The Druids have been known and discussed for at least 2400 years, first by Greek writers and later by the Romans, who came in contact with them in Gaul and Britain. According to these sources, they were a learned caste who officiated in religious ceremonies, taught the ancient wisdoms, and were revered as philosophers. But few figures flit so elusively through history, and the Druids remain enigmatic and puzzling to this day. In this Very Short Introduction, one of the leading authorities on British archaeology, Barry Cunliffe, takes the reader on a fast-paced look at the ever-fascinating story of the Druids, as seen in the context of the times and places in which they practiced. Sifting through the evidence, Cunliffe offers an expert's best guess as to what can be said and what can't be said about the Druids, discussing the origins of the Druids and the evidence for their beliefs and practices, why the nature of the druid caste changed quite dramatically over time, and how successive generations have seen them in very different ways.
In this compelling and highly reliable study of the Druids, respected Celtic scholar Peter Berresford Ellis sifts through the historical evidence and, with reference to the latest archaeological and etymological findings, gives the first authentic account of who the mysterious Druids were and what role they played in Celtic society.
The Druids emerge as the intellectual caste of ancient Celtic society. They were the doctors, the lawyers, the ambassadors, the advisers to kings. They also had a religious function. Ellis describes the special Druidic training, their philosophy, their belief in auguries, and their intriguing origins. He also shows that the current "New Age" image of the Druids as benevolent wizards comes from a woefully inadequate interpretation of the facts.
A comprehensive and revealing look at the druids and their fundamental role in Celtic society that dispels many of the misconceptions about these important religious figures and their doctrine- Written by the world's leading authority on Celtic culture Druidism was one of the greatest and most exalting adventures of the human spirit, attempting to reconcile the unreconcilable, the individual and the collective, creator and created, good and evil, day and night, past and future, and life and death. Because of the oral nature of Celtic civilization our understanding of its spiritual truths and rituals is necessarily incomplete. Yet evidence exists that can provide the modern reader with a better understanding of the doctrine that took druidic apprentices 20 years to learn in the remote forests of the British Isles and Gaul. Using the descriptions of the druids and their beliefs provided by the historians and chroniclers of classic antiquity--as well as those recorded by the insular Celts themselves when compelled, under Christianity's influence, to utilize writing to preserve their ancestral traditions--Jean Markale painstakingly pieces together all that is known for certain about them. The druids were more than simply the priests of the Celtic people; their influence extended to all aspects of Celtic life. The Druids covers everything concerning the Celtic religious domain, intellectual speculations, cultural or magical practices, various beliefs, and the so-called profane sciences that have come down from the Celtic priesthood.
Druidism was the religion of the Celts and the Druids themselves were all-powerful, taking precedence over the Celtic kings. Over and above the evidence of classical texts and of archaeology, the richest source of information about the Druids is the vernacular material from Ireland and Wales. It is the author s unparalleled familiarity with the Gaelic texts, and her ability to see Druidism through Celtic eyes, that marks out this study from earlier books and strips away modern myths about the Druids."
A world-renowned Celtic historian restores the classic Irish epics to their original sacred context.- Restores the true Celtic morality and sentiment to these tales, which were expurgated by Christian monks. - Reveals how deeply these mythic tales have shaped modern sensibility. - Shows how the ancient Celtic tradition provides answers to contemporary spiritual needs. Some of the most powerfully moving tales in Western literature are to be found in the epics of Celtic Ireland. Heroes and heroines like Finn Mac Cool, Grainne, and Cuchulainn are now familiar names, and their exploits have even been novelized for the contemporary reader. But the value of these stories extends far beyond mere entertainment. In Celtic myth the adventure of a hero and a warrior is not only an instinctive search for answers to the great human metaphysical problems, but also a palpable, even sensual experience. The dividing line between sacred and profane is forever shifting in ways that can be shocking, if not incomprehensible, to a person accustomed to the logical systems based on classical thought. Distrustful of the written word, Celtic druids forbade anything involving their tradition from being put into writing. However, Christian monks chose to preserve all they could of the oral tradition on paper. Unfortunately, they did not hesitate to alter what they couldn't comprehend, or what their Christian sensibilities found shocking. In this collection of some of the most important narratives in the rich Irish tradition, Jean Markale restores these texts to their original form and reveals how the Celtic spirit is on the verge of reclaiming its rights.
