Beliefs About Witchcraft in Gaelic Cultures (Scottish, Irish & Manx)

I’d like to share an article that I feel is an important read for anyone interested in Gaelic Polytheist Reconstructionism or even wider Celtic Reconstructionism, particularly if they also identify themselves as being a witch.

It’s also a really interesting read in general, especially for those interested in cultural beliefs about witchcraft past & present.

It’s a substantial read as it covers Irish, Scottish & Manx traditional beliefs about magic, various different traditional labels for magic practitioners, & what the word “witch” & its Gaelic equivalents meant both in the historical context (& to some even now) 📚

I feel that even if you don’t personally agree with the authors’ argument that even the reclaimed version of “witch” is not appropriate for Gaelic Polytheists due to its traditional meaning, it’s important to understand the reasons why some people think like this, particularly those who grew up in the culture 🙂 The role of the community & how traditionally people got their labels from their communities rather than declaring themselves to be something is also outlined.

This article was put together by members of Gaol Naofa, an anti-racist & anti-cultural appropriation Gaelic Reconstructionist organisation. (You may notice Annie, the creator of the Tairis website’s name in there). As such, as well as history & traditions, they also go into issues with Wicca, “Traditional Witchcraft” etc & why they don’t wish to be associated with these things. They also explicitly state that practices such as Tarot have nothing to do with Gaelic or wider Celtic traditions.

In terms of folk practice rather than pre-Christian reconstruction, they make a good point that Scottish folk magic practitioners usually stressed their connection to tradition & their gifts coming from the Daoine Sìth, whereas in England & Wales book learning was commonly held as being more valuable. This means that for the latter you have to watch out for any written sources that may have been taken from ceremonial magic, as even centuries before the likes of Crowley the cultural appropriation of closed practices such as Judaism had already begun 😞

Sorry this was quite a long post – I was trying summarise the main points of what, as I said, is a pretty substantial article. I hope anyone interested will of course read it for themselves through the link below 🙂

📑Read the article here.

Read Romani voices on why some feel Tarot card reading is Cultural Appropriation.

(📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel)

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