The Celts by Aldo Jordan
- April 7, 2017
- Posted by: Irish School Of Shamanic Studies
- Category: Irish School of Shamanic Studies
by Aldo Jordan
When we hear of the Celts and Celtic nations we automatically think of the Irish, Scottish and Welsh, and we are probably perfectly correct to do so as they are certainly the most prominent of the Celtic nations and take huge pride in calling ourselves a member of a unique and powerful way of life. In this article, we look in to the origins of the Celts and where their strongholds are even to this day.
The Celts were people who thrived in both ancient and modern times. Today, the term often refers to the cultures, languages and people that are based in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany ..etc
Celtic languages survive to this day such as the Gaelic group comprising of Irish Gaelige, Scots Gaelic, Manx from the Isle of Man, and the Britonic group comprising of Welsh and Cornish is another form of a Celtic language. Manx and Cornish originally died out, but have now been revived and is on the increase, both in learning the language and in terms of awareness. All the above are Celtic languages.
WHERE DID THE CELTS ORIGINATE?
The Celts were first recognised in manuscripts approx 2,500-3,000 years ago. They were spread out across a vast area of the continent of Europe and even lived as far away as Turkey. Strangely they were never fully united as a single people but consisted of different groups in a very wide spanning area with different languages and slightly varied beliefs and traditions.(250)
The main areas the Celts seem to have inhabited were Ireland , Scotland , the Isle of Man , Cornwall, Brittany- north west France, Asturias – Northern Spain, Galicia – North West Spain. However, there are strong archaeological finds that suggest the Celts were very prominent in Austria and Switzerland and even strong enough to say that this is the region in which the Celts originated in the first place. This is certainly open to discussion.
WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE WERE THEY?
The Celts were known to be a fearless race of people, deeply spiritual and very protective of their beliefs, cultures, traditions, family and tribe. They were very artistic and also brought the iron age to some areas of Britain. However, some beliefs are that they were also a barbaric race with very unusual customs that could range from going in to battle naked to sacrificial ceremonies that involved animals and sometimes humans. It was believed that occasionally high standing people in Celtic society would be force-fed fruits and berries and then sacrificed as an offering to the gods.
They were jewellery makers with the most detailed of jewellery artwork ever seen to man. Gold detailed jewellery meant status and gold torques and other pieces, would have meant someone wearing it would be of high standing and noble, perhaps a leader, Chieftain or some form of royalty in the Celtic world.
Clans were bound together very loosely with other clans and formed in to tribes, each of which had its own social structure and customs, and possibly its own local gods. The Celts were farmers when they weren’t fighting. One of the interesting innovations that they brought to Western Europe was the iron plough. Earlier ploughs had been awkward affairs, basically a stick with a pointed end harnessed behind two oxen. They were suitable only for ploughing the light upland soils. The heavier iron ploughs constituted an agricultural revolution all by themselves.
Celtic lands were owned communally, and wealth seems to have been based largely on the size of cattle herd owned. Life for women was a good deal better than in most societies of that time. They were technically equal to men, owned property, and could choose their own husbands. They could also be war leaders and had a very big say in the normal everyday life decisions.
WERE THE CELTIC PEOPLE SPIRITUAL?
Yes, the Celts were very spiritual people, they believed in gods, but also believed in the trees, the animals, the sun, the moon, the stars, the rivers and lakes. Quiet similar to the Native American beliefs and traditions. The Celts were Pagan, but also crossed over in to Christianity at later dates. Some of their customs certainly were extreme and some we carry on ourselves to this day.
One of the reasons only a small hand full of countries like Ireland still carry quiet prominent Celtic traditions including, language, music, Spiritual beliefs, etc, is because we, thankfully, were untouched by the Roman invaders as opposed to the majority of the Celts on the mainland over Europe. Who were involved in fierce battles and defeated at the hands of the might of the Roman Empire, Ireland was not affected by this, where the majority of Britain had been.(673)
During my study and research, I have found a lot of conflicting stories and theories on the Celts with varied origins, traditions (etc) However, here in Ireland, we carry on with Celtic traditions and are very proud to call ourselves a Celtic nation.