Do You Have a Celtic Soul? Part I

kimberly schneider

by Kimberly Schneider, M.Ed., J.D., LPC, one of the facilitators for our upcoming Celtic Soul Experience Concert and Retreat on March 7-8, featuring internationally-acclaimed Irish singer/songwriter duo Owen and Moley O Suilleabhain.

Learn more and get tickets at

People often ask me what I mean by Celtic spirituality. There are many answers to this question. For some, it is a longing for home, a yearning to interact with our surroundings in a way that our ancestors would have, to ground ourselves in ancient ways of being that have meaning for us. Many people love Celtic music and culture, and the wild beauty of Ireland and Scotland awakens something inside of a person that had been paved over from living too long in an overdeveloped world.

The ancient Celts themselves were not one united group, but many different tribes loosely related by their common Indo-Aryan origins. What the tribes did have in common were some similarities in dress, customs and perceptions of the Universe. Like most of Europe, the Celtic countries eventually converted to Christianity.

The centers of early Celtic Christianity were monastic communities in rural Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man. Because the British Isles were largely independent of Rome between the fifth and twelfth centuries, much of the pre-Christian Celtic viewpoint was preserved in the Celtic Christian religion of that period. Celtic Christian theologian Edward Sellner believes that drawing upon elements common to Christian and pre-Christian Celts offers hope for healing in the modern Christian church.

Here are just a few defining features of Celtic Cosmology:

Mystical Connection with Nature: Rather than viewing God as a remote being in a faraway place, the Celtic soul experienced the Divine everywhere in nature. A well or a stream carried the spirit of a local goddess; a god lived in an old oak. Even in modern Ireland, workers will sometimes refuse to participate in the construction of a building that interferes with a sacred spring or fairy mound.

Sacred in the Ordinary: Because the Divine infused the material world, there was no real separation between the physical and the spiritual, and a sense of sacredness and prayer could be found in even the most mundane task. The Celts had prayers for lighting and smooring the fire, preparing a meal, sowing, reaping and all the simple routines of day-to-day life.

Acknowledgement of the Shadow: The Celts respected the marginalized aspects of society and the self. The Celtic tradition of hospitality extended especially to the poor and all those who were outcast, excluded or different. Similarly, the Celts understood that it was better to know and befriend the dark and misfit places within themselves.

In the next article, we’ll look at some more elements of Celtic spirituality. In the meantime, if you are interested in experiencing a taste of the Celtic perspective in your own life, I hope you will consider joining us at the motherhouse on March 8 for a Celtic Spirituality retreat!

Read Part II.

Kimberly Schenider, The author of Everything You Need Is Right Here: Five Steps to Manifesting Magic and Miracles and the spoken word CD Terrible Beauty: Poetry and Reflections for Precarious Times, has studied, taught and written about Celtic spirituality for decades.  Learn more on her website.

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