Miscellaneous Lacnunga Charms

BL MS Harley 585, circa 1050.

copyright: Karen Louise Jolly, Popular Religion in Late Saxon England: Elf Charms in Context (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), pp. 117-129 passim. Do not reproduce without permission from the publishers.


Lacnunga CLXXXIII (114)

If cysts pain a man at the heart, let a virgin go to a spring which runs straight east, and draw forth one cup full, with [in the direction of?] the current, and sing thereon the Creed and Pater noster, and then pour it into another vessel; and let him/her draw again a second and sing again the Creed and the Pater noster; and do so that you have three [cupfuls]; do this nine days; soon he will be well.

Lacnunga, CLXII (95)

Nine were [blank]
node's sisters, then [turned] the nine to VIII, and the VIII to VII, and the VII to VI, and the VI to V, and the V to IIII, and the IIII to III, and the III to II, and the II to I, and the one to none. Let this be medicine [lib] for you for kernel and for scrofula and for worm, and for every evil. Sing benedicite nine times.

Lacnunga XXV (9)

Sing this prayer on the black ulcers nine times, first Pater noster;

Tigath tigath tigath calicet aclu cluel sedes adclocles acre earcre arnem nonabiuth ‘r ‘rnem nithren arcum cunath arcum arctua fligara uflen binchi cutern nicuparam raf afth egal uflen arta arta arta trauncula trauncula.

Querite et inuenietis. Adiuro te per patrem et filium et spiritum sanctum non amplius crescas sed arescas; super aspidem et basilliscum ambulabis et conculcabis leonem et draconem. Crux Matheus, crux Marcus, crux Lucas, crux Johannes.

[Seek and you will find. I adjure you through the father and the son and the holy spirit. Do not grow greater but shrink. Upon the asp and the basilisk you shall tread and on the lion and the dragon.]

Lacnunga CXCI Benedictio Herbarum:

Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui ab initio mundi omnia instituisti et creasti tam arborum generibus quam herbarum seminibus, quibus etiam benedictione tua benedicendo sanxisti eadem, nunc benedictione holera aliosque fructus sanctificare ac benedicere digneris, ut sumentibus ex eis sanitatem conferant mentis et corporis ac tutelam defensionis eternamque uitam. per saluatorem animarum dominum nostrum iesum christum, qui uiuit et regnat deus in secula seculorum. Amen.

[Omnipotent eternal God who from the beginning of the world instituted and created all things, both trees after their kind and herbs with their seeds, with which by your benediction you have blessed and ordained the same; now deign with thy benediction to sanctify and bless these plants and other fruits, so that they may confer health of mind and body to those partaking (of them), and a safeguard of defense and eternal life. Through the savior of souls, our lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns God for ever and ever. Amen.]


Lacnunga CXCIV

In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti et per uirtutem dominice passionis et resurrectionis a mortuis ut sanctificentur tuo uerbo sancto et benedicantur omnes fideles cum gustu huius unguenti aduersus omnes nequitias in mundorum spiritum et contra ualitudines et infirmitates que corpus affligunt.

[In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and through the power of the Lord's passion and resurrection from the dead, (I pray) that all the faithful may be sanctified by your word and blessed with a touch of this unguent, against all wickednesses aimed at the spirit of pure ones and against illnesses and infirmities that afflict the body.]


Lacnunga CXXXIII (74)

Against flying venom, slash four strokes in the four quarters with an oaken brand; make the brand bloody, throw it away; sing this on it three times: [making the sign of the cross as drawn in the manuscript]

matheus me ducath, marcus me conseru‘th, lucas me liberat, iohannes me adiuuat semper. amen. Contriue deus omnem malum et nequitiam per uirtutem patris et filii et spiritus sancti sanctifica me emanuhel iesus christus libera me ab omnibus insidiis inimici; benedictio domini super caput meum; potens deus in omni tempore. amen.

[Matthew guide me, Mark protect me, Luke free me, John aid me, always, amen. Destroy, O God, all evil and wickedness; through the power of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit sanctify me; Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, free me from all attacks of the enemy; the benediction of the Lord (be) over my head; mighty God in every season. Amen.]

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