The Celtic World View Document in The Blessed Isles | World Anvil

The Celtic World View

Written by EltonJ

There are two things to which the Gauls are devoted: the art of war and subtlety of speech.
– M. Porcius Cato     The Celts saw their world as both mysterious and familiar. They saw possibility, looking at the world through a subjective spyglass. The Celts, every one of them, accepted magic and wonder as easily as we accept grass or trees. They accepted a whole other world called the Otherworld, as extant. They loved to hear tales of heroes from long ago and places far away. The Celts would welcome these self-same heroes if they turned up, giving them hospitality as easily as we could. The Celts didn't see the world as predictable like the Greeks and the Romans, instead they imagined the world to be unpredictable and mutable. The Celts didn't need everything to be explained through science and natural philosophy. The Celts would have seen our Classical approach to the world as amusing. To them, the world was arcane and best left alone. A Celt's attitude toward magic and wonder was this: "Druids may meddle with magic and the arcane, but if a warrior saw it, he was okay with it and didn't ask questions." Of course, the Celt cared about what happened to them. Honor, hospitality, their clan, and their reputations were what they cared about. After all, everything to a Celtic hero that they cared about they took personally.   A Celt's day to day life and reality was concerned with other Celts, than with the gods or the magic of the world. That included the Sídhe (pronounced SHEE) and other magical beings. After all, to a Celt, if your peers thought poorly of you – you might as well be dead. After all, Ferdiad went up against Cuchulain knowing he would be killed, but he did not want his other friends to think he was a coward. Cuchulain broke a geas and ate dogmeat, rather than be thought of as being haughty and proud. A Celt enjoyed life to the fullest. He ate heartly and drank heavily and searched for the best that life could offer. Restraint and moderation were not thought of as virtues to the Celts. A Celt would throw himself in all of his endeavors, to give all that they had in life. After all, Cailte spoke of his leader, Finn Mac Cool with high praise. He said, “If the brown leaves falling in the woods were gold, if the waves of the sea were silver, Finn would have given away the whole of it.”   A Celt loved life, and lived it as if he would die at any moment. They did not see the world through a sanitized lens. After all, Deirdre discovered the face of her true love in a raven who was eating a bloody carcass in the snow. A Celt did not see the natural world as disgusting or shameful in anyway. The only shameful things were in human behavior – attacking a guest, refusing a fair fight, telling falsehoods, rape, et cetera. To a Celt, many joys were available, but even joy was touched by sadness. Celtic stories often ended with a low note. A hero like Cuchulain could be struck down in his prime, or live to old age to pass on the stories to a new generation.   The greatest wish of a Celtic hero is that the stories of his deeds will live on. This is why bards were often thought of as the honored among the people. The mood of the stories was a reflection of hiraeth. Hiraeth is a Welsh word which means longing, nostalgia, or homesickness. A famed poem was Maytime is a Splendid Time, which celebrated spring but reminded everyone that winter was coming. This was typical of the Celts.

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