In coming to some sort of answer for ourselves we have to accept that we are in a realm shrouded by the mist of time. It is complicated even further by the fact that the Celts, as we know them, left no written history or records of their travels. Theirs was an oral tradition kept alive and vibrant by the guardians of their laws and customs, the Druids. The ranks of the Druids included not only priests but bards and scientists as well. The Druids have been the keepers of a living oral tradition that continues to ihe present day.
Even scholars cannot agree upon the origins of the peoples we have come to know as Celts. It can be agreed that the Celts were the inhabitants of Europe in in the Pre-Roman period, occupying a vast territory stretching from the Pyrenees to the Rhine and from Ireland to Romania. Their craftspeople created a brilliant art style and by the first century B.C. a truly urban society emerged in many areas.
''These peoples did not label themselves as Celts, history has done that. They did not speak a common language. It is more conceivable that they thought of themselves as tribes, such as Bretons, Irish or British Gaels. In classical Greek writings as early as 600 B.C. there are references to groups of people, in coastal France and southwest Spain, known as the KELTOI. Today the term Celtic has come to stand for a family of people continually moving through time and adapting to new situations.
It was against these people that the Roman armies moved in the first centuries B.C. and A.D.. The Romans left only a Celtic fringe in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Brittany to survive unconquered. When the Roman world collapsed in the fifth century A.D., the Celts once more emerged from the obscurity of their windswept Atlantie regions.
The Celtic monks carried the written word illumo\inated in gospel manuscripts, like the Book of Kells, back out into a dark time in Europe. yet they were not rewarded for their efforts. Politically and culturally the western Celts have been persecuted and subjugated. Today their cry for recognition of their separate identities is becoming louder and louder.
The Celtic connection has a very real reason for it's popularity in America. Based on the number of immigrants from Celtic countries, according to the statistics from Ellis Island, over 70% of the American population today has Celtic bloodlines.
Today we can part the veil of tirne and travel with our Celtic ancestors into reality created by their surviving symbols, music, poetry, and stories.
Based on the Celt's connection to the enrth you can feel a reverence and power for themerging of the human and natural worlds expressed in their songs, stories and symbols. This reverence can lead us to feel a yearning to experience a life lived differently. A desire to live a life more connected to nature and focused on community. Our ancestors were nourished by this earth connection and we are struggling to find ways of opening and deepening this connection for ourselves. We are searching for ways to enrich our lives today with a connection to the Celtic past. We are seeking to bring the spirit oi this Celtic connection alive in ways that are personally meaningful.
We are frequently asked how to pronounce the word Celtic. Phonetically it can sound like SELTIC or, the more cornmonly accepted pronunciation, KELTIC. We at Avalon Visions have gathered a few of our favorite stories and music to serve as a guide in exploring the Celtic worlds. It is our hope that they serve to help open the door to your ownpersonal re-membrance and re-connection to the Celtic traditions of the past.
Any of John and / or Caitlin Matthews books, of which there are many to chose from. One recommendation is The Celtic Tradition by Caitlin Matthews, a great introduction to the Celts through their art forms, story, myths, and landscapes.
R.l. Stewart is also prolific in his legacy of written material. He is also a musician and bard. His works include Celtic Myths, Celtic Legends, Dreampower Tarot, The Elements of Creation Myths, The Living World of Faery, Merlin Through The Ages, and so many more
The World Of Druids by Miranda Green is a true and fascinating history of the Druids, ancient and modern.
Celtic Lunar Zodiac by Helena Paterson is a beautifully illustrated book interpreting, your moon sign through the eyes of the Druids.
Dawn Dance by Alisdair Fraser is great upbeat fiddle.
Sons of Somerled by Steve McDonald is an old Scottish classic in a revised upbeat version.
Book of Secrets by Loreena McKenntt is a wonderful journey into the boundaryless realms of imagination, where lines of Celtic worlds are explored.
Babes In The Woods by Mary Black. She is from a Irish singing family and is a personal favorite of the owner.
Celtic Spirit from Narada is a collection of mostly Celtic spiritual chants.
Dance of the Celts also from Narada is a collection of lively jigs, reels, marches, and flings. 'They are all designed to get you moving and sweep you off your feet.
No list would be complete without the Irish family group Clannad who launched two other family members, Enya and her sister Maire Brennan.