Why Wicca Is Not Celtic v.3.0 by Iain MacAnTsaoir and Dawn O’Laoghaire

The following is by no means an indictment of the religion called Wicca. Wicca is indeed a valid and powerful path for those who truthfully walk it and understand it. However, there is a body of people who believe that Wicca is the descendant of the religious ways of the Gaelic or other Celtic peoples (or ‘Celts’ as a general nomenclature). This simply is not the case.

The following is a brief comparison of the Wiccan religion and Celtic religion. The purspose of this exercise is to dispell the notion that Wicca is Celtic, or derived from Celtic religion. It is by no means to be taken as an indepth survey of either religion. There are a great many questions that could be answered for people if they would visit with the elderly people in the rural areas of the Old Countries, or at least read books written by solid academians instead of profit oriented, new age writers. We will place at the end of this article the sources that can be used to substantiate what is said herein. I encourage you to investigate each source given, to check the veracity of the statement for yourselves

When we talk about Celtic religion, we must define what we are talking about. Precisely put, we are talking about religious beliefs, practices and world views that existed in Gaelic and other Celtic cultures, as these developed as natural manifestations within the cultures. While this woudl included Celtic Christianity, for this article we are addressing Classical (pagan) Celtic theology. The pagan methodology and unbderstandings of Gaelic spirituality survived the coming of Christianity and have continued to this day within the ways of people who are by and large nominally Christian. This is however, where Gaelic Traditionalists, both pagan and Christian, look when establishing their beliefs and methodologies.

An example of what existed in Classical times, when compared with what began afterward, is the use of the Maypole. Prior to importation by Germanic invaders, the Maypole was not in use in Gaelic lands. The High Days, which were fire festivals, saw people gather at the local river to make votive offerings, as well as light bonfires on the hill tops. It wasn’t until the coming of the Saxon that the Maypole came to Gaelic lands, and even then the use of the Maypole stayed in the areas where there was a Germanic population, and was not adopted by the indigenous Gaels.

The spirituality of the various Celtic peoples has not changed. The Gaelic peoples still recognize that there are spirits of the Sky, the Sea and the Land (X). It is only in their official methodologyies concerning the Upper Realm, that concepts and methodologies have changed. The Three of Power can still be found in prayers and incantations such as recorded by Alexander carmichael at the early part of the 20th century. Yet there are a great many who claim that things that have never been a part of the Celtic paradigm are Celtic. Wicca seems to be a religion that is particularly prone to this. The people who make the statement that Wicca is Celtic are usually of two sorts. These are the new people who either for their own reasons truley believe this to be the case, or they have fallen prey to some unscrupulous teacher who uses the allure of things “Celtic” to draw in new students or ensure profits. In both cases the problem is exascerbated by the fact that solid information is not easily accessible to the general public. The people who fall for the antics of the unscrupulous teacher usually do not have access to the information it takes to refute the falsehood. All religions have these types, and the fact that these will also exist within Wicca should not serve as a reason to condemn that path.

People who, with utter conviction, state that Wicca is a Celtic path usually have derived this idea by one of two common arguments (taking for granted that they haven’t been misinformed). The first is conveyed by the person stating something to the effect of, “… _____ (usually Gardner is named) drew upon Celtic lore when putting it together… .” The second statement used is, “…it just *is* Celtic, it’ always been Celtic, its always been in places like Ireland and Scotland.” Both of these arguments are easily disproven. The following shall go toward that end.

Traditional Celtic religions, as is the case with all religions, are cultural manifestations. In tribal cultures the people’s spirituality is part of their identity and world view. Gaelic Traditionalism, for example, holds within the Gaelic culture. This just as a Traditionalist Lakota would remain faithful to their culture. In the Gaelic experience, though regional variants of the name would exist, the Mother of the Gods is Danu, and her mate is Bile. From that union came Dagda and Bride, who are described in some articles of lore as mates themselves. From texts and folklore we see that the Gods were born of that union. The Gods are the First Ancestors of the people, and are individuals. Scholars have noted that when Celtic culture entered an area, the Celtic gods of the Upper Realm went in with them. These then intermarried with the local goddesses of the land (the goddesses of sovereignty). Extant geneological texts chart how the ancient Gael believed that they originated with those unions. Hence the very Gods of the people are their First Ancestors.

