Celtic shamanism is a spiritual tradition that goes back to ancient times. At its core, it involves the belief in a person’s ability to journey out of their body and access hidden realms of knowledge.
Through this practice of spirit traveling, shamans gain wisdom and insight into things from strength and healing to forces of nature, both good and bad.
Celtic shamans also have their own practices, like “mastery over fire” and “magical flight, ” which are unique to this tradition.
Celtic shamanism is one of the oldest forms of shamanism, and it is rooted in the belief that a shaman acts as an intermediary between the physical realm and the realm of spirits.
According to Michael Harner, shamans utilize an altered state of consciousness to contact the spirit world to gain knowledge and power.
They also work to restore balance and harmony by restoring valuable sources or extracting harmful power (or lower consciousness) from an individual patient. While most Celtic shamans specialize in shamanic healing, other types, such as warrior shamanism, and hunting shamanism, are found in some cases.
Celtic shamanism is an age-old practice of connecting with the spirit world to seek guidance, healing, and ritual. This spiritual tradition goes back thousands of years, to the dawn of humanity when we lived as hunter-gatherers in small tribes.
The teachings and rituals were passed down orally from ancestors and keepers of ancient wisdom, known as shamans, who believed that everything in the universe is alive and connected. Even today, many ancient Celtic shamanic practices remain in use among some tribal peoples seeking wisdom, healing or connection with their ancestral spirits.
The Celts were one of the oldest European cultures, and it is believed that they kept some archaic traditions alive beyond other Northern and Western European peoples. One of these may have been Celtic shamanism – a form of spiritual practice traced back to the Paleolithic period. It involves practices such as shamanic journeying, trance healing, and shamanic-induced altered states of consciousness.
This form of spirituality survived throughout the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculturalist or pastoralist lifestyles and was even seen in modernized societies, evidenced by contemporary Native American culture.
While it is difficult to know precisely what Celtic shamanism was like, we know that it was a form of spiritism; centered on connecting with the spiritual realm and working with those energies. In general, shamans in Celtic cultures were believed to be more connected or gifted than priests or other religious figures, able to shape-shift into spiritual creatures, heal physical ailments and mental suffering and protect against evil spirits.
Shamans would typically hold drumming, dancing, and chanting rituals, accompanied by offerings such as food or alcohol to access the spirit world. As such, contemporary practitioners still carry out similar rituals today to pay homage to their ancestors’ practice.