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> Celtic Christianity, repost of information
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Posted: 06-Sep-2006, 06:51 AM
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Posted by: Elspeth 28-Jun-2006, 11:20 AM
Hey guys, I'm posting this in the general forum because I want to gather thoughts from all quarters. I'm teaching a Sunday School class this Sunday, (yeah, I plan ahead) and I finally got around to reading the info.

Basically, part of the lesson is to give the history of Celtic Christianity in a nutshell. To do that, of course, thousands of years of culture can only be touched upon.

So, some questions. Is anyone familiar with the Carmina Gadelica? Is it worth buying a copy or just reading it off the internet? And how is it prononced?

How does one pronounce Samhain?
And what are they? I'm a little familiar with Samhain, but not the others.

And any other ideas, thoughts, experiences people have with Celtic Christianity. Has anyone celebrated communion in a Celtic region? Does it differ in any way from what you've experienced here in America?

This study makes the point that what makes Celtic Christianity unique, besides its heritage, is the belief of immanence and transcendence. That God is right here beside us in all our daily tasks and He is also at the same time glorious and beyond human comprehension.

Any thoughts?

Posted by: j Padraig moore 28-Jun-2006, 11:33 AM
Wasn't there a website link posted here not long ago that "celebrates" Celtic Christianity? (I use the word celebrate because I cannot think of another, better word to use).
I'll bet Tassiecelt would have great insight to this!

(how come you are not like me, waiting until saturday night to prepare your sunday school class!!! )

Posted by: j Padraig moore 28-Jun-2006, 11:42 AM
Here it is...


Hope it helps!

Posted by: Senara 28-Jun-2006, 11:53 AM
can always check the threads in The Grove for more on what Imbolc, Samhain, Beltane and Lunasa are about.....

I'm not sure about lunasa, but imbolc is the celebration of Brigid (Brigit) she is mother earth to many and brings about the spring season.

Samhain is much like our Halloween and Beltane is typically around May day and brings on the fires of summer and in some circles can be very promiscuous.

There's a lot of things you'll find on these celebrations...not sure if they'll be appropriate to teach to the kiddies though...

Posted by: Elspeth 28-Jun-2006, 12:15 PM
Hey j, not quite as bad as Sat. night. Yeah, I'm hoping Tassie will chime in. Should have given him more warning.

Serena, luckily, this is a class for adults. But I just want to touch on the basic of what celebration there were that shifted to Christian celebrations.

I read somwhere Brigit was the midwife at Jesus' birth? I wish I could find it, but I can't. I did find where it said St. Brigit is endowed with many of the same characteristics as the pre-Christian goddess Brigid. If anyone can shine light on the mingling, I'd appreciate it. Being low-church myself, I know nothing about saints.

Posted by: Aaediwen 28-Jun-2006, 01:01 PM
QUOTE (Elspeth @ 28-Jun-2006, 11:20 AM)

How does one pronounce Samhain?
And what are they? I'm a little familiar with Samhain, but not the others.

Samhain, is pronounced 'sow in', and according to my understanding of Gaelic procunciation, perhaps 'savin' night be more historically accurate. unless I'm wrong on my pronunciation. Samhain (sometimes spelled without the h) is the lunar new year, the time when the veil between this year and the next is the thinnest and most easilly traversed. It is this aspect that brought about the idea of the dead comming back to haunt the living, that we see so much of today. The church couldn't get rid of the holiday, so they renamed it, to give us All Saints Eve, with All Saints Day being Novermber 1.

The others, I'm not quite as well versed on. However, I hope what information I have here can be of help, and then that others will chime in to flesh it all out from both the Pagan and Christian side of the fence. I can't confirm or deny the previous note as to exactly why Brighid was cannonised as a saint. However, according to everything I've seen, the Celtic Goddess of Brighid and the Catholic saint Brigit, are indeed the same individual, with Imbolic being known as St. Brigit's say to the Church, and as Groundhog Day, at least to those of us in the US (And I believe other places in the world). It is a time in the year when the world starts to show signs of awakening from a long, dark winter.

Beltaine, Known to many now as May Day, is a fertility festival. Indeed, it is said that young couples would leap the fires of Beltaine, and that farmers would lead livestock amongst the fires in hopes of a bountiful and 'productive' year. I have heard that many of the modern May Day celebrations are actually the Church's attempt at keeping people from celebrating this festival, by attempting to disgrace Beltaine

Lughnasadh is one that I, personally, know little of. I know that it's the festival associated with Lugh, but I really should research it further, myself.

On a slightly different note, I'll move this to philosophy, science, and religon. There, all aspects of this can be discussed, without the constraint of expecting the conversation to focus on any one faith, as was the intention of its being posted in General. While it will also better fit the theme of that forum.

Posted by: Mailagnas maqqas Dunaidonas 30-Jun-2006, 08:34 AM
The festival of Lughnasadh marked the ending of summer and the coming of autumn and then winter.
For more information, see, for example, http://users.indigo.net.au/darke/treubh/fs...lughnasadh.html.
Another good starting point for research into Celtic religion is:
Much of the CARMINA GADELICA is available on the internet. See, for example,
http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/corpus/Carmina/, which has volume one in Gaelic and English. I suggest reading a good sample on the internet, then deciding whether to buy a print copy.

Posted by: Elspeth 30-Jun-2006, 08:56 AM
Thanks and I've been given a reprieve, I don't teach this until Sept. So keep info coming.

Question - what makes Celtic Christianity different than any other Christianity?

Posted by: stoirmeil 01-Jul-2006, 05:18 PM
QUOTE (Elspeth @ 30-Jun-2006, 08:56 AM)
Question - what makes Celtic Christianity different than any other Christianity?