The various ideas surrounding the ancestors manifest in a host of customs, such as the Feast of the Dead. Also, such concepts as that of the dead reincarnating through blood lines, in conjunction with the customs of the Gaelic peoples, provides a sense of continuity and identity that cannot be missed.

Just as Traditionalists hold steadfastly to their own culture, Wicca tends to draw from various cultures and ideologies. What allows the practicioners of Wicca to put elements from various religions together is the modernist ideology that has at it’s root the Jungian concept of archetypes. Wiccans tend to work heavily in the idea of archetypes — “All goddesses are the face of the Goddess”. They focus on the traits which various deities share, much the same way a Jungian would focus on the shared traits of heros in a Jungian analysis. Wiccans also speak heavily on the subject of masculine and feminine dualities (anima andÊ animus), which are central to Jungian theories of personality. Some Wiccans focus on claiming the shadow side, or “dark” side of individuals, which is a straight lift from Jungian theory.

The concepts that are traditionallay part of Celtic religions reject this type of analysis and state that the Gods are individuals. Furthermore, as stated, traditional Celtic beliefs hold that the Gods are tied to the people by a familial links. As an example, while a Gaelic Traditionalist might agree that your mom and their mom (or your tribe’s Mother Goddess and their tribe’s Mother Goddess) share some traits by virtue of both people being moms, it is a mistake to say that just because both people are moms, they are interchangeable. To the perspective of a Gael, the basic fallacy of extending Jungian analysis to far is this your mom isn’t their mom, no matter how mom-like both people are. Needless to say, one can’t hold an archetype relationship to either the God or the Goddess and a direct and intimate personal relationship to your people’s gods at the same time. The two ideas contradict each other.

Another of the signs telling of the Jungian foundation in Wicca is the propensity to constantly ‘borrow’ of concepts, icons and sacred relics from other cultures and their religions. This causes a great deal of friction to exist between people of other cultures and Wiccans. This friction manifests itself in such passive things as traditional peoples separating themselves and establishing communities aside from the general pagan one. It also manifests in such things as the literal Lakota Declaration of War against those who “steal” (words the spiritual leaders of that People used) that cultures spirituality. The unanimous opinion of the people in the various traditional forms of spirituality is that Wicca and Wiccans spend too much time “borrowing” everything under the sun and throwing it all together. Yet, to be fair, from Wicca’s arcehtypal-based viewpoint, that’s both okay and logical.

From a traditional Gaelic view point, and traditionalists of other cultures say the same things, these practices dishonor the ancestors, distort the fundamental truth (your mom ain’t my mom), and interfere with the duty that traditional people generally feel to preserve and restore traditional cultures. This is because, to them, Wicca creates a distraction that sidetracks people looking for the traditional ways, as well as sucks up the time, interest and energy of people who might otherwise be helping to find ways to preserve their culture. Wiccans also often present themselves as the “true” Celtic religion which prevents some people from ever finding their way back to the path of the ancestors, which would, in the view of a traditional person, honor the gods properly. Meaning, as individuals and as the ‘First Ancestors’. What most traditionalists find deplorable is that many Wiccans embrace the misinformation regardless of fact and refuse to deal with conflicting ideas or views when faced with facts.

Having established the Jungian foundation that allows for misinformation to remain unchecked in the Wiccan community lets start dispelling some of the fallacious notions that exist. The first notion to be addressed is, ‘Wicca is what the Celts of old practiced.’ Toward dispelling this idea, let’s state some things that are faily well established as fact because of the preponderance of evidence,

The first is that modern neo-paganism is highly impacted by, and reflective of, Gardnerian Wicca and its derivatives. The second is that, when Gardner was putting his creation together he drew upon Eastern philosophies, Egyptian ideologies and Judaic ceremonialism, in addition to Celtic lore.

This easily becomes confusing, but when something is made up of components, the whole mechanism is not solely of any one of those components. To state such denotes a severely faulty argument. Let me demonstrate this. For a great many years American Motors Corporartion (AMC) put out a whole line of automobiles. These automobiles very often had Chrysler engines, Ford transmissions, Chrysler brakes, Ford seats and, I believe in one instance, even General Motors instrumentation. All of those components, motors, transmissions, seats, etc, were fixed into a body made by AMC. Yet the complete car wasn’t a Ford because it had a Ford engine, nor was it a Chrysler because it had their transmission. It was an AMC, a creature all its own. The same is true about Wicca. It has a Hindu engine, an Egyption torque converter and a Celtic transmission. These things were set in a ceremonial body that, while reflective of the bodies used by the Hermetic Orders, is Wiccan alone. It is a creature unto itself.

