The Way of the Celts – Renewal and the Turning of the Year!

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By Kristin Olsen

Welcome the Way of the Celts, land of myth and fantasy. Let us discuss some ideas and concepts surrounding the turning of the year and rebirth, renewal and revitalization. The Ancient Celts believed the world to be a magical, variable realm ruled by invisible forces and mystical elements. Each and every rock, stick, twig, tree, stream, flower and river had a spiritual presence associated with it. The ancients would be very careful and watch were they walked for they never knew if a Sprite or Fairy was lurking under the petals of that daisy they just walked past. They believed that the sprit or deity associated with each thing in nature might be watching them, so they were oh so careful.   Even the most mundane tasks and projects were taken care of with reverence and rituals became associated with each task to keep the spirits happy and to avoid being captured by the faeries. Some of these have become traditions that are still in practice today. Come join me now as we dance along green emerald paths past lilies, dandelions and daisies into the world of Celtic Renewal. Open your eyes wide as we explore, learn and grow and discover that all things are possible if you see it so.

The beginning of February to the ancient Celts was considered the first day of spring. This was a time of renewal and cleansing. In Irish Gaelic, Imbolc (pronounced im’olk) means “in the belly” (i mbolg). It refers to the pregnancy of ewes, which were very important animals in the Celtic lands. Imbolic is the Celtic term for spring and the seasons that begin after the dark months are ending. There were not many written records, so much is supposition about what Spring acutally meant to the Celts in terms of cleansing and renewal. If we look at the word Imbolc we can give it meaning, Life, literally. In the belly and preganancy are beginnings and thus Spring is deamed a beginning and what a perfect time to clease the Body, Mind and Soul. The gloom of winter is leaving the Celtic lands and white snow and pounding rains are replaced with green fields and flowers, dancing fairies and magickal creatures breathing in the fresh clean air and basking in the glory of the sunshine.

Brigid the Goddess of healing and poetry was often associated with Imbolic and springtime by the Ancient Celts. This was her season and time and they honored and revered her in the rituals and events. Later after Christianity came to the Celtic lands, St. Brigid’s Day replaced the honoring of the ancient Goddess with the honoring of the Patron Saint Brigid. Could they be one in the same? When converting Ireland to Christianity a lot of pagan traditions were brought forward into the religious beliefs of the peoples of Ireland to make conversion easier. One tradition associated with Brigid is to light a fire of renewal and think on your life and what you want and need. Look into the fire and ask the pagan Goddess Brigid or the Christian Saint Brigid to help you with your vision for you life. She is after all associated with renewal and this is a time to cleanse the mind and set your soul on a journey to whatever your hearts desire is. So gaze into the flame and form a picture or idea of what you want in your life for yourself, your family, your community, the world and ask for the blessings of the Celtic Lands. Can we take the magic of ancient times and bring them forward to make our own lives richer and blessed? Let us see… Hurry, the veil between worlds is thinning, we must catch our ancestors, for in understanding the past, we create the now and set sail the path of our future.

After you do any cleansing or purification ceremony for your mind, spirit and soul, please take a few moments to cleanse your body. The recipe below is the perfect tasty treat so try it and enjoy making some Chai Spirituality tea. Find a comfortable chair and cleanse your body with this delightful taste tingling pleasure. Chai is a spicy tea and it is used to settle your tummy and aid in digestion. It is perfect tea to start the Spring’s new path with.

1 cup water
1 tablespoon grated ginger, fresh
2 Cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4-5 cardamom pods
¼ cup milk or non dairy creamer
honey to taste

Add all the herbs to a tea ball and In a saucepan, combine water and drop in the tea ball full of herbs. Cover and allow to simmer on low heat for eight to ten minutes. Add the milk and simmer another 2-3 minutes and then strain the tea and pour into your favorite mug.

Join me again for more tales of the Celtic Lands. We have much to discuss, The Book of Kells, Celtic Mythology, The Claddagh, Gaelic, Poetry and Prose and perhaps even a way to see Fairies in your everyday world or how to obtain the pot of Gold from that dreaded Leprechaun. Magic and Adventure is all around you, just close your eyes, open your heart and listen to your soul. Celtic Magic is everywhere.   Visit me at http://www.celticattic.com

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