Day 60: The Bagabi Chant

Happy traditional Beltane.  To celebrate, I’m studying Samhain.  How very Australian of me.

Part of this Sabbat series seems to be to give people a tasting of what some general practices might be.  One such ‘traditional’ practice, according to Roderick is the chanting of the Bagabi incantation while simultaneously walking widdershins in a circle, taking one small step for each word recited.  The idea is to not focus on the words, but on what they seem to evoke from you.  Then, once the chant is ended, you are to sit down, sens any changes of energy within you or the environment, and then journal about the experience.  The Bagabi chant is as follows:

Bagabi laca bachabe
Lamac cahi achabe
Karrelyos
Lama lamec bachalyas
Cabahagy sabalyos
Baryolas
Lagozatha cabyolas
Harrahya!
Palas aron ozinomas
Baske bano tudan dona
Geheamed cla orlay
Berec he pantaras tay.

Well, according to some sources, I may have just conjured the devil into my bedroom.  Either that, or cast a powerful love spell.  Roderick notes that the “oldest verified version of the text comes from the thirteenth-century troubadour Rutebeuf’s manuscript, which is now part of the permanent collection of the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris.”  I can neither confirm nor deny the validity of that attribution.  I am, however, curious as to how it became incorporated into modern witchcraft.  It’s a bunch of silly, unprounouncable nonsense words, really.

I’d love to hear another person recite this chant–it’s sort of hard to get a sense of the poetics when you’re the one saying it–but the first half sort of gave me an organic symbiosis feeling.  The closest I can get is by likening it to the movie Nell in which Nell makes it understood that “Tay in da Ween” is “tree in the wind.”  Her version almost makes her a tree in the wind, and she sways along with the rest of the forest.  The second half made me want to dance a dervish.  It’s a very fast paced, spinny thing.  So that’s what it evoked for me, I guess…organic confluence, then human spinning.  I didn’t note an appreciable change of energy, though.

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8 thoughts on “Day 60: The Bagabi Chant

  1. I suppose I ought not to be shocked that some one would publish a chant that no one understands, either linguistically or contexually. It seems highly foolish to me. Both the witch and the scholar in me flinches.

  2. Everything is symbolism. Always believed spirituality is independent and individual. Perception and intent all that truly applies. Long ago found the chant not only interesting but energizing and musical. Integrated it musically into our works. Tuatha Dea

  3. No idea what it says. Just got this book. Golden rule: never use anything if you don’t know what it does. Could summon a demon or something, especially on Samhain. Really surprised at the author he should know better. Its in Basque, a dead language. I will not be doing this chant under any circumstances this Samhain.

    • You know, I don’t know that I ever published a follow-up to this post. Later on in my studies I got a bee in my bonnet to learn more about the Bagabi Chant and why it has persisted. It is not, in fact, in Basque, though there are some similarities if you squint. There are some tentative translation attempts by likening it to Basque, which aren’t exactly close to 100%. But, rest assured, it is highly unlikely that it would summon a demon. At this point in time, it’s largely just used for the fun “nonsense” words, which help you raise energy and get into a high pitched spirit without necessarily putting vocal meaning to the energy. And there’s a lot of power in that. Think of “Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious” in Mary Poppins. It’s largely the same thing.

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