Theses  on  Celtic  Religion 4

difficulties in the state of the sources

our prejudicial denotations

animistic component

fairy tales and legends as legitimate sources

shamanism and druidism

the stratum of divinities


polarity Death / Mothers

changes in material existence

Mabon vab Genoveva

interface of Death and Mothers

isolated themes 

the realities of the world 





They are even more conspicuous when fairy tales, legends and popular traditions are admitted as being sources for revealing traces of druidism. This may not be asked too much consider­ing that for shamanism a tradition in form of fairy tales is quite typi­cal. Oral tradition as proper to all shamanistic and animistic cultures is also known for the pre-roman, pre-Christian Celts and consisted in the numerous tales druids and bards were obliged to know and to recite. By the time and by design the old traditions were shaped into a system of more or less artful tales which kept alive and preserved in a canonized form the ancient beliefs and individual experiences (e.g. of journeys to the Otherworld, of shapeshifting or of ancestors). Some of those tales remained alive until they found their way into medieval manuscripts, the authors of which however did no longer understand their meaning and interpreted them on the grounds of Christian concepts. Parallel to it is the fate of those tales which were communi­cated orally to become popular tales and legends. The magic of the druids turned to be the witchcraft in fairy tales.

We are therefore justified in scrutinizing those tales for elements of ancient religious beliefs of the shamanistic stratum.

Continue: shamanism and drudism