|Gods and Goddesses
about Batman for a moment. Suppose you were casting
a new Batman movie. Would John Goodman be a good
choice? How about Don Knotts? Or maybe Keanu Reeves?
If you answered ‘yes’ to some of these choices, and
‘no’ to others, you probably did so because you have
a preconceived notion of what Batman looks and acts
like. In other words, you have an archetype for
In 1971, a group of college students at Stanford
University were part of a ‘prison’ experiment. They
were randomly divided into guards and prisoners.
Within hours, they assumed these roles perfectly.
They were so good at it that the experiment was cut
short before someone got hurt. They were able to
fall into these roles so perfectly because each of
them had an archetypal idea of what both a prisoner
and a guard should be.
In Druidry, we recognize the power of archetypes.
The Gods and Goddesses of the Druid pantheon contain
archetypal energy. Some Druids believe that these
Gods and Goddesses actually exist, while others
recognize them as simply symbolic for certain states
of consciousness. In either case, we make use of the
archetypes they represent.
Consider for a moment the triple goddess archetype
of Mother-Maiden-Crone. Think about what the word
‘mother’ means to you. Now compare and contrast it
with the idea of a ‘maiden,’ then with a ‘crone.’
Each of these ideas has a different energy that can
be used in different ways to symbolize a specific
intent. For example, invoking a Mother Goddess
unleashes the power of your unconscious mind. By
invoking a Mother Goddess, you are allowing the
energy of your mother archetype to come to your own
There are many Gods and Goddesses, and each contains
a different type of archetypal energy. Suppose you
were to call upon a ‘hunter’ archetype. Suppose
further that you allow yourself to become the
hunter. How would that change your consciousness?
Now picture yourself becoming a wise old sage. Would
that be a different type of energy than you’d have
than if you were a hunter?
This idea of using the energy contained in
archetypes allows Druids to use this energy to
create change in their own lives. I can call on my
Sage aspect to help me to become wise enough to
solve a problem. I can call on my Hunter aspect to
allow myself to become confident and courageous when
faced with a challenge. I can call upon my Golden
Child archetype to allow me to find a peaceful
approach to things.
Druidry allows us to consciously use these forces.
When I talk of Gods and Goddesses, it doesn’t matter
if these Gods and Goddesses have any independent
existence outside of my own unconscious mind. What
matters is the utility of these ideas. So when I
call upon a God or a Goddess in a rite or a ritual,
I draw upon their archetypal energy.
between 90% and 95% of people on Earth practice some
sort of spirituality. Obviously, spirituality must
be pretty important. Studies tend to back this up.
What the studies show is that the type of
spirituality doesn’t really matter. Whether you’re
Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu or Pagan,
practicing some sort of spiritual path yields
Since the particular type of spirituality is
secondary to the benefits gained (in other words,
since all spiritual paths lead to a better quality
of life for those who practice them properly), what
is it about spirituality that allows it to work its
Suppose you could take all the spiritual paths
practiced worldwide, put them into a cauldron, and
boil them down to their essence. What would remain?
I believe that the common thread to all spiritual
practices is a feeling of connection. This
connection could be to others, or connection to the
divine, or simply connection to nature and to
ourselves. In short: Spirituality is all about
If you think back on the spiritual experiences
you’ve had in your lifetime, do recall feeling
connected on some level? Many people describe their
spiritual experiences as a sense of ‘oneness.’
Oneness implies connection to something outside
ourselves. In this sense, even an agnostic or an
atheist could achieve spirituality through such
Druidry teaches that matter and spirit are not
separate. From this viewpoint, spirit is not
supernatural; it manifests itself through matter. If
the matter weren’t there, the spirit couldn’t
manifest. One way to think of the spirit world, or
the Otherworld, is as the place of ideals. This
would mean that the Otherworld, the Land of the
Young, is a place of divine imagination. This
imagination creates the framework for spirit to
manifest in the physical, material world.
Jung believed that some parts of our unconscious
mind were ‘hardwired’ to recognize certain symbols,
just like birds are born with a migratory instinct
without having to learn how to migrate. This
hardwiring causes us all to recognize things he
called archetypes. Archetypes are symbols that have
special significance and meaning. This group of
archetypes he called the Collective Unconscious was
common to all the cultures he observed everywhere on
Earth in their mythologies, legends and histories.
Since these symbols occurred worldwide in all
that they had to be inborn rather than learned. An
example of one of these Jungian archetypes would be
the Sacred Tree. The Bible speaks of the Tree of
Knowledge, Druids talk about the Tree of Life,
Buddhists believe that Buddha received enlightenment
under the Lotus Tree, etc. In fact, all cultures
Jung observed have some legend or myth of the Sacred
Some of these archetypes have a great deal in common
with the Gods of different cultures. Jung believed
that our Gods were projected onto these archetypes.
The Gods may or may not exist in reality, but they
most certainly exist as archetypes within our own
minds. Could it be that our personal God/spiritual
experiences are the result of our getting in contact
with our God archetypes?
I don’t claim to speak for all Druids, but for me
personally, when I speak of magic I recognize it as
getting in contact with the archetypes in my
unconscious mind. By exploring these aspects of
myself, I allow my unconscious motivations to come
to the surface. I come into contact with my deeper,
inner and hidden motivations for my actions and
As you explore the Gods and Goddesses of the Celtic
world, you may consider them as archetypes or as
real entities. In the end, what matters is how you
are able to commune with them. Explore the links
below to learn more about the Celtic Pantheon.