Talk: Making Irish Magic – WB Yeats and the Celtic Order


In 1895 WB Yeats conceived the idea of a specifically Irish magical order, which would “establish mysteries like those of Eleusis or Samothrace”. In his Autobiographies he wrote that “for ten years to come, my most  impassioned thought was a vain attempt to find philosophy and to create ritual for that Order…My rituals were not to be made deliberately, like a poem, but all got by that method Mathers had explained to me, and with this hope,  I plunged without a clue into a labyrinth of images”.

This talk will explore the unpublished initiatory rituals of the Celtic Order and the methods by which the material for the rituals was obtained. We will look at the Golden Dawn group whose visionary sessions were the basis for the god-forms and imagery of the rituals. The seership of Maud Gonne and her role in the Order will also be explored along with the use of talismans and sacred objects.


Sally North PhD is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and of London University of the Arts. Her areas of interest are: cultural liminalism; esotericism and nationalism; Irish paganism and magic; and the history of the Golden Dawn. She lives in Glastonbury, Somerset.


She is currently working on two book projects:

A History of Irish Magic, co-authored with James North – publication date: late 2021.

The Egyptian Rituals of Florence Farr which will be published in spring 2021.