What is the Celtic word for pagan

Celtic mythology and culture

The annual cycles

Since the Celts were an agrarian people, it is not surprising that a life with the annual cycle was inevitable. Everyday life was determined by sowing, caring for and harvesting. The meaning of life and the experience of the seasons for the soil and the livestock were (and are in rural areas, e.g. in the Alps) indicators of a particular behavior.

The Celtic year is divided into four basic and four subsidiary festivals (although some of the festivals have not been handed down historically in this form and with these names). Celebrations and festivals had / have several meanings for the Celts. On the one hand, the festivals were used for communication and the development of social structures, on the other hand they have a very deep religious background.

The festivals are for conversation with the gods and nature. Sacrifices are made and help is sought: fertility, shelter, rich harvest, etc. to name a few. The Celtic festivals are very extravagant and cheerful. There is drink and food in abundance, music and dance as well as the ceremony performed by the druid or priest determine the picture.

Then as now, the Celts live from festival to festival and in this way determine our actions and our rituals. In earlier times, the festivals were especially important for the farmers, as their survival depended on the harvest and the fertility of the soil.

Alban Arthuan

(December 21st winter solstice or Jul - solar festival)

The July night is the longest night of the year. The Yule Festival is a turning point, a beginning. On this day we celebrate the return of light and life. Jul is the birthday of the sun god, the day of the triumph of light over darkness. Even the Christians have kept this and have made this festival their Christmas, the day on which their "sun god", Jesus, is born. However, one must consider that the Christians have usurped this date of the festival by arbitrarily moving the birth of Jesus to the time of the pagan midwinter festivals. As is well known, Jesus was not born in winter, but on a day in spring.

The old Germanic festival name Jul (English yule, isl. Jól) is a plural word, because it denotes both the actual midwinter festival and the days associated with it, i.e. the time until the beginning of the year. The name Christmas is also pagan. Jul is the holy night in which Baldur is reborn. The sun has reached the Tropic of Capricorn and is returning to the north. The branch that brought Baldur's death, mistletoe, becomes a symbol of salvation. We celebrate the light and warmth that will come now with a fire or with lots of candlelight. The tree of lights is the evergreen world tree that is now shining. The yule goat common in Scandinavia (e.g. made of straw) is a symbol of the coming fertility and protection by Thor, whose sacred animal he is. Because it is the family festival, at which the ancestors are also present, who are remembered and who, according to tradition, ride through the rough nights as a wild hunt with Odin, Jul is one of the most important pagan festivals. As the turn of the year, it is even the most important festival when everything ends and begins again. Therefore, all fires and lights are extinguished and re-lit during the July celebration. The house and yard are cleaned with incense.


(Night of May 1st - 6th full moon after Samhain - beginning of summer - moon festival)

On the night of April 30th to May 1st, on the 6th full moon night, our ancestors went into a forest clearing and lit a large fire. They danced, sang and drank around the fire all night. Towards sunrise, couples and those who had found each other disappeared in the forest and made love. In Germany this festival is also known as "Walpurgis Night", where the "witches dance half-naked around a fire in a grove". Beltaine is the transition from spring to summer and means something like "shining fire" or "fire of Bel" (Belenos). It is a festival of purification and fertility, the time of strength and maturity. Belenos is the Celtic god of light who corresponds to Baldur. The corridor between two Beltaine fires cleans and keeps epidemics away. Many Beltaine rites live on in rural Mayan customs. The maypole is both a symbol of fertility and a representative of the world tree on which the shaman travels through the worlds. Because like Samhain, which is opposite the year wheel, the otherworld is open to Beltaine. Therefore, the evening before, the Walpurgis Night, is a magical date - as is well known, the festival of witches. It is also the night in which the "great marriage" is made. Druid novices go into the forest that night to meet the stag and become "one" with him. Whoever manages it, the deer god moves into him and he goes to the fairground. There a young priestess novice is already waiting in a tent or a cave, who that night surrenders her body to the goddess and with whom the young deer god "unites". Neither of the two knows who the other is.
Children from this night are "holy children" who are automatically recognized as priestess when they are born.


