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Magick of the Celts

Celtic magick is the ancient practice of nature, the elements and the gods. The Celtic and Druidic practices, most commonly thought to be from Ireland, came with the Celts as they inhabited most of western Europe, in about the 9th century BC., and was probably very Shamanistic.

Thier civilization covered south France, Spain, Italy, lowland Germany, Switzerland, Ireland , and the British Isles. They were skilled road builders, metalworkers, farmers, and animal trainers.

The Celtic Gods & Goddesses were equal, as were the men and women of this society. In battle the women fought with and were as fierce as the men.

To the Celts, magick was a part of evey day life. it was not set aside and only used for special occasions or only when you needed something. The Druids were the Celtic Priesthood, and could be male or female (possibly called Dryads). The Druidic teachings were Worship the Gods, Do no evil, Be stong and courageous. They believed in reincarnation and transmigration (the transfer of the soul from human to plant or animal). For more on Druids see "Stoirmworlds Druid Grove".

What is Magick? Magick is taking energy from another place of existance, whether it be- thought, words or practice, and bring that energy into focus on the physical happenings around us, for a desired outcome.

Celtic Magick (Wiccan/Witta), like most, use the elements, directions, & colors: Aiet=AIR=EAST=RED Deas=FIRE=SOUTH=WHITE Iar=WATER=WEST=GREY Tuath=EARTH=NORTH=BLACK

The Pentacle- Ancient symbol, the five-pointed star, it represents the four Elements-Air, Water, Earth, Fire and the spirit. They have been found on early Babylonian relics, and was painted on Sir Gawaine's sheild. Christians,used it for centuries represent the Five Wounds of Christ. It is also known as Druids Foot, Wizards Foot, Witches Foot and the Goblins Cross. (the Pentacle or Pentagram was not really a Celtic Symbol, but It is included on these pages for a representation of the Elements) the five elements.

Land, Sea, Air-- The Traditional Three Realms or Worlds of the Celts:

In Celtic Society there are three worlds, that power is derived from. We are connected to each, and each is connected to us.

Upperworld- Air: The Upper World is the spiritual realm which contains the realm of the stars. It is the world where the lifes blueprints can be seen. Teachings about healing and identity are derived with the help of guides and the lessons of mutual responsibility are found. The Upperworld is probably the least understood of three Celtic realms. Air is just as necessary for the survival of the Celtic people as any of other realms. The mysterious and the unseen, often shrouded in mists. The air is the domain of the sacred birds, and were seen as magical, as they were not constrained to one realm, but traveled freely between all three realms. The Air is where the Sun shines bright and gives us warmth, and the Moon sparkled as a precious gem, always changing, setting our day, and our harvest. bringing are darkness to give us balance to the light of day.
Middleworld- Land/Earth: The Middle World is that world in which we live and breathe. This world is shadowed by the Underworld, which constantly overlaps, so that we may move from one dimension to another. The Celtic realm of Middleworld is the center to the domains of the three realms. It is the primal medium upon which the ancient Celts relied for their livelihoods. Without the land, the lives of the Celtic peoples would be undeniably changed. Within the land spirits of the ancestors, and those of the faery folk (which gives us the Underworld). In many cases the primary source of sustenance for the principally agrarian Celtic Tribes. These people also gathered (and eventually cultivated) many food plants. Human are natural land dwelling creatures, therefore the Middleworld provided the much needed dwelling space for the culture to grow and flourish. It is no suprise that the ancient Celts developed a deep reverence for the land, which is at the heart of all Earth Religions, including the Druids.
The Underworld- The sea and the depths of the Earth: The Under World is the realm of ancestors and spirits - the root of our deepest thoughts and emotions, the depths of our psyche. It is the place where the light within the earth may be accessed to bring healing and growth. The underworld is where the Tuatha de Dannan went to live, and to later be reduced to "Faerie Tales" Not only does the Underworld envolve the Faerie hills and all below, it also pertaines to the Seas, Rivers, and Lakes. These bodies of water supply both physical food and drink, but they also provide a more mystical sustenance to the Celtic peoples. Bodies of water, in particular the great Western Seas, were the portals to the Celtic Underworlds.
The Summerlands, the lands of the honored dead, were seen as "beyond the western seas". Wells, springs and rivers are seen as sacred places, under the influence of a tutelary divinity (usually a Goddess). Some of the most well-known examples of these sacred bodies of water would include the sacred wells of Glastonbury (the Chalice well or Red Spring, and the White Spring), the river Boyne in Ireland (sacred to the Goddess Boann) and the river Severn in western England (sacred to the Goddess Samrina). So ingrained is the sacredness of wells and other bodies of water, that to this day in the United Kingdom that decorating wells with flowers and other items remain a common folk custom. Such was the significance of these bodies of water as passageways to the realms of the divine, that the ancient Celts deposited votive offerings or ritual offerings, including swords and items of jewelry. The stories of Arthur's sword Excalibur being cast into the waters after Camlann (to return it to the Lady of the Lake) reflect this practice. The great 'Sword of Kings' represented the sovereignty of the monarch - a sovereignty bestowed upon the king by virtue of his relationship with the local patron Goddess - in this instance, the Lady of the Lake. This sovereignty reverted back to the control of the Goddess when the relationship between King and the Goddess was broken. Further on in the story, we see Arthur borne across the water to the Summerlands in the company of three 'queens' - the manifestation of the triple Goddess.

