WHAT IS CELTIC SPIRITUALITY?
Because the Celtic people of Northwestern Europe were a bit out of the reach of the Roman Empire and the Roman Church, they were far less influenced by those political and religious systems. This isolation allowed them to maintain their ancient and time-honored practices regarding the dignity of nature and community, the equality of men and women, and their vibrant and poetic imaginations as portals to understanding human beings as well as God. As Christianity arrived to these cultures and communities they were able, for many centuries, to find a beautiful synthesis of these ancient practices and beliefs with the Christian understanding of God’s message of Divine presence and eternal belonging for everyone.
Although no culture contains truth completely or perfectly, the early Christian Celts were able to see the beautiful presence of the Divine in a relationship with Nature that stressed humility, dignity of all things, and God’s presence in and through all of Creation. They maintained rich spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, communing with Nature, care for those in need, hospitality, and poetic use of the imagination and art. They saw, in all experiences, the presence of the Spirit, and were very skilled at seeking encounter with God in all of life. The Celts believed men and women are equally able to inspire, lead, and participate in all aspects of community and spiritual practice. And they had a wonderful tradition of cultivating soul-fiends who took caring responsibility for assisting in the development of and sustained journey of a spiritual life well lived.
So many of these practices were lost in Western Cultures over the centuries and millennia, but it is quite easy to see how profoundly important these ways of engaging life, one another, earth, and God are to our modern times where community is so dangerously divided, the earth is disastrously damaged in so many ways, and the search for ultimate meaning is loud and strong around the globe. The Celtic Christian way offers a way to reacquaint ourselves with who we really are and who we can always become.