The Wið Cyrnel Charm

The essence of this charm is performative transformation, and where the illness is caused by an invasive presence, the charm effects a reduction to the point of non-existence by referring to the “nine sisters” and using the countdown formula for their reduction to account for them all in banishing the sisters and thus curing the malady. It was not an uncommon form of charm in mediaeval healing. The “worm” referred to may not be the parasite that we think of today, but may refer to a spirit or wīhta associated with disease. The nine sisters referred to are not currently known but would be associated with Noðþaes who may be a named disease-wīhta.

Neogone waeran Noðþaes sweoster;
þa wurdon þa nygone to VIII
þa VIII to VII
þa VII to VI
þa VI to V
þa V to IIII
þa IIII to III
þa III to II
þa II to I
þa I to nanum
þis þe lib cyrneles > be scrofelles
weorme[s] > aeghwylces yfeles.
(Sing bendicite nygon siþum.)

*******

Against a swelling: “Nine were the sisters of Noðþ;
then nine became eight,
and the eight to seven,
and the seven to six,
and the six to five,
and the five to four,
and the four to three,
and the three to two,
and the two to one,
and the one to none”;
this shall be the treatment of a swelling, and of scrofula,
and of a worm, and of every evil;
(Sing “benedicite” nine times.)

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