02 мая 2013

“I am bowing my head in the eye of the Mother who gave me birth, 
in the eye of the Maiden who loves me,
in the eye of the Crone who guides me in wisdom, 
in friendship and affection.” ~ Celtic Prayer 


Hello, we are Katya, YanaZhenya and Tanya. We are students of Chelyabinsk State University.


The Celts and their lifestyle and history are of great interest to us.
Everybody knows that the Celtis were the warring tribes, very fierce and ruthless. They used to sacrifice people to their gods.

Here are short funny videos about the Celts we recommend to watch just for laugh )).


                                                         Videos were taken from here



And HERE you can also play a funny interactive game and learn some simple facts about the celts! 





01 мая 2013

So, who were the Celts and where are they from?

The Celts were an ancient people reputed to be of Indo-European origin who dwelled in Western Europe. Eventually they were driven to the fringes of Western Europe by the powerful Romans and many of the Germanic tribes of the time. 

The Celts probably came from the distant steppes beyond the Caspian Sea. By 500 BC they were living in northeastern France, southwestern Germany, and Bohemia. The Celts, who were also called Gauls, continued to migrate in all directions. About 400 BC Celtic tribes crossed the Swiss Alps into northern Italy. After capturing the fertile Po Valley region, they laid siege to Rome. At the same time other groups of Celts pushed down into France and Spain, eastward to Asia Minor, and westward to the British Isles. To what is now France they gave the ancient name of Gaul.




The name "Celt" was made by the ancient Greeks, who called the barbarian peoples of central Europe "Keltoi". The Celts were not a broad cultural genetic race, they were a broad cultural-linguistic group. The area where they lived became a constantly changing collection of tribal 'nations.' The Celts were never an 'empire' ruled by one government.

The oldest archaeological evidence of the Celts comes from Hallstatt, Austria, near Salzburg. Excavated graves of chieftains there, dating from about 700 BC, exhibit an Iron Age culture (one of the first in Europe), which received in Greek trade such luxury items as bronze and pottery vessels. It would appear that these wealthy Celts, based from Bavaria to Bohemia, controlled trade routes along the river systems of the Rhône, Seine, Rhine, and Danube and were the predominant and unifying element among the Celts.



The name 'Iron Age' comes from the discovery of a new metal called iron. We can find out a lot about the Celts through looking at objects made of iron and other materials which have survived over time, such as the Tal-y-Llyn plaque.
The brass plaque was found in 1963 on Cadair Idris in north Wales. The pair of plaques are decorated with human faces. The faces have staring eyes, and straight hair. Archaeologists believe that the head was greatly respected by the Celts.

30 апреля 2013

Social structure of the Celts


The Celts did not have a caste society, but there were well-defined classes.

At the top was the noble class. At some periods of Celtic history, the top man was a king.  Kingship was often seen as divine - rulers were men through whom the gods spoke. Kingship was not necessarily inherited, for kings could name their successor. There were also queens, who sometimes ruled in their own right. Among them are the legendary Irish warrior queen, Maeve, and the British Boudicca, who led the rebellious Iceni against Roman rule in AD 61.

But kingship was not the only form of rule. Several tribes abolished kingship. Instead of a king, a magistrate, the Vergobret, elected by the nobility, headed the tribe. But the real power was in the hands of the noble class. 
What is interesting, the landless commoners also had the possiblility of personal advancement by making a fortune through commerce or war. 

Slaves could not fight in times of war. Other men had the right to bear arms and were only permitted to fight when their lives were threatened.







The Celtic Women


The role of women in the Celtic society was dictated by their place in the social hierarchy and the customs which varied according to tribe. Moreover, Celtic society was patriarchal,its political and public life was largely the domain of men. Nevertheless, Celtic women often served as chieftains, druids, poets, healers and warriors; they served as diplomats and judges; and they served as arbitrators, taking role in political and military disputes.

The Celtic women had the right to divorce unlike the Roman women. They also could choose husbands themselves and they could not be persuaded in this matter.

Celtic women had the right to bear arms and this was common practice. Wives often accompanied their husbands into battle. In battle, they made great use of psychological tactics to draw the enemy's attention by  screaming and dancing wildly.
The Greek historian, Ammianus Marcellinus (c.400 AD) describes Celtic women warriors as: 
“usually very strong, and has blue eyes; in rage her neck veins swell, she gnashes her teeth, and brandishes her snow-white robust arms. She begins to strike blows mingled with kicks, as if they were so many missiles sent from the string of a catapult. The voices of these women are formidable, even when they are not angry but being friendly.”






