Compiled by Grimalhame Founder Soriah Deodar, Matriarch Thirdendyal Runstaff of the Clowder of Shilgrene, Matriarch Yllaria Notekyn of the Clowder of Yllaw, and the Elder Pantaliemon Blackwhisker of the settlement of Margrene, in the Time of the Great Gathering, the Old Grimalkin Book of Hours is a collection of observances, rituals, thoughts and prayers for the Priest/esshood, laybeast and the everyday Grimalkin that have been used since ancient times.
When the Order of Tir Oliach was formed, it was decided that a complete and comprehensive Book of Hours should be produced for the citizens, at the citizens’ request. And so, the Book was created, along with illustrations that depicted the various Hours being observed. From the original, full-colour version made at Grimalhame, many were re-created as text-and-woodcut-only, pocket-sized versions for the everyday Grimalkin. These primary copies were sent to every clowder and settlement in Arcadia and copied so every citizen could possess one. From these primary, text-only copies came intricate and richly-decorated Books of Hours that still exist today. The Old Grimalkin Book of Hours is literal in the sense that there is an observation for every hour of the day. Originally written for members of the Order of Tir Oliach, the Book incorporated the religious aspects and philosophical and practical observances and, therefore, catered for those who chose not to practice any faith as well as those who do.
Despite the overtly-religious overtones, the everyday Grimalkin is encouraged to observe the Hours in their own way; communal activities are recommended as well as activities that can be carried out alone and in private. Each Hour will mean something different to every individual; there are no hard and fast rules as to how Hours are conducted, One may choose not to observe the Hours at all, but still retain a copy and refer to it now and again in order to feel and re-affirm the connection to the community and their place in the world. And this is why the Old Grimalkin Book of Hours still retains its appeal seven thousand years after it was written.
For the reader not familiar with the language of Old Grimalkin, the following words are translated. Nichni means night, Arn-Lalast is first-light or morning. Avhai-Lalast is second light or afternoon, and Il-Noste means fall of night or evening.
I do hope you enjoy this Book and find peace within its pages.
Yours Under the Sacred Oaks,
Deputy Clowder Mother and
Chief Historian of Grimalhame
The hours of deepest darkness is the time when all but a few are sleeping. The Hour of Peace is the quietest period of the night and also when most passings occur. A Grimalkin observing this Hour may pray for and attend to those making their final transition into the Otherworld. At this time a Grimalkin may sit or stand quietly, without or within, and allow the peaceful sanctity of the moment to fill one’s mind, body and soul. Allow thoughts and troubles to drift away like passing clouds and know that they are only thoughts, even the difficult and distressing ones. Let all cares drift away at that moment, like the souls departing this life for the Otherworld. Much peace can be found when letting go.
The Hour of Peace reminds us that it can be found everywhere if one cares to find the time and the space. In a busy community it is important to find little moments of peace; when one is eating, tending to the gardens, doing creative activities or in that still, calm moment before sleep. This Hour reminds one to think about and pray for those who are struggling to find peace. The following prayer can be recited:
“Great Mother, Holy Mother, creator of All Things, bless us this hour with the gift of peace. May the troubled soul be calmed, and the fretful be comforted. Pray for us, Holy Mother of All Things; by your grace may we find peace here in our community, in our homes and in our hearts. It is by your will we spread your word of love and peace to others. We give you thanks this day and all days.”
All clowders and settlements can only operate fully and harmoniously if we all observe peace. Indeed, it is what our clowders were founded upon. This Hour gives us the chance to reflect on how we can achieve peace in our life and in the lives of others. If another is struggling to do this, try and offer up ways to help them. It may be the offer of a paw in friendship that makes all the difference. The following incantation may be said when observing this Hour:
“Peace to your father and peace to your brother,
Peace to your sister and peace to your mother.
Peace to your children and peace to your kin,
Peace to your ancestors without and within.
Peace to your home and peace to your neighbour,
Peace to the beasts that shoulder your labour.
Peace to your newborns and peace to your old.
May peace be upon your mind, body and soul.”