The Mist-Filled Path (excerpt)

by Frank MacEowen

The Celtic spiritual road is contextual and always open to wherever the beautiful mystery of the Soul of Life may reveal herself. Because of this, this is no unified Celtic tradition. Some Celtic descendants work more with ancient customs and technologies of the sacred that dwell within the fold of rural folkways. These descend from Druidism, a sacred natural philosophy of life whose followers love and revere nature.

Others consider themselves adherents to an earth-loving contemplative Celtic-Christian mysticism that looks on the Creation as filled to the brim with the effervescent and illuminative influence of a loving, wakeful God. Scholars such as Jean Markale and Peter Berresford Ellis strongly suggest that these steams within the Celtic tradition are kissing cousins, ensured by the good works of certain Celtic safes such as Morgan of Wales (Pelagius) and John Scotus Eriugena (John the Scot).

These days, in the United States, especially, many people are unfortunately caught up in the constrictive trap of overdefinition and separatism. Out lack of assurance about mystical reality and the ongoing realization that we, in the end, cannot define or pin down the unknown, cause some to cling to rigid ways of asserting what is and what is not spiritual, what is and what is not Celtic. We can simply utter the words, Celtic spirituality, and those within earshot may assume we are talking about pre-Christian Celtic tradition, shamanism, or Celtic-Christian tradition, depending on their viewpoint. The need to categorize is not as strong among Celtic rural people, be they people of the shore or the hill people.

Often the spirituality of the Celtic descendants in the homelands represents a unique and sophisticated form of spiritual syncretism that may weave elements of the pre-Christian earth-based animistic tradition with facets of rural folk Christianity, not unlike the Japanese people, who often blend Shinto nature customs, Buddhist prayers, and certain Confucian concepts to form the basis of their daily spirituality. What freedom of spirit! How beautiful to stand on a misty moor and orient oneself to a loving universe rather than to some wrathful conception of predestined darkness (Calvinism). The Celtic spirit does not avoid the darkness, or shadows, or struggle, resting in a quiet assurance that even within the darkest of the dark lies a flickering flame of goodness.

(Excerpt from pages 20-21)