And HERE you can explore the revolt of Boudicca, learn what really happened then, who were the main characters of the story, what were the main events. 



Housing and common activities

The Celts lived in roundhouses. That is known from the archaeological remains that have been excavated and dated to the Iron Age. The size of the roundhouses can be seen from the rain ditches which surround the houses. From those evidences we can know that their houses were very large and could house a lot of people.


 These houses had thatched roofs made with straw and heather. Houses on the South were made from wattle, the construction of woven wood and daub, which was straw and mud. The supplies for their houses could be easily get in the forests at those times. Their houses had no windows. For cooking and heating Celts used to light fire right in the roundhouses, which is why there used to be a lot of smoke that went outside throught the opening in the roof.  The Celts also often kept their animals near them in their houses, and in order to keep warm, often slept with them. Groups of houses were often built on the hill-forts in order to be  more protected and to have better observation.




The Celts brought many new skills to the peoples they conquered. They knew how to smelt iron and forge it into useful things. They decorated their helmets, shields, and arms with artistic metalwork and enameling. The Celts were also adept in such practical matters as curing hams, keeping bees, and making wooden barrels.

The Celts used bronze and gold as well as iron. The heads of the tribe wore beautiful jewellery to show their status.The Celtic craftsmen loved symmetrical designs and patterns. They were especially fond of a three-legged (triskeles) shape, and they liked to use animal shapes and faces in their patterns.

Their skill as metal workers was also important when they were defending themselves from their enemies. They needed sharp objects like spears, as well as shields, to defend themselves from enemy attack.


Also you can FOLLOW THIS LINK to play a funny free game about the Celts. Make the Celtic people work and build the village! This game is old enogh, but still, just for fun! ))




29 апреля 2013

Celtic clothes and appearance

We are informed from sources of Roman history that the Celts were like no other men. They were exceedingly tall and had very muscular white skinned bodies, even their hair was blonde although it is believed that this was achieved artificially by the use of lime.


 Whilst some of the Celts appeared clean shaven, others had shaven cheeks but grew facial hair around their mouth and chin to acts a filter for the kinds of food which they ate.


The Celts, before the Romans started to use soap, because were a very clean people. The Celtic men and women wore swirling blue tattoos or paintings on their bodies in order to look more fiercely. They played lyres and harps, loved song, music, and recitation of legends and epic adventures. They used metal or ornamented natural horns for drinking.

Both sexes loved jewelry: bgold decorated brooches, , garnets, lapis, and other stones; pins and linked pins with animal-style decoration; necklaces of amber, granulation and carving. They wore torques, pendants, bracelets, pins and necklaces. The women sometimes sewed little bells on the fringed ends of their tunics. The elaborate intertwinings of their artwork was a guard against the evil eye or curses.





Celtic women painted their fingernails, reddened their cheeks, darkened their eyebrows. They wore their hair long and made braids or piled up on the head. Their usual dress was a sleeved tunic tucked into a large, gathered, belted skirt or simly an ankle-length tunic with a belt.



Celtic man wore trousers with a tunic or a thigh-high tunic and a cloak, the ever-present dagger or sword, and leather or fur footgear tied around the legs. Mustaches were common, and the hair shoulder length. A horned helmet indicated a powerful warrior.




In the early cultures, both men and women had huge rectangular cloaks pinned at the right shoulder. These cloaks were generally woven in bright plaids, checks or stripes. Later, they wore large hooded capes reaching to the knees.




Julius Ceasar wrote about them:

"Most of the inland inhabitants [of Britain] do not sow corn, but live on milk and flesh, and are clad with skins. All the Britons indeed, dye themselves with woad, which occasions a bluish colour, and thereby have a more terrible appearance in fight. They wear their hair long, and have every part of their body shaved except their head and upper lip. "

And this is a quote of the Roman historian, Diodorus Siculus:

"They are very tall in stature, with rippling muscles under clear white skin. Their hair is blond, but not naturally so: they bleach it, to this day, artificially, washing it in lime and combing it back from their foreheads. They look like wood-demons, their hair thick and shaggy like a horse's mane. Some of them are clean-shaven, but others - especially those of high rank - shave their cheeks but leave a moustache that covers the whole mouth" 

28 апреля 2013

Celtic religion and beliefs

Celtic warriors used to cut off the heads of their enemies in battle and display them as trophies. They mounted heads in doorposts and hung them from their belts. This might seem barbaric to us, but to the Celt the seat of spiritual power was the head, so by taking the head of a foe they were appropriating that power for themselves. It was a kind of bloody religious observance. 