Concerning the second argument they use, I direct your attention at two areas. These two areas will suffice nicely in dispelling the false notion that Wicca just *IS* Celtic. The first area is the theologies of the two systems

The two systems, Wicca and Celtic, and in particular Gaelic, contradict each other on several points. These conradictions are enough to, as a whole, form a severe dissonance between the two religions. In Celtic religion, there are three basic spheres. These are the Sky, the Sea and the Land. Each of these has a ruling body. For the Sky the sun, for the Sea the Moon and for the Land the Earth.

By careful study of the ancient texts, as well as the language itself, we see that the Sun and the Moon are feminine. They are sisters to each other. Though in some lore there is traces of evidence that some believed that while the Sun was feminine, the Moon was masculine. In Gaidhlig the names of both luminaries are feminine, and in invocations and spells they are both addressed as feminine beings. Yet they can change gender according to which of their attributes is brought to the fore. The nurturing, warm Sun who promotes growth is feminine, the light, as personified by Lugh, is masculine, and the scorching Sun just before Harvest is represented by Balor. This contrasts sharply with Wicca which is based wholly on a Feminine Moon and Masculine Sun.

Wicca is a religion whose philosophical foundation is Neo-Platonic dualism with a Goddess and a God as archetypes. Not only is Celtic religion vastly different in that it is truely polytheistic, totemistic, animistic, and zoomorphic but the very processes of reason upon which the whole of the Celtic worldview is based is founded on a tripartite cosmology. In Celtic understanding the world has three independent and free sphere, Sky, Land and Sea. The three realms are both the legs of the cauldron of the world, as well as the three parts of the Tree of the World

The next area of difference regards ethics. The basic ethical statement of Wicca is called ‘the Rede.’ The Wiccan rede states, “An It Harm None, Do As Ye Wilt.” The nature of the Rede is untenable to Celts. The whole morality of Wicca is “harm none”. While it is a theoretical statement, it is one with little real life practice. This is because it’s a rule that must be broken just to survive and as a result leaves interpretation and application to individuals, and common sense, isn’t

Such statments as are typical of the Rede are not a part of the Celtic paradigm, in which we find a heroic morality. In real life, the term “harm none” is typified by the moralities of Wicca, Christianity, and others where the primary imperative is to not hurt others. Heroic is typified by Celtic and Norse religions primarily, though other examples exist. Heroic morality is summed up by the Gaelic hero Caelte as, “truth in our hearts, strength in our arms and fulfillment in our tongues”. Heroic morality is rooted in concepts of personal honor, responsibility and fulfilment of duty. These are all traits of the Heroic morality, but like the Tao, it is an intangible concept that cannot truly be adequately defined

Because Wicca and traditional Gaelic spirituality arise out of different analyticalÊ perspectives, their moralities — the “scripts” they create for their adherents — are radically different. Wicca is a religion that is based on a logical extension of Jungian analysis (and yes, Jung was big into religion) — thus it’s sole ethic “Harm none and do what thou wilt” tends to reflect a personal, individualistic practice. Traditionalist Celts living a “heroic” morality focus on heroism, personal honor, tribal honor and duty to the tribe and “Do what you wilt” is the last thing on their mind. What honor and duty calls for are at the opposite end of the spectrum from what the individualistic bent of Wicca would call for.

The vision conceived and portrayed by Wicca, of what comes after this life, is limited and vague. Celtic religion, on the otherhand, has a complex and intricate conceptualization of the otherworld. In fact, OtherWorld’s interaction in this world is, in many ways, the pivot point of Celtic religion.

