Celtic (& Gaulish) Journey Shamanism
Celtic 'Journey' Shamanism is a term I use to distinguish Modern Shamanism from its more traditional and ancient ways. The reason for this gap between Modern and Traditional Shamanism is due to the lack of a living lineage in the Celtic/Gaulish nations as seen in most cultures in which an apprentice would go through years of learning and purification just to be called a Shaman. The term 'Shaman' itself is a Siberian term and wouldn't be used in the Celtic/Gaulish countries. In Ireland, a Shaman would be called a Faery Doctor, or one who works with the 'Good Folk'. A Faery was considered a very real being who lived in the Spirit World, often called 'Otherworld'. The Faery had the ability to affect our realm and make significant changes into our lives if they desired. A Shaman in any traditions would work with Spirits of ancestors, teachers, sky beings, and nature spirits. The 'Journey' is a technique learned by most traditional Shamans in order to gain knowledge, wisdom, and healing. Journeying is a conscious dreaming method (different than astral projection), in which one can explore the 3 worlds often called the Upper, Middle, and Lower worlds. Each tradition has their own terms for these worlds such as the Shining Country, the Wide Country, and the Deep Country. In traditional Shamanism, Journey work is just one technique out of a wide array of techniques that a Shaman would spend often 5 years learning under a higher level Shaman.
Celtic Shamanism in general is a debated topic amongst scholars as there are no direct historical references to Shamanism as practiced in Mongolia and Siberia. But there are other clues that allow us to acknowledge some form of Shamanism was practiced. A big example is in the Artwork. We can see clues that the swirling art of the Celts and Gauls can be found in other 'Shamanistic' cultures. We also have mythology as preserved by the Irish and Welsh that display many elements of Shamanism. We also have many burials found that contain Shamanic and spiritual elements such as offerings to the spirits, gods, and goddesses. The Druids, who were a priest like class of individuals, were heavily feared by the Romans due to their spiritual power. The Druids were often said to be able to create fog, control the wind and storms; a common characteristic of Shamans.
In Modern Celtic 'Journey' Shamanism the goal is to enter into the 'Otherworld' so that one may gather information for a variety of purposes or healing. It is a way to explore our own inner natures and to meet up with other beings that live in those realms. Over time we can develop a relationship with these beings that will support us in evolving and growing into the humans that we were meant to be. The process is relatively simple to learn. By learning Celtic Journey Shamanism, one is able to open up to a new world that exists within the ordinary world. This is an invaluable technique to learning more about yourself and also healing.