I think it's the nature of the synchretic blend -- not just what elements of old and new are still showing, but how the selection was made of the elements and proportions. You could ask the same about any synchretic pagan/Christian cult -- like Santeria, for example.

There's two lovely books you should corner at your library, or order them on interlibrary loan while there's still time to be leisurely about reading them:

one is Thomas Cahill's "How the Irish Saved Civilization," just a beautifully written work, with a good analysis of how Ireland was Christianized and what it meant for a synthesis with the old religion, and "A Fire in the Head -- Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit" by Tom Cowan.

I'd sure like to be reading them again for the first time.

Posted by: Elspeth 03-Jul-2006, 07:43 AM
Thanks so much stoirmeil

Posted by: ImmortalAvalon 05-Jul-2006, 12:03 PM
Wikipedia has a great article about Celtic Christianity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_Christianity a link.

Now, I have no Gaelic, and pronounce any of it to save my life, lol. But I have a book about the Druids that explains the four major holidays. The following notes come from The World of the Druids by Miranda J. Green. Remember that these are the pagan, pre-Christian, meanings of these holidays, but the early Catholic Church had a knack for adopting such things and twisting them to fit their own beliefs.

Imbolc (the Catholic Church turned this into Candlemas) - Celebrated the lactation of ewes. Name means "purification." Holiday associated with goddess Brigid. Seems to have been, mainly, a purification ritual.

Beltane (also spelled Beltain, Calan Mai in Wales) - Beginning of summer. A fire festival. Druids lit two fires, driving cattle between them.

Lughnasadh - Associated with Lugh. "... describes Lughnasadh as a festival of assembly where political and legal matters were settled, but it was also a forum for other pan-tribal activities, such as games and feasting" (36).

Samhain - Beginning of winter. "... it was a period in which the conventional boundaries of space and time were temporarily suspended and where the spirits of the Otherworld mingled freely with the living" (36). Traditionally associated with the Celtic New Year.

Hope this helps.

Posted by: Dreamer1 05-Jul-2006, 08:59 PM
I just finished reading a book that's perfect for what you're trying to do! Besides the two that Stoirmeil's recommended (and I intend to borrow!), also find a copy of "Celtic Christianity: a sacred tradition, a vision of hope" by Timothy J. Joyce. It's also a wonderful book that explains quite a lot about the transition that occurred and how many of the earlier beliefs were incorporated into the new Christianity by the Celts themselves. Another book along these same lines, and beautiful to read!, is "The Celtic Way of Prayer" by Esther de Waal. I'd really like to own copies of both books, for the insight and beauty they both share.

Hope I've also helped you!

Posted by: stoirmeil 05-Jul-2006, 09:16 PM
Anam Cara
by John O'Donohue
A Book of Celtic Wisdom
Published by Cliff Street Books,
HarperCollins/NY in 1997


Take a look at this too. I have heard of this, and I think I once meant to read it but didn't get around to it. I don't know what "doyletics" is, some kind of self-growth system. But it might be possible to read around that if it doesn't suit you, and go for the wisdom content, which is often universal anyway.

Posted by: MaggieCarroll 13-Aug-2006, 10:11 PM
Elspeth, you are surely long past your class
But I thought this such an interestin' thread
I had to respond...

Celtic christianity...
Such a pleasing concept...

As a born and raised Irish Catholic
It has never been a far stretch for me
To embrace the old gods with the one God
Have not the Irish always had one foot
In the olde world and one in the new?

We hold our rosary beads with one hand
And chase away the Pooka with the other!

As a devotee of Brigid, I studied her history extensively
So many of the Irish myths and legend became interwoven
With those of Christianity
Did not, for example,
St. Patrick use the triad,
Long associated with Brigid and pagan Ireland
The Maid, the Mother and the Crone
To illustrate Christianity?

She is such a beautiful spirit
I believe both Brigid, the Goddess
And Brigid, the Saint
Are one and the same
She is keeper of the flame
The Patroness of the Poet, the Blacksmith and the Midwife

The Irish have long worshiped the earth, the heavens, the sea
And passed their gods and legends from generation to generation
With story after story told by one fire then another

It is my understanding that the Church freely brought
The pagan holidays into the Church calendar
In order to bring the Irish along with them
The ancients worked hard, suffered hardships unimaginable
And their feast days were important to them
As were their gods to whom they begged boons and good harvests

As for me, I simply believe that our one God
Created all, including the land, the sea, and sky

Earth, Air, Fire, and Water
The essence of the elements...
The magic comes from God

The ancient seasons, the Celtic holidays
So many pagan beliefs
Mix so neatly with Christianity
That separating them, one from the other
Is like separating the eggs, the flour and the milk
Once you have mixed the batter...

Research all the sides of Brigid...you will be both charmed and awed

Nineteen years ago, I named my first daughter for Brigid
And I still pray to her daily
Last year, finally in Ireland
I drove and drove
Until I found her abbey in Kildare
It was one late afternoon in July...
The only person in the empty monastary
I climbed the spiral stair to the Monk's walk
It gave me chills...such ancient power still resides there
The pewter Brigid's Cross I left with rarely leaves my neck
The stone abbey holds many secrets...many mysteries

Brigid's followers continue to keep her flame burning bright today
She, although I believe the Church
Took back her Sainthood years ago
For some foolish reason...
Remains next to Saint Patrick, the most popular Irish saint
Her feast day, on Feburary 1st, (some calendars say the 2nd)
Has many popular rituals associated with it
It is a lovely day to celebrate Brigid
And the reawakening of the earth after Winter's sleep

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