A glance at Celtic Spirituality
Ian Bradley in his book "The Celtic Way" states,
"Celtic Christianity was a faith hammered out at the margins. The Celts lived on the margins of Europe and the margins of Christendom. they lived close to nature, close to the elements, close to God and close to homelessness, poverty and starvation."
I do not agree totally with all this, but know that Celtic Christians did live often on the edge, knowing suffering and oppression. Their story is similar in ways to that of Our Lord's, but They have left us so much. We do have a rich heritage and the many prayers, poems, and other things which point to the knowledge of the Almighty God.
When I first went to Tintern I was surprised to see that they followed Celtic Advent, which proved to be an even better way of slowing down the rush into Christmas. The green candles initially spoke of the elements. Celtic Advent started earlier and yes, took the emphasis away away from our end of Church year remembering etc Christ the King, but did immerse the people in a more simple way as we journeyed slowly towards Christmas. It was fruitful.
This may have been spoken by St Patrick before battle, but equally perhaps it was just part of the heritage of Celtic Christians who used it as an invocation to the power of God and the protection in daily life from all that could harm. It is centred upon an understanding of the Incarnational God who with us and alongside us. Christ's presence was acknowledged in the Eucharist - the Mass, but beyond that too that Christ himself was tied, woven around us by Celtic ribbons and knots as we see in Celtic patterns and that the people felt and do still feel that Christ is woven into our very beings and lives. God encircles us each and every day and we are upheld by him and was the very real sense of the Divine actually with us - in nature, in our lives.
Celtic spirituality is very much a part of our experience of Christianity and many of us value different parts of it. We use the Wild Goose materials, Iona etc. We are enriched by where we are, who we are are the the encircling of the love of God in Christ in our lives, our journeying and in our world.
"May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand."