Celts have always been associated with the northern European lands and of inhabiting Ireland, Scotland and Wales; but it is true that Celtic tribes did migrate to Spain, known then as the Iberian Peninsula.
- The Celtic Tree of Life
- The Celtic Cross symbol
- The Dara Knot
- The Ailm
- The Triquetra / Trinity Knot
- The Triskelion
- The harp
- The shamrock
- The Claddagh Ring
- Serch Bythol
- The Celtic Motherhood Knot
- The symbol for new beginnings
- High Chieftains, Nobles, and ‘Magistrates’
- Celts: The ‘Men of Art’
- The Scope of Clientage
- Low-Intensity Celtic Warfare and Mercenaries
- The ‘Solution’ of Wealth and Prestige
- Feasting and Raiding
- Druids and The Otherworld
- The Arms, Armor, and Deployment of Celtic Warriors
- The Contrast between Rich Clothes and Ritual Nudity
- The Frenzied Charge and Cacophony of the Celtic Warriors
- Honorable Mention – Lime-Washed Hair
The Celts who crossed the narrow strip of water between Europe and Asia were a varied group comprising three separate tribes, the Tolistobogii, the Tectosages, and the Trocmi. They had separated from the main force which attacked Delphi and were led by Leonorios and Lutorios. What is particularly interesting is that half their total number of 20,000 were non-combatants—the women, the children, and the aged. This suggests that, unlike the warriors who chose to follow Brennos on his raid, the groups who stayed with Leonorios and Lutorios were migrant populations in search of new land to settle.
Coilltich and Ceiltich
When celebrating the fabulous history of the Celtic peoples in the New World, one must include the progeny of their liaisons with the Native Americans, for herein lay many of the greatest stories on this continent. The joining of these two tribal cultures results in some of the greatest warrior-heroes to walk the planet, just when their people needed them the most. The traditional powers of the Old World (Britain, Spain and France) were locked in mortal combat over the vast resources of the New World. These resources included the “Coilltich”, Gaelic for the “forest-folk”, the term the highlanders had for the Red Man.
“The American Indians are very refined in their language and they are eloquent and expressive in their manner of speaking. It is likely that the Gaels realized that Native Americans were the disposed and disenfranchised of America in the same sense that they had become the subject race of Scotland, driven out of their home by Clearances that continued into the early twentieth century”, We’re Indians sure Enough.
Despite having left such a big impression on the country, the Celts were not the first inhabitants to land on Irish shores. The general consensus among experts is that the first inhabitants crossed over the narrow sea between Scotland and what is now Northern Ireland. This was in 6000BC, so the climate and sea level was very different back then. Crossing a sea on what would have been a small and very basic boat would not have been too difficult! These people gradually made their way from north to south, living very primitive, hunter-gatherer lifestyles. Over time, their skills developed into farming and agriculture, and eventually the people learned how to mould and work with metals, creating various tools to make life easier and more efficient for themselves.
The ancient Celts were various tribal groups living in parts of western and central Europe in the Late Bronze Age and through the Iron Age (c. 700 BCE to c. 400 CE). Given the name Celts by ancient writers, these tribes and their culture migrated and so they established a presence in territories from Portugal to Turkey. The term ‘Celts’ is commonly used to refer to peoples who lived in Iron Age Europe north of the Mediterranean region prior to the Roman conquest after ancient writers gave them that name. However, it is a problematic label. This is because these peoples were not part of a unified state but, rather, belonged to a multitude of tribes, many of which had no direct contact with each other.
The exact origins and history of the Celts is debated among historians. Because the Celts did not have written historical records, much of their history is lost and what we know of their culture has been pieced together from surviving examples of their art. As such, there is a lot of uncertainty about the history of the Celts. The Celts were also divided into groups such as the Gauls, the Britons, the Gaels, the Celtiberians, the Galatians and others, which makes it more difficult to define the Celts as a culture because there is a lot of diversity among them.
The words “Celt” and “Celtic” originally came from Latin (celtus) and Greek (keltoi) and are used by historians to denote European peoples who spoke a Celtic language. Nowadays, the term “Celtic” is commonly used in connection with the languages and cultures of the “six Celtic nations”, namely Brittany, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man, where four Celtic languages are still in use: Breton, Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, and Welsh. Historians sometimes classify Celtic peoples into “Continental Celts”, denoting those on the continent of Europe, (eg. the Gauls) and “Insular Celts”, meaning those of Britain, Ireland and other local islands.
What is a Shaman?
“Magic and magicians are to be found more or less all over the world, whereas shamanism exhibits a particular magical specialty, on which we shall later dwell at length: “mastery over fire”, “magical flight”, and so on. By virtue of this fact, though the shaman is, among other things, a magician, not every magician can properly be termed a shaman. . . . . the shaman specializes in a trance in which his soul is believed to leave his body and ascend to the sky or descend to the underworld.” “A shaman is a man or woman who enters an altered state of consciousness – at will- to contact or utilize an ordinarily hidden reality in order to acquire knowledge, power, and to help other persons. The shaman has at least one, and usually more, “spirits” in his personal service.”
Shamanism, in a “pure” sense, is usually characteristic of paleolithic hunter-gatherer societies. As such, it can safely be said to represent humankind’s earliest and most primal form of religion, magic and healing modality. It is also the most conservative and well established form of human spirituality, as we were hunter gatherers for literally thousands and thousands of years, far longer than the subsequent span of our collective history.
Like most Iron Age people, the Celts worshipped and sacrificed to a myriad of gods, many local and unique. Their learned class— the Druids—were masters of astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, medicine, and history; they scorned writing and put their faith in training the memory. Celtic women had more options and independence than women in Greece or Rome; writers such as Diodorus, Siculus, and Tacitus describe women who fought as warriors or served as tribal rulers.
Celtic warriors were renowned for being terrifying, functioning as independent fighters, and seeking
to enhance personal reputations for heroics and glory. Many of these fighters would prove their skills by forgoing the lightest of Celtic armor and shields. Opposing armies would often be faced with the frightening psychological warfare of fierce, crazed, unclothed long-haired barbarians. They were also known for a frightening habit of collecting heads.