While several Roman and Greek authors recorded the existence of Druids throughout the Celtic world generations before the introduction of Christianity, there were several different cultural misunderstandings that occurred by the mistranslation of the warrior based culture of the Celts of Gaul. Most noted that the Druids were a class of Celt, who was “excused” from any war making exercises, and were looked up with a level of reverence. Celts were warriors first. All available men, women, and children were instructed in the art of combat from an early age for the defense of the tribe. This warrior mentality permeated every facet of Gaulish life.
In addition, there were those who had accumulated a higher level of intuitive vision, thereby giving them the ability to harness the energies of the physical plane to produce earthly magic. The Celtic great goddess Danu supported those who had this intuition and began to teach them to use the “earth magic”, in return these practitioners recognized the power of the sacred feminine. This recognition then began to manifest itself as the inclusion of magical properties within all aspects of Celtic life, which would have included war. Reading the later Norse sagas, we find where special classes of warriors included the use of the Landvætti (spirits of the lands) into acts of combat, this tells us that magic is not limited to any one group of people. This is where the bloodstream of modern humans would carry the magic of our cultural history.
A Druid or Shaman is designated by the spiritual entities around them in which to communicate with, and through, educating the physical humans in the community. In indigenous beliefs, there came individuals who were enlightened who could communicate with the spiritual realm, as well as the deities, and these men/women were known as Druids or Shamans (depending on where you were). These individuals typically receive a channel of communication from the spiritual entities who wish to teach the physical beings lessons of wisdom from the ages. These lessons were provided to the Shaman in their work crossing over between the physical and spiritual realms, then passed on to others. This was the Shaman of antiquity.
A Shaman, as per the definition I have been given by the spiritual entities I interact with every day is that of a person who has learned to trust their intuition, exposing themselves to communication with spiritual entities interfacing with the physical realm, then chooses to pass this knowledge and wisdom to others who are seeking. A Shaman is chosen by the spiritual entities, as they may, or may not, have any formal spiritual training. Typically this spiritual connection is through the individual’s ancestral channel, however, this is not always the case.
In my case, my personal ancestors have chosen to communicate with me, giving me the wisdom and knowledge that I am charged with passing on to my fellow physical beings (humans). Because of my Celtic-Norse heritage, I am authentic in my beliefs and or discussions. I have chosen to live my life authentically, by being congruent to what I have learned, and what I feel, is the right course of delivering this passed knowledge/wisdom onto my fellow physical form.
Being a Shaman is not a destination, but a journey. It is not one of those states we reach in life where we have passed some test and are certified as such. Becoming a Shaman opens one’s eyes to a much larger, more complex, natural world that humans simply interact with. Most Shamans understand the emotional connection that humans have with a spiritual realm that surrounds us all.
While many may debate the pedigree of a Shaman, most of us come to this realization unknowingly. We receive a channel of communications from our ancestors, as well as other spiritual entities, that educate and inform us of practices of old, as well as the wisdom and knowledge of all that is the spiritual realm. In much the same way, the discovery of a special set of abilities that we are given allows the Shaman to better assist their fellow physical beings with knowledge of what used to be called the “mysterious knowledge”, and the phenomenon of the natural world.
Over time, Shaman’s will internalize the knowledge and wisdom of interactivity with all lives of the physical and spiritual realms, familiarizing themselves with many things that are above the knowledge of scientists, and certainly that of the limited knowledge of the mainstream churches. Like the interpreters of human languages, we become the interpreter for the language of the spiritual realm.
As a practicing Shaman of the Celtic/Norse people of antiquity, I have several core beliefs that differ from others whom I have interacted with.