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The Bard's Path
Draiocht and the Pursuit of Imbas
By Draig Teine
Draiocht is the art of druid magic. Most modern students know that the word “magic” often has the letter “k” added to differentiate it from stage magic. Most modern students are also familiar with Aleister Crowley’s definition of magic, which states: “Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” This is a fine definition; however, it falls short of describing draiocht, which is closely tied to imbas. For the purpose of this article, imbas is best described as the inspiration to master your personal abilities, your personal expression and your motivation to grow and develop. To understand the nature of draiocht and how it relates to imbas, we need to have an idea of how the Iron Age Celts possibly perceived these concepts. This will go a long way to accessing this ability.
For many, the word “magick” conjures images of mysterious robed figures drawing strange symbols in the air while chanting in Hebrew. It appears that the ancient Celts had a much simpler approach, which was that an area in which an individual was an expert was their personal draiocht. To be an expert required imbas to master their chosen discipline. Mythology tells us there are three methods to obtain imbas, which take the form of rituals. The first is imbas forosna, the second is teinim laida and the third is dichetul dichennaib.
Imbas forosna is a draiocht method employed to foresee future events. The druid began by chewing a piece of flesh. In this day and age, consuming raw meat could be dangerous, so if you try this, I suggest substituting jerky. Personally, I feel this aspect is not really needed to perform the ritual correctly.
Teinim laida is very similar to the previous ritual, but rather than being open to future possibilities, this is performed to receive an answer to a specific question. Chanting in a dark room is employed, but the petitioner doesn't sleep. The chanting continues until the answer presents itself.
The last of the rituals is dichetul dichennaib. The preparation is the same as the previous two, but the difference is that you hold an object having a direct link to the person who has the question. This is done until you recite a verse. This is the most difficult of the three practices in that you are not chanting yourself into an altered state.
Of course, there are other ways to experience inspiration, but these are excellent rituals to learn from and not difficult to perform. The best way to achieve success is to remain open and not have preconceived notions of the outcomes. Imbas is experienced differently by different people. Some may get a flash of insight, while others will find it is a constant guiding force that will help them reach their goals.
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