Keltria Journal: Against Over Intrepretation

EXCERPT: Against Over-interpretation

by Nimue Brown

Nimue Brown

Nimue Brown

There are two approaches to using signs from nature for divination. One is inherently quite logical but will only give a limited range of meanings. The second is more creatively intuitive but also far more open to the impact of ego and wishful thinking.
If swans come in great numbers to the UK in the early winter this can be a sign of a harsh season to come. The reason is simply that the wind direction that most helps the swans migrate, also brings the bad weather, and the worse the weather is, the further the swans will go to find a wintering spot. The swans are not definite indicators of weather to come, but a large influx of swans can mean the snow is coming. It’s similar to the ways in which animal behaviour can indicate impending natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. They are more attuned to the early warning  signs than we are.

Photo of many swans together in the water.


Building the knowledge that allows this kind of divination is largely about the investment of time and study. Being aware of normal behaviour patterns and how these are modified by weather changes and so forth is all about observation. Every place has its own wildlife. For example, I know now that when the flocks of curlews stop gathering in the fields, it is a sign of winter ending, as they change their feeding patterns. When I started seeing curlews in the fields last autumn, I had no idea what it signified, and did not hurry to put an interpretation on it.

Without knowing the normal behaviour of another living entity, it is easy to mistake normal activity for omen. Just because I normally don’t see something, does not mean my seeing it is meaningful, only that there is something I am now able to observe. My first thought is to consider the meaning of the activity for the creature or bird I am observing, and the implications of this. The swallows leave here at the start of autumn; their return is a sign of summer coming.  The timing has everything to do with weather and insect populations, and nothing to do with whether I should apply for a new job. If the otters are thriving, the whole water system is doing well. If I see one, it may have far more to do with feeding patterns and otter offspring, than my own emotional life. If the small birds all fly in panic, there may be a predator. They may not be warning me of impending financial disaster. I think when looking at wildlife, it’s best to assume that what they do is about them, and learn from that.

[This excerpt is from a three-page article was published in Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick, Issue #41.  It is available in its entirety to members of the Henge of Keltria via the Members Home page.  It is available to non-members of the Henge via Mag Cloud.]

Keltria Journal: White Ravens and Druid Birds

Excerpt: White Ravens and Druid Birds:

Wisdom, Power and Prophecy in Traditional Celtic Bird Divination

by Sharynne MacLeod NicMhacha (Sharon Paice MacLeod)

Photo of Sharon Paice MacLeod

Sharon Paice MacLeod

Receiving guidance from the appearance, movement and sounds of birds and animals is one of the oldest forms of prophetic divination, and is found around the world in both ancient and indigenous cultures. In traditional societies humans are understood to be part of the natural world, not separate from or above it. The other living beings who inhabit our world – animals, birds, fish, and insects – are perceived as having wisdom, power and blessings which they can share with human beings, as long as they are honoured and respected.

For those involved with the study or practice of Celtic religion, there are many options to choose from when learning how to understand and interpret the movements and wisdom of our partners in the living web of life. One method is to connect with other living beings and interpret their arrival according to your own personal spiritual or mythic symbolism. Certain animals may appear in dreams, meditations or journeys, and accordingly will have special and perhaps very personalized significance for you.

Photo of a White Raven

White Raven

For example, for one person the owl may be a wonder to see but not evoke a sense of connection. For another the owl who appears in dreams and then on the branch of a tree outside your window will constitute a very different experience. Keeping track of the content of dreams, meditations and other personal workings helps track the appearance and potential symbolism of animals, birds and other creatures.

Another option is to learn about the traditional symbolism of animals in the area in which you live. Someone living in Maine may see different animals than someone in Texas, as might someone living in the south of Britain and the north of Scotland. People following Celtic spiritual traditions in Australia experience a very different natural world than the homelands of their Celtic ancestors, and may not see any of the animals described in Celtic mythology or folklore. Respectfully learning about indigenous traditions associated with birds and animals in your region is another way to connect with the wisdom of the natural world.

For those people practicing Celtic spirituality in Ireland, Britain and other parts of Europe, the indigenous beliefs of their own ancestors are available to them, and are present in the landscape around them. The traditional symbolism associated with divination in Celtic traditions may also be practiced in other areas as well, where many of the same animals may be seen (parts of the north-east and north-west of the United States and Canada, for example). Similar animals may be found in other regions, and some associated symbolism can be connected with those creatures in the area you live in.


[This five-page article was published in Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick, Issue #41.  It is available in its entirety to members of the Henge of Keltria via the Members Home page.  It is available to non-members of the Henge via Mag Cloud.]

Keltria Journal 41Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick #41

Yule 2012-Imbolc 2013


White Ravens and Druid Birds by Sharynne NicMhacha
Against Over-interpretation by Nimue Brown
The Visit by Tony Taylor
Birds of Ill Repute by Jenne Micale
The Pelegian Heresy by Brendan Myers

Find out more on MagCloud

From the President – Samhain 2012

Samhain 2012

By Tony Taylor

Keltria Journal

Photo of Tony Taylor with deer staffThe first new edition of Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick was published in time for Fall Equinox. All members of the Henge should have received access to the download edition.  If you had trouble getting your copy of Keltria Journal, please let the Henge Office know. Print and electronic copies are available on line at

The theme for the next issue of Keltria Journal, number 41 is "Nature Spirits."  How are birds, animals, and reptiles observed in divination? How do you relate to the Nature Spirits in your everyday life?  In what way can or should our interactions with the Nature Spirits impact our daily lives and activities?  Submission guidelines are posted on the Keltria website. If you don’t have access to the internet send a SASE to the Henge Office to request a copy of the submission guidelines.

