Few spiritual disciplines are quite as enduring as the 3000-year-old tradition of Celtic magick.
You can still see evidence of its widespread popularity within the landscape of the six primary Celtic nations: Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Isle of Man, Scotland and Ireland.
It is one of the few remaining pre-Christian religions and it continues to be so enduring since it is so closely tied to the land of its birth.
Although some sources still maintain that Christianity superseded Celtic-Pagan worship, early Christian churches show evidence of their having infused Celtic myths and legends, and even gods and goddesses, into their fabric—proof that in most places the Celtic tradition was absorbed rather than obliterated by the incumbent patriarchal religion of Christianity.
Kristoffer Hughes lives in one the most important areas of Celtic worship—North Wales—specifically, the sacred Isle of Anglesey.
He is well versed in the system of Celtic magick as well as being the Head of the Anglesey Druid Order. More than anyone else, he is supremely qualified to speak about Celtic myth and magick, which, co-incidentally, is exactly what he does in his publication The Book of Celtic Magic: Transformative Teachings from the Cauldron of Awen.
In his book, Hughes explains how the Celtic tradition is formed around a collection of myths, collectively known as The Mabinogion. These are sacred texts with roots far back in a pre-Christian past. He reveals how it has, at its core, a powerful pantheon of gods and goddesses, each with their own myths, legends and allegorical mysteries.
Central to them all is the Goddess, Awen (the divine spirit of inspiration).
Hughes acknowledges her importance by referencing the power and influence of Awen and her personal symbol, which, the author believes, holds within it mysteries of the stations of the sun. (She also featured in Kristoffer Hughes’ other book of Celtic magick From the Cauldron Born.)
It is Awen’s cauldron that is considered to be the vessel that contains the all-important transforming power potion—a brew that is instrumental in the magickal development of its user.
However, this is not a book based around dry academic research. Kristoffer Hughes includes simple exercises that you can do to make the necessary adjustment towards opening the psycho-magickal connections to the subtle inner spheres.
If you want to engage with the transformative process more fully, the author also offers a practical approach to ritual as well as the tools necessary to effect the simmering process of inner change.
Having established the fundamentals to Celtic magic, the author then turns his attention in part two to what he calls The Companions of Celtic Magic. This includes the concepts of magickal allies to guide, teach and assist the fledgling magician in his or her work. These may include any Celtic gods and goddesses, who are connected to places or myths.
Further details and insights into the primary deities of the Celtic system then follow. These include Mabob and Modron, Rhiannon the Horse Goddess, Cerridwen the Witch Goddess, Llyr the Sea God, Brig the Goddess of healing and other, minor, archetypal powers of the Celtic Tradition.
In each case, each archetypal power is described and explained with reference to the mythological tradition that they are born from.
Once again, there are also specific practical exercises and rituals to help you integrate the energy of each one.
In Part Three, Hughes reveals the true Druid within himself by introducing you to Celtic tree magick.
He explains the relevance, symbolism and energy of each tree as understood and represented within the Celtic tradition. This directly connects to the importance of the magickians’ wand—that primary tool in every magickian’s toolbox. The author includes a specific ceremonial ritual for the cutting of your wand from the tree of your choice.
Trees remain the topic for discussion throughout the next few pages as Hughes expands upon the system of tree divination known as The Ogam. This little known system is based around the 4th century Medieval alphabet, evidence of which can be found in approximately 400 surviving inscriptions on stone monuments throughout Ireland and Western Britain.
Part four of The Book of Celtic Magic focuses on Plant Magick with a look at their use in healing, spiritual work and spell casting. Kristoffer Hughes mentions the Physicians of Myddvai: a massive body of plant lore dating back to the thirteenth century as the source of his plant lore.
Part five of the book looks at Animal Magick with a note of their appearance in Celtic Myth and legend as guides, teachers or indicators of important events. Whilst part six includes information on a specific divination tool which is used to establish a framework for reading and interpreting Ogam staves. It is, in a sense, a little like the House System employed by astrologers when interpreting natal birth charts.
The book concludes with a Glossary of terms and their correct pronunciation, a guide to Welsh pronunciation along with a Bibliography and index.
Our Review of ‘The Book of Celtic Magic by Kristoffer Hughes
Some books carry an energy and resonance all of their own—a sort of aura that is immediately detectable as soon as you pick them up…
The Book of Celtic Magic is one such book!
From its opening through to closing pages, the book carries you along on a tide of deep esoteric lore which rises and falls in harmony with both its author and reader. A sort of symbiotic exchange takes place as Kristoffer Hughes draws you ever closer into the myths and legends of the sacred Celtic landscape.
The exercises he includes are simple, but powerful, whilst the stories he tells remind you of a far off land upon which the sun never sets. Indeed, this, if anything, is the single most impressive aspect to this book. It breathes magick out of its pages.
With its fusion of mythological themes and practical working magick, Kristoffer Hughes draws forth a wealth of esoteric wisdom from the Celtic magickal tradition and offers it to a new generation of spiritual seekers.