The Celts were a very spiritual people. They had many gods and goddesses in which they revered nature and the world around them. The Celtic religious system operated in a way much like the Romans. The only significant difference is that while the Romans and Greeks thought their deities were immortal, the Celts believed nothing could escape the grasp of reality and death. This is evident especially with Cuchulainn, who is a very well known hero who dies on the battlefield in the myth of" The Cattle-Raid of Cualnge”.

The Celts had lots of large festivals held in honor of certain gods or goddesses whom they felt deserved special recognition for their role in life. 



Celtic priests were called druids, and their religion, druidism. Little is known of the druids because their rites were never written down. Apparently their gods were similar to those of other early peoples. The druids of Gaul were both judges and priests who sacrificed criminals to their gods. 


Only men of good family could become druids. Membership was highly prized because druids did not have to fight or pay taxes. The druids taught that the soul was immortal, passing after death from one person to another. They think that the mistletoe was sacred, especially if grown on an oak tree. The oak was also sacred, and druids often held their rites in an oak forest. They were wise in the knowledge of plants, animals, and stars, and also were great magicians and astrologists. 



Druids were also judges, mediators and political advisors. A person who in the future becam druid was usually taken from noble families and was taught from the child hood. To eventually become druid, a person needed 20 years.

Druids didn't believed in heaven or hell, but they preached an automatic reincarnation on Earth, regardless of one's deeds in life. 

27 апреля 2013

Celtic Myths


Prior to Roman or Christian influence the Celts preferred to pass on their sacred teachings and myths orally. After the coming of Christianity in the fifth century onwards, the monks recorded the myths, and it is thanks to them that so many survive today.

One might expect Christian monks to have qualms about recording pagan tales, but this does not seem to have been the case. St Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland in 432, had his doubts about the old stories until he received a vision in which he was told to respect and record them.

Deities 

Some of the myths have been Christianized, especially those recorded in Wales. However, a particular feature of Celtic myths may have prevented this from happening more often: namely, the way in which deities have been euhemerized (given human form), so that, unlike the Greek myths, they are not obviously of a religious nature.


The god Lugh

We can see this ‘euhemerization’ clearly in the case of the god Lugh, who gives his name to the Irish summer festival of Lughnasadh. In the earliest Irish myths he is clearly a deity. As such, he offers himself as the saviour of the Tuatha dé Danann, the predecessors of the Milesians or Gaels. Seeking entry at the palace of King Nuada of the Silver Hand, at Tara, he announces each of his skills in turn – ‘Blacksmith, warrior, musician, poet, scholar …’. Each time he is refused entry, until he points out that no one else combines all these skills in one person, as he does. In the Mabinogion, the main source of British myths, Lugh has become the much more human Lleu Llaw Gyfes, nephew (and possibly son) of the magician Gwydion. He is skilled, and protected by charms, but he is not obviously a god: in fact at one point he appears to be mortal.

The Dagda, father of the gods

Lugh shares some characteristics with the Dagda, a larger-than-life figure prominent in myths of the Tuatha dé Danann. Like Lugh, he is powerful and omnicompetent. Yet he is often represented as a rather comic figure whose short tunic fails to cover his buttocks, and whose huge club has to be carried on wheels. He has great magical powers, and he possesses a harp which comes to him when he calls, and a cauldron of abundance which restores dead warriors to life (but without powers of speech, perhaps in case they say too much about the afterlife).




Goddesses

Powerful though these gods were, the Celtic goddesses were perhaps even more so. They were closely associated with the land, and in this identification they sometimes seem to be aspects of a single all-embracing Goddess. Their link to the seasonal cycles, to fertility and death, may partly account for the fact that a single goddess often takes three forms, or aspects – usually maiden, mother and crone.

Celtic goddesses could be life-giving and sustaining, but were also, in their dark aspect, associated with sex and death, which in Celtic terms are part of the round of life. The most powerful Irish example is the red-haired shape-shifting Morrigan, said to have coupled with the Dagda.


Sources of the myths

The surviving Celtic myths come from Scotland and Ireland, which were at one time closely related, from Wales (though many of these originated orally further east), and from Brittany. No myths survive from Romanized areas, such as Gaul on the Continent. They do not appear to have been written down in Latin.

The greatest body of myth comes from Ireland, which was untouched by the Romans, although much of its mythic material was destroyed by Viking marauders.


In these videos, if you are interested, you may see how Christy Kenneally explores the vibrant and mystical world of the Celts, examining the early settlements in Central Europe, and their later emergence in Wales and Ireland.


