Celtic Paganism and the Tree of Life
What is Celtic Paganism?
Undressed trees stand shivering
as flimsy shifts blew away;
the last leaves are quivering,
till they too will drop, decay.
Under bark's rough covering
grow tiny cells in wonder-
blooms to be, still hovering,
kept safe from autumn's thunder.
Â©Leny Roovers 20-10-2004
The ancient Celts encompass both fierceness in battle and an affinity and closeness with nature. The Celts revered eloquence and poetry, and the potency of the spoken word, and this is reflected in their rich myths and legends and also in the Magickal tradition of spell workings
Many forms of Paganism incorporate Celtic deities, myths and practices into their worship and rituals, and use Celtic symbols and jewellery . The festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh are Celtic in origin. Some pagans follow a path that is specifically and exclusively about Celtic Paganism. Read on to learn about some Celtic gods and goddesses, a Celtic protection ritual, mythology and poetry and the tree of life!
A beautiful red haired Celtic Woman
The Celts are a Mystery
Information on pre Christian Celts is limited and comes to us in fragments so take what you like and leave the rest!
Some Celtic Gods and Goddeses
Celtic myths were passed down orally, not written down, and there were many different goddesses and gods, associated with different locations - streams, wells and groves. As the Celts were dispersed, living in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, the names of each deity often varied and pantheons were not unified and unchanging, but a traveller could recongise familiar deities by the ways in which they were represented.
As a follower of Celtic Paganism, or just Paganism with Celtic elements, these deities are great to incorporate into your spells and worship.
Cernunnos is the Horned God, protector of animals and instinctual behavious. He is at once linked to sexual delight, abundance and abandon as well as hunting and culling, and purifying and sacrificing. The Druids encouraged the worship of Cernunnos, attempting to replace the plethora of local deities and spirits with a national religion.
Cerridwen or Brighid
An important figure in Celtic Paganism, Cerridwen is the Maiden, and a corn (and therefore abundance and harvest) Goddess, who had a magical cauldron. the Cauldron is a feminine symbol, being linked to creation of spells and of course food. Corn goddess. As the poem above shows, she was the Mother of Taliesen, greatest and wisest of all the bards, and therefore a patron of poets and bards, and protectress of the healers and smiths. She is also connected with wolves, and some claim her cult dates to the neolithic era. Her festival Imbolc is at the 1st of February.
Danu or Dana
An Irish Mother figure Goddess of the Tuatha DÃ© Danann or the mother of 'the peoples of the goddess Danu'. She is also part of of a triad of war goddesses known collectively as the Morrigan. Danu is connected with the moon goddess Aine of Knockaine, who protects crops and cattle. Under a variety of names, including Anu and Don, Danu was worshipped through pre-Christian Europe and the Middle East.
Hound of Culchulainn Charm
Celtic Symbolism - Celtic Paganism Elemental Correspondances
Celtic Symbols for the four elements - these can be used when crafting spells and practising rituals. These four elements are united by Ether or Spirit. - this symbolises the life force that powers all life around us, including ourselves, plants and animals.
- Sword or Arrow - East, Life, Air, Spring, and Dawn
- Spear or Rod - South, Light, Fire, Summer and Noon
- Cauldron or Cup - West, Love, Water, Autumn and Evening
- Shield or Mirror - North, Law, Earth, Winter and Night
The Story of the bard Merlin, son of Cerridwen - The Book of Taliesin is a Welsh collection of prophetic, religious and historical Celtic poems.
Primary Bard to Elphin am I
and my country is the region of the summer stars.
Many have called me Merddin,
but at length all men will call me Taliesin!
I have been a herdsman and traveled over the Earth.
I have slept in a hundred islands, guest of a hundred kings.
I have dwelt in a hundred cities.
For a year and a day I was in fetters...
I HAVE BEEN A FIERCE BULL AND A YELLOW BUCK.
I HAVE BEEN A BOAT UPON THE SEA.
I HAVE BEEN THE FOAM OF WATER.
I HAVE BEEN A DROP IN THE AIR.
I HAVE JOURNEYED HIGH AS AN EAGLE.
I HAVE BEEN A TREE-STUMP IN A SHOVEL.
I HAVE BEEN AN AXE IN THE HAND.
I HAVE BEEN A SPOTTED SNAKE ON A HILL.
I HAVE BEEN A WAVE BREAKING UPON THE BEACH
ON A BOUNDLESS SEA I WAS SET ADRIFT.
