I’m curious about other people’s personal stories of origin, too, and I hadn’t heard the phrase “red thread” before – it’s a beautiful image.
In my immediate family, there is a number of magic users: my grandmother, aunt, mother, father, and my brother. Magic is where I come from and it is my destiny. My mother taught me simple spell work as a child, but that is as far as it ever went for my other family members, simple magic. I was very attracted to witches from a young age and had a couple of books about them and one in particular that I made potions and other crafts from. My mother could not console me when the witch melted in the Wizard of Oz. I suppose I always have had an affinity for witches, starting as a very small girl when I dressed up as a witch often. However, I did not really have my first initiatory experience until my teens and I didn’t learn that witches were real until I was a teen either.
Define Ancestors in relation to witchcraft and witches (or other similar mystical traditions) for your practice.
I honor the ancestors of my blood, those of my faith/practices, those of my unique social struggles, and those of my sex.
I usually say it in words. I thank them, I praise them for being strong enough to survive so that I exist. I ask them about their lives and troubles, to maybe impart some strength to get through mine.
I leave them water, or beer, or whiskey. Once a year I make a big, rustic, meal and leave a large portion at the crossroads for them.
- celestiteblue said: I like your point about dedication. I find it strange that traditions that teach reincarnation still think blood heritage = legitimacy. Yes, if you’re not raised with something, you need to prove yourself; not all non-kinship paths should be taboo.
I would agree to a point. It depends on the particular cultures belief in reincarnation. For example, does reincarnation mean you could reincarnate anywhere on earth, in the universe, or only into the same culture or even the same family? Does it include animals or just humans?
Little is known about what reincarnation meant to the Celts. All we have is a few lines from Roman sources about transmutation of the soul. Later folklore hints that the dead become fairies and that fairies can be born as humans. So that hints at a type of reincarnation, but it is still usually closely tied to the land itself, and its hard to imagine their idea of reincarnation meaning an Irish person who lived and died in Ireland reincarnating as a Chinese person in China. But it is possible, since we don’t have fleshed out theology from them. I think the folklore suggests its more fixed on location and heritage than that however. Parthalon from the 5 invasions of Ireland changed into different animals for a number of generations and then was a human again, but he stayed with the land.
However, so many people have immigrated to America and across Europe that I don’t think its outside the realm of possibility for any landbased reincarnation to be relevant here. However, Celtism is not a race, but a culture. The culture is art, philosophy, and language. And don’t forget that people of any race can have heritage from Europe. Either because of recent parentage, or because of migration anytime in history.
tiredoftherain29 said: I feel a strong association with Celtic practices, but i don’t know if i have any Celtic ancestors
There are different types of ancestors, in my opinion. One type is relatives. Another type is those of your lineage—in this case the lineage of the witchcraft or mystical path you walk. As long as the fathers and mothers of that tradition are accepting of you.
My understanding is that the main request of the “fathers and mothers” of Celtic paths is that you try to learn a Celtic language and that you at some point visit a Celtic land. I am involved in language revitalization. One of the most pleasant ways to interact with heritage is to learn songs, holidays, and various daily customs. Don’t freak out, you don’t have to learn a Celtic Language or go to a Celtic Land before beginning your path, in fact it makes more sense to invest in those efforts once you are sure you are committed and have been doing it awhile.
I have been leading a Celtic path for 12 years now, and I will probably be able to go to Ireland next year. So its not like you have to do everything overnight! I studied Irish for about a year seriously, and now do so as I can (my life was turned a bit upside down and I am focusing on my new family right now). Although I learned what I could before that. Its important to learn how the names of spirits you interact with are actually pronounced. Morrigan sounds like Maureen and Ceridwen sounds like Kerri-dwhen, for example. You would be surprised how things end up sounding, but once you learn the basic phonetics its not so bad actually. Its way easier than it looks once you get the hang of it.
Also keep in mind, there are Celtic-American paths that you might have more personal access to. If you want more info, let me know.
Sorry I rambled on, I hope you get the idea of what is important to at least one group of cultures for following their path—and see that its not necessarily blood relatives that are required for some paths, but dedication to the culture itself, not just its magic tradition. What that level of dedication to the culture is varies. For some indigenous practices that means total immersion and possibly even being entirely raised in that culture. For others, like some of the Celtic paths, they just want you to contribute to cultural revitalization.