(Orginally dated: Jan 21, 2003; untitled)
Wicca draws very heavily from the Celtic peoples, though our knowledge of them is quite limited. The name Celt is an anglicized spelling of the Greek term Keltoi [translated as wanderers]. They appear in the pages of European history with the recording of economic transations between a band of these people and some Grecian traders in the area of Macedonia. Interestingly, at the same time, the legent of the Amazons surfaces. Is it possible that these ferice women warriors were the women of the Celts that lived in that region? It was with Caesar's Gallic Wars, that we get some picture of Celtic society.
(Orginally dated: Jan. 22, 3003; untitled)
The structure of the Celtic society has frequently been compared to the caste system of India. I do not believe this is how the Celts lived. The secular structure had the peasantry at the lowest rank, the artisans next, followed by the warriors. Above the warriors, there were the nobles. The religious groups were in some respects above the nobles, but mainly they were separate. Slaves and prisoners of war were non-entities, propoerty and devoid of virtually all rights.
The religion of the Celts and the organization of this religion is perhaps one of the biggest mysteries surrounding this ancient people. Caesar's documents present the druid as the religious leader of the community as well as a powerful magus. Since the Victorian period, societies calling themselves durids have emerged, frequently basing their organization on the Roman texts, medieval literature, and faulty archeology. What can be said with certianty about the historical figures of the druids is the following:
Druids were teachers, judges, and priests. They officiated at major religious fucntions and ceremonies. Within the community of druids, there were both women and men. The organization of druids can loosely be described with the Ovate at the lowest position, the Bard second, and the Druid at the highest.
The Celts were polytheists, though our knowledge of their beliefs are limited. Their culture placed a powerful emphasis on honor and community. In many respects, they resemble their Germanic/Teutonic contemporaries. Many of these cultural elements persist in the modern Celtic sub-culture.
The ceremonies and practices of modern Witchcraft, as presented, strongly resemble the practices of the Catholic church. My practices are more simple. Prayer, work to aid those in need, and acts of compassion are central. Living in harmony and with respect for all life is a central tenant. My rule is to act with responsiblity, compassion, and honr. More often, this correlates to the Wiccan Rede and/or the Witch's Law of Three as espoused by most traditions/sects of Witchcraft.
Magical practices are forms of prayer, tools to be widely used, or the exercise of an inborn talent. A house blessing, for example, is a prayer, while a banishment is a tool, and scrying is the exercise of a talent.