The Celts ranged from norther Italy to what is now Denmark and from the Urals to the Atlantic. If you are of northern European descent, this is your indigenous tradition.
As an indigenous tradition, it has much in common with indigenous cultures throughout the world. Each teach the wisdom of the real human being which has become the guiding principles of AnamCara.
- know yourself: your needs, gifts, responsibilities and how to maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit.
- know how to support strong loving relationships with family and community.
- know your place in an interdependent, sentient, ensouled creation.
- know your responsibility to the Earth as the Great Mother of all life, who must be protected and sustained so that She will sustain us.
What is now known as Celtic spirituality is a three-layered tradition spanning 10,000 years. It began with the original peoples of Europe, Neolithic Goddess worshippers who had an extraordinarily sophisticated spiritual practice. The second layer of the tradition came with the Celtic tribes, who inhabited most of Europe from 500 BC to 500 AD. Because of the strength of the Celtic tradition in the British Isles, Christianity — the third layer of the tradition — developed in a very different way than in the rest of Europe. It merged with pre-Christian Celtic spiritually, thus developing a Christianity rooted in creation rather than having dominion over it. The depth of this tradition is what makes Celtic spirituality so accessible. It brings indigenous spirituality, the sacred feminine and Christianity together into a living spiritual practice. You can see that in the Celtic Cross that shows the 5 directions of Celtic tradition within the circle of Life.
Indigenous knowing is a part of all of us. It is our heritage, no matter what race or place of origin. In my work, I have found that many people feel guilt about the decimation of indigenous peoples and the environment as a result of Western conquest and industrialization. The great tragedy is that, as a result, these people feel they have forfeited the right to be in sacred relationship with the earth. They believe that relationship is reserved for the indigenous peoples of the earth.
Our sacred relationship to all creation is an inalienable spiritual birthright that cannot be lost. Indeed, the remedy for the excesses and alienated lifestyle of Western culture is to reclaim the sacred relationship once again. Once we realize that we are part of a creation that is alive, intelligent, interrelated and interdependent, we will, as Janine Benyus, visionary thinker of the Biomimicry Institute, says, "make decisions conducive to life".
Celtic tradition is rich in the values that support this way of being: the importance of family; our interdependence with all things; sacredness of all life; the wisdom of natural rhythms and carrying capacities; the ceremonies that mark them; shared responsibility of the welfare of the clan; the importance of one’s word; respect for the elders and ancestors; and the indivisibility of body, mind and spirit.
The Anam Cara program will use the Celtic Tradition as apattern of reconnection while supporting each student , whatever his or her own indigenous culture.