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CHAPTER FOUR

Celtic Druids

 Celtic Druids are also reported to have taught a doctrine of reincarnation.

    "THE CELTS BELIEVED in reincarnation, but the form and method in which it occurred was considerably different than most of today‘s Pagan attitudes towards rebirth. For the majority of Celts, it was rebirth into ones own clan which was to them the most sensible way in which reincarnation could occur. For a few others, it was rebirth somewhere else in their native land, never outside it. For the Druids, it was the immediate transmigration of the life essence into another nearby lifeform. Certainly the most common of these ethno-centric Celtic beliefs was the idea that one would retum to be reborn into their own clan. in Old Irish the word for this specific type of reincarnation was aithghen, a word whose root means “to repeat.”" [Celtic Myth & Magick: Harness the Power of the Gods & Goddesses By Edain McCo}

    "Cauldron of Poesy"

    This idea is also echoed in the teaching attributed to Amergin in the "Cauldron of Poesy" materials:

    "Where is the root of poetry in a person; in the body or in the soul? They say it is in the soul, for the body does nothing without the soul. Others say it is in the body where the arts are learned, passed through the bodies of our ancestors. It is said this is the seat of what remains over the root of poetry; and the good knowledge in every person's ancestry comes not into everyone, but comes into every other person." - translation by Erynn Laurie

            Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions by James Bonwick [1894] (http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/idr/idr14.htm)

            ""Irish transmigration," remarks O'Beirne Crowe, "means the soul's passing from man into other animals--man and all subordinate animals included. This is Irish transmigration, called by the Greeks, transformation of one body into another, while the Gaulish is transmigration of a soul into the body of another human being." He adds--"But is this transformation a Druidic doctrine? Most certainly not; it is purely Pythagorean, and must have for many centuries preceded Druidism in this strange land of ours."

Transmigration being found in Ireland, has led some to assert their conviction that Buddhist missionaries conveyed it thither. The Soc. des Antiquiaires de France had an article, from the pen of Coquebert-Montbret, advancing this opinion, relying upon the known ardour and extensive proselytism of early Buddhist missionaries. He knows the Irish deity Budd or Budwas, and asks if that be not Buddha. In the Hebrides, spirits are called Boduchs, and the same word is applied to all heads of families, as the Master. The Druids were, says one, only an order of Eastern priests, located in Britain, adoring Buddwas.

Anderson Smith, in his Lewisiana, writes reluctantly--"we must accept the possibility of a Buddhist race passing north from Ireland." This means, that Ireland is to be regarded as the source of so many Buddhist significations which are discovered on the west of Scotland, and in the Hebrides."

Most scholars believe that this concept came from Pythagorean School.

Celts, Karma and Reincarnation gives the following description: (http://www.summerlands.com/crossroads/library/celts_and_karma.html)
Celtic Beliefs in Spirit

"Another common belief in the continuity of spirit, was for the spirit of the departed to enter into stones or trees.

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This is often told about two lovers who die, have a tree spring from their graves and eventually re-unite with one another as intertwined branches, wooden objects, or even Ogham staves. The story of Baile and Aillinn is one such tale. These two lovers became a Yew and an Apple tree after their deaths. Eventually Ogham staves were made from their woods. When the staves were presented to the king at Tara, they sprang together and were kept in the treasure room from that day forward.

The fate of Deirdre and Naoise is another tale of ill-fated love. Two pines grew from their graves, intertwining together, never to be parted."

"To this very day, Celtic people hold trees sacred, especially those that grow from a grave.

The Celtic belief that spirit could inhabit a place, is found in the common feeling regarding graveyards and passage graves. These places are known to contain ghosts and spirits. Many stones are said to be Druids and others who have been changed to that state by Magick. The "sleeping king" or "warrior band" idea is another example of how the Land itself contains the spirit of people. This idea that famous warriors will awaken in the hour of need is the essence of spirit being stored within the Land itself. Foundation sacrifices were also known to have occurred where a person willingly gave their spirit to a structure or to a place, to become its guardian.

This belief in the connection between spirit, person and place is still alive today in the belief that the last soul to die is the guardian of the graveyard. It is also intertwined with the Celtic belief that the soul must revisit the three sods (soils) before passing through the doorway to the Otherworld: the place of birth, the place of baptism and the "sod of death"."

There are many names for the place our spirits go after death. In Irish legend, some of the names of the islands of the Otherworld are Tír na nÓg- ‘The Land of Youth’, Tír N-aill- ‘The Other Land’, and Tír Innambéo- ‘The Land of the Living’. It is a beautiful world, a place of peace, harmony, and endless banquets, where souls live in the presence of the gods, goddesses, and ancestors.

                   Yet one might not wish to stay in the Otherworld forever. Longing for this world brings souls back to reincarnate, possibly into their own family line or into animals or trees that are close to places they loved in a previous life. The soul is on a journey that never ends.