Celtic Heritage - culture, belief and traditions of the Celtic Peoples Celtic Heritage - culture, beliefs and traditions of the Celts

Celtic Heritage - culture, beliefs and traditions of Celts and Druids


SACRED ISLE - Belief and Religion in Pre-Christian Ireland

Daithi O hOgain

ISBN 1-898256-60-8 The Collins Press

A great example of the 'new' crop of books dealing with Pre-Christian Pagan beliefs. Daithi O hOgain is Associate Professor of Irish Folklore at University College Dublin. Using evidence from a rich variety of sources, early literature, native folklore, and archaeological he portrays an image of the continuation of beliefs from ancients times, through the Celtic Pagan and Celtic Christian eras.

The Pre-Celtic Cultures
Descriptions of art, warfare, burial customs, etc. Showing how even as Celtic Culture spread across the island it drew from older native traditions.

Basic Tenets in the Iron Age
Examples of sacrifice, votive objects, and cults that can be considered to be Pan-Celtic. Again shows how Pre-Celtic customs were attached to Celtic Deities.

The Druids and their Practices
Uses both Classical and Vernacular sources to show us the world of the Druids, their role within society.

The Teachings of the Druids
The Continuance of Life, the Otherworld, the gaining of wisdom.

The Society of the Gods
This Chapter gives examples of how a Pantheon of the Gods evolved, through migrations of peoples and borrowings.

The Rites of Sovereignty
In Celtic society Kingship was a sacred institution, wrapped in geasa and ritual. Shows how the the mythology of Ireland was built up as the High-Kingship was taken in turn by each of the four provinces.

The Triumph of Christianity
Interesting chapter! To me it would appear that Christianity didn't really triumph at all, that it was just superimposed over Pagan Celtic and Pre-Celtic beliefs. Perhaps a better chapter title would have been the 'Triumph of Celtic Culture'.

Reviewed by J. Craig Melia - 1999