Magick as a Way of Life

Magick is a way of life. The roots of what is commonly referred to as modern-day Witchcraft and erroneously Wicca is believed to have strong associations with the Celts, a people living between 700 BC and 100 AD. The Celts were descended from the Indo-Europeans, and were a brilliant and dynamic people--gifted artists, musicians, storytellers, metalworkers, expert farmers and fierce warriors. They were much feared by their adversaries, the Romans, who eventually adopted a number of their customs and traditions.

Pantheistic Beliefs

The Celts were deeply spiritual and worshiped both a god and goddess. Their religion was pantheistic, meaning they worshiped many aspects of the "One Creative Life Source" and honored the presence of the "Divine Creator" in all of nature. Like many tribes the world over, they believed in reincarnation. After death, they went to the Summerland for rest and renewal while awaiting rebirth.

The months of the Celtic year were named after trees.

  • The Celtic New Year began at Samhain, which means "summers end," and was the final harvest of the year. Samhain was also their "Festival of the Dead," where they honored their ancestors and deceased loved ones. Many contemporary Halloween customs come from Samhain.
  • Winter Solstice was the annual celebration of the rebirth of the Sun. Today, many popular customs have their origins in this ancient celebration.
  • Near the beginning of February came Imbolg, a time when domesticated animals began to give birth.
  • The Spring Equinox and Beltaine, sometimes called "May Day", were fertility festivals.
  • The Summer Solstice, known as Lughnassa, celebrated the glory of the Sun and the powers of nature.
  • Lughnassa, the Fall Equinox and once again Samhain, were all considered as Celtic harvest festivals.

Druids - Priests

The "Druids" were the priests of the Celtic religion. They remained in power through the fourth century AD, three centuries after the Celts' defeat at the hands of the Romans. The Druids were priests, teachers, judges, astrologers, healers and bards. They were indispensable to the political leaders, providing them with considerable power and influence. They Druids were revered, and were able to pass between warring tribes unharmed. It took twenty years of intense study to become a Druid. Translated, the word Druid means, "knowing the oak tree". Trees, the oaks in particular, were held sacred by the Celts. Mistletoe, which grows as a parasite on oak trees, was a powerful herb used in their ceremonies and for healing. Mistletoe was ritually harvested at the Summer Solstice by cutting it with a golden sickle and catching it with a white cloth while never letting it touch the ground.

Celtic Beliefs Become Paganism

The religious beliefs and practices of the Celts grew into what later became known as "Paganism", which is not to be confused with the term "Neo-Paganism". The word Pagan is derived from the Latin word Paganus, meaning "country dweller". This reference was consistent with the Celts' love of the land and nature. Paganistic beliefs and rituals eventually blended with the practices of other Indo-European descended groups, and over several centuries spawned such practices as concocting potions and ointments, casting spells, and performing works of magick. These practices, along with many of the nature-based beliefs held by the Celts and other groups, became collectively known as "Witchcraft".

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