Wicca is primarily an invocatory/ecstatic religion which revolves around special rituals. The ‘formularies’ used by Wicca can be traced back through the lodges of ceremonial magic, and especially the work of Alister Crowley. In Celtic religion, the tenets are votive in nature and stress ethics and morality, only secondary importance is placed on ritual. To Celts, life itself is ceremony, with every thought, word and deed being spiritually significant and magical

The very foundation of Gaelic culture was the home. The hearth was the cornerstone of the spirituality of the people. In Gaelic religions great emphasis is placed on the sanctity of the home, and strength of the family. Families, to traditional celtic peoples, include people who have adopted each other. The individuals are encouraged to walk in strength and to fulfill their responsibilities to their families. These components are not found in Wicca

In Wicca, sacred space is ritually ‘created.’ To traditional Celtic sensibilities, both blessing the salt and not blessing the salt are superfluous arguments. This because to the Celtic mind, human kind can make neither the Gods, nor Their creations, any more or less perfect than they already are.

In traditionally based Celtic religions all all space is sacred. The Land is the Goddess of Sovereignty, the Mother of the peoples living there, and holy unto Herself. Sacred space is omnipresent, it is the history of a place or some other distinguishing thing that causes certain places to see different religious usages. What is done at a site depends on the natural predisposition of an area or its history. That the ancestors saw things in this way is established through such literary evidence as the Dindsenchas (a book of place histories).

Related to the concepts of the land is that, the Gods that Celts took with them into a new land (Sky Gods/ Gods of the People), mated with the Land Gods already in that land. Out of those unions came the oldest Gaelic families, out of which came later Gaelic families. What this means is that the Celts saw the Gods as their relatives. Hence we see one of several manifestations of ancestor veneration. Wicca has no component for venerating or developing a relationship with the ancestors, or the Goddess of the land or other land spirits of the lands that a people live in. These are big items in traditional Celtic religions.

Wicca is an initiatory mystery religion. Gaelic and other traditional Celtic religions are inclusive, with very few initiatory elements. Within Wicca there are various degrees and levels, each having its own mystery, each mystery being revealed by someone in authority. While the scope of this article is not designed to explore religious functionaries in pre-Christian Celtic cultures, in Celtic religion, the declarations of the Gods are found in the Order of Nature. The revelations are from the Gods themselves, and in general each person with sincerity seeks to understand the natural world (which includes the “supernatural” world) around them and their place in it. There also the concept of interacting with the natural world as co-inhabitors of the world

As briefly touched on earlier, Wicca uses the classical elements as a fundamental concept. Celtic religions traditionally do not use the classical elements (air, fire, water and earth) in any way. Some point to the inclusions of the four mythical cities of the Tuatha De Danaan, as recounted in the Lebhar Gebhala Erenn as proof of, or a model of, the use of the elements of the later Greek elements. These folk attribute the four treasures that came from those cities as symbols for those elements. However, scholars tend to think that these may have been included as they were by Christian monks to bring things more into line with the Roman concepts as typified by the Roman Vulgate.

Some will argue that the floor plans of sacred sites support the concept of the use of directions in conjunction with the four elements. First, such associations would be speculation only. Secondly, these floor plans are of the square temples that are found primarily on the continent. This floor plan was carried over to the isles with the Romans, and is found as a part of Romano-Celtic culture. The majority of insular temples were round. Typical of this genre is the important ritual structure at Emain Macha which was itself round. Archaeological diggings has shown that the site was based on five concentric rings (perhaps associated with the same five circles placed around a new born) of oak posts, with an opening to the west. Circular sites aren’t plagued with such concerns as which side faces which direction. Indeed, the sitting arrangement of the five kings at Tara, indicate an association with the directions, but these need to be addressed within the framework of the culture. This framwork would be winds, or ‘airts’, not the four Greek elements. The airts are still to this day what are associated with the dircetions, as shown by some of the incantations recorded in the Highlands by Carmichael. The Greek elements were only associated with the Four Treasures in the late 1800’s, by the work of the Golden Dawn, of which Yeates was a member.

If we want to address the Four Treasures, we must recognize exactly what is being stated in the texts. Of those treasures, one was the Sword of Nuada and the other the Spear of Lugh. Lugh did not come with the Tuatha De Danann when They came into Ireland. Lugh showed up later on, just prior to the second battle of Maig Tuired. According to the lore, Lugh’s Spear was forged by Goibiu. In that battle Nuadh was killed, and it was after the battle that Lugh took the kingship. Hence, by seeing that Nuadh was gone, and Lugh ascended, Nuadh’s solar symbol (the sword) was replaced by Lughs solar symbol (the spear). This helps us to see that the significant number involved is ‘three’

Also as stated, in Celtic culture there are the basic spheres of Sky, Sea and Land. These three realms are three parts of the cosmology of most Indo-European peoples, and are not the equivalents of “earth, wind, fire and water” of the Hellenistic Greek world that has filtered down to the modern era through the ceremonial magical lodges.

