Welcome to Everything you want to know about The Celts

Hello there! We are a modern day Northern European Style tribe called Maers Khohias. We are of both Norse and Celtic decent here. Come sit. Warm yourself by our fire!! We want you to feel at home as we share some of our Celtic tribe's hospitality. Come. Join in our sitting circle, round the central cauldron and have something to eat, in our Celtic round house. Once fed, sit back, relax, read and listen to some of our stories. Here you will find great information, taking you back in time to meet the ancestors.

If you have the opportunity to come in person to Crawford Bay, BC and take in our courses taught at our school, you'll hear more information, on the Celts and the Vikings, not shared here, as well as live music. We'd love to hear your stories too!!

In no time, you'll be dancing, sharing some good mead or ale and adding to the rooms boasts and toasts.
We Northern European Celts and Vikings are waiting for you.

Having and event? We offer lots of props to choose from as well as great musicians and entertainers. This will be the icing for your Celtic or Viking medieval style event. Need some costumes or warrior gear? We shall help you there too. ... Or Maybe you are the studious type and want to study Celtic ritual, dance, music and beliefs, or have a you have a gift. If so you might want to take a course from our Druid/Bard schools. See here.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Who are the Vikings?

Who are the Vikings?

The first thing I would like to say is that the word 'Vikings' is used incorrectly.  To go 'Viking' meant to go raiding and is a Nordic term - Vikingr.  So Vikings refers really to the ones that went raiding not the people entire.......  for example one whose occupation was a blacksmith or housekeeper would not be referred to as a Vikingr. However, later when the English attached it to the whole populations from there. 

The proper term, to refer to these Northern tribes, is Norsemen.  Norsemen are people who speak or are descendants of people who speak the Old Norse languages - Scandinavians.  Scandinavians in ancient times also referred to areas of - Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, the Farce Islands, and Greenland. but today are more distinct.  Now split as Danes, German, Anglo-Saxon and so on., all referred to as their place of establishment but to simplify this, keep reading.  

VERY IMPORTANT - The fact that there was a rise of exploration and general unpleasantness by the Northern European tribes around 793-1066 CE, does not always mean that the entire population were viscious, it is the act of raiding that somehow became synonymous with the 'people' and sadly ever since been stuck with the name Vikings.   There were in fact very few 'Viking' tribes who formed but this should not reflect attitude of all this areas people.   You cannot let the few bad eggs, in any  culture, reflect the attitudes of the whole of that people.

In studying the Scandinavian people, I came to the understanding many things that most modern day pagans miss, at one time the Celts, Scandinavians  and other Europeans were all one people originally.  Now before you all bark an uproar, forget about outdated theory.  Since the late 2005 there is DNA evidence that no one can dispute.  This shows us how we all spread out to different areas, before and after the ice age and became our own style of people.

Genetic studies of Icelanders also show that 60 to 80% of their genes are of the what we call 'Celtic' origin today.   We know now that the Irish landed there prior to Norse peoples and when they came they brought with them spouses from these tribes as well.   Iceland excavations also show the mix of Nordic and Celtic stock from the British Isles.   Once established we read that some Norsemen imported their wives directly from Ireland and Scotland.

By the end of the first millennium they were settling lands as far west as Iceland and Greenland and eventually reached the shores of Newfoundland.  BUT - this 'Celtic / Norse DNA is now found  in some of the North American Indian tribes showing they were here long before this.  They drifted across in the ice age period.   It has now been proven that there was solid ice connecting Europe with Newfoundland during this time and the tribes most likely got caught traveling along it in search of food.

Another outdated claim is that Stonehenge was built before the time of the Celtic period so they couldn't have build it.  Because the DNA of the pre-iceage bodies (Cheddar man in particular) and those of modern day, it is now proven they were already there.  When they spread out, they of course lost track of each other and each group developed their own distinct culture, languages and rituals but all were similar  seen even in the mythologies.  

Another thing we must accept is that way before the so called "viking era" , a lot of the Scandinavian tribes had already come over to what is called the Celtic tribal areas as early as the 400's CE and were living quite peacefully, some intermarried.   In fact many bragged about having an Irish wife for they were thought very intelligent, soft of voice and beautiful. Norwegians joined others and settled in Normandy, Iceland, Greenland, ireland but never got a strong hold there, Scotland, Wales, Shetland, Orkney, the Hebrides, the Faroe islands and Mann.  In some Historical records we see East Norse , which referred to the Danes and Swedes so... it gets confusing for sure for Norse were also in England (and took over the throne) Finland, Russia, Belgium, France (mix of Germand and Gauls became Franks), the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, southern Italy and Canada.  And the Celts too were spread far a wide.  In fact DNA states the Objiwe tribe is both Celts and Asian - from Ice Age people.

It never ceases to amaze me that Caucasian people do not know their own history and lost beautiful rituals and beliefs.  And how people can fight to maintain our differences (which every tribe was) but we are the same peoples.

Why Are Scandinavian Gods so Warlike?

To understand their Gods, you must understand the people.  To understand the people, you must view them not with a modern mind but of the view of them or through their eyes, in their time.   Lets start from the most important thing.  The land they lived on;

Their ancient lands were at the far fringes of Europe, a difficult land, yet these people were able to call it home.   It was the same for those who traveled to Iceland and Greenland, land of freezing cold and fiery underworld geysers.  

