Reply To: Celtic gods


    As for Celtic ‘gods’ – volumes could be written, we don’t know so much about what pre-Romanised Celtic divinities and belief patterns might have been, even though echoes and themes may well be found in later literature and, of course, the archaeological record. There does seem to be a modern tendency to make every single figure of these literatures into a ‘god (of)’ or ‘goddess (of)’, sometimes even in contrast with that literature itself. Some of the figures we know from the respective literatures do indeed seem to be linked, at least in name, to names/epithets we know from archaeology and the historical record, but going back further, it becomes more difficult.

    My own take on things, and I don’t claim to have the last word by any means, is that druid beliefs were animistic, druid ideas about divinity were completely different to Roman and Greek ideas. I don’t believe there ever was a ‘Celtic pantheon’, I think there were localised, tribal cults, with some common themes and archetypes, and numerous local interpretations. To offer one example, Taranis may not have been the ‘god of thunder’, rather Taranis was thunder, and from an animistic point of view all things have spirit or soul, consciousness and awareness, something that is maybe lost on a modern ‘Western’ mindset forged in the ideas of the Classical World and Judaeo-Christian thought. Again, in my opinion only, in order to get to the real ‘mysteries’ if you like, my advice would be to look at the world and read the tales from an animist’s point of view, go into the folklore traditions of these isles, the old ‘Fairy Faiths’ of Britain, Brittany, and Ireland, and the great treasury of often-ignored folk wisdom and lore out there.

    If you look in the Bookshelf thread in this forum, there are some short reviews and recommendations by members of the BDO on various works, which you may find interesting and helpful.

    Anyway, Richard, welcome once again, and I hope my answer has been of some help.


    PS: Sorry about the staggered response, I had actually written a longer response but sometimes the forum doesn’t allow posts or just appears to be in a bad mood 😀