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Celtic Terminology


Aes sidhe – 'The People of the Hills' – later known as the Fae. artist unknown
Aicme – 'family / group'
Airbe druad – Roughly, a magical circle of protection.
Aisling – dream. Vision.
Alban Arthuan – 'The Light of Arthur' – Winter Solstice.
Alban Eiler – 'Light of the Earth' – Spring (Vernal) Equinox.
Alban Elved – 'The Light of the Water' – Autumnal Equinox.
Alban Heruin – 'The Light of the Shore' – Summer Solstice.
An-da-shealladh – "two sights", the ability to see spirits.
Anam – 'soul' or life.
Anamachas – animism
Anamchara / anam cara – spiritual advisor; lit. 'soul friend' – a person with whom you can talk through practical matters, reveal hidden intimacies, and break through the barriers of convention and egotism to an eternal unity of soul.
Anamimirce – transmigration of the soul
Annwyn – the realm of departed spirits
Ategenos – rebirth after death into the Other World.
Awen – inspiration.
Awenyddion – inspired ones.

Ban – woman / female – Prefacing a word with 'ban' makes it the feminine form. ex: 'dia' = 'god', 'bandia' = 'goddess'. Likewise, the suffix 'bhean' denotes a feminine.
Ban sidhe – 'woman of the hills' – Later corruption of the term to 'banshee' meant a female spirit / ghost. Hearing its wail foretold a death.
Beltane / Bealtaine / Beltaine / Beltine – Bel's-Fire – also Cetsamain (First Samhain) – which honoured the god Belenus and his province of war as well as other "goings forth" to pasture, to the hunt, to wooing, and so on. May 1. Yet another interpretation comes from the Isle of Lewis where the word Beltane is translated as beul, meaning "mouth" and tein(e), "fire" which seems logical as the main ritual consisted of driving cattle between two fires to purify them. This interpretation is bolstered by references from other Celtic-influenced areas to "biltene" meaning "lucky fire".
Beo – living thing, life, livelihood, quick, alive, active, lively. One's physical body or true form. This can be shape-shifted into other true forms or be transformed by external magicks by others.
Bith – this world: the manifest multi-verse.
Blath – prosperity. The eastern realm among the Fifths.
Breaca sith – "faerie marks," the livid spots that appear on the faces of the dying.
Briocht – charm / spell / amulet.
Buabhaill – drinking horn.
Bua – victory, triumph, success, skill, talent, destiny. the earned power that can be shared. It is what develops from ritual, blessing, sanctification. One has an unlimited amount of Bua. See Bri.
Bwa'r Crach – "hag's bow," the rainbow leading to the Other World.

Caer – castle or fortress. artist unknown
Cailleach – old woman, hag
Cailleach feasa – wise woman, fortuneteller
Cailleach phiseogach – sorceress, charm-worker
Cath – conflict. The northern realm among the Fifths.
Coelbreni – divination sticks.
Coiced – a fifth, one of five provinces of the land or cosmos.
Coirc – magick cauldron.
Corp creidh – "clay body," used as a magick poppet or spelling doll.
Craebh Ciuil – "the silver branch," or faerie shaman's magick wand.
Crannchur – "casting the woods," or divining by oghams.
Cwn Annwn – the hunting dogs of the faeries. Also called the hell hounds.

Dán – poem, art, hymn, skill, gift, destiny, fate, talent, vocation, calling, treasure. A gift or talent intrinsic to a person, given by the Gods, unchangeable, which may either be expressed or not.
Deiseal – clockwise.
Dicetla – (Welsh) spells.
Dichetal do Chennaib – flash of inspiration.
Dli – binding principle, law. That which connects and binds everything, and is found in everything.
Draoi – Druid; Wizard, magician; Augur, diviner; Trickster – fem. bandraoi Dryw – wren, or druid.
Duíle – elements. There are six, seven, nine or eleven duíle in a Celtic worldview. The six duíle that relate to the body are: ana / l=breath, imradud=mind, drech=face, fuil=blood, colaind=flesh, and cnaimh=bone. The nine list includes earth, water, stone, salt, sun, rain, cloud, stars and wind. The 11 elements are: wind, wrath, fire, thunder, lightning, storms, moon, sun, stars, sky and land.

