St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) is a day that brings forth the ‘wearing of the green’, stories of leprechauns and shamrocks, wonderful Irish music and gentle reminders of Celtic spirituality in many parts of the world. 

Celtic spirituality transcends institutionalized religion and encourages people to consider aspects of the essence of life … like sleep.

But sleep can be the elusive pimpernel of the night.

Night time, for many, seems to be a time when
… minds seem to worry more
… pain seems to hurt more acutely
… grief seems to be more intense
… fear seems to escalate

When COVID-19 spread its tentacles in every continent, countless people became isolated, got sick, died; anxiety grew as new strains of the virus emerged; vaccines weren’t available to all people; and growing numbers of people refused to get vaccinated.

Increased concern about climate change brings dramatic discussions about climate-refugees.  As a growing number of countries around the world continue to live in unbelievable conflict and the rest of the world holds its breath, fearful about the possibility of biological and nuclear warfare being unleashed.  Thousands are deeply concerned about their savings, health care for themselves/their families, the future if democracy comes to an end.   Rising concerns about availability of treatment/medication for those who are facing unwanted, unexpected, complicated pregnancies are all over social media. 

People “take sides” in it all – alienating people in neighbourhoods, worship, work, community groups/organizations, family members and the worry, stress and global tension is having a negative effect on sleep patterns.

We all need sleep.

The people of Ukraine and Gaza need sleep without the sound and danger of missiles and explosions.   

Family pets – cats and dogs need sleep. 

We all need sleep – and good sleep.

Today on St. Patrick’s Day, the Ancient Celtic Prayer for Peace and Sleep seems to be most fitting.   It is a prayer.  It is a wish.  It is a hope.  It is a need.

May this not only be a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, but may this night and all nights to come be blessed with sleep and safety for this world.  Perhaps this ancient prayer for peace and sleep might help to bring about a gentle night of sleep.

May the peace of the tallest mountain and 
the peace of the smallest stone be our peace. 

May the stillness of the stars watch over us.

And may the everlasting music of the wave lull us to rest.
Amen.  So be it.  Amen.

© June Maffin
Calligraphic artist: George Simpson
Author: unknown member of a Celtic spirituality community