We must look deep into the needfire to find the origin of the Celts, for before they were Celts, they sat around an ancient communal fire in the Steppes of Central Asia with their kin, ancestors of most modern Europeans, the Persians, and the East-Indians. They were the first to tame horses, they all shared a language (Proto Indo-European), a culture and a religion alive with gods in every tree, rock and song.
Beginning around 1500 BC, there came a time for a separating of ways among the ancient kin. Were those that became the Celts the musicians in the group? Possibly. But the divine in song was in everyone’s throat, and there is ample proof in the ancient songs that remain to be heard from especially the Persians, East-Indians, Scandinavians, Spanish, and Slavs. Most of the rest of Europe decided to put on airs, and put away these ancient songs in favor of turning music into mathematical written notes & harmonies in a much narrower scale.
The Slavs stayed in the Steppes, spreading out to the East, keeping their ancient communal fire glowing, the Persians and East-Indians headed South and South-East, while the Celts, and other modern European ancestors carried the fire west around 1200 BC, livening their path with their various nature deities — and their song.
It seems that the Celts have been more successful than the rest of their ancient kin in keeping the needfire of their origins alive. The world is all the richer for it. Sure, they put on the Catholic cloak, but with so many saints to parallel their deities, the cloak fit just fine. To be fair to their ancient kin, who either adopted Christianity, created Zoroastrianism, or the Vedas, all still kept traces of their origins intact. Perhaps it is just the Celts’ passionate, unassuming song heard round the world that elicits such a conclusion.
Journeying out, the Celts first settled near the Danube River, named after Danu, their most ancient Mother Goddess. Traces of Danu, in different variations, can be found throughout Europe, Persia and India, often in the names of rivers.
By about 1000 BC, groups of Celts had also settled in what would become northern Spain, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. the Isles of Man, and England. Later, through various skirmishes in the fifth century, they also moved into what became Brittany in northwestern France.
Legend has it that the Celts hopped the pond to North America a lot earlier than Christopher Columbus. In the sixth century, St Brendan claimed to have visited Canada, inspiring Tim Severn to re-enact his adventures in the 1970s, then write the book The Brendan Voyage. Other ancient sea-faring Celts apparently made it inland to Peterborough, Ontario, to fight with native Canadians and leave behind inscriptions on boulders. Eighth-century Scottish exiles, and ninth-century Culdee monks are also said to have come.
Then there is the claimed 1398 voyage of Scottish noble Henry Sinclair, which some say is woven into the native Mi’k Maq’s Glooscap legend about a white god’s visit. At the very least, it is certain that Scots came to “New Scotland,” Nova Scotia in the early 1600s until they got chased out by the French Acadians who were running from the British.
Another legend is told of Celtic noble Madoc ap Rhys Owen touching down in the southeast U.S. in 1170, then supposedly working his way inland and marrying into the Mandan tribes. For certain, Celts began to flood into America centuries later, seeking a better life. Galicians and Asturians from Spain headed for New York, Mexico, Cuba or South America. Some Celts headed to California. But most Celts spread themselves up and down the Appalachian mountains of the Virginias, the Carolinas, Kentucky and Tennessee, where a blending of the music of imported Africans & Celts created American music.
Wherever they landed, they carried their ancient needfire through their song. And if they tried to put on airs, as soon as the fiddle came out and shoes were kicked off, they were dancing all the ancient earth’s divine out of hiding and back to life in the fire’s jigging light. Thank God, they just can’t help it!
Czulinski, Winnie, Drone On! The High History of Celtic Music, Sound and Vision, 2004
Celtic History-Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_history captured 3-7-14
Eliyora Entertainment LLC. Ever Entertainment. © Paradunai LLC. All international rights reserved. All trademarks property of Paradunai LLC. All personas, concepts and original songs created and performed by Sherese Chrétien.