Physicists have theorized the existence of up to eleven different dimensions, depending on what brand of string theory you buy, four of them with observable space time references that are similar but not the same as ours. While many us have a hard time wrapping our heads around these theoretical physics, the ancient Celts were well aware of the existence of the “Otherworld.” The Otherworld was the haunt of spirits of the dead, gods and fairies, were time flowed in strange ways. Unfortunate people who happened upon portals to these otherworlds and spending an hour or a few nights adventure there might find themselves returned to their own dimension years ahead or years behind of their original entry point, that is, if they returned at all.
Certain places were considered portals to the Otherworld, such as Glastonbury, England, the portal to the land of Avalon, but other souls might happen upon one that appeared suddenly, what some called “fairy paths”. So concerned about these pathways, Celtic builders of new structures would mark the proposed floor plan in the earth and set stones at the corners overnight. If the stones remained undisturbed in the morning then it was safe to build. Still at other times, such as Samhain (Sow’ uin), as the balance from the light time of the year shifted to the dark, the veil (what physicists call “branes”, short for membranes) between this world and the next thins. At this time inhabitants of the Otherworld could pass more easily into this one. This is time where fairies would act out on their mischief on poor unsuspecting mortals, and the spirits of the ancestors would come to visit their families. The Celtic peoples would appease the fairies by leaving cakes and milk by the door and welcome their ancestors by setting a place at the table. At the end of the night’s festivities, villagers would dress up as ghosts and with torches in hand, singing and laughing, would escort their beloved passed to the outskirts of town.
Though some people have referenced Samhain as the Celtic New Year, my personal belief is that the Celts, the ancient Gaelic peoples did not recognize endings and beginnings in the way that modern man, with a timepiece on every electronic device, does. These were an agricultural people, where repetitive tasks were the order of the day, and one day would seem much like another except for change of tasks according to the season. Life flowed from one activity to the next, from the phases of the brightening and dimming of the sun and the moon, from the birth and death of a human being. Death was not an ending, but a change of circumstance, from dwelling in this world, to dwelling in another.
A year ago, this astrologer began a quest on understanding the astrology of the Celts, and sifting through the information at hand have come to this understanding. If we attempted to construct an astrological dichotomy in parallel with our own, it would be a misunderstanding of how these ancient Neolithic, these “new stone age” peoples perceived the world. As modern humans we consider ourselves more evolved than our ancestors, yet the ancient festivals yield an understanding of how this dimension and other dimensions work that our own physicists have only begun to understand in the last one hundred years. Think on this as hobgoblins, fairies, and ghosts, as well as other strange creatures visit your house and threaten you with a trick if you don’t give them a treat on the feast of Samhain, that which we call Halloween.
Photo titled “Fairy Holding Superstring Model of the Multiverse” created from elements from Creative Commons licensed pieces from Flickr, Wikipedia and public information from NASA’s Photojournal. As such you are free to display the work without alteration with appropriate attribution to this page.
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