(1st August beginning of autumn - also Lughnasa - moon festival)

The German word “Herbst” and the Nordic “haust” (spoken: Höist) mean - like the English “harvest” - actually “harvest”, so that the house bloom is primarily a harvest festival or a sacrifice of thanks for “good harvest and peace” , the blessings of the Van Gods, is. Thor is particularly venerated as the patron god of the farmers. With the autumn festival, after the main part of the harvest, the dark and quiet time of the year begins, when the nights are longer than the days. It is a time of gathering and internalization, in which we can plant the seeds for things that are supposed to grow in spring, also in a figurative sense. In the Celtic tradition, Alban Elfed is consecrated to the divine child Mabon ("son") who, like the Greek Dionysus, descends into the underworld and is reborn. The mysteries of Dionysus were also celebrated in autumn.
Autumn begins with Lughnasad, the first of the three Celtic harvest festivals (with Alban Elfed and Samhain). Its English name "Lammas" comes from the old English "Hlafmesse" because the first loaves of bread from the new harvest were sacrificed. The Celtic festival name comes from Lugh, the god of Druidic wisdom, who corresponds to Odin. The fear of the Romans and later of the Church of the Druids meant that Lughnasadh was not taken over by Christianity, but was declared an unlucky day: Lugh was identified with Lucifer, Lughnasadh on the day of Lucifer's fall into hell. The farmers then carried over the Lughnasadh customs to other harvest festivals.

Alban Aluen

(22nd to 23rd September - autumn equinox - also Alban Eluen / Elved - sun festival)

The wine festival is one of the festivals that is not counted among the dark or light festivals. It is the beginning of autumn. The summer, which brought the farmers a hopefully rich harvest, is over and we thank the gods.


(October 31st to November 1st - 13th new moon since the last Samhain - moon festival)

Perhaps the scariest, but also the most interesting festival: On the eve of November, the veil that separates our world from the other world is thinnest (especially in the fog). The inhabitants of the Otherworld, fairies and elves, sometimes came to us and took human children they found worthy with them into their world. The parents were afraid, hollowed out pumpkins and carved terrifying faces into them (the highest druidic symbol for protection). Then the pumpkin was placed by the window with a candle to scare off the fairies and elves. At Samhain the otherworld is open, past and present connect, the spirits of the ancestors are awakened. Through ritual remembrance, they live on in our spirit. We become aware that they are part of us and we are part of them - and that death is a part of life and the realm of the dead (Annwn, Hel) a part of the world without which there is no life.
This custom is still celebrated today and is known under the name "Halloween", which was adopted by the churches as All Saints 'Day or All Souls' Day. Samhain is the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. It is a farewell festival where the dead are honored. Unlike Christians, most pagans believe in reincarnation, so death is a necessity for new life. Samhain is a festival of death and hope for new life. Samhain also marks the beginning of the “dark year”, the introspective part of the year wheel, in which one looks at and above all in oneself. In the past, the post-Samhain period was when people mostly stayed indoors. It's a quiet, dead time. Nature prepares to rest as far as Imbolc, the migratory birds are in the warm south and the land is cold and gray. When the energies of nature settle down and the darkness of winter reigns, it is time to observe yourself, to rest and to prepare for the coming year. It is time to look back at what was done in the past year and what the year and your own deeds have brought. It's an opportunity to get to know yourself. Samhain is the festival on which Mother Earth goes to rest.


(February 2nd Return of Light - Moon Festival)

Imbolc (also known as the day of Saint Brighid) is the day between the rebirth of light and the manifestation of life itself. It is also known as Candlemas or, in Germany, "Lichtmess", which means that you can live without candles again, you can "miss" (artificial) light again. The days are getting longer, but the night is still longer than the day. It is time to celebrate the sun god's growing up and the promise of new life that comes with it. Imbolc is the beginning of spring. "Imbolc" means "in the lap": The new life is still resting in the lap of the earth, but is already beginning to show itself. The first light of spring is greeted and amplified with torches and candles. Imbolc is dedicated to the goddess of new light, sources and poetry, Brighid. The Irish "saint" Brigitta of Kildare, celebrated on February 1st, is unhistorical - a pseudonym for the goddess to whom the source of Kildare was sacred. Here, too, a pagan festival has once again been taken over by the church: the Candlemas.

