|Publisher:||Smithmark Publishers, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||10.58(w) x 11.24(h) x 0.66(d)|
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Warriors and Knights fell in love with them. Gods, heroes, and Kings consorted with them. They were powerful queens, warrior goddesses, glamorous enchantresses, and sorceresses extraordinaire. They were witches. And their world was a realm of beauty, eroticism, nature, and enchantment.
Witches have existed for thousands of years. In fact, the practice of witchcraft stretches far beyond recorded history. Archaeologists have found cave paintings in various places, such as Lacaux in the south of France, rock paintings in the Sahara, and have come upon a number of Paleolithic drawings, all of which scholars believe had magical meaning for prehistoric people. But no one is quite sure who any of those prehistoric people were. The painting in Lacaux, for example, dates back some 25,000 years. Known as the Dead Man, it seems to depict a dead warrior, or a shaman in a meditative trance. Its location is hard to find and difficult to reach, because one must descend a shaft to see it. General belief is that, since the ancient Celtic tribes buried their people in shafts or pits, and their Druid priests tossed offerings and sacrificial items down shafts, it seems likely the painting has Celtic ties. And the excavated grave of a Bronze Age woman in Hallstatt, near Salzburg, Austria, has yielded objects that are considered even today to be magical or shamanistic. Again, evidence leads scholars and archaeologists to the ancient Celts, a might warrior people whose heyday occurred throughout a great deal of the Bronze Age and on into the Iron Age. And it is the Celtic people from whom we've inherited a great deal of our history, legends, and myths about witches.
Little ancient Celtic history exists in written form, because the Celts taught their children by example, and passed on history and their experiences by means of storytelling. Led by a Druid bard (poet, storyteller, and magician), with family members and elders adding to the tale, the Celts were quite fond of storytelling, embellishing and exaggerating along the way, creating lively and colorful accounts of their history, entwined with myth and legend. What is their "real" truth?
We do know that magic and communing with nature were the Celts' way of life. Many of them, but not all, possessed a different degree of magical power, and the Druids were the most powerful of all. Often, an individual was identified with the aspect of nature she or he was able to work with best. For example, the element of fire could be summoned by one person to light the hearth, without having to use flint, while another person had a grasp on the element of Earth, from which she could glean healing properties. These people drew out and pulled within themselves the energies of nature.
Epona's element was Earth. A beautiful young Celt from Gaul, she was the goddess of horses, and the word "pony" is derived from her name. Epona possessed much knowledge and magic and was said to be the daughter of a Druid and a mare. Horses being of utmost importance to the equestrian Celts, she was regarded as a very powerful deity who was able to meld with and heal horses, and shape-shift into a mare. Epona's popularity surged in ancient Rome, where it grew to cult proportions. The Roman army had brought word of her to the Empire, and awe of the mare goddess spread like wildfire. The only Celtic goddess ever worshipped in Rome, legions celebrated her as the goddess who watched over their horses, while other worshippers carved mares in chalky hills, and dressed as horses at feasts in her honor.
Table of ContentsChapter One - Magic
Chapter Two - Celtic Wisdom
Chapter Three - The Healing Arts
Chapter Four - Wizards and Seers
Chapter Five - Love Enchantment