Theses  on  Celtic  Religion 7

difficulties in the state of the sources

our prejudicial denotations

animistic component

fairy tales and legends as legitimate sources

shamanism and druidism

the stratum of divinities


polarity Death / Mothers

changes in material existence

Mabon vab Genoveva

interface of Death and Mothers

isolated themes 

the realities of the world 





Druidic religion does not consist in a doctrine about gods. It comprises how­ever a series of themes, which turn up several times in different Celtic sources and can be followed up to the fairy tales, legends, customs, lore and supersti­tions of the Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, Bretons, French and English. 

These themes are listed here consequently instead of gods and their functions, be­cause these themes are the last remnants of what once was the druidical doctrine and what never had been fixed in written form, be it total or in parts. Archaelogical evidence of the Romano-Celtic period will be neglected here (for that, see Ross, Green a. o.), because here an attempt is made to reveal the pre-roman druidical religion, but also because the archaelogical approach inclines to classify everything into already accepted categories. This is done by virtue of a lack of interpretational frames, but the consequence is the lack of comprehension of unique, specific traits.

Several of these themes are not at all restricted to Celtic culture, but may be found in different contexts of European and extra-European cultures, including also Turkish cultures, which in its pre-Islamic times derived from central Asian (shamanistic) re­gions. This however demon­strates that Celtic culture was based on multiple origins and knew a cultural exchange along its geographic as well as temporal borders.

The presentation will end by sketching a short reconstruction of a pre-historic Celtic individ­ual's ideas on the world.

The themes shall not be treated here in any detail (you will find these in the German edition), and only a simple list will be given:


A ubiquitous dominant theme is Otherworld.

The polarity of Thisworld and Otherworld is expressed also by those complexes into which most of Celtic concepts will fit: Death (=forthcoming and Mother (=origin).


Continue: polarity Death / Mothers