The Way of the Celts – The Otherworld

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By Kristin Olsen

Welcome the Way of the Celts, land of myth and fantasy. As we look to the magic and mysticism of the celtic lands, let us delve into a place revered and inspiring to the Celts. A place if mentioned today might bring out fear of the devil, fire and brimstone, hell and damnation. Let us journey in the Otherworld, the land known as Tir na nÓg.   Come with me lets carefully part the veil of fine mist and lace and journey into the unknown. Off to the lands of death and re-birth, the lands that create the awe-inspiring image of Celtic Warriors, Princesses, Princes and Goddesses. Come our ancestors await! Welcome to the Celtic Otherworld.

The Otherworld according to legend basically has three levels. The upperworld, middle world and underworld. Most Celtic myth and lore explore what is known as the Tir na nÓg. It is sometimes seen in Irish tales as an island far to the west of Ireland. To reach this sacred land one must travel over the water and a far distance indeed. Water is present in most tales about the journey to the Tir na nÓg. Water is a symbol of rebirth and purity, so it makes sense one must travel via water to reach such a sacred land. It is cleansing just to take the journey. Other myths offer a wide range of ways you can enter the underworld. Two of the most popular are via a Sidhe, the Gaelic world for mound or hill and via the Fairy women such as the Banshee Fairy. This is the land of our ancestors. This island stands still to time and is the place of myth and fantasy. Heroes and Heroines, Gods and Goddesses live suspended in mist on the island of legend.

The island known as Tir na nÓg is a land of perpetual youth and beauty. Time stands still, flowers do not die or wilt and life is ageless. It is found in many Irish tales of magic and mysticism. The land of youth holds the legends and tales of mighty heroes and sorcerers, and of the ancient ones long ago honored for their deeds. This island keeps secrets and only the brave and daring that listen with their whole hearts and souls can hear the whispers upon the winds of past tales of glory. If you listen oh so carefully you might just hear an ancestor impart words of wisdom for we mere mortals to only contemplate and praise. Pay close attention to the air as it brushes past your ear for it might be your ancestor or a grand Goddess telling you a tale of their mighty life and love. This is a land of Fairy tale and Adventure. This is a Celtic Heaven.

Once upon a time the tales and legends of heroes and heroines were passed from person to person and generation to generation. They were not fairy tales, but tales of astounding bravery and magic. As the years passed and Christianity came to the Island of Ireland, these tales have been resigned to the realm of fantasy. Tir na nÓg is no exception. It has slowly been woven into the modern culture and pleasantly referred to as Heaven. The underworld became a separate entity and was resigned to the realm of fear and danger. It became equated with the Christian idea of Hell. The old ways and some of the ancient practices for honoring the ancestors became viewed as evil. Samhain, which is celebrated as a day when the veil between the world of the physical and the world of the spiritual are so close our ancestors can step through and visit us, is now seen as a scary day. It is feared as witches and magic are feared.   The tales of our ancestors are not to be feared, nor are their ways. Like all cultures old ways, they are lessons and myths to learn and grow from. Open your minds and hearts.   Celebrate the magic and mysticism for there is wisdom in the old ways!

Why fear what you do not know? Why not just explore life for the positive experiences that it has to offer. We do not know if there is a really a Heaven or Hell or a Tir na nÓg or Underworld. Life is about exploring and finding adventures to ride through time on. Learning allows the mind and the spirit to sore to heights that the physical world has place constraints upon. What if there are magic and wee fairies do run through the woods outside your bedroom window? What if Tir na nÓg really does exist and our ancestors await us to boast of grand tales of fortune and exploration? Anything is indeed possible and most tales have some basis in reality, so why should these Celtic adventures be any different. Open you mind and your heart and your soul, for you will need all your senses to truly live a life of adventure, promise and blessings. If you want something, just close your eyes and see it happening. The power of the mind and soul are endless as are the adventures and tales of the Celtic people and its culture.

Join me again for more tales of the Celtic Lands. We have much to discuss, The Book of Kells, Celtic Holidays, Runes, Goddesses, 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

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