The Paidirean are the prayer beads of the Ceile De. Some believe that they have a Druid origin. They have always been part of the Ceile De tradition are known to have been used in the days of Columcille (St. Columba).
I got mine from the Ceile De shop a little before Christmas. There are 150 beads, each about 5 mm wide. They are made of unstained rosewood and were left immersed in rose damask oil for a month. As well as scenting the beads, the oil gives the beads a pinkish colour. An equal armed and circled silver cross hangs from the beads – at heart level when worn as a necklace. This form of cross – Celtic, Gnostic and universal – is an ancient symbol, found in pre-Christian and Christian carvings, and sacred to many people from many cultures.
Each Paidirean is ceremonially strung in Scotland by a Ceile De Order member. The process takes two hours and involves prayer, meditation and continuous chanting during the stringing. Then a blessing is spoken over the completed Paidirean which is anointed with water and with oil from a local holy well, used for at least 1500 years. Sister Fionn strung my Paidirean. Many blessings to you, Sister Fionn, at the turning of the year.
The Paidirean is an object of power as well as beauty. I wear it as a necklace when practicing, as well as an OBOD Awen necklace which ends just below the throat. Wearing the two feels like a kind of completion, and I am reminded of a visit I made to Scotland at Midsummer 2007. I was in Melrose in the Scottish border region, an area with strong family connections. And I seemed to be in business with three locations. One was the semi-ruined Abbey, and in particular its orchard and garden. One was the Eildon Hills, looming up into low clouds. One was a path by the River Tweed.
I was wondering where I felt most spiritually attuned and where I wanted to spend most of my time. In its gardens the Abbey felt like a place of peace and tradition, though clearly also compromised by conflicts between nations and orthodoxies. The hollow hills of Thomas the Rhymer fame held challenge, glamour – the heroic spirituality of the vision quest in its local form. But I turned to the river, and had a small epiphany whilst contemplating a wild rose on the riverbanks. And I later wrote this verse, which became part of a longer poem.
I am Rose. I am wild Rose.
I am Rose at Midsummer.
The river flows by me.
Fragile, I shiver in the wind.
And I am the heart’s core, mover of mountains.
In a sense, that experience, and the verse that recorded it, established the direction for my subsequent spiritual life and practice. The Paidirean sets the seal on it.