The Romans are said to have been astonished by the range of gods and spirits the Celtic peoples honoured, yet the Celts were feared for their prowess in war, helped mightily by their ability to travel far across land and sea. So they were a practical people, who used their stories and legends as a way to record their exploits and indeed I suppose spread fear and wonder at their apparently supernatural existence. Knowing the world, and how it turned, and how to live well in it whether through winter or summer, was a crucial part of this. For me, feeling the world turn around you is a combination of both spirituality and practicality; having a balance between appreciating what’s there and where it’s taking you, is key. Being closer to the earth, how it works, how things grow, helps us understand that we have a responsibility towards it; it’s not ours, but we are a part of it, and because we take so much from it, we really have to give something back! I think some people find conflict between following a pagan path and being part of modern society. Many of us lay claim to a harmony with nature and the earth, then drive miles and miles to get to some gathering or other, pumping out pollutants and notching up that ever present carbon footprint! Yet I think it’s important to remember that everything is about balance, using what you have, when you have to, and ensuring that any “bad” behaviour is offset in some way. Many people I know drive miles to get to farms and campsites for various events, yet most of those people are also deeply involved in the conservation of the area, the promotion of living spaces for local wildlife and the prevention of the destruction of natural habitats for the creatures that already reside there. So there is no spurning of modern society and little hypocrisy, just a genuine desire to better understand the natural world, become a part of it rather than just living of it, and perhaps get a glimpse of life as it is without the trample of busy human feet.

excerpt from A Modern Celt (c) 2012

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