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Celts, druids and the invention of tradition

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Chapter Summary

Despite the relative dearth of source material on the religion of the ancient Celts, for the past several centuries there has been a tremendous outpouring of popular publications and antiquarian scholarship on traditional Celtic spirituality. One consequence of this romantic Celticism was that, as early as the eighteenth century, people began founding Druid orders, based, initially, on contemporaneous secret societies, and, later, on esoteric initiatory groups. The fascination with all things Celtic goes a long way toward explaining why contemporary Pagans often identify themselves as Druids or as Celtic Pagans. The fact that Celtic Neopaganism is more of a contemporary fabrication than a direct descendant of ancient Celtism is not problematic to most reflective Pagans.

Keywords: Celts; Druids; Paganism; religious traditions



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