The Sky, which is related to Fire, is the realm of the gods of culture, light/enlightenment, order, permanence, purity, and the skills (The Tuatha De Danann). The Sea, which is the realm of the watery Underworld is associated with chaos, decay, and death through which comes renewal and rebirth (the Fomorri). Regarding water proper, it is through the sacred wells (direct conduits to OtherWorld), from the Waters of Heaven (which maintains during the rule of the truthful king), that the waters which encircles the Earth, sustains and maintains the people of the Land. It is here on the Land where humans physically exist, living in contentions on the ‘plain of sorrow’, caught betwixt the above and the below.

The closest thing to an elemental system amongst the Gaelic Celts is what are called the dhuile, as such is defined as ‘elements’ in Gaidhlig. These are anywhere from seven to eleven, usually nine, items. These range from sun to lightning to rock. The duile are a way of understanding the relationship of the person to the cosmos, with each item found in the cosmos relating to a part of the person.Wicca has nothing along these lines. In addition, the fertility nature of Wicca addresses the land Gods almost exclusively. When Gods of the other realms are named, they are usually outside of the place held for them in their traditional pantheons. In Celtic theology each is held and venerated in their traditional capacities. As far as the directions are concerned, the overwhelming evidence shows that in tradiional celtic religion, the directions have always been associated with the winds. Not only is evidence found in texts which record folklore and custom, such as the Carmina Gadleica, but also in texts far more ancient such as the Senchus Mor , the Saltair Na Ran, and the Hibernica Minora.(X)

Wicca places little emphasis on mythology. Yet in Celtic religion, mythological stories are a central feature. These, in fact, form the core of magical practice, teaching and what ritual exists (manifested commonly in ‘passion plays’). In Wicca there is no clear teaching of what is required to break past the cycles of rebirth. Yet in Celtic religion, the requirement can be clearly and concisely stated. That being to fullfill one’s duty, to always be honorable and to stand for the truth come what may, while understanding *why* what is honorable is considered so.

Wicca is a relatively recent addition to the religious paths of humanity. There is a lot of mis-information bandied about regarding it. It is sad that a great many of its followers have to do the religion such a dis-service by claiming lineages that don’t exist. I would point out the now tired joke about Wiccan grand mums. Celts tend to discount initiation, or any other device through which validity is gained through some person or agency. To a Celt, that one exists is proof of their validty. The only generally recognized ‘initiations’ are those afforded by the process of life itself, with the two most important being birth and death, with marriage, parenthood and grand-parenthood coming along in a close second place.

Some well known writers have claimed a great antiquity for Wicca. Yet, if it has any age to it at all, then it is through the Wicce which were Saxon in origin, and patriarchal from the start. These are thought to have been members of the Lodges of Cunning Men. They have nothing to do with the mythological Druids (a product of the British Revival effort of the 18th cenutry). The Wicce have even less to do with the historical Draoi. Such histories, as have connected the two groups of people, are in fact pseudo-histories, or as Margot Adler calls such ideas in her book, Drawing Down The Moon , “myths”.

These same writters state that the word Wicca, derives from the Saxon word, Witan. However, the Witan was the proto-parliament of old Saxon England. If one wishes to twist etymology in this way, it would be more correct to trace the word witch, back to the word ‘wicga’, which is Old English for the insect known as the earwig, and which literally means “creepy-crawly”.

These same writers state that Wicca was practiced in the Celtic lands, and specifically name Gaelic lands, where these practices were supposedly called “Witta”. Yet, from the Gaelic language itself we can see the truth that Wicca is not descended from the Gaelic Celts, nor, because of the similarities in language, even the Cymru (those known to the Anglo tongue as the Welsh). The simplicity of this fact is seen in that that there isn’t even a ‘W ‘ in the Gaelic language, so niether Wicca nor Witta as a derivation could be Gaelic. As concerns the Gaelic language, the sound [w] does exist in Gaelic, or at least in Old Irish, as a lenited /m/ or /b/, like the [w] in the current pronunciation of Samhain [sawhIn – thats a capital I]. But that never occurs at the begining of a word.

