Who were the Celts?

Image courtesy of bizzle.com

A better question would be “Who IS a Celt?” because the Celts are alive and well today my friends, just as they were thousands of years ago.

Some say a Celt is a mystic or witch who dances around stone circles in the moonlight. Some say a Celt is a nature loving person who is kind to animals and people. Some say a Celt is someone who lives in either Scotland or Ireland. Still others say that a Celt is one who speaks the Celtic language, produces Celtic art, or proclaims himself or herself a Celt.

My opinion? Sure, any of those could be correct, but there is much, much more to a Celt than that. Celts are not an ethnic group, and there are many varied religious beliefs associated with them.

The fact is, Celts embrace a certain way of life, a certain way of being.

I believe, however, in order to understand the modern Celt, you must first know their history. Don’t worry, I’ll keep this brief.

First, I’ll tell you the “text book” stuff.

The ancient Celts were the first European people north of the Alps to emerge into recorded history. They distinguished themselves from their fellow Europeans by virtue of the languages which they spoke, now known as the Celtic languages (i.e. p-Celtic, q-Celtic, Gaelic, etc.).

Now, the exact geographic location from whence the Celts came is unknown, but you better believe everyone has a theory.

There are historians who say they branched off from other tribes in the lands between the Baltic and Black Seas. Some scholars argue that they originated in the areas now known as Switzerland and South-West Germany.

Regardless of exactly where they began, it is well-known the Celts migrated north, expanding their settlements in various lands throughout Europe. Due to the rise of the Roman Empire, and then the expansions of both the Slavs and the Germanic Peoples, the Celts eventually settled in the lands of Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scot

land, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. These six are now known as the Celtic Nations.

However, I would like to point out that there are Celts living in almost every country on the planet, from Argentina to Australia, and from Russia to Canada and the U.S.

Now, let’s chat about the fun stuff.

The Celts were and are a very resilient people, known for their fiery passion, strength, courage, imagination, creativity and easy eloquence.

The mystic and otherworldly aspects of the Celts are certainly real, but only a part of who they are as a people. Not every Celt is a witch, and not every witch is a Celt!

*Fun Fact: Many of the traditional Christian beliefs have roots in ancient Celtic culture.

The Celtic people believe in the power of Nature; they see the land as the embodiment of the Great Mother – nurturing, loving, and elemental. They lived then, and now, in tune with the rhythms of nature and their yearly cycle of festivals reflect this. They are a harmonious and peace-loving people, unless threatened…then, watch out! Their passion, courage, and unwavering devotion to their cause are the hallmarks of a Celt.

So talk to me. Do the characteristics of the Celtic People ring true in you? Do you notice any similarities between yourself and the Celts? I am passionate about these people and love learning about them! What knowledge do you have about the history of the Celts?

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76 thoughts on “Who were the Celts?

  1. Thanks, I love posts about History! I can identify with the spiritual and linguistic aspects of Celtic culture, even though I don’t think I have much if any Celtic blood (it’s mostly Scandinavian and Cherokee). But I’ve always been fascinated with them as a people.

    1. You’re quite welcome. I recently watched a documentary that said it was possible the Celts had come to America before Columbus ever ventured over here…so there’s a chance you may indeed have some Celtic blood in you!

      ~ Kate

  2. Great job. My family come from England, Ireland, and Scotland, so I’m pretty much guaranteed to have some Celt in me. This culture always fascinates me, so I’m looking forward to your future posts. Keep up the good work.

  3. Great explanation Kate! I’m afraid I don’t know much about the Celts, just what I’ve read in romance novels, so I’m sure my interpretation of them is skewed. =) I’m betting I learn a bunch though just from keeping my eye on this blog!

    =)

    carrie

  4. Congrats on your first blog post!! I think all the symbolism the Celts used is very interesting and looking forward to hearing more.

  5. Wonderful and informative post! And I love your new blog! I would like to count myself as a modern Celt, maybe because of my Scots-Irish ancestors or maybe because I love learning and writing about Celts and their descendants so much.

  6. Congratulations on your blog.

    My family background includes Welsh, Scottish, Dutch, and Cherokee, and probably a little of everything else so I’m definitely in with the Celts.

