Historical and archaeological evidence provide both utopian and horrific images of Ancient Celtic Religion.The Celts demonstrated their spiritual kinship to nature through their artwork and reverence for sacred groves.
The Celtic belief in the immortal soul was similar to that of Greek philosopher, Pythagoras, who thought the soul transmigrates from one body to another (metempsychosis) and could include the bodies of animals and plants (reincarnation). There were other religious and philosophical similarities between the Celts and Greeks, both of whom were world travelers and traders. The Phoenicians undoubtedly imported their language, bartered their commodities, and exchanged their religious beliefs with the Celts. Most geographical accounts of Celtic regions came from the Greeks, which the Romans later adopted.
Eratosthenes said an arrow that Apollo used to slay the Cyclops was hidden among the Hyperborians in his Temple made of wings. Diodorus Siculus said that above all other gods, the Hyperboreans worshipped Apollo. Beyond the Gallic regions (France) to the north, the harp which was associated with Apollo was frequently played.
It is remarkable that certain Greek feasts of Apollo were called Carnea, supposedly based on the killing of the prophet Carnus—the son of Jupiter and Eruope, and Apollo’s lover. Even today, the Beltane Festival is wildly celebrated in certain locations on the British Isles. According to Caesar, the bravery of the Celts sprang from their lack of fear of death, the result of their belief that the soul does not die.
There is a prevalence of images of the human head at cult sites in virtually all regions believed to have been inhabited by the Celts. The Celts venerated the human head above all else because it was the temple of the soul—the center of emotions as well as of life itself and a symbol of divinity and the powers of the Otherworld, the world of the spirits.
The importance and extent of the cult of the severed head among the Celts is demonstrated by their display in shrines, either mounted in stonework as at La Roquepertuse in southern Gaul (France), or on wooden poles at the Bredon hill fort in western Britain.
In Welsh and Irish myth, the severed head is believed to be imbued with supernatural power.
There are universal beliefs in the Ancient Celtic Religion which are similar to other religions, most notably the Greeks. The next post will discuss the pantheon of Celtic gods and their association to Greek and Romans Gods. Being Fair Trade, these have good energy about them and make an uplifting, interesting and ethical gift. This is a 16cm stained glass window hanging.  It depicts a traditional Celtic cross with decorative knotwork on the design.
This circular glass hanging measures 16cm.  The detail has been added by glass painting in jewel-like colours. It comes with a chain which is attached to the rim and is supplied with a cup hook to hang it. ReviewsThere are no reviews yet, would you like to submit yoursOnly logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review. BeltaneBeltane begins tonight, 30th April at sunset and lasts until the same time tomorrow, 1st May.
All plans come as a Standard license, and can be upgraded to an Enhanced license at any time. The Ancient Druids believed the human soul was indestructible and was a continuation of a person’s existence that included all the functions of personality. Perhaps, this belief in reincarnation accounts for the Celtic mythology of shape shifting—the ability of an entity to physically transform into another being or form.