In technical speak the ‘w’ does not exist in the language, nor is [w] ever its own phoneme, just an allophone of /m/ or /b/ (depending on the word). Since lenition is rare at the beginning of a word though, it is extraordinarily unlikely that any native Gaelic word would have a [w] at the beginning, and thus ‘Wicca’ is practically impossible in Gaelic even transliterated into the Roman alphabet.

The truth is that modern Wicca, as it is most commonly practiced, is a fairly modern construction, dating from the middle part of this century. This was best summed up by one Dr. Marilyn Wells PhD, anthropology Department at Middle Tennessee State University, who has referred to modern Wiccans as Neo-Wiccans. In other words, there is little to no connection between Gardners creation and the Wicce of the middle ages, and no connection to the Celts; except for what modern Wiccans have borrowed and incorporated. As a matter of fact, if the veracity of The Pickengill Papers is complete, as many Gardnerians have vouched, then the Lodges of Saxon Cunning Men stood in the place of adversary to the Celtic Wise Women , which also goes to support this essay.

More evidence supporting this, can be found in a body of religious laws called the “Law of the Craft”. While there are a great number of groups operating who do not use the set of laws that Gardner wrote, these do, however, usually use some derivation. “The Law of the Craft” as it was created by Gardner, and forwarded by a great many people who recieved it from their grandmothers (a bit of humour), at the least shows the attitude present in the creators of this religion. The undertones still reverberate. There are printed copies of this body to be found in the public domain, in such books as Lady Sheba’s Grimoire, and The King of the Witches by June Johns. There is also to be found on the Internet, a work comparing several versions of that body of law. There are three items of note, where that law is concerned. They are:

1. The uniform appelation given to modern Wicca, as a “brotherhood.” 2. The quote,”… as a man loveth a woman by mastering her…” 3. The quote,”…let her(the high priestess)ever mind that all power is lent…from him(the priest)…” (Her power is absolute in Circle only, and even then lent from the Him [the priest figure])

parentheses added by author-

All three of these items fly in the face of how women were viewed by pre-Roman Gaelic people. Our people viewed women as equals to men, and this through the Brehon Laws which governed the society. Women had the right to possess and disburse property. They possessed the right to inheritance. They possessed ascendency to the throne; in many places above the right of men to do so. They possessed the right to keep and bear weapons, and be it noted that subjegating an armed populace is indeed a difficult thing to do. It was not until Christianity was firmly implanted that women lost these rights, and the equality of the law concerning women came into question.

Other corollary evidence comes from Wiccan statements about themselves. Of the Druids, all that can be agreed upon, based on evidence, was that they were intimately involved in sacrifices. Yet, many Wiccan state that they “..are the priestcraft for the pagan people…”. They are even “training clergy”. Yet, within Gaelic/Celtic culture all people were considered capable of, and responsible for, the mediation of the Gods on their own behalf. Celtic regard for personal responsibility is amply abundant. This is particularly true as regards to mediating the Gods on ones own behalf, and is so obvious and well known that even pop culture books such as The Celtic Tradition by Caitlin Matthews tell of this truth. This has even been commented on by respected celtophiles such as Peter Berresford-Ellis as being a part of the mindset of the Gaels unto this day.

Even the Triads of our people show where the redactors hands slipped on occasion, and let go expressions of the feeling among our forebearers, that kept priests were an abomination. The idea evidently being that the first place we give up our personal power over our lives is to priestcrafts. From there on out, it is one piece of our lives at a time, until we are veritable slaves. Slavery is not a position taken with grace by our people.

This is not to deny the fact that certainly after the coming of Christianity, and probably before, that there were probably orders of Monks dedicated to the service of one or a number of deities. This is only to say that just as there were not temples of the Greek and Roman type, neither were there sacredotes or “clergy”, whose functions were to mediate and or intercede the Gods on the behalf of other people. The sacrifices that these officiated over were not to appease angry dieties. Indo-European sacrifices were for the renewal of the world, which itself according to Indo-European thought was created from the primordial sacrifice of a diety.

In fact traditional celtic religions was votive/sacrificial in nature. Concepts of votive oferings and world renewing sacrifice, though central to Celtic religion, has no position in Wicca.

When I was asked to write this essay, I was also asked to keep it as short as possible, yet not neglecting thoroughness. This should be enough though, to establish the premise quite securely, that Wicca is not descended form our Gaelic/Celtic ancestors.


