May 17, 2010

Defining Celtic Spirituality

photo via creative commons by Still Burning
It is good to define “spirituality” at this point. Spirituality is a term that in today’s world can mean anything from New Age philosophies to those things associated with the established church order.

But consider this meaning, found in The Oxford English Dictionary: “relating to or affecting the human spirit as opposed to material or physical things.” Spirituality is non-physical, that part of us that reaches and yearns for a greater power—a way to connect ourselves to all humanity. This is not a promise of self-fulfillment or self-exploration. To focus on one’s self would be out of balance with the Celtic way. There is a harmony that must not be upset. It is God within oneself, God in Creation, and God in others. These three things are the guideposts to the Celtic path.

For the Celts, both Christian and pagan, what was most important was how their experience of a greater spiritual power related to life around them. This was their heritage. Some have said that this enthusiasm for living a spiritual life in Christ was very near to what the first Christians, those Christ-followers who worshipped Jesus immediately after his death and resurrection, experienced. There is certainly no such thing as a pure religion because religion is the work of people. But many have chosen the Celtic way because it speaks to them like no other.

Author Esther De Waal sums up the need for exploring the Celtic way this way, “…life is seen in its wholeness—and it is something that most people in the West today have forgotten…the gift of the Celtic world is to renew that lost vision.”

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