Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, Vol 1, No 3 (2007):Forum on Religion, Nature and Culture (part II)

Humans and Other Animals in Alexander Carmichael's Carmina Gadelica

Mary Low
Issued Date: 25 Mar 2008


Non-human animals feature strongly in Alexander Carmichael’s Carmina Gadelica, with domestic animals receiving the most attention. In this anthology of traditional prayers and customs from the Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland, animals are used to meet human needs but are also seen as feeling creatures that have an affinity with men and women. There is no escaping the fear and dislike of Carmina people for animals which they believe threaten their livelihood, but a number of prayers and work songs express affection for wild creatures and generosity towards them in terms of food and care, and all of the animals in the Carmina seem to be included in a prayer for love of God and neighbour. Anthropocentrism is present, but there is more concern for other animals than in many expressions of Christian spirituality, and a strong sense is demonstrated throughout the text of humans as a part of a commonwealth of creatures

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DOI: 10.1558/jsrnc.v1i3.371


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