welfare,
so is each man of food and housing.

 

In this charm we see the power of earth being used, but it is not an appeal to the Earth Mother as in some other charms. Here it is the speaker who is the active agent, using earth or soil to empower his words. He "captures" this power by throwing it down and holding it securely under his foot. This power is of a calming or grounding quality.

Once the soil has been charmed, it is cast over the bees. At this point the bees are addressed directly. This charm was included to further illustrate the animist perspective in traditional Anglo-Saxon culture. The bees are not seen simply as "things"; they are beings who the speaker can appeal to. He addresses them as war-women and tells them to settle down, as if appealing to an unruly crowd. This personal interaction with the bees is not unlike the personal interactions with various botanicals in the Nine Herbs Charm. Both reveal a world view in which plants and animals are perceived as sentient and responsive entities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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