Neocelts: A Modern Celtic Religion

by John Machate

Copyright © 1997 John Machate
All Rights Reserved
May be reposted as long as the above attribution and copyright notice are retained

Celtic Reconstructionism is becoming a popular movement among those who want to practice a religion that is Celtic in nature but not based on the Wiccan ritual model. It is being spread by discussions on PODSnet, Nemeton-L and IMBAS mailing lists, Internet Relay Chat channels #Druids_Grove, #IMBAS and #Nemeton and newsgroups like alt.religion.druid. These are some points of the Neoceltic religion that should be kept in mind if you are considering this kind of path.

As the name Celtic Reconstructionist implies the Neoceltic religion is a Reconstructionist religion, we make every attempt to be historically and mythologically accurate in our practices. There are many things that we do not know or have little information about; though we have to flesh out our system where we do not have any direct evidence of our ancestors ways we do not simply make up things. We do not claim to be the "true" way of doing things Celtic, but we do feel that if you plan on calling yourself a Celtic Neopagan, then you should be as connected to its roots in ancient Celtic practice as possible.

Another important item to remember is that this is a religion. It is not a system of magick or spirituality which can be added to something else or onto which other systems can be added. To be part of the Neoceltic religion is to be bound by honor and loyalty to the Gods and each member of your tribe,clann or grove. We are polytheists and see the world as having many different religions and many differant gods. We respect other peoples gods and religions, but their gods are not ours. We also recognize that other religions may honor our gods in a different fashion.

One thing that can be noticed in the Neopagan movement is that people practice many differant religions and mix systems to prevent what they feel would be intolerance. The Neoceltic religion is not such a religion. It is not a religion to be taken lightly and adherents to it, should not practice other religions. It does not mean that people will not move in and out of Neoceltic practice. They may join and work within the system and find that it is not right for them. It is not a religion for everyone and we do not pretend otherwise.

Some theological points should be understood, since they are what truly separate use from many other Neopagan religions. We view the world as having three realms. These realms, Land, Sea and Sky, interact and meet in the center of the world. These are not the elements found in Wiccan or ceremonial rituals.

When we meet to honor the gods we also honor the spirits and our ancestors. The spirits are usually those that reside in the local area, since it is only proper to respect them while we are there. Our ancestors, are both cultural and familial and we honor them, not only during ritual, but through living. Finally, we show respect for our gods by living well and honorably.

If you as the reader feel that these points are unfair or strict, that's ok. If you wish to compare us to the Ásatrú, then that is an honor. There are many religions similar to ours that are not as strict in some areas as us. If you're interested in the Wiccan system but want to continue to work with the gods of any of the Celtic tribes, there are many Celtic Wiccan covens and groups from which to choose.

If you wish to work within the Celtic system, there are two Druid organizations that have few restrictions, ADF and Keltria, and one Celtic Reconstructionist organization, IMBAS.


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