What is Celtic Reconstructionism? Celtic Reconstructionism can refer to a pagan or christian way of spiritualism. My personal path is Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, and thus will be the main focus of this blog. Simply, it is a movement which aims to preserve ancient Celtic traditions and practices in the modern world through a historic lens. When talking about the ancient Celts, however, things are never quite that simple. I will try my best to give a brief overview, granted I am still learning more and more everyday!
To understand Celtic Reconstructionism, we must first know who the Celts were. The Celts are believed to have originated in central Europe and are known to have spread across Western Europe. Evidence of the Celtic culture evolving dates back to as early as 1200 B.C., with the earliest writings being documented to the 7th or 8th century B.C. The Celts were comprised of several groups with shared languages, beliefs, cultures, and traditions. The impact of these peoples and their cultures is still seen predominantly through Ireland and Great Britain.
The Celtic language is part of the Indo-European language family, and is separated into two groups: Insular Celtic and Continental Celtic. Use of Continental Celtic declined after the Roman Invasions in Celtic regions and are no longer in use today. Insular Celtic is divided further into two groups: Brittonic and Goidelic. Brittonic consists of Breton, Cornish, and Welsh. Goidelic consists of Irish, Scots Gaelic, and Manx. There are many revival efforts to keep the use of the Goidelic language branch alive. Being apart of the revival of one or more of these languages is often seen as a key component of Celtic Reconstructionism, as it brings oneself closer to the ancient Celts and ensures the survival and continuation of the culture.
The heart of Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism is of course the beliefs and traditions of the Ancient Celts. This is where things get a bit tricky. Due to the effects of having a largely spoken history, a (biased) written history created largely by the Romans, as well as the eventual decline (read: eradication) of the culture we are left with a history that is sparse and up to many interpretations. As Celtic Reconstructionists, we try our best to study the history, archaeology, and surviving traditions of ancient Celtic culture to piece together our best understanding of their beliefs. It is such a fascinating topic and I really could write on and on forever, but will force myself to stop for today. We will have many days to discuss and learn from now on. What we know about the Celts, their traditions, culture, beliefs, and language will all be explored in this blog.
I am very excited to share my path with you. I Welcome You Under the Holly Tree.