“I did not find this path; it found me.”
Some people learn religion from their parents. Others research and attend services and then select the best path. For many Celtic Reconstructionists, a spiritual awakening did not happen that way–they were already living with Celtic Reconstructionist ideals.
As a movement, Celtic Reconstructionism did not name itself until the 1990s. Celtic Reconstructionists embrace many ancient Celtic values and rituals and put them into practice today. Like any other type of paganism, Celtic Reconstructionism can be practiced by a solitary practitioner or within a group.
Although this religion is new in terms of a formal name, Celtic Reconstructionism in various forms has been around for millennia, even in many Christian practices. Every human spirit that has ever spiritually honored her or his Celtic origins has understood the very essence of Celtic Reconstructionism and the intuitive motivation for many Celtic Reconstructionists.
Celtic Reconstructionists are usually poetic souls. If the person is not an artist or entertainer of some sort, she or he typically holds a very high esteem for the arts and their place in society. This respect comes from an ancient tradition of respecting the community poet-bard, who was also responsible for remembering and recalling clann history. In Gaelic cultures, the coming of Christianity and war did not eliminate the revered place of the bard–for proof, simply note how the musicians at your local Irish pub are treated and how the audience reacts to them.
Due to the nature of Celtic Christianity, many elements of original Celtic beliefs were preserved. The Trinity, of course, is the most famous example, being essential and sacred to Celtic pagans and to Catholics alike.
As partakers in a movement, Celtic Reconstructionists take what information they can gather from texts, accounts, and personal knowledge of ancient ways and put this into practice. They leave particularly less desirable elements out (accounts of sacrifice exist, though they were written by Romans such as Julius Caesar) and include an evenhanded tolerance and equality.
Strictly speaking, Celtic Reconstructionists embrace polytheism, though I have heard more than one person suggest that the Celtic deities are many faces of one being. This is debatably acceptable among other Celtic Reconstructionists, some of whom focus on one patron deity most of the time. While some Reconstructionists reject any Christian influence, others incorporate the saints into their rituals and prayers, and even make altars to honor them.
Most Celtic Reconstructionists make offerings to deities. This can be as simple as nourishing the ground with milk or leaving a bit of wine outside. It reinforces the overtly personal nature of the human relationship with the divine and the human place in nature–concepts essential to understanding Celtic Reconstructionism.
The legends, stories, and myths that accompany Celtic Reconstructionism may already feel familiar. It is likely that you’ve heard these stories before in one form or another, particularly if your family is of Gaelic origin or of the Irish diaspora.
If this path sounds appealing, let your instincts lead you and do not feel obligated to relinquish other beliefs or ethics. There is a place within Celtic Reconstructionism for every member of Celtic society: the warrior, mother, child, merchant, and more.