Crystal Herbalism - The Garden Faerie Grid 

This grid is perfect to place in your garden or space to welcome the energy of the fairies.

  • Peridot (106815): cleanses the earth, strengthens awareness of nature spirits, and connects to divine energy, allowing the faeries to feel welcomed.  
  • Moss Agate (101465): a gentle energy that connects to the heart of the earth, brings balance and good health to the garden & space, and manifests faerie energy.
  • Blue Beryl (101389): a peaceful water energy that allows communication to flow, connects to the moon which provides protection, and unveils the hidden world of the faeries.

Lady of Bones and Battle – The Morrigan Aesthetic

“Baby go ahead, I’ll be your hatred and your pain. This is killing us all. I don’t care if I fall. We’re the dying, we are the damned. Baby go ahead, I’ll be the villain you can blame. I’ll be the belle of the brawl, be the lust in us all. I’m the diva of the damned.”  

The Morrigan aesthetic requested by anon

Celtic Gold Phalera with Cernunnos, 1st Century  BC

Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the “horned god” of Celtic polytheism. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but depictions of a horned or antlered figure, often seated cross-legged and often associated with animals and holding or wearing torcs, are known from other instances.

Nothing is known about the god from literary sources, and details about his name, his cult or his significance in Celtic religion are unknown. Speculative interpretations identify him as a god of nature or fertility.

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Badbury Rings, Dorset, England

Badbury Rings is an Iron Age hill fort in east Dorset, England. It was in the territory of the Durotriges. In the Roman era a temple was located immediately west of the fort, and there was a Romano-British town known as Vindocladia a short distance to the south-west.  Five Roman roads formed a complex junction on the north side of the fort.

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writerwithproblems asked:

Do you know anything about Celtic Mythology that you can share with me? I've read a lot of stories and researched about the gods and godesses, and I know that not much is known about druids and gods. I find it very confusing :( Maybe a web page or something? Thank you! :)

I can tell you some broadly helpful things about Celtic mythology, beyond ‘oh my god the stories are insane’ (because they are totally insane):

  • ignore the Internet. Like legit. It’s devastating how much nonsense there is online about Celtic stuff. According to the Internet, the Celts were some idealised nature-worshipping matriarchal society, which really couldn’t be further from the truth. Because Celtic traditions were ultimately lost to Christianity, which is obviously a very patriarchal institution, it has become understandably popular to view the earlier Celtic world as a more free and liberal place, devoid of the later Christian patriarchy, but it’s sadly as much of a myth as the story of Pwyll and Annwn.
    Most of the gods who are depicted as nature deities by modern pagans and Celtic enthusiasts were not even remotely linked to nature. Looking at Cernunnos especially as an example of this, there is no evidence at all that he was either a particularly popular god or in any way associated with nature, and yet he is now often thought of as the god of nature across the Celtic world. Women had a pretty hard time of things in much of Celtic society; chastity, purity and modesty were all qualities expected of them, and they were broadly expected to be subservient to their husbands (and woe betide you if you didn’t have one).
    I do slightly want to bash my head against a wall whenever these drawings of frolicking ‘Celtic goddesses’ show up on my dashboard, proclaimed as ‘the goddess of [insert bullshit field of living here]’, all scantily clad and bestowed with a list of their definitive qualities and their absolute power over nature. BUT I DIGRESS.
    Whereas a lot of online stuff is great for the study of other religions and traditions, Celtic studies have really suffered from an abundance of wishful misinformation. If you want to find things about Celtic religion that are in any way useful, you unfortunately have to stick to the peer reviewed stuff, or at least check that what you’re reading was written by someone who has a background in actual Celtic studies. It’s a bit of a faff, but as long as you’re careful with what you’re reading, there’s still a lot of interesting stuff out there! 

  • we know nothing. Or at least we know incrementally more than nothing. A lot of stuff written on Celtic mythology is based on speculation, because we don’t have a handy list of written texts from the Celts themselves to draw upon. The written sources, even the really old ones like the Mabinogion, are either dated from way after the dawn of Christianity or were written by people other than the Celts themselves. The Romans, for example, wrote a few things about these exotic and sexy barbarians, mostly in an attempt to portray themselves as being superior and cultured compare to their neighbours, but a lot of it was melodramatic; more of a bodice-ripper type narrative than a historical document.
    The Romans also used an approach called interpretatio romana, which is really exactly what it sounds like; they used the framework of their own world and tried to place Celtic society into the same boxes. For example, they described some Celtic deities as being Hermes, Jupiter and Cronus. They didn’t mean that the Celts actually worshipped these gods - the Celts had their own polytheistic system - but they were attempting to say ‘OK, this is how we as Romans understand religion, and this is how we’re going to make sense of other religions’. This has the unfortunate effect of modern people reading these texts and thinking ‘the Romans said that the Celts worshipped Hermes - from this, we can reconstruct that the Celts worshipped a trickster god! We know the names of X, Y and Z as Celtic gods, and X must be the trickster’. It’s a dangerous and speculative method, trying to reconstruct the religion from sources that are already tenuous. 
    Therefore, a lot of what we think we know about the Celts isn’t exactly fact; we know a lot about what people wrote and thought about them, but with no accurate personal testimony, it’s hard to translate that into knowing anything concrete about them.