Special Thanks To: Lughaidh MacRoberts



Popular Superstitions, Sir William R. Wilde, Sterling Publishing, c. 1995
The Druids, Peter Berresford Ellis, Eerdmans Books
Death, War and Sacrifice, Dr. Bruce Lincoln, University of Chicago
Warriors, Priests and Cattle, Dr. Bruce Lincoln, University of Chicago
Myths and Symbols of Pagan Europe, H.R. Ellis-Davidson, Syracuse University
Myth, Legend and Romance – An Enclycopedia Of The Irish Folk Tradition, Dr. Daithi OhOgain, Prentice Hall
A History of Pagan Europe, Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick
Celtic Goddesses, Miranda Green, Braziller
The Silver Bough Vols 1-4, F. Marion MacNeill, Maclellan
The Folklore of the Scottish Highlands, Dr. Anne Ross, Barnes & Nobles
The Celtic Consciousness, edited by Robert Driscoll, Braziller
The Carmina Gadelica, Alexander Carmichael, Lindisfarne Press
Celtic Heritage, Alwyn and Brinley Rees, Thames & Hudson
The Tain, Thomas Kinsella, Oxford
The World of the Druids, Miranda Green, Thames & Hudson
Twilight of the Celtic Gods, David Clarke with Andy Roberts, Blandford
Lebor Gebala Erenn Parts 1-5, trans. R.A.S.MacAlistair, Irish Texts Society
Clannada na Gadelica, “A Tripartite World and Triune Logic”;, Iain MacAnTsaoir, 1997
The Pickengill Papers-The Origin of the Gardnerian Craft, W.E. Liddell, Capall Bann pub. Oxford
History Of Britain, Oxford University Press
Dictionary of Word Origins, John Ayto, Arcade, c. 1990
Celtic Women, Peter Berresford Ellis, Eerdmans Pub, c. 1995,
The Women of the Celts, Jean Markale, Gordon Cremonesi, c. 1975
A HISTORY OF WITCHCRAFT-Sorcerers, Heretics and Pagans, Jeffrey B. Russell, Thames and Hudson
Drawing Down The Moon, Margot Adler
The Pickengill Papers, W.E. Liddell
The Celtic Tradition, Caitlin Matthews, Element Books
The Celtic World, Miranda Green
Merlin : Priest of Nature, Jean Markale

Some parts of this essay were based on an article by Lughaid MacRoberts, who encouraged the author of this article to utilize his paper which was copyrighted in 1988.


Prepared by Iain MacAnTsaoir

Published in: on April 19, 2010 at 1:37 am  Comments (2)  

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  1. Curiously poor spellings of key words in an overall informative article (ie Gadleica, diety, dieties, formorii, etc) You also write: “To a Celt, that one exists is proof of their validty. The only generally recognized ‘initiations’ are those afforded by the process of life itself”

    This is a curious statement. What are your sources for this kind of assertion? Warriors certainly went through initiations whether in the Fionn legends or in the Cuchullan cycle of stories. In addition, when Gaeilge people began the gradual process of christianization baptism, confirmation, penitentials, etc were certainly initiatory in practice. Are you suggesting that Celtic Christians were not “Gaelic”?

    I was born & raised in my early years in Gaelic speaking districts in Donegal & initiations in one way or another were part & parcel of life as I believe they would have been in early Celtic practices. Perhaps you are addressing the self conscious formality of Wiccan initiation which I’m unfamiliar with though I’ve read some misinformed papers on the subject by my students.

    Despite my caveats your article makes excellent distinctions between Celtic ways & Wiccan & corrects some major misunderstandings.

  2. Quote:This is a curious statement. What are your sources for this kind of assertion? Warriors certainly went through initiations whether in the Fionn legends or in the Cuchullan cycle of stories. In addition, when Gaeilge people began the gradual process of christianization baptism, confirmation, penitentials, etc were certainly initiatory in practice. Are you suggesting that Celtic Christians were not “Gaelic”?:End Quote

    Very good points, I for one would certainly not make any such statement. The ‘Gaelic’ people would have definitely been such even after Christianity was introduced, to say otherwise seems to make the claim the ‘Gaelic’ is/was a religion.

    On the original authors, I can’t say I know exactly how they can be contacted. However the article I *think* originates here:


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