The Celtic calender was based on the lunar year, having 13 months. Begining November 1st. This month is called: Birch (gaelic- Beith),

Celtic Sabbats (holidays) are: Imbolg- February 2nd Beltaine- May 1st Lughnasadh- August 1st Samhain- October 31st (pronounced Sow-en) Lesser Sabbats are: Ostara(Spring equinox)- March 22nd Midsummer- June 22nd Mabon(Autumn Equinox)- September 22nd Yule- December 22nd Casting of a Celtic Circle

Celtic magick requires disipline, focus, and visualization. Without these Magick rarely works, or at least not the anticipated way. Tools of Magick to help focus and refine your powers-(not essential, but can be useful) Symbols of the Deity whose manifestations you wish to produce. Colors Incense Statues/Pictures Herbs/Plants Stones/Minerals Basic Tools are: Altar, rock, or tree stump Cauldron or Chalice Pentancle Wand, Staff, Athame, or Sword Censer, incensce burner and incensce Robes, Ritual Clothing (unless Skyclad, but it would be a good idea in case of unexpected company)(not your everyday go to work clothes) Candles Herbs Stones, Gems, Minerals (Note- The Celts probably did not do alot of ceremonial witchcraft, they most likely went out in to the forest to get what ever herbs and such, and had a bonfire instead of candles. But again, with todays constraints, a blazing fire probably would attract to much attention and be a fire hazard. So candles are most likley the safest.)

In magick a circle is cast to help consentrate power in this and other realms, and to seperated you from your everyday problems and disturbances. Usually it is an invisible barrier that keeps out negativity and contains power you raise until needed. A traditional circle is 9 feet, traditional Druidic circle is 12 feet, but with todays constraints with room and privacy, size is not all that important. As long as you have enough room and are comfortable.

Visualization and focus is what gives the circle its power. Make sure all ritual and spellcasting supplies are within the ritual area, it is not wise to cross or break your circle after it is cast until you are finished and the Elements dismissed.

When ready, using a consecrated wand, staff, sword, or athame (dagger) in your power hand (what ever hand you use most for writing and such), begin in the East aiming at the ground draw a circle deaseil (clockwise) by visualizing a silvery/blue flame until the ends of your circle overlap in the East.

Candles and/or symbols to represent the Elements are set just in side the circle at the 4 directions- East, South, West, and North. Welcome each Element, as you place and/ or light each candle or obect (See Above for direction, Element, and color for candles).

In Celtic magick it is important to walk or dance within your circle in the direction according to what kind of magick you plan on performing, deaseil (clockwise) for creation or positive magick and widdershins (counter clockwise) for diminishing or negative magick.

(PLEASE NOTE: Harm none, Do as you will) (Rule of Three- What you send out comes back three fold)

I suggest to find or develop your own Call to Quarters (personalization helps when magick is considered, but not required), you may find a sample Call to Quarters in the book- "Celtic Magic" by D.J. Conway.

Spirit/Totem Animals of the Celts