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Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Monday Ground Up: Celtic Druid Folklore and the Otherworld

Caesar believed that the Celtic Druid's of the Otherworld preached immortality of the soul, and it would allow them to be fierce warriors. However, many believe that their souls migrate to different vessels, allowing them to live for centuries.

This belief of reincarnation is quite different than Hinduistic rituals where reincarnation affected all those that were worthy. The druids believed that their souls, even when they were long gone, would be able to control their body in the otherworld.

The otherworld was believed to be a place where men and women lived in complete happiness in a land that was lush and plentiful. Not to be confused with the underworld which was filled with pale wanderers and gloomy landscapes.

During the 17th century, poets painted the otherworld as a "Land of the Living", where beautiful woman are plentiful and bright birds fly with ease through the river valleys. Once there, you will overcome all. However, when you leave, your hair will turn gray and your skin will shrivel.  

Interestingly enough, when you take note of the lyrics of Irish verse or musical expressions, it’s reaped in color and descriptions of green pastures and marvels of beauty.


It was said to be a world within a world below the ground or under the sea, as was the land of Atlantis. A paradise where one never aged and all that resided were completely equal of value and importance, as was the fountain of youth.

Cave of Cruachan




There were passages to enter, or rather secret portholes only allowed by the insight of your mind. The Cave of Cruachan was a possible entrance referenced in the story of Nera’s Adventure.


The otherworld is not free of aggression or war, for many Irish and welsh tales tell of the conquering of Kings or the kidnapping of precious treasures.

In the tale of the Adventure of Laegnaire, a man appears out of mist before the King of Connacht asking for assistance to claim his wife who he has lost in a battle. The son of the King sets out with 50 men to overcome his enemies and reclaim the mans wife. He returns the wife to the King, although he leaves immediately because his men have taken wives from Magh Da Cheo(The Plain of the Two Mists-name given to the otherworld by the Irish) and they wish to stay there to avoid the mortal world.


Source (Dwelling of the Divine Oenghus)

The otherworld has also been clearly referenced as an abode in the Irish countryside where it welcomes limitless guests to feast on whatever they desire. Food is often refurbished by reincarnation. This picture of obscurity is often compared to the “Land of the Dead”.

In the story of the “Destruction of the Hostel of Da Derga”, King Conaire is drawn to a house “bruidhen”, however on his way there he meets the three “Reds”. Their steeds are of the Donn Detscorach from the otherworld. This confirmed that Derga and Donn were one being, the “God of the Dead”, and he who enters his abode is either foredoomed or dead already.

The Feast of Samhain, which happened on the 1st of November was initially where this sombre image of death predominated.


The duration of the Samhain celebration according to the Celts was filled with a peculiar supernatural energy and within that they have concentrated many of their mythical events. During this time, the universe is suspended and all things supernatural and natural have no barriers. There is a “Sidn” that remains open for spirits to move freely amongst the living, sometimes with hostility. Mortals are strongly urged not to venture within its precinct.

In the “Spoils of Annan”, it tells of a rather disastrous expedition by Arthur and his knights. The world becomes a fortress of glass where none of the occupants have a response, and in Celtic traditions this is surely the mark of the dead.

The otherworld has not been widely accepted by scholars with the inconsistencies in the history and the folklore. The belief that only kings and nobles were able to access a world of music and fables and ordinary men were far from it’s reaches being less fortunate in the afterlife, was always questionable.

Iron age Britain was populated by an ancient, indigenous people called the Celts. Spreading from Ireland, across mainland Britain and right into Europe, the Celts were a superstitious people with a rich mythology and ritualistic religious practice. Human Sacrifice in Celtic Britain By CaSundara

Celtic folklore is full of interesting creatures, unusual stories, and superstitions that still fascinate us. Some of those legends still thrive in books, novels, and modern celebrations, keeping a handful of unique Celtic myths familiar to audiences.Celtic Myths: Selkies, Banshees, and Leprechauns By writecorner

Nestled in a ridge near a bend in the Boyne River in Ireland is one of the most amazing examples of ancient monuments that can still be seen today. It is a megalithic passage tomb that predates Stonehenge by roughly 1,000 years. The History of the Newgrange Passage Tomb in Ireland by Shelly Barclay

High stone pillar adjacent to the Druid's Temple near Ilton

"The Druids Temple"
0.68m • © Ken Crosby

A reconstructed Celtic burial mound located near Hochdorf in Germany. Such burials were reserved for the influential and wealthy in Celtic society.


Kate Smedley said...

A fascinating article Lauren, I bet it was great fun to research. It is interesting to learn beliefs of other civilisations.

Bo Jack Russo said...

Cool rock formations

Rhett said...

The photos are really cool, and this is a great post. Really makes me want to look into this Celtic Druid stuff more. I wounder how long it took to carve the swirls into that rock?
Great post
Rhett out

celestial elf said...

Love the photos thankyou.
I have been following the druid ways for a little while, and all i can say is that its a wonderful way to really celebrate the sacredness of this existence.
Also thought you might like the video of Celestial Druid playing his Harp {they were traditionally musicians and poets as well as bearers of ancient wisdom}

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