An Opinion on the Complete Guide to
The History of Celtic Magic
Celtic witchcraft has as its basis a strong sense of spirituality and
a love of the earth. Central to this love are the Goddesses and Gids,
who play a strong role in Celtic worship. The Celtic religion
recognises two main deities; the Earth Mother Goddess and the Horned
God. But Celtic Wiccans also worship many other minor deities who each
represent specific qualities important to Celtic individuals. Celtic
worshippers celebrate the same Sabbaths, perform rituals and magic, and
have a strong faith in their spirituality, just like any member of the
Craft. The main differences between Celtic witchcraft and other forms of
the Craft is that with Celts, magic is everywhere. Magic is woven into
their jewellery, their tattoos and all their artwork and everyday items
such as clothing and cutlery.
The Druids are the religious leaders of the Celtic people, the wise and
magical priest and priestesses whose special blend of wisdom and magic
provided a powerful role model for all the Celtic people. The Druidic
priesthood was originally all-female, which male initiates only becoming
accepted after many years.
According to Laurie Cabot, Druidesses were divided into three levels,
or classes: the highest class were celibate and lived in convents, and
were eventually assimilated into Christianity as nuns. The other two
levels could be married and lived either with their husbands, or in the
temples. With the onset of Christianity these wise women were called
Spirituality is of primary import to Celts, and their devotion to the
earth, their goddesses and gods and the effort which they put into
their worship is proof of their highly spiritual nature. Although the
names of the deities worshipped and the titles of the Sabbats may be
different to other Pagan practices, despite the regional dialects which
occur in the Celtic rituals, there are strong similarities between
Celtic witchcraft and Wicca practiced elsewhere on the globe.
Despite the interest in the Celts, there is a great deal of confusion
as to who the Celtic people actually were, and where they came from. DJ
Conway in her book Celtic Magic explains that the Celts were not
only inhabitants of Wales Ireland and Scotland, as is commonly thought,
but resided in much of Western Europe. They were a strongly spiritual,
artistic and creative people, with a distinctive artwork, original
alphabet (the Ogham) and a deep respect for faeries, elves, pixies and
One need not be of Celtic heritage to practice Celtic magic. Each
person who is interested in Paganism will follow a basic set of
guidelines, but will adapt the rituals and spells to suit her/himself.
One aspect which sets Celtic magic apart from others is their respect
for the "little people": faeries, elves and gnomes, whom the Celts
called "Good Neighbours" and treated with honour. Much of the Celtic
magic calls for the assistance of their Good Neighbours, with those who
were familiar often using the little folks' fairy circles of mushrooms
found in fields, rather than casting their own magic circle. However the
Celts realised that it is very important to use another's circle with
respect, and with permission, they are aware that you should never
encroach upon another's magic.
The Warrior Goddess
The Celts were unique in the level of power they attributed to their
female Gods. Warrior Goddesses were relatively common, and it was not
unusual for Celtic women to fight alongside the male warriors during
wartime. Subsequently, women were highly regarded in the Celtic
community, with children taking their mother's name, and daughters
inheriting the mother's property upon her death.
Celtic magic is rooted strongly in the four natural elements: earth,
air, fire and water, with many spells and rituals corresponding to at
least one of these elements. As in all Wiccan magic, each of the
elements is associated with a colour, and with certain powers. For the
Celts the colours were North, black; South, white; East, red and West,
grey. The Celts also placed a great deal of faith in stones and plants
and in their ability to heal. Therefore any practitioner of Celtic magic
would be well versed in plants and herbal medicine.
Rituals intertwined the use of colours, stones, incense and elements
representing the natural elements, which are all extremely powerful
tools in Celtic magic.
With the Celts, magic was a common part of everyday life, completely
accepted and never questioned. In order to practice Celtic magic one
needs to suspend disbelief, turn around the conventional ideas and
accept magic into your life. Magic becomes s natural as breathing,
sleeping and smiling : a completely normal part of life. As one becomes
more familiar with magic, the more accepting one becomes, until there's
not even a second thought about the magic in one's life.
The White Moon Goddess and the Horned God are the two deities which
personify nature for the Celts, and while the Celts, like Wiccans,
believe that all Gods and Goddesses are one God united, is these two
which are the most prominent. Celts worship the triple Goddess: the
deity recognised as the maiden, mother, crone. The maiden is Anu, the
mother Badb and the crone Ceridwen: each representing woman at three
important phases of her life cycle.
Just as the lunar calendar is important to all witches, it plays a
strong role in the Celtic lifestyle. The thirteen lunar months in the
Celtic calendar are all named after certain plants and trees. The new
year for the Celts starts the day after Samhain (on November 1, its
origins being in the Northern hemisphere). Nights were counted, not
days, and feasts, rituals and celebrations were always based around the
moon. The Celtic day began at midnight.
The Celts were an extremely spiritual people, so when Christian
leaders looked down upon their magical tradition, the Celts moved
underground: or more specifically to the nearest forest. The Celts were
not a sexually repressed people, sexuality was encouraged, and women
with children were paid a higher dowery than virgins to become wives -
so much was fertility prized. Beltane was considered a most auspicious
festivals were often held during this time.
In Celtic witchcraft, rituals honour the essential elements of earth,
air, fire and water, and the deities that personify them. Rituals are
held in honour of the seasons, the Sabbats and to celebrate auspicious
moments in pagan history. Numbers are extremely important to the Celts,
with three, five, seven, nine and thirteen holding special significance.
Therefore it is auspicious to repeat rituals or affirmations a specific
number of times.
Ritual is vital for Celtic magic. The wearing of ceremonial robes, the
burning of incense and candles, and the tools on the ceremonial altar -
all play an important role in setting the scene for magic. Magic is an
oft overused term, but those in the Craft know that it works. With
spellcraft one can practice and see the results of magic, constantly
gaining strength with each day that passes.
Candle magic was greatly favoured by the Celts, although they
preferred tallow lamps and bonfires using specific woods to modern
candles we use today. Candle rituals are specific to the individual, but
there are a few simple rules to follow unless the ritual specifies
otherwise. To perform a spell to increase or obtain, burn during a
waxing moon (the period leading up to the full moon). To decrease or
remove, burn during a waning moon (the period after the full moon).
Use candles of a specific colour relevant to your spell. Anoint the
candle with incense or oil, working from bottom to top for a spell to
increase or from top to bottom for a spell to remove. You may also wish
to etch words, such s your desires or the name of the deity to whom you
are appealing, along the side of the candle to strengthen the purpose of
the spell. When performing a ritual with a candle, unless otherwise
stipulated, allow the candle to burn out to the end.
Spellwork is best created for yourself. While it is possible to follow
a spell written by another, it is best to adapt the spell to suit your
own purposes. Often the words may change slightly, or you may wish to
address another deity. Specific colours may feel right to you, or you
may wish to alter the number of repetitions in a chant depending on the
outcome you desire. While tradition is worthy, adaptability is common
Most importantly, a spell must only be performed if it for the good of
all concerned - never ask for a wish to be fulfilled if it is not in the
interest of all. For example, you do not wish to become rich only as a
result of compensation received after an accident. You do not wish to
have someone fall in love with you if it will cause hardship for
another. So long as magic is for the good of all, good magic will be
returned to you threefold.
Do as ye will and harm ye none. Blessed be.
Celtic magic is a strong and powerful tradition, and one worthy of
more than a casual glance. It may not be the religion for you, but it
may help to strengthen your existing beliefs, or offer a viable
alternative for your future