Some of the Greek fables of Hyperborea may be based on accounts from those who explored France and the British Isles.
At the time of Alexander the Great, Pytheas, a citizen of the Greek colony of Massilia (Marseille, France), published accounts of his voyages entitled, “Tour of the Earth.” Commissioned by the Senate to explore the north, Pytheas landed in Britain and Ireland, the German and Scandinavian coasts, and possibly beyond Iceland. The Greeks thought Boreas, the God of the North Wind, lived in Thrace and thus, Hyperborea lay north of Thrace. The Hyperborian high priest, Abaris, traveled to Greece and presented the sun god’s arrow to Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher who believed the soul was immortal. Of particular interest was the Beltane Festival held on the eve of May, when Druids kindled prodigious fires on cairns (stacks of stones) to honor the sun god they referred to as Beal, Bealan, or the Latin name of Belenus.
Men and beasts to be sacrificed passed between these fires, one of which was on a cairn while the other was on the ground. Ancient Greeks, by their own confession, learned some of their philosophy and many of their sacred fables from the Gauls (Celts in France) and other ancient civilizations. He traveled over Greece and into Italy where he discussed philosophy with Pythagoras and presented him with Apollo’s sacred arrow. Certainly, the abundant evidence of grave goods is ample proof of faith in the existence of an afterlife. When Bendigeitfran, one of the principal heroes in the cycle of Welsh legends called the Mabinogion is mortally wounded in battle, he commands his own men to cut off his head and bury it in London facing the east to guard Britain again foreign invasion. Some of these similarities may be result of these ancient civilizations interacting with each other and adopting each other’s philosophies and gods. I also wanted to highlight your insights regarding Hyperboreans and the way they worship Apollo probably in Stonehenge.Thank you very much for sharing.
I also continue to be amazed by the similarities between the Greek and Celtic myths and gods.
I think most people are unaware of the links between the Celts in Britain and the ancient Greeks. I was also surprised to learn that Stonehenge was referred to as Apollo’s Temple in ancient antiquity. What I admire about the Ancient Celts is that, even though they were a warlike society, women were treated as equals in their society. I am also fascinated with the universal mythologies and religious beliefs among the Greeks, Roman, Celtic, and Indian mythologies. It just goes to show how much interaction and influence the ancient cultures had on each other.
I agree Stonehenge is a remarkable archaeological site which I was fortunate to visit and explore the inside of the structure at sunset on a special tour a few years back. Everyone who signs up gets full access to our entire library, including our curated collections. Our Standard license allows you to use images for anything, except large print runs over 500,000+ or for merchandising.
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Warriors kept their enemies’ heads as trophies after battle based on their belief that the skull was the temple of the soul.
Further, there is evidence suggesting the Greek rituals of Apollo may be based on Celtic festivities to their sun god. In both Greek and Celtic mythology, this northern sea is where departed souls go before they come to the icy part.

Diodorus Siculus identified the region of Hyperborea as Britain, an island in the ocean no smaller than Sicily. It is of interest that inhabitants of the British Islands adorned themselves and their buildings with feathers, and many of them paid their rent with plumage. The purpose of the midsummer fires was to obtain the sun god’s blessings on the fruits of the earth.
It is highly probable they learned of the Beltane rituals either from travelers from Gaul or from citizens of the Phoenician colony of Massilia. It has been suggested by scholars that the doctrine of transmigration taught by Pythagoras may have actually been the Druidic philosophy that he learned from Abaris.
As with so many aspects of the warrior’s life, the taking of an opponent’s head in battle, preferably by single combat, had a mystical significance. Perhaps the souls of these unfortunate warriors were now being used to provide symbolic protection for these fortresses. Of particular interest was the widespread worship of Apollo, although the Celts may have referred to this sun god with different names. Probably as a result of extensive trading, these ancient civilizations shared their philosophy and beliefs in gods with one another.
As well, thank you for your comment and share of the Malala post as that truly was so kind of you.
I was inspired by your blog (WhenWomenInspire) about the courage of Malala to overcome adversity in her quest that all girls have the right to an education. Stonehenge is such a fascinating archaeological site and there’s been evidence of more stone circles outside of the UK!
If at any time you're unsatisfied with your experience with us, you can cancel your subscription. The coagulated sea may refer to the contrary tides around the British Isles that could impede a ship’s travel, whirling it around and swallowing it up.
Death in the physical world results in a soul moving to the Otherworld, whereas death in the Otherworld brings a soul back to this world. The head of the fallen enemy became an important prestige object for the warrior, as it revealed a deep bond between the victor and the vanquished. Apollo) may have been adopted from the Celts in addition to other ancient civilizations such as Egypt. The Hyperborean mythology suggest there was exchange of philosophy and religious beliefs between the Greeks and Celts, probably some of this through trading.
I’ve also signed up as a subscriber to your site which provides also some interesting posts on Greek mythology. It makes so much sense after reading your article of the well-travelled and influence the Celts had on others. Although Stonehenge was built centuries before the Greeks traded with the Britons, it is fascinating this site was associated with Apollo in ancient antiquity.

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