Pagan Blog Project: Keltoi; Misconceptions About The Ancient Celts

This was supposed to be quick as I’m trying to do a worrying amount of revision in about three days… but then I stumbled across the fact that the Roman’s word for the Celts was Keltoi and this post was born.

For those of you who don’t know me well I should preface this by explaining that as a Pagan I follow and have always followed the Celtic pantheon, am currently studying Druidry and am generally obsessed with all things Celtic- I even did half a GCSE on the Ancient Celts, their mythology and how they related to their Gods.

So this may not be a short post…

There are a hell of a lot of misconceptions about the Ancient Celts floating around, and I’m going to attempt to get rid of them.

This stems from the fact that I’ve been to a couple of Celtic museum places (okay, one) on holiday and they (it) annoyed me so much as it was covered with false information. I’d give it a link of shame but I can’t for the life of me even remember where it was I was on holiday (which is worrying when you take into account the fact that the holiday in question took place about ten months ago…)

So, without further ado:

MYTH: Human sacrifice

FACT: there’s really no archeological evidence for this one, so we’ll confine it to the ‘myth’ bucket, not that I really think there’s anything wrong with the whole human sacrifice thing… but that’s for another post.

MYTH: Head hunting of enemies

FACT: The Ancient Celts believed that the head was the most important part of the body- that I’ll put money on, and it’s therefore highly probable that they collected heads of slain enemies, we know (I think) that they displayed these heads around their homes and settlements but I think (I wouldn’t put much money on this claim, I forget where I heard it and can’t find any evidence supporting this claim with my quick google-ing) they seem to have put heads of their respected leaders on display too… but please don’t quote me on that one!

MYTH: Dirty savages

FACT: Bullshit… the Celts invented soap. They were a lot cleaner than the Romans!

MYTH: Uncivilised

FACT: The Celts had a system of social security that didn’t exist in our society until the late 1940s… actually, possibly the 1980s…

MYTH: Poor technological advancement

FACT: Really? You really think this?? Oh, for the sake of the Gods… the Ancient Celts invented and developed *takes deep breath* soap, social security, roads, trousers (I don’t know about that last one but they certainly wore them a lot) chain mail, iron working, horses bits, Celtic harp, horse shoes, whiskey, the jig… I could keep going but I actually need to do other stuff tonight.

MYTH: They feared their Gods

FACT: This is just rubbish, the Celts highly respected their Gods and you can tell from even a quick glance at their mythology that they had a very amiable relationship with their Gods. This thing comes from the whole non-Pagans not understanding Pagan Gods.

Some general other notes about the Ancient Celts would be that they didn’t invent Celtic knot-work, that came later; women could be equal or of higher status than men, but it wasn’t a rule; the Druids didn’t build Stonehenge, but they did use it for their own purposes and that the Celts were not a solid group of people but rather a load of interconnected tribes… can’t think of many more at the moment so I’ll leave it there.

Blessed be,

Wren x


8 thoughts on “Pagan Blog Project: Keltoi; Misconceptions About The Ancient Celts

  1. I’m beginning to look at Celtic mythology, and I love it so far! A fine post, I look forward to hearing more about it all 🙂

  2. The celts are brilliant. I remember when Surviving the Iron Age was on tv (and it was being barely twenty miles away). I looooooooooooooove the celts. ^.^ They came up with awesome technologies to make things, like their specific kind of looms and tools for building. On top of that they respected knowledge and passed down a lot of knowledge of plant life. Also, over the past few years archaeologists have started to uncover very complicated temple systems that used rites of passage by fire and showed that they believed that you progressed spiritually throughout your entire life… and they liked a lot of ceremony. However, there has been found some evidence of what might have been ritual human sacrifice but some dispute and call them plain old murders and there’s much more evidence that there was animal sacrifice. There is a site in mid Wales, I think, where they might have had some structure designed for human sacrifice. I don’t know the full story though. :/
    And on the tribes, I’m a proud Demetae! ^.^ … I found a map of the tribes and worked it out from where I live. XD
    Blessed be

    • Yay! It’s so nice to find people who appreciate the Celts, most people I know tend to veer towards the Romans and the Egyptians. They’re such an unappreciated group of people 😦 the tribes thing sounds amazing, I’m going to have to do some google-ing!
      Wren x

  3. I’ve always felt drawn to anything celtic in nature. Now, I know it might be a ‘touristy’ trap nowadays, but there is a deep sense of something timeless hidden there. Thanks for this post. Perhaps you could write a series of posts about celtic paganism. I’d love to learn more!


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