The subject of fairies in Celtic cultures is a complex one that seems to endlessly intrigue people. What exactly are fairies? What can they do? How can we interact with them? Answering these questions becomes even harder in a world that is disconnected from the traditional folklore and flooded with modern sources that are often vastly at odds with the older beliefs. This book aims to present readers with a straightforward guide to the older fairy beliefs, covering everything from Fairyland itself to details about the beings within it. The Otherworld is full of dangers and blessings, and this guidebook will help you navigate a safe course among the Good People.
An experiential guide to the spiritual path of the Holy Grail- Traces the evolution of the Holy Grail from the sacred vessel of the Celtic goddess to the Cup of Christ and how it represents the longing for the divine feminine - Provides exercises, meditations, and rituals to connect you with the powers of the Cauldron of Rebirth, the Chalice of Healing, the Sword of Light, and the Holy Grail - Explains how attaining the Grail brings full consciousness of the soul and Divine influence for the healing of self and others The primary myth of Western culture, the quest for the Holy Grail persists through the centuries like a recurring dream, embodying the longing for the divine feminine suppressed for more than two thousand years. The Holy Grail emerged not only as a symbol of the feminine but also as a symbol of the soul, for hidden within the sacred Grail legends lies an initiatory path that leads to the highest realms of consciousness and spiritual illumination. By working with the symbols of the Grail tradition we can gaze into our own hidden depths and heal the separation between masculine and feminine, Spirit and Matter, and Heaven and Earth. Mara Freeman traces the evolution of the Grail from the sacred vessel of the Celtic goddess to the Cup of Christ, revealing a spiritual path rooted in the mysteries of the Goddess, the Grail, and the Sword. She explains how the Sword has dominated over the Goddess and the Grail for far too long, leading to a spiritual wasteland as foretold in the Grail stories. She provides a practical workbook of exercises, visualizations, and magical rituals to restore the power of the divine feminine through spiritually transformative experiences with the Cauldron of Rebirth, the Chalice of Healing, the Sword of Light, and the Holy Grail itself. Drawing on folk traditions and medieval Arthurian romances as well as alchemy and the wisdom of the mystics of Glastonbury, Freeman reveals the ancient Celtic teachings of the Western Mystery tradition. She shows that attaining the Grail involves achieving full consciousness of the soul. Then, as a Grail-bearer, you can bring the light of the Grail into the world for the healing of self and others.
From the birch to the willow, Sharlyn Hidalgo invites you to walk in the footsteps of the druids and enrich your life with the sacred power of trees. This wise and inspiring book will introduce you to all fifteen revered trees of the Celtic Tree Calendar and their unique gifts of healing, guidance, and higher consciousness.
Progress through the calendar in sequence or choose a particular month to cultivate a relationship with these majestic spirits of nature. Perform guided meditations and go on journeys to discover the totems, guides, and deities corresponding to each species. Travel through the Wheel of the Year and learn about each tree's astrology, ruling planets, rune symbol, and ogham--its letter of the Celtic tree alphabet.
The Healing Power of Trees is your guide to living the principles of the Celtic tradition--tuning in to the rhythms of nature, respecting the land, and fulfilling your role as a steward of the earth.
Includes information on all 25 ogham letters, Celtic holidays, and how to conduct a tree-honoring ceremony.
In this beautiful treasury of sacred wisdom, Mara Freeman shares the rich legacy of the Celts -- the festivals, gods and goddesses, saints, faeries, music, poetry, and storytelling that anchor this magical tradition. Discover myths, rituals, recipes, and crafts for every month of theyear. Honor Saint Brigit with a prayer in February, or ensure a merry start to May with a bowl of frothy syllabub. Come together with friends and neighbors to celebrate community in the high days of August, then learn to weave a solstice wreath in snowy December.
Traditional blessings, ancient lore, and guided meditations inspire you to reconnect with the rhythms of the natural world, and view the sacred as an integral part of every day. Rediscover the wisdom and healing power of nature, and cultivate and honor your soul as you would the earth. Let the spirit of the ancient Celts enchant you in every season, year after year.