Celtic neopaganism

The triple spiral is one of the main symbols of Celtic Reconstructionism[1]

Celtic Neopaganism refers to Contemporary Pagan or contemporary polytheist movements based on Celtic polytheism.

Types of Celtic Neopaganism

Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism

Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism (CR) is an umbrella term for Polytheistic Reconstructionist traditions which are based in one of the specific cultures of the Celtic-speaking peoples (such as Gaelic Polytheists or Welsh or Gaulish Reconstructionists).[4] Celtic Reconstructionists strive to practice a historically accurate and authentic tradition, based on the folklore and living traditions in the Celtic Nations and the diaspora as well as primary sources in the Celtic languages.[5][6] They reject the eclecticism and cultural appropriation of the broader Neopagan community.[7]

Celtic Neoshamanism

Celtic Neoshamanism is a modern spiritual tradition that combines elements from Celtic myth and legend with Michael Harner's core shamanism.[8] Proponents of Celtic Shamanism believe that its practices allow a deeper spiritual connection to those with a northern European heritage.[9] Authors such as Jenny Blain have argued that "Celtic Shamanism" is a "construction" and an "ahistoric concept."[10]

Celtic Wicca

Main article: Celtic Wicca

Celtic Wicca is a modern tradition of Wicca that incorporates some elements of Celtic mythology.[11][12][13] It employs the same basic theology, rituals and beliefs as most other forms of Wicca.[11][12] Celtic Wiccans use the names of Celtic deities, mythological figures, and seasonal festivals within a Wiccan ritual structure and belief system,[11][14] rather than a historically Celtic one.[13][15]


Main article: Neo-Druidism

Neo-Druidism is a form of modern spirituality or religion that generally promotes harmony and worship of nature. Many forms of modern Druidism are Neopagan religions, whereas others are instead seen as philosophies that are not necessarily religious in nature.[16][17] Arising from the 18th century Romanticist movement in England, which glorified the ancient "Celtic" peoples of the Iron Age, the early Neo-druids aimed to imitate the Iron Age Celtic priests who were also known as druids. At the time, little accurate information was known about these ancient priests, and the modern druidic movement has no actual connection to them, despite some claims to the contrary made by modern druids.[18]

See also


  1. Bonewits, Isaac (2006) Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism. New York, Kensington Publishing Group ISBN 0-8065-2710-2. p.132: [Among Celtic Reconstructionists] "...An Thríbhís Mhòr (the great triple spiral) came into common use to refer to the three realms." Also p. 134: [On CRs] "Using Celtic symbols such as triskeles and spirals"
  2. Matthews, John O. (1991). Taliesin: Shamanism and the Bardic Mysteries in Britain and Ireland. Aquarian Press. ISBN 1-85538-109-5.
  3. "Druids Recognised; Daily Mail Angry", Fortean Times, FT269
  4. NicDhàna, Kathryn Price; Erynn Rowan Laurie; C. Lee Vermeers; Kym Lambert ní Dhoireann; et al. (August 2007). The CR FAQ — An Introduction to Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism (first ed.). River House Publishing. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-0-615-15800-6.
  5. Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael (2006). Introduction to new and alternative religions in America. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 178. ISBN 0-275-98713-2.
  6. Kennedy, Michael (November 2002). Gaelic Nova Scotia: An Economic, Cultural, and Social Impact Study. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: Nova Scotia Museum Publications. pp. 12, 13. ISBN 0-88871-774-1.: "In developing their own concept of Druidry, no reference was made by the [romantic] revivalists to the native spiritual and intellectual traditions of living Celtic communities — particularly to bards and priests who would have been the closest modern inheritors of any modern druidic tradition, slight as it may have been." ... "Although the [romantic "druidic" revival] movement has continued to grow ... it is still almost entirely absent from areas in which Celtic languages are actually spoken and in which Celtic traditions have been most faithfully handed down to the present day. As Prof. Donald Meek has pointed out, this process of romanticism and cultural redefinition is actually greatly assisted by ignorance of the minority group’s language." ... "The major reason that they tend to offer such a confused and contradictory picture of the “inherent” nature of Celts or Celtic culture is that they generally make no reference to existing Celtic communities, to living Celtic cultures, or to the best available Celtic scholarship. In fact, attempts to suggest that these should be the first sources of authority for the interpretation and representation of Celtic culture are often met with skepticism and even open hostility."
  7. NicDhàna, Kathryn et al (2007) pp.74-75
  8. Bowman, Marion (2001). Contemporary Celtic Spirituality in. New directions in Celtic studies. Aquarian Press. p. 97. ISBN 0859895874.
  9. Conway, Deanna J (1994) By Oak, Ash and Thorn: Celtic Shamanism. ISBN 1-56718-166-X p.4
  10. Blain, Jenny (2001) "Shamans, Stones, Authenticity and Appropriation: Contestations of Invention and Meaning". In R.J. Wallis and K. Lymer (eds.) New Approaches to the Archaeology of Art, Religion and Folklore: A Permeability of Boundaries? Oxford: BAR. pp.50,52. "The charge of appropriation, in turn, deals in concepts such as ancestry, cultural knowledge, respect, and profit, i.e. commercial gain. Such charges have been documented by a variety of writers, with reference to ‘borrowings’ from Siberian shamanism – through anthropological accounts – and more directly from Indigenous peoples of North and South America. Let us look again at MacEowan’s ‘Celtic Shamanism’ and further investigate the construction of this ahistoric concept. ... Inventing a ‘Celtic Shamanism’"
  11. 1 2 3 McColman, Carl (2003). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Celtic Wisdom. Alpha Press. pp. 50–51. ISBN 0-02-864417-4.
  12. 1 2 Raeburn, Jane, Celtic Wicca: Ancient Wisdom for the 21st Century (2001), ISBN 0806522291
  13. 1 2 Hutton, Ronald (2001) The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. ISBN 0-19-285449-6
  14. Grimassi, Rave (2000). Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft. Llewellyn. ISBN 978-1567182576.
  15. Greer, John Michael, and Gordon Cooper (Summer 1998) "The Red God: Woodcraft and the Origins of Wicca". Gnosis Magazine, Issn. #48: Witchcraft & Paganism
  16. Harvey, Graham (2007) Listening People, Speaking Earth: Contemporary Paganism (second edition). London: Hurst & Company. ISBN 978-1-85065-272-4. p.17
  17. Orr, Emma Restall (2000) Druidry. Hammersmith, London: Thorsons. ISBN 978-0-00-710336-2. p.7.
  18. "The Druids", The British Museum. "Modern Druids have no direct connection to the Druids of the Iron Age. Many of our popular ideas about the Druids are based on the misunderstandings and misconceptions of scholars 200 years ago. These ideas have been superseded by later study and discoveries."

Further reading

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