The word 'Celtic' derives from the Greek word 'Keltoi', meaning 'the people beyond the alps', in Italy and Germany. Later the name was taken to mean the inhabitants of the British Isles, Ireland and Brittany. There were many tribes, and their culture contributed to a rich seam of storytelling that describes the legends of gods and goddesses, fairy-folk and supernatural beings.
The cornerstone of Celtic tradition is communion with nature. The Celts were the guardians of traditions that contemporary magical ideas are based on. Wicca, Paganism, Shamanism, Druidism and the Celtic branch of spirituality all stem from early Celtic beliefs and codes of living.
Reverence for the land was expressed through the belief that the landscape is holy. Fairies and Sidhe lived in hollow hills, called mounds. Ancestors lived beyond the sea in paradise. Gods and goddesses inhabited the sky realm.
The sacred landscape
The ancient Celts believed that various forms within the landscape around them were inhabited or looked after by specific deities or beings. The mountain peaks were guarded by the Dagda, the father of the gods, and by the male deities. The hills were the realm of Danu or Ana, the Celtic mother of the gods.
Springs were the realm of Brigid, goddess of healing and smithcraft. Caves and hollow hills were believed to be inhabited by the fairy folk. The Celtic peoples made pilgrimages to these places in order to bring gifts and offerings and to ask for help or healing. People still travel to visit these places of power today.
Connecting Personally with Celtic Meditation
Understand how the Celtic deities represent aspects of yourself and learn to connect with these gods and goddesses to work on your strengths and weaknesses.
A fundamental aspect of Celtic spirituality is the determination to honour and respect the natural world. Living in total harmony with the Earth enables you to connect more profoundly with the spirit that resides within all things. Being aware of what resources you use in your daily life, choosing to recycle and to be aware of the delicate balance of the ecosystem and nourishing your body with natural and organic foods, helps you to connect with the lives and beliefs of your Celtic ancestors.
Honouring the gods
The Celtic deities are archetypal aspects within yourself and you can forge an empowering relationship with those with whom you feel most attuned. If you are a healer you can study the stories of Brigid and her alchemical paths to improve your own understanding. Poets can connect with Taliesin, Oghma or Brigid in order to tap into the essence of wordcraft and become more skilled. Reading the myths and legends is inspirational and enables you to find those qualities within yourself. Create a space to the deity who you wish to attune with and ask for their help. The Celtic gods and goddesses are cooperative if you show them that you are genuine in your quest to embody their various qualities.
Try to keep your awareness connected to the feelings that you experience from the landscape. Observe how you feel by water, in groves of trees, near hills and mountains. Create spaces with natural objects - pine cones and stones arranged in a circle around a tree trunk, ribbons tied to a branch or a garland of flowers cast on to the waters of a stream or river. These acts help you to attune to the spirits of nature while showing appreciation and acting as an offering to the deities and fairy folk. To invoke healing, and increase your creativity, meditate on Brigid.
Light a candle and burn incense. Place an offering of a crystal or some flowers into your space, keeping it as natural and simple as possible, Gaze into the flame, watching the pictures as they flicker in and out of view. Ask Brigid to be with you and to allow you to be a clear channel for healing and creativity. Close your eyes and visualise yourself surrounded by light that purifies you and opens your mind to new horizons. After a few minutes say a silent 'thank you', take three deep breaths and open you eyes. Write down any impressions or insights.