In the Works

The Council of Elders project, The Book of Keltria is still in progress. Current estimate of completion date is the first of the secular year.

Publishing a 2013 Henge of Keltria Calendar is still in progress.  The Board of Trustees has reviewed the submissions and selected the ones they think were best both in terms of content and reproduction quality. A special emailing will be sent to announce its availability.

[Ed Note: The Calendar has been published. It is available from Cafe Press.]

Keltrian Druid Calendar

Tony’s Druid Blog

Reminder that many of my thoughts are posted to Tony’s Druid Blog on a regular basis. Recent Blogs have included:
BBC Radio - The Druids
Tony's Recommended Reading
Druid ritual closes Paralympics in London 2012

- Walk with wisdom, peace, and honor.

From the President

From the President - Lughnasadh 2012

by Tony Taylor

Photo of Tony Taylor with deer staff

Tony Taylor

Keltria Journal

Wren and I are pleased to announce the return of Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick.  After a thirteen-year hiatus we will publish the journal again. Members of the Henge will receive an electronic edition of the Journal as part of their membership in addition to Henge Happenings.  Distribution of Keltria Journal will also be offered to nonmembers of the Henge.  Keltria Journal returns to its focus on y Celtic scholarship and other items of academic interest. The submission guidelines are posted on the Keltria website.

In the Works

Another exciting Council of Elders project is the Book of Keltria. It includes the complete Correspondence Course and a chapter devoted to the History of the Henge. The Correspondence Course, in its present form, will be eliminated and a new “mentorship” process will be developed for those interested in the Keltrian Druid path.

Publishing a 2013 Henge of Keltria Calendar is in the works.  It will be a wonderful edition to our desks.

Review: Invoking the Scribes of Ancient Egypt

Invoking the Scribes of Ancient Egypt:
The Initiatory Path of Spiritual Journaling

by Normandi Ellis and Gloria Taylor Brown

Review by Aauriane Veleda

Book Cover: Invoking the Scribes of Ancient EgyptTo be honest I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I volunteered to be a book reviewer. I wanted to get more involved in Keltria and this was a chance to help redirect my life to where I thought it should head. Much to my delight I got this book in the mail and at the same time I was a bit lost as to how to relate a book on the Egyptian Scribes to my personal Celtic journey contemplating the Druid path. I undertook the reading; what follows are my interpretations of this text.

This book, as it will tell you, was actually the start of a trip to Egypt for a group of writers wanting to expand upon their own abilities and challenges; each was drawn to Egypt for their own special reasons. Some knew they had been there before and others felt called, but none of the characters in the book knew each other previously. They represented a mix of cultures and it was interesting to read they always sought the blessings of the directions in their own ways before undertaking any journey. In this instance it was offered by Kathyrn Ravenwood and who shared her mix of Native American, Egyptian and Christian belief.

Each participant in this journey shared of themselves and their writings as they traveled. A selection of some of the special ones are included  in each segment. Responses to each piece of writing from the other travelers are also included.

Some of the exercises included the Personal Universe Exercise, Meditation on a Journey Down the Nile, Writing About Your Hero’s Journey, Writing the Stepping Stones, and Writing the Becoming Poem. These are focused on the Egyptian theme of the trip and the interest these authors have in the Egyptian way. This book offers an opportunity to look at the Egyptian spiritual and religious life in a different way. It encourages the reader to take the Hero’s Journey, Make the Salmon leap and find the dark inner part and bringing it to light so you may know yourself and your path better.

Can it be applied to Druidry? Absolutely!  The authors’ personal feelings, thoughts and experiences can be applied to a metaphorical spiritual journalling while traveling in the Celtic lands if you take the exercises and apply them to the sites you wish to experience. And with planning and forethought one could potentially set up an entire “Druidic or Irish” journey and plan writing activities at each site, imbuing the energy and mystery of the places into your own writing and self journey.

I will use the ideas in this book as part of my own process to learn more of myself and my path. A few of the exercises, even in their Egyptian context, led to some interesting insights.

I recommend this book for anyone who would like to see Egypt through a writer’s passionate gaze or as a guide for looking into the journey of spiritual writing regardless of your path. This book is an excellent guide for basic layouts for writing and as such I will continue to work with. The writers share some deep and truly beautiful insights into the land of the Scribes of Egypt. Come join them, take a beautiful journey and then embark upon your own Spiritual Initiatory Journaling experience.

Invoking the Scribes of Ancient Egypt: The Initiatory Path of Spiritual Journaling
Paperback: 336 pages
Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
Publisher: Bear & Company; Original edition (October 28, 2011)
ISBN-10: 159143128X
ISBN-13: 978-1591431282
List: $18.00 - Amazon: $11.53 - Kindle $9.90

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