  • Celtic gods were not discrete units. It’s hard to put into words what exactly I mean by that, but I shall try. Whereas in studies of Greco-Roman religion, it can be easy to say things like ‘Athena was the goddess of strategic warfare (amongst other things)’, and thus link a deity inexorably to a field over which they had dominion and control, Celtic gods probably didn’t function in the same way. Instead, they likely functioned more like Egyptian gods, with certain deities linked to or identified with certain regions of the land instead of areas of life. Also like Egyptian gods, there was no one pantheon of gods which all Celtic people worshipped; we don’t have a single godly father like Zeus, or a pantheon of 12 important gods like the Olympians. Instead, we have evidence of literally hundreds of Celtic deities, most only mentioned in one source and then never referenced again, suggesting that gods were localised and specific. There’s no evidence that a family who moved from one end of the country to the other would be familiar with all of the gods of that new location at all.
    One good example of this is actually Cernunnos. Cernunnos is the name that has been given to a horned god. We do have over 50 statues of this deity (although we only have one instance of the name Cernunnos being applied to this deity), but all of these statues were found in Northern Gaul. So, although Cernunnos is often described as a ‘Celtic god’, implying a wide-reaching cult, all the evidence points to him - or whatever version of him was actually worshipped - being a much more localised deity.  
    This points to a system whereby what exactly it meant to be religious was very different. Gods were personal and immediate; a man living in the North of Wales would not make an offering to the same god as a man living in the South of Ireland, even if they both wanted to ensure good luck at the weekend’s hunt. And this is why it is irritating when things like ‘Cernunnos, Celtic god of nature’ and ‘Arianrhod, Celtic goddess of the moon’ show up. 

  • on the same note as above, the Mabinogion isn’t a text of Welsh mythology. It’s a text copied and written by Christians, was intended for an esoteric courtly audience, and mixes typical courtly tropes (e.g. the saucy knights and the swooning dames) with some elements of Welsh folklore, but it’s not a book from which we can deduce a whole bunch about what the Welsh pagans actually believed.
    Even things that are generally accepted to be religious truths, such as Rhiannon being a representation of an important Welsh goddess, aren’t factual - this particular interpretation comes from a dude named WJ Gruffydd, who looked at Irish mythology and decided that Welsh mythology was probably identical. Ireland had a goddess associated with horses named Epona, and Rhiannon in the Mabinogion is shown riding a horse; this, in Gruffydd’s view, was proof that there used to be a Welsh myth where Rhiannon was a horse goddess (and, in his opinion, an actual horse - wtf). There is no evidence whatsoever for this. It was purely conjecture, and yet it’s almost accepted universally as fact.
    There are some things within the Mabinogion that are pretty obviously derived from Welsh mythology, such as Manawydan fab Llŷr (more on this dude below) but it has been so heavily Christianised and euhemerised (meaning that the original myths have been placed into a real world context) that, with none of the original source materials existing, we should be wary of trying to reconstruct the pagan originals from the Christian adaptations.

  • so, one thing we should remember is that ‘Celtic mythology’ as an entire and whole unit of narrative and belief is a real misnomer. There was never a unified society across the whole of Britain who called themselves the Celts. Instead, there are multiple local and regional traditions which are obviously and inevitably linked; tendencies to name rivers after goddesses believed to live there, some shared gods, and generally accepted societal norms. The term ‘Celt’ has been disputed in terms of who exactly it should apply to, when it should apply, and what it actually means. Different people use it in different ways. It’s a pain in all two of my feet.
    We have evidence that a lot of their beliefs were shared or derived from the same root - there are obvious similarities and cognates between Welsh and Irish mythology, such as the Irish god Manannán mac Lir and the Welsh king Manawydan fab Llŷr, referenced in the Mabinogion, but this doesn’t mean that they were essentially interchangeable. A lot of older scholars, such as Gruffydd mentioned above, believed that they were, and a lot of what we ‘know’ about Welsh mythology comes from what we do know about Irish mythology. This is Bad Practice with a capital B and P (and also B and S). 

  • there is some actual stuff we can genuinely infer, but I can’t even begin to cover the basics here because I will actually die. If you have any specific questions (e.g. the Celtic ideas of the Otherworld or the roles of male and female deities) then I can do a more focused reply on that! Otherwise, I will leave you with a handy little bibliography.

Sources:

  • Studia Celtica - a journal on Celtic studies, produced in Wales (and annoyingly not available online - the bane of my academic life)
  • The Mabinogion translated by Sioned Davies - this has a really good introduction to Welsh religion and the problems of trying to reconstruct it, as well as a lot of stuff that can be reconstructed. Stay away from Charlotte Guest’s translation if you want a more accurate one.
  • Jeffrey Gantz’s various translations of Welsh and Irish works - he’s done an Irish Mythology compilation with a load of good background and context, available from Penguin. 
  • The Mammoth Book of Celtic Myths and Legends - Peter Berresford-Ellis - this is not a scholarly book and it falls into a lot of the pitfalls I’ve mentioned above, but as long as you’re aware of these pitfalls, it’s a good book for just seeing the narrative traditions .
  • Pagan Britain - Ronald Hutton - useful for seeing some of the modern misinterpretations / reinterpretations of Celtic stuff and how they link to the actual sources. 
  • One final Internet source - the Celtic Encylopaedia! It’s basically a compilation of a lot of out-of-copyright translations of Medieval texts. It’s handy if you want to read more of the stories, but there’s obviously not a great deal of actual info here. 

And now my fingers hurt.

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Excessively Rare Celtic Gold Armring, Early 5th-4th Century BC

The ornament on this bracelet, with the faces showing the mouth as a straight line and with slanting eyes is typically ‘Celtic’ while the palmette leaf design is directly copied from the Greeks. In Greek art this palmette appears frequently, as here, as the termination feature at the foot of a design.