Alban Heruin

(June 21st summer solstice - also Alban Hefyn or Litha - sun festival)

The summer solstice, which astronomically marks the beginning of summer, is traditionally the middle of summer: the longest day on which the sun reaches the peak of its development, from which it disappears. It is mythically linked to the fate of Baldur, son of the sun, who, like the sun itself, dies in the prime of his life. He will be reborn with the beginning of the return of the sun in winter, so that midsummer is a joyful festival. We celebrate with the awareness that in the cycle of being the descent must inevitably follow it, the highest level of the sun with a great fire. The rolling down of burning sun gears over slopes and the swinging of torches in a circle symbolize the eternal rotation of the year wheel. In the Celtic tradition, Midsummer, Alban Hefin, is consecrated to the mother goddesses, in the Germanic tradition, accordingly, Baldur's mother Frigg. As with all festivals, we always worship the gods as a whole, so all gods are always invoked, even if there are deities at every festival with whom it is particularly connected.

Alban Eiller

(March 21, Spring Equinox, Ostara - Sun Festival)

The spring bird festival. The people went out early in the morning to look for migratory birds. If they were spotted, people feasted and celebrated afterwards. The current connection between eggs and chicks at this time (Easter) is one of the many remnants of our ancient culture. Easter is the time of balance between light and dark, day and night. On this day their strengths are balanced. Easter is the return of life, the ice and snow have melted, the animals are awakening from their hibernation. The wind is no longer cold and the plants will soon show their buds. It is the time to celebrate the return of the goddess as the maiden of spring - the return of life. The first solar festival after the Rauhnächten is the spring equinox, which is consecrated by the Germanic peoples to the goddess of young light and life, Ostara. "Easter" is a pagan word that the church adopted when it moved its Passover festival to the spring full moon to compete with the simultaneous pagan festival. The Celtic festival name is Alban Eilir, in the English Odinic Rite it is called Summer Finding. According to the traditional count, it is not the beginning, but the middle of spring. At Easter we celebrate the rebirth of nature from the death sleep of winter, the awakening of the life-giving forces and the new strength that nature and the gods now give us. Freshly bloomed willow branches, eggs and rabbits are pagan festival symbols. Water drawn up for Easter (Easter water) has a cleansing, healing and sanctifying effect. The deities (Germanic) who, apart from Ostara, determine this festival are Freyr and Freyja, the fruit-giving Vanen, and Thor, the son of the earth.

Three holy women

The Celtic Goddesses - TRINITY

The eternal cycle of life


It is the “morning side”, the place of light, life and knowledge. The main color was white. When the women's trinity was addressed (worshiped!) And named by the Celts as the Drei Bethen (= Eternal) - after a word for earth that is so old that it even underlies the bed as the original earth bed - this was the place the Wilbeth, the whites and the wise. She embodied the light, the wisdom and the fate that she spun in the thread of life and therefore could also predict. Whereby the way of life arose from this, and the wheel goddess was also the road and Roas goddess, the patron goddess of the roads and travelers.


The zenith, the divine center and climax of the Trinity and the eternal cycle of life was formed by the aspect of fertility, represented by the color red. (Red like blood, red like the apple of eternal life.) In the end it was the place of the Celtic ambeth , and the symbols assigned to it were the snake of eternal life, which had already accompanied the primordial mother goddess, and the cauldron of abundance and rebirth, which could also be represented as a bowl or goblet.


Borbeth is on the "evening side" of the Trinity, the place for the aspect of calm, healing and security, on which Mother Earth opened her dark, sheltering womb. It was the place of the Celtic protector and healer Borbeth, who guaranteed that death was only a temporary affair, and after a relaxing and enjoyable stay in the "otherworld" beckoned the new birth and a new cycle of earthly life could begin . The key color at this point was black - like the night for rest and relaxation, with which the Celts began the new day.


The otherworld is a place of rest, a world where one goes after earthly life and from which the souls are reborn as human children.