Scandinavians were a sea fairing people and loved to find natural harbors as they made excellent places to hide their ships and fan them out.
Thus from the brutal land and the sometimes treacherous sea, the Norse world came from warriors view, a pure survival instinct.  They had to be tough and led a brutal existence, punctuated by warfare and periods of difficult sustenance during the cold winter months. They believed, if they died brave warriors in battle, they would be quickly whisked away to eternal happiness in Valhalla, the sacred hall of warriors.  The Celtic areas also speak of the soul being immortal and had no fear in battle.

All the tribes of this time believed the world was a magical place  and every single inanimate object was populated by a nature spirit.  This was weather, tree, sea and rock or mountain, animal and memory of  ancient beast passed down orally.  Incredibly thousands of years this was the way of keeping knowledge.  Their priests were called the Godi.

In looking at all this evidence, the ancient Scandinavians had a polytheistic religion, which means more than one God but by the end of the tenth century, the Scandinavians became Christianized by the traveling Irish monks.  The process went quite easy.  

Ancient Scandinavians honoured each God, in their tribe's pantheon, at a sacrifice time called a Blot.   Each God had a different date throughout the year.  A Blot, for example, could be at Yuletide.  The Vikings called this winter solstice date Jul.  Jul is the darkest time of the year when the sun died for 3 days then was reborn.  This blot was for the new year promises.   Other Gods blots were held in the different seasons.  The Celts, had different times of year for their sacrifices and dates for different gods or goddesses to be honoured as well.  The sacrifice at one of these consisted usually of animals. There is however a mention, in a saga, of the king of the Swedes being sacrificed to Odin after a few years of the tribes starvation which meant he was an un-fertile King.  We do have some references to the Celts doing this as well.
The sacrifice for the blot was made on an altar of piled up stones, called a Hörg. The blood of the animal was held in a Hlautbolli (bowl for blood).   After reciting songs in the honor of the god or gods chosen to worship, the priest passed the bowl with blood around as well as the meat.  A flame was involved and of course incantation songs. No doubt there was something done with the blood in the ceremony.   The Coligney Calendar shows that the Celts had both people celebrations and Holy days for the Druids only.

The Vikings, like the Celts, usually worshiped their gods in different areas outdoors as the Gods  were what they saw around them - hills, trees, rivers, constellations and so on.  There Gods were also their 'hero' ancestors, as they too believed they were descendants of the Gods.  The eldest Gods  resided in a special place and were considered a different level of Gods.  The Gods being those who birthed human nature  from them also had its rivalry.   The Celtic Gods had a hierarchy and 3 worlds.

Some rituals were held inside temples called hov. The hov wasn't necessarily a special building, it could be a hall or a part of a farm. These sacred places were also where trials were held. Scandinavians believed that justice was made by the gods.   Religion went hand in hand with law and still does in today's world.  For the Celts, both the Irish and Welsh laws still exist. 

Scandinavian Armour and Weapons:  Our knowledge, at this time, about arms and armour of the Viking age is from the eighth to eleventh centuries in Europe but we will try and keep you up to date as more surfaces.  We are always keeping up on new discoveries on documentaries and books.    Right now our knowledge is based on the sparse archaeological finds, pictorial representation, and a little on the accounts in the Norse sagas and laws recorded finally in the 1200's.  I would strongly like to point out that NEVER to date has their any been found any Viking helmet with horns.  This was only made popular through opera.   The Celts, however, had horn like cone helmets.
According to custom, all free Norse men were required to own weapons and permitted to carry them at all times if they could afford them.  These arms were an indication of the individuals social status.  A wealthy Viking would have complete gear, such as a metal helmet, wooden shield, chainmail shirt, and animal-skin coat, among various other weapons and so on.  The average landowner was likely limited to a spear, shield, and perhaps a seax (large knife), which gave the name to the Saxons  (an English Celts and Scandinavian mix tribe).  Some had hunting bows.  The Scot-Norse or Gaelic-Norse tribes in Highlands of Scotland might have had bows as well but bows were not popular for the Scottish tribes.  The Other Celts certainly had them though.

So Hence our name The Celts and Viking Mythology Shop is geared to Celtic and "Pirate" style peoples.

Germanic roots or language come from - (Britain,Germany, Iceland, Luxemburg, Belgium, Austria, Norway)


Sturlasson said...

In the first paragraph you are completely wrong, Viking means Vik which is kind of a synonym for fjord. Ing is a term used in scandinavian countries to show affiliation. If you are from for example the south (sør) you are a Søring. Viking were simply the name of people from the fjords (Vik) and has throughout history been bent to fit all scandinavian people. Originally it was only the West-Norwegian Vikings who really could call themselves Vikings.

The closest thing to Viking as a verb would be Vigsel which means to marry. Your paragraph is based on an unproven theory. The stuff I said above is the facts.

Sincerely a Scandinavian bachelors student in history.

Brahva said...

Thanks for reading Sturlasson, I very much appreciate that.

Im sure you will find with more study my findings to be correct. I can see where you might think this, having only your degree which only gives you access to some authors findings. But this evidence changes all the time and every scholar does not agree....rarely they do.

I myself also have my theories, being a scholar myself with 30 plus years of study myself in Celtic and Viking history. I have seen other evidence that out ways your theory in my opinion.

Anne Helene Wirstad said...

Prøver lage viking inspirert moderne grønne senter på Brakke Gård i Sande. Vil gjerne ha litt info og tatt en prat. Vil du ringe meg? 94177399. Mvh Anne Helene Wirstad

Brahva said...

Sounds fascinating Anne!! Do you own this farm? Where is Sande? You can right me and ask questions - anytime. acelticceilidh@gmail.com