Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

November/December 2016 / Gift Guide Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

Rebirth in the Celtic Tradition

This article was written by Tadhg MacCrossan on May 29, 2002
posted under Druidism

In Old Celtic (Gaulish-Brittonic and Goidelic), the word for rebirth was ategenos (Old Irish aithghen). In this doctrine of limited reincarnation the spirit of an ancestor was reborn among his or her own kin. This means that certain inherited characteristics and even Deuoi (Tuatha Dé Danann gods) would sometimes appear or reappear in a family lineage.

More often, though, it meant that a particular deity would choose to befriend a particular lineage and incarnate him or herself within that lineage, and thus a child could be born possessing certain characteristics of that deity. The child would not necessarily embody the personality of that spirit or divinity (though this sometimes happened in the cases of great heroes), but certain attributes or talents would develop as gifts from that divinity.

Such a phenomena was interpreted as rebirth in much the same way that a mother might say that her infant son "has his father’s eyes," or a father might say that his son "has his grandmother’s talent for music." Today most people are likely to interpret these familiar family traits as genetically inherited, but this was taught by the Druids to be a form of rebirth and well-known as such in the Celtic faith. Spiritual possession was another aspect of this belief, but ategenos differed very greatly from modern-day conceptions of reincarnation and karma borrowed from theosophy and certain sects of Hinduism, which also state that people are punished for sins by paying for them in the next incarnation. The Druids never taught that people were rewarded or punished according to principles associated with the reincarnation process of karma. The Druids would have thought such ideas absurd.

The Deuoi, or higher divinities, were creative, shape-shifting spirits and could incarnate in many forms through their magic. The Deuoi were in fact manifestations of a force greater than themselves. They are capable of taking many forms or guises as well as walking the earthly realm of the manifested world. This is very probably the reason the Druids avoided representations of the Deuoi as human in art until they were conquered by the Romans. It is also why the Romans equated Lugus, like Woden, with their own Mercury (Hermes), who was considered the messenger of the Gods. Celtic gods were like the Devas of Vedic religion.

Ah, the ego! That little voice that constantly talks to you in the back of your mind. The all-too-familiar, endless dialogue that taunts and teases you. It can be the withering sub-text of an argument or the moral boosting rant of how you are better than all that. Yet, at the end of the day, as you lie in bed tossing and turning listening to the... read this article
6 Ways to Use the Crystal Intentions Oracle for a Happy Life
Dealing with Shadows During Channeling
Witch’s Runes: A Simple Introduction to Rune Reading
6 Ways to Awaken Your Inner Psychic
3 Theories to Explain the Loch Ness Monster

Most recent posts:
Information is Everywhere
The Ultimate Guide to the Thoth Tarot by Johannes Fieberg & Evelin Burger Even if you don’t use a particular deck, there can still be...

Empathy for the Mystically Inclined
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Raven Digitalis, author of Goth Craft, Shadow Magick Compendium, Planetary Spells & Rituals, and...

Once There Was a Dream
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Atherton Drenth, author of the new Intuitive Dance. Many years ago, I had a dream where I was aware...




Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
$9.59 US,  $11.99 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
$11.19 US,  $13.59 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar
84th Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $18.99 CAN
$11.99 US,  $15.19 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2017 Daily Planetary Guide Llewellyn's 2017 Daily Planetary Guide
Complete Astrology At-A-Glance

By: Llewellyn
Price: $12.99 US,  $15.99 CAN
$10.39 US,  $12.79 CAN On Sale!
Wheels of Life Wheels of Life
A User's Guide to the Chakra System

By: Anodea Judith
Price: $21.95 US,  $25.50 CAN