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Back from the school run  ^_^  My Ancestry is more based in the South, but am I right that you're still in Northern Ireland? Is there someone there you could quiz as though I have relatives there I've quizzed, you might be better placed to find out. I'm happy to share Irish practices (you may know lots of this already, but as newer witches might read, so I'll go from basics and just ignore what you know already).  To explain above, fairy doctors were seen as different to Witches. Witches were seen as being given (mostly) evil powers by spirits, whereas Fairy Doctors were bestowed gifts by the people of the hills. One big difference seems to be that Witches sought power through their own will, whereas Fairy Doctors were chosen - either taken by the people of the hills, or having an encounter with them that resulted in gifts such as healing or the sight. However, I mention them because many techniques were similar. 

 

Off the top of my head, there are other practices and traditions that are Irish that I or my family use. I mention hag stones (also known as fairy stones, but as we don't speak the word fairy aloud, I tend to use the other name) above, but circles can be utilised in many forms. You can form a circle from materials - I had a willow one but it got damaged - and walk them through it to heal them. I'd stand it upright and literally get my son to step through. I think with this, it's useful to think about what you form the circle of and why you're doing it. So, just because a text says to use Ash, if you have a brilliant relationship with a particular tree and ask that tree to help, it's going to be more powerful than random ash wood. I use sunwise circles when casting for good luck or protection. If I draw a charm for good luck, I'd draw the circle sunwise for that.

Our May Eve traditions include decorating a tree with ribbons or bright pieces of cloth. Traditionally these trees did not have the rags removed and were hawthorn, but we don't always use hawthorn and our tradition takes them down on Samhain when we reach the dark half of the year. Needless to say, we tie things carefully to the tree so it isn't damaged and never tie plastic based material or anything like that. I wash my face in the dew for long lasting youth and we pick yellow flowers that we scatter on our door step for good luck and protection from negative energy or negative spirits or lesser unkind people of the hills (not used for strong entities, but for a more general minor protection).

We work a lot with holy waters, so dew, waters from wells or springs/streams, sea water and also the human water of spittle. Spittle mixed with dusts can make healing pastes, or sprayed across objects, people or animals to bless them or heal them. Spit can obviously also be used as a curse. Milk is also useful to utilise, the cream as mentioned above or types of milk, for example, Goat's milk in some healing spells. I love a great chamomile and goat's milk foot bath that can be used for tired, sore feet. 

 

Herbs were used a lot and there's quite a bit of lore surrounding it. To be honest, there's a lot of Irish/Welsh/Scottish/Breton lore that overlaps or is similar. Spoken charms can also be important and there are many recorded that you could research and try. They were often muttered repeatedly under the breath and were common in several situations including emergency ones (to stop bleeding etc.).

Burning twigs can often be used in healing, as can the ash that remains. Twigs and stems were used in divination, but one of my favourite things that I'm still working on is divining with birds or seeing/hearing their messages. Birds tend to have specific Celtic symbolism - so Blackbirds were liminal birds, often seen as messengers from the other side, able to cross the boundaries. Rhiannon's blackbirds were said to sing the dead back to life and sing the living into a trance so their soul could take flight. After Christianity came to Ireland, we also see the myth of St Kevin and the Blackbird where the Saint raises his palm to heaven and a blackbird lands on it. The bird nested upon it and the Saint kept his hand held up and open for the bird the entire time. Heaney wrote a poem about that story, but not much is known about the Saint as few records remain. There are several 'omens' relating to Blackbirds including seeing a nest by your house at the beginning of the year, or seeing two blackbirds together, meaning that you'll have good luck. They are occasionally seen as 'death omens' but I have found more (for me personally anyway) they bring a message from the Ancestors or remind me they are with me. Sometimes they mean change is coming to me and symbolise a hope, singing in the dawn after a darkness. The blackbird can impart mystic secrets and their feathers can be used in magic.  On a personal level, I find they are useful in relation to soul flight, to finding mystery, for connecting to spirits or ancestors, for emotional healing and esoteric wisdom. They also represent poetry and song (linking to the people of the hills) and that poetic inspiration we need. I also find Magpies represent this to me, but with a different energy, more of a power of voice feel. For dream work or the times when you need to open to dream-like association and symbols, I think blackbird feathers can work wonders.

Sorry, that's a long ramble about Blackbirds, but I thought it was still roughly relevant because really the most important part of Irish/Celtic Witchcraft, Druidism, Fairy Doctoring or Magic has always seemed to be that deep link with the land and the beings around you. Birds were a big part, as were other animals. Much of the Irish magic I know of was in reading the symbols given or listening to the spiritual advice being offered on which plants to work with. Another important part was story telling and folklore/myth, so those are well worth going through for Celtic practices. I keep a book where I record birds seen, what happens in the day etc. to work out what they mean to me as well as the prior reading. Hope this is useful in some way relating to Irish/Celtic practices. 

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I have been into ancestry since I was about 8, that was the age when many questions needed an answer and my all things supernatural go-to person adviced me to look into my ancestry.  She was incredible, I could call her anytime and she would explain everything to me.

Only issue was that back then it was very hard, no internet. All I knew was what my mom told me, she had a paper, from my her father's mother, where she wrote about her history. I finally discovered where my gifts came from - my grandma on my father's side, and also Icelandic roots on my mom's side, way back. So I am Norwegian/Swedish with old Icelandic roots.  Funny, as that had been my craft since the beginning. Traditional Scandinavian mixed with Icelandic craft. Let's just say that coincidence isn't a believable cause around here .

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