 These videos were taken from the THE LOST GODS channel on YouTube






Who are you in the Celtic Horoscope? )))

You may be interested what horoscope sign is yours. you can find out it now!

There are not official records about the exact date of creation of the Celtic Horoscope, nor by who or how the very first education of this horoscope was made. The transmission of Celtic traditions and rituals arrived until this era thanks to the communication from generation to generation, just as it happened with the transmission of many other cultures’ knowledge.

Within the known information about the Celts is that their priests (known as Druids) had a calendar that was divided in thirteen months, it was based on the cycles of the moon. The calendar was also associated to different trees that were considered sacred in the Celtic Culture.

The distribution of the trees was made as indicated next: There is a tree for each equinox, a tree for each solstice and all the remaining trees were divided in equal cycles in the Celtic calendar, except for the Poplar tree that rules over three periods of the calendar.

Amongst the traditions of the Celts, a tree was planted whenever a baby was born, but also whenever people died they were buried under their tree. Even though there were plenty of people that would rather to make an adaptation inside the trunk of the tree in order to be buried inside of it. This could also be one of the precedents of coffins.

The signs of the Celtic Horoscope are:


Fir: (January 2nd to 11th and July 5th to 14th). These are enigmatic people, with a certain air of mystery, distinguished and sometimes reserved and distant.

Elm: (January 12th to 24th and July 15th to 25th). Cheerful character, kind, with certain tendency to be controller, but also calmed and relaxed.

Cypress: (January 25th to February 3rd and July 26th to August 4th). This is the seductive sign in the Celtic horoscope, with a charming and flirting personality.

Poplar: (February 4th to 8th, May 1st to 14th and August 5th to 13th). Indecisive and sometimes these people might look coward when actually they show great courage when it is necessary.

Cedar: (February 9th to 18th and August 14th to 23rd) People with a proud personality that sometimes can be arrogant, hardworking and patient with artistic abilities.

Pine: (February 19th to 28th and August 24th to September 2nd). People that fall in love easily, they are also changeable and also known to be womanizers.

Willow: (March 1st to 10th and September 3rd to 12th). They are very intuitive, dreamers and they easily fall into sadness and melancholy.

Lime: (March 11th to 20th and September 13th to 22nd). Conforming, they do not like to make a big effort to get what they want and sometimes they stay in the same place without making any progress.

Olive: (September 23rd) This is the eternal defender of justice tough he/she might evade problems. These people also own high spiritual ideas.

Oak: (March 21st). People with strong character, active, challenge lovers and with the feet on the ground.

Alder: (March 18th to April 14th). Vanity is their second name, very elegant and refined, generous those who know how to win their heart.

Hazel: (March 22nd to 31st and September 24th to October 3rd). Pleasent and honest personality, but also can be temperamental.

Sorbus: (April 1st to 10th and October 4th to 13th. They can be imprudent, active and they are fond of dares.

Maple: (April 11th to 20th and October 14th to 23rd). Very spontaneous people, always creating something.

Walnut: (April 21st to 30th and October 24th to November 11th). Very unpredictable, at times kind and the next one very selfish people.

Chestnut: (May 15th to 14th and November 12th to 21st). Honest people but also irascible and insecure. They are also very sensitive.

Ash: (May 25th to June 3rd and November 22nd to December 1st). Egocentric, adventurous, charismatic and natural leader people.

Hornbeam: (June 4th to 13th and December 2nd to 11th). Generous people that enjoy living in luxury and comforts.

Birch: (June 24th). Kindand pleasent people that do not like to live in complications.

Apple Tree: (June 25th to July 4th and December 23th to January 1st). People with natural sensuality and sometimes frivolous.

Beech: (December 22nd) Enterprising, hard-working, well-organized and prudent people.

Sometimes there is another kind of Celtic signs:



The Celtic Horoscope is very easy to understand, it does not require advanced studies in astrology, but it does need people to be in touch with nature

As observed, there are twenty-one trees and in some cases, their cycles are repeated twice a year. That is because the Celtic Horoscope is based on moon cycles.

The Celtic culture is one of the most ancient ones, the Celts had an advanced knowledge in astronomy, mathematics and philosophy, getting to share their knowledge with the Greeks and promoting the interchange of students.

It is very interesting to understand the Celtic horoscope, for example if you already know the correspondent tree, you can plant it and follow the Celtic tradition and take care of it, or wait until the birth of your child. Besides this is great opportunity to contribute and make a better environment ))