THEN FOR NINE MONTHS I WAS LITTLE GWION
IN THE WOMB OF CARIDWEN,
AND AT LENGTH WAS TALIESIN.
Kirlian Photography of a Celtic Cross
A Celtic Pagan Protection Ritual
From the carmina gadelica, the ancient celtic oral tradition
Shield and Safeguard Us
Valiant Nuada of the white sword,
Who subdued the Firbolg of blood,
For love of the Tribe, for pains of Danu's children,
Hold thy shield over us, protect us all,
Hold thy shield over us, protect us all.
Danu beloved! Mother of the Shining Ones,
Shield, oh shield us, Lady of nobleness,
And Brigit the beauteous, shepherdess of the flocks,
Safeguard thou our animals, encircle us together,
Safeguard thou our animals, encircle us together.
And Ellen, beneficent, benign,
Governess of the trackways of power,
Invoke the star of power upon the path,
Guide well thou ourselves, shield our procession,
Guide well thou ourselves, shield our procession.
O Mother! O Maiden! O Crone of Wisdom!
Be the Triad with us day and night,
On the machair plain or on the mountain ridge,
Be the Triad with us and her cloak around us,
Be the Triad with us and her cloak around us.
Excellent Celtic Paganism resources
- Last Fm
Listen to Talesin's song for free on Last FM
- Article by a Celtic Pagan
The author discusses trends in Paganism and why he idenitifies with the Celts
- Merlin or Myrddin
More info about the stories of Merlin as mentioned in the poem above
- Manual of Celtic & Druidic Prayers and Rituals
A wonderful site with a plethora of celtic and druidic prayers, pictures and rituals
- Pagan Supplies - Celtic, Wiccan and other Pagan books, jewellery and tools
Offering a plethora of beautiful and useful items from books to jewellery and pendants, spell and ritual supplies, tarot bags and more
- Keltic Designs
Beautiful Celtic artwork by Welsh artist Jen Delyth. She sells her art on paper and also bags.
- StormJewel's Psychic Readings by Phone & Text
Ok not too much to do with Celtic Paganism, but many of my readers do the tarot cards and some are dream and past life consultants, or you can get a free psychic mini reading! There's also a text a psychic service, ideal for quick questions!
- Irish Psychics and Spell Casters
These lovely Irish Psychics offer email readings as well as cast spells for you. Unlike some spell casters they are ethically concerned and work with you to create the perfect spell, you can trust these people!
The Tree of Life
The tree of life can be seen in numerous religions and traditions as trees do seem to represent nature in all its glory. I have to confess and say that I have and am a tree hugger (usually when no-one is looking!) There is a park nearby me and there are plenty of silver birch trees - magickal trees, amongst others that I like to meditate with and share in their power (If there are people around I usually just put my hand on them so as not to seem to mad. I love trees because they eminate a powerful wisdom, many are so much older than us and also bigger too! Did you know that 2/3rds of the tree is underground!?
Anyway, in the Celtic tradition the tree of life is thought to have come via the Norse, who say a world ash tree as the source of all life. the tree is called Yggdrasil, and led to nine different worlds.
The Nine Norse Worlds
Midgard, the land of ordinary mortals
Asgard - land of the Aesir
Hel - world of the dead
Anaheim - home of Vanir and Freya's Hall
The land of Fire
The land of the Light Elves
The land of the Dark Elves
The land of the Ice Giants
The land of Fog
Nine was a number of great importance to the Norse and also the Celts. On the tree, there are runes and mystical symbols which were used as a magickal alphabet, and also in divination. the Norse God Odin hung on the world tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days and thus learnt the secret of the runes in a shamanic experience. the Norse belived that the Dragon Nidhogg who lived in the underworld, was gnawing away at the roots trying to cause chaos. For more info on Nidhogg and other Dragons please take a look at my blog
Another picture of Beautiful Yggdrasil
Yggdrasil image credit
The beautiful Yggdrasil image above is courtesy of and copyright of Leila Brown 2002
Do What Thou Will, An it Harm None
For me, Paganism is about taking the good in the world, in nature and in religions and forming it into a way of life and worship. when something from Celtic Mythology or Celtic Paganism feels right, I adopt it into my life - and this freedom is what Paganism is all about! I recommend you do the same (up to you tho! :o)
Record your thoughts or spells in a Celtic Journal
Beautiful Celtic Jewellery - All available at my shop! www.stormjewelsgifts.comClick thumbnail to view full-size
I'm new to squidoo so all comments and constructive criticism very welcome! Blessed Be.