  7. Welcome to the blogosphere, Kate. I enjoyed your post! Keep up the great work. I, too, am a Celt: Irish, Scots and Welsh on both sides and English. These people fascinate me from their earliest history right on down to the present day. It’s such a vibrant culture. Thanks for posting it. I’ll return many times to read what you’ve put up.

  8. Congratulations on your first post, Kate! I’m looking forward to learning a lot more about the Celtic people. When it comes to Celtic music, Loreena McKennitt has been a favourite performer of mine for years. Are you a fan?

  9. Kate! Wonderful blog, of course being a fellow Celtic Hearts member, you know I love the Celts. As a former Wiccan, we always celebrated the feast days. 🙂 so sometimes I do feel like I have the wee bit of the Celtic in me.

    Great post!

  10. Fabulous first post! i know little about Celtic history and yet am drawn to it every time i read or hear about it. From your eloquent and easy description, I am a Celt! Who knew? I must learn more. Thanks for the intro Kate. Keep up the good work. Your post was informative, interesting and entertaining–just what blogs should be.

  11. Really enjoyed your blog. Very interesting. And the site is clean and fresh. Good job! I love reading about the Celts. Don’t know if I have any Celt in me, but I find myself trolling through Celtic names when I have a new character needing that special tag. Maybe I’m going back to my roots. 😉

  12. Congrats on launching your blog!! It’s a huge step, I know. But it looks (and reads) great! Be proud, lady! Be proud!

  13. Congrats on launching your blog and your first post. First off, I LOVE the look, the header, and they layout. It’s gorgeous! Second, what a wonderfully written post. It was interesting and fun. I have no knowledge of Celts and appreciate the window into their world. Looking forward to many more posts to come.

  14. Congrats on your launch Kate. Nice place you have here.

    Both sides of my family have Celtic roots. My mom was very earthbound. To hear her talk about the first snow every winter was magical. She passed that gift to me. When I’m out in nature, I’m not just taking a walk, I’m absorbing, listening, wondering who walked here before me. Fun post, I’m looking forward to more.

    1. Hi Kate! I’m a big nature lover myself. Nothing grabs my attention as quickly as seeing the moon…in whatever its phase. I just love being outside…my sinuses don’t appreciate it, however ;p

  15. A thought-provoking post! As a historian, I cringe when people borrow a peoples’ past for their own uses. But in a way we all are always doing that with the past. And I have to say the Celtic past is particularly romantic and enticing. Not to mention my Welsh ancestry. 😉

    1. Thank you, Vivian…I appreciate your opinion. Another way to look at it would be that they are sharing knowledge of a certain people to bring back its beautiful history…whatever that particular people might be (provided they are honest and respectful, of course). The more we know, the more we grow, right? =)

    1. I’m a big fan myself 😉 A triquetra, or trinity symbol, is indeed Celtic, but can be found in other cultures. In Celtic Paganism, it’s triangular shape represents the Triple Goddess – Maiden, Mother and Crone. In Celtic Christianity, it’s triangular shape represents the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Enjoy!

  16. Congrats on your blog launch. Great post. You got me thinking about my Irish/Scottish grandmother and the stories used to tell me (when I was a kid) about the “wee folk”…

  17. I used to work on our family tree and got as far back to discover roots in Scotland – Clan Napier. I also have roots in Ireland. So, yeah. I’m totally fascinated with the history. That’s wonderful that you have so much insight and knowledge! I look forward to learning more!

  18. Celtic I am, in part at least (Italian on the other side)–My dear Grandparents Ambrose and Elizabeth hailed from the far shores of Scotland, and I have a fair number of cousins there today–love to hear the lilt of their speech, and it only takes a few-days visit to get the hang of what they’re saying. ; ) Ah, English. I exaggerate. A wee bit.

    Great blog, Kate!

  19. Sure and I loved this post. Although my ancestors crossed the pond several generations ago, I consider myself an Irish woman to the bone. I definitely see the characteristics of nature-love in me. I’ve often fell I must have descended from Druid’s because of my affection for trees. I also often find myself ready to don the blue paint and rush off to defend my beliefs and ideas.

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