Emania – 'Land of the Moon', where the dead went.
Eocra esci – 'keys of knowledge', ogham sticks.

Fáidh = 1.) Seer, prophet. 2.) Wise man, sage. 3.) The Fates.
Fáidhbhean / fáidhmhná / cailleach feasa – Prophetess; wise woman......Another variation is "" Fear dána – minstrel, poet
Feth Fiada – 'deer's aspect' – A spell used to create invisibility, particularly to appear as 'a mist'.
Fey – faerie folk.
Fid-nemith / fid-neimid – sacred grove.
Fidh / Fiodh – "wood," or "tree." Used to denote the Oghamic characters and the Trees they represent.
Fíle – 1.) Poet. ~ ceoil, amhrán, songmaker, lyricist. 2.) Satirist, scold. ~ mna, scolding woman. Fili (Filid pl.) – poet bards. This Irish term most closely fits the term "Druid."
Fith-fath / Fath-fith – a spell of invisibility through shape-shifting, used for protection – also, a clay or wax doll, similar to a Vodoun doll.
Fis – learning. the western realm among the Fifths.

Glainnaider, or Glain-nan-Druidhe – "Druids glass," a magickal amulet.

Imbas – fire in the head. source of poetic / magickal / divine inspiration.
Imbas Forosnai – word of mouth wisdom.
Imbolc (pronounced with a silent 'b') is the time when ewes are milked at spring's beginning. The Festival may be seen as marking the return of the Goddess in the first stirrings of Spring. Thus Imbolc represents and celebrates the transformative powers of the Goddess, as She changes from the death-crone, the Cailleach of the winter and returns as the radiant Maiden of Spring.
Immrama – voyage or journey of the spirit.
Ingheaw Andagha – "Daughters of Fire," or the priestesses of the Goddess Brigit. artist unknown

Les – bag holding herbs carried by healers.
Lion na mna sithe – "Lint of the Faerie Woman," a healing herb – foxglove.
Lorg – staff.
Lughnassadh – festival of August 1.

Miaran na mna sithe – "thimble of the faerie woman," or the foxglove.
Midhe – the middle of the Fifths.
Muince – a decorated gold neck-circlet or collar, often called a crescent
Muir – the sea.

Nemeton – 'sacred grove'
Nemetos – holy or sacred.
Nenadmim – apple cider.

Obaidh – incantation.
Ogham – a magickal Celtic alphabet.
Ollamh – 1.) Lit: (a) Master-poet, ollave. (b) Master, expert, learned man. ~ seanchais, le seanchas, chief historian. ~ cearda, master craftsman.
On-lay – a spell placed on a home, or other area.
Orth – spell.

Piseog – charm, spell

Rige – soverignty. The middle realm of the Fifths.

Samhain / Samhuinn – originally meant 'summer', but came to mean summer's end. Celebrated between Oct. 31 and Nov. 6. At Samhain the world of the gods is made visible to mankind. It was believed to be a time fraught with danger, charged with fear, and full of supernatural episodes. Sacrifices and propitiations of every kind were thought to be vital, for without them the Celts believed they could not prevail over the perils of the season. Honoring the dead and divination are the important activities.
Sean-sgeal – folk tale.
Seis – harmony, or musical art. The southern realm among the Fifths. Stone Pentacle
Si/dhe – the Realm of the Dead, or the Faerie Realm, or the Under World in Faerie Lore.
Sidhe – hills
Slat an draoichta – rod of druidism, or a magick wand.
Slatag nam buadh – divining rod, rod of enchantment

Taghairm – "spiritual echo," or calling up the dead.
Tais / Taidhbhse – ghosts, or spirits of the dead.
Teinm Laida – understanding gained through the writing of poems.
Tiene sith – "faerie fire."
Tir-Na-n'Óg – the land, or island, where the eternal young live; commonly thought of as the Land of Faery.
Torc / torque / muntorc – a gold or silver bar twisted and shaped to be worn around the neck.
Tuath – tribe, countryside
Tuatha – household or clan
Tuatha De Danann – "The House of Dán" includes not only the Irish gods of the Fae, but their retainers as well
Tuathal – left-hand, awkward, counter-clockwise.

This is but a small sampling. For more, click here. (Off-site)

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