Paranormal Romance: Druid Magic & Celtic Pagan Beliefs
Updated: Mar 21, 2021
Living in one of the six Celtic Nations, I have picked up many Celtic inspired paranormal romance novels (usually set in Scotland) and have swooned over the handsome men in kilts, loved the magic of their Druid heroines and have gone weak at the knees when the heroes utter every ‘och’ and ‘aye’… but it got me thinking about the Celtic heritage I am surrounded by.
I live in Wales, not far from the English boarder, and although I am not a Welsh speaker I use incidental Welsh, hear it spoken every day when I’m out and about and my son has learnt the language since he entered education. (In each of the six Celtic nations a Celtic language is spoken to some extent. The six territories widely considered Celtic nations are Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man).
The part of the world I am from is near the border with England and The Guardians’ Trust Paranormal Romance series is set in a similar location – about an hour into Wales, not far from the (now) English city of Chester. The Guardians’ Trust (the hall and its land run by the Caretaker, Maddox, and his Guardians) is based loosely on Erddig, a National Trust property not that far from Chester. Indeed, Dr Ana Jones (book 1) works at Chester Zoo.
Using the places I know well seemed a good starting point for writing but, loving the paranormal, my imagination began to itch and I began to do some research. That research took me in two directions: firstly, I began with Welsh-English history and the rebellion that took place around 1400AD and secondly, Celtic beliefs.
Where the first route took me:
You only have to take a short drive in these parts to see Owain Glyndŵr’s name proudly displayed – most notably, upon Wrexham’s university walls. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, he is a national hero, a legend, the last true Prince of Wales. Glyndŵr led the Welsh in their rebellion and despite the rebellion’s ultimate failure, the prince was never handed over for his bounty. He died a free man somewhere in the Welsh hills.
Inspired by this research, I set the first six novels I ever wrote (a Historical Paranormal Romance series I may try and publish some day!) at this point in time, just before the Welsh rebellion, and upon the Welsh Marches, Y Mers, the borderlands between Wales and England. This series tells the story of the first Exchange six hundred years ago and the story of how The Guardians’ Trust’s villain, Griffin Fionn, came to be. The Guardian village (as it was before the Trust) find themselves battling both the English and the villain of the Other Realm.
Incidentally, I’m no historian but I can honestly tell you that some of the Welsh warfare facts I uncovered while I researched were amazing – did you know the Welsh fought with only one shoe on for better footing on the slippery hills?!
The research into Welsh history informs the contemporary worlds I have created in this series. Maddox (as old as he is!) grew up through this era and in Siana (book 2) T.J. takes Siana to visit Chester city centre and mentions the troubled history this city has - if you have ever used the phrase ‘He/she won’t give me the time of day’ look out for this reference. T.J. will tell you exactly how it came about!
And Celtic, Druid and Pagan beliefs?
Now this research was fascinating and I incorporated some of these beliefs into my world. The characters of the series all regard Mother Nature as a deity and have great respect for the natural world (both Other and human) that they live in. This belief is spiritual and shapes the lives of the characters… and provides a link to some of the more supernatural elements of my story: a magical connection to Mother Nature through Affinity and the ability to meld so completely with this life essence that shapeshifting is possible.
Each of the Exchanges that take place in this paranormal series occurs at an important point in the Pagan calendar: the summer or winter solstice (Litha or Yule), the spring or autumn equinoxes (Ostara or Mabon), or the points in between (Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh or Samhain). Beltane and Yule, in particular, feature heavily and each of these have rich customs.
If you hang holly and mistletoe in your house at Christmas have you ever stopped to think about where the tradition came from and exactly what it means? Cole explains this tradition to Meredith in book four if you are interested!
In addition to this wonderfully rich history I also found myself adding other touches: the names of the main characters, male and female, are Welsh.
As you read the series can you tell why I selected some of the names I did?
Here are a few of my favourites:
Brenin means king;
Cai means Lord;
Evan young warrior;
Garth means gentle, watcher;
Gavan means white hawk;
Griffin means Lord or Prince;
Maddox means champion or good fortune;
Owen means warrior;
Derren means bird;
Meredith (who shares her given name with Mags) means sea;
and Seren means star…