Celtic Shamanism and Faerie Magic

"These joyful spirits will gather where children play and in any area in which nature is allowed to grow free. . . . Wherever there is ceremony, joy, and color, these beings will be found."
– Ted Andrews, Enchantment of the Faerie Realm

The Celtic Shamanic Tradition

Shamanism is a practice that can be found in tribal societies the world over. Though there are unique cultural differences in every shamanic tradition, shamanism at its core is about using various methods to achieve communication with unseen spiritual worlds and the beings that inhabit them.

Churchill and PsychicsShamanism was evident in the culture of the tribal Celtic people, which emerged in Europe in the 6th century BC. The Celtic culture grew quickly and eventually spread all the way from Ireland to ancient Greece. Eventually the Celts were pushed back and restricted to the British Isles by the Roman Empire in the 1st century AD. The Romans went to great lengths to destroy Celtic shamanism, largely due to Celtic shaman being associated with the ancient Druids (something we will discuss further in this article).

Celtic Shamanism was based on the belief that a supernatural otherworld lay side-by-side with our own, and that the two were closely intertwined. The Celtic shaman could access this other realm in order to gain knowledge or spiritual power. The boundary between the normal world and the spiritual world was thought to be particularly thin at natural places such as rivers, trees, lakes, and hills.

The Celtic shaman recognized that the otherworld could be a dangerous as well as a marvelous place. Few were capable of making the journey, but those that could were able to use their connection with the spiritual world to perform miraculous feats. Powerful Celtic shamans were purported to be able to manipulate the weather, cure illness, help warriors in battle, transform into animals, and magically view events that were happening far away. If all this sounds very familiar, it should. This basic description of Celtic shamanism is very similar to Native American shamanism. The spiritual similarities between European shaman and Native American shaman is one of those areas that has had largely unexplored.

One of the most famous shamans of Celtic mythology was Amergin, a chief who helped the Milesian Gaelic people take Ireland from a race of supernatural beings known as the Tuatha Dé Danann. Amergin, the legend says, appealed to the spirits of Ireland and was able to quiet a storm that had been summoned by the Tuatha Dé Danann to keep the Milesians from reaching shore. The Milesians won the ensuing battle and proceeded to settle Ireland.

Fairies and Faerie Magic

First let’s clear up some spelling confusion. Fairies and Faeries are two diffent spellings of the same word. One spelling (faerie) is more often used in Great Britian. The other spelling (fairy or fairies) is more an American spelling – which naturally the British claim is incorrect (and Americans say that the British should learn to speak English). In this article, we will use both spellings … just to make Google wonder how to index this page. Now, the spiritual beings known as faeries (or fairies) played a crucial role in Celtic shamanism. Fairies, or Faerie spirits, were believed to exist on the boundary between the natural world and the spirit world, or otherworld. Though the otherworld was their home, faeries could be encountered in our world in the sacred natural places where the two worlds overlapped.

Fairy and Folk TalesCeltic Shamans relied heavily on faerie magic. Much like how Native American shaman would call on a spirit animal before taking their ecstatic journeys, it was only with the aid, protection of companion faeries that the Celtic shaman could venture into the otherworld. The magical powers of the faeries were also behind the abilities of the shaman. It took great spiritual powers to communicate with the spirits, but it was the magic of the faeries rather than of the shaman themselves which allowed a shaman to perform what seemed to be miracles.

Today we think of all faeries as diminutive creatures with bug-like wings (largely thanks to Disney’s Tinkerbelle). To the Celts, however, faeries could range from being as tiny as an insect to as large as a mountain. In his book Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, William Butler Yeats explains it best when he writes: "Do not think of faeries as always little. Everything is capricious about them, even their size. They seem to take what size or shape pleases them."

The faeries of the Celtic shamans were a diverse group of spiritual creatures that were divided into different types of fairy people such as gnomes, goblins, pixies, leprechauns, pookas, and elves. It is difficult to tell if all of these creatures constituted different races of faerie people, or, if the tricky faeries merely changed their appearance depending on the situation.

Faeries, Shamanism, and Druidism

The druids were a professional class of Celtic people who performed just about every societal role which needed education and training. They were the doctors, lawyers, writers, poets, teachers, and religious leaders of their societies. There is no reason to suppose that Celtic shamanism and belief in faeries wasn’t practiced alongside Druidism, or that it would cause some sort of conflict. In fact, Druidism and Celtic shamanism likely are inherently complementary – two parts within a larger whole.

The Druidic class expanded on folk shamanistic belief regarding the soul and the nature of the world. They believed in the doctrine of reincarnation and in the existence of a spiritual world. The druids were, essentially, educated shamans. They practiced divination and performed rituals and sacrifices for the community. Their training was often undertaken close to nature, in caves and forests.

The druids didn’t have much to say about fairies, and so one can suppose that a belief in faeries was mostly carried on in Celtic folk tradition. There is, however, nothing to indicate that the druids had a problem with faerie belief or that they made any attempts to suppress it among the other classes of society.

Celtic Shamanism and Faerie Belief Today

Belief in faeries (and druidism) largely went underground following the Roman conquest of much of Europe. In fact, Romans wanted all the druids and their ‘religion’ destroyed. The spread of Christianity further repressed Celtic shamanism. Yet, by the passing down of stories and teachings, Celtic shamanism refused to disappear. Here and there during the last two thousand years, the faeries have popped up to make their presence known and reawaken folk memory, such as in the 19th century case of famed Irish herbalist Biddy Early. Biddy reported that, as a child, she befriended faeries who taught her about the healing properties of certain plants.

Just when Celtic and fairies and magick were being often written off as superstition, along comes a true story and mystical event that began in the northeast Scotland in 1962. In a village named Findhorn along the Findhorn Bay, a small but dedicated group of people formed a spiritual community which succeeded in creating a bountiful garden in the harsh and unsuitable environment. The Findhorn Foundation, as they later named themselves, believed that they received help from the nature spirits that their Celtic shamanic ancestors had enjoyed a close relationship with in the distant past.

Psychic Morganna

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Today, more and more people of European decent have attempted to reconnect with their spiritual roots. Modern Celtic shamanism makes use of the same folk tradition that no doubt inspired Biddy Early and Findhorn. Unfortunately, the Celts left behind very few written works and seem to have been particularly averse to writing down their spiritual beliefs (much the same as the Druids). Any written Celtic works on spirituality which may have existed at one time were likely destroyed by the Romans and later the Christian Church. One thing about those spiritual beings at the border of this world and the spiritual world, they just refuse to go away.

Celtic shamans today are putting great effort into piecing together ancient Celtic beliefs from folklore and myth. At the same time, however, they are creating a new and unique traditions. Modern Celtic shamanism isn’t interested in taking people back to the past, but in offering them a new way to live in the modern world … a way that involves re-connecting to the nature world. Today’s natural world seems to be in great peril. Who knows? Maybe those ancient spiritual beings, known by many names in many places, are reaching out to us to save the natural world (so that we may save ourselves).

If you’d like to talk with a psychic clairvoyant with an understanding of Celt Shamanism, give Psychic Morganna a call at 1-866-407-7164. Morganna is a spirit medium and a student of world religions, but especially finds herself drawn to her Celtic roots. You might also appreciate Spirit Guides Chat at http://www.psychicsdirectory.com/spirit-guides-chat.html

Resource You May Enjoy:

(Faeries of Findhorn)

(Overview of celtic shamanism and info on Amergin)

(Celtic shamanic powers)

(The Celtic otherworld)

(Different types of faeires)

Encyclopaedia of Celtic Myth and Legend