The Celtic People's Thinking
In order to understand the tribal Structure below, we must understand the ancient way of thought. True paganism. All of ancient Celts were organized in a similar fashion in accordance with a complex hierarchy within a Celtic tribe and the hierarchy extended within its occupations. All the clans (tribes) of the area had some liberty to adhere to a main tribe, or ruling tribe. The degree of dependence determined whether an effective part of that tribe and the distance of its commune (or gathering house), had influence it enjoyed within the main tribe council. obviously then, the lesser tribes on the outskirts of the main tribal territory were the most independent communes. In other words, everybody had a part to play and everyone's actions rubbed off on the whole of the tribe and working functionality of the tribe.
In order to assure some protection in case of war, the Chieftains and/or his/her representatives of these smaller independent fine/clan houses, who attended the gatherings of the tribe, would each promise to send soldiers to the neighbouring tribes if the need arouse. These troops were considered to be auxiliary troops, who had to obey the commanders of the main or central tribe.
As with many cultures, all tribes could be broken down into subtribes, and these subclans broken down again into fines or family units and the bonds to these connecting tribes were always way more stronger than any religious beliefs. I want to clarify that Clan and Tribe in the ancient days, was the same thing. Today it is different as clan now refers to individual family names. They did not bicker back and forth about what is right and what is wrong about their beliefs, as the ridiculous banter that goes on today, they each had their own way period BUT each followed a land law based on an honour code system, one of the virtues that was gladly adhered to by all.
As said in one of my other articles, so many people focus on making a religion exclusively to the Celts as a whole, confusing the Celts to all have the same ethics or be of a 'race', failing to understand they were all different and the Celts are NOT a race. They share a similar language. But regardless of all that the most important point of all they did all share - Tribalism. None of these other things matter, if you do not keep of one's promise, the promise to be ever faithful to the tribe. Their word to another, no matter what disagreements came their way, was like gold. They were loyal to the end, as a lie meant never to be trusted again and shamed. Tribalism was so important, that no matter what came, the tribe would grow and thrive, as a unit. You can't join a tribe then a few years later change your mind even if it was a disagreement. It worked together and 'faced' their fears, for the facing of each other, was the most courage one could show and the most growth in advancement of enlightenment and life lessons.
Lineage behind you gives great power and, as with any power, it must be held in a responsible manner, not to be just given over to another without permission from the original tribe who holds it. It provides a tangible link to the tribe, its tribal area and its proof of permission to be included in thus family, is given only at the ceremony and permission by the one who is the leader of the tradition that passed it to you. Anyone caught doing so without permission, or even giving the secret and/or similar ritual, even if parts were changed, is thought of as dishonorable. You cannot take claim of the common ancestor unless adopted for life by that tribe.
Lineage ensures the right to form your own clan, teach that way, or use the clan's items. It gives one legal protection to an individual. Even the apprenticeship of a Celts occupation song dance, rite or the holding of a particular tools, must be given in honour. For example, a warrior cannot just choose to carry a sword or carry a blade, without the rights handed down.
When the occasion arose, that a person showed a talent for a different profession, he would be shown to the teachers of that profession and accepted for training there as an adult. As a child, all went to a foster clan for their coming of age to adulthood. Unlike the quick give me a title attitude of the new-age pagans today, the priest Castes took 20 years to receive their titles and they went by a sort of degree system, receiving a new title to show where they were in their training.
Oh by the way, keep in mind that this was written down when Christianity was prevalent, so some of the laws were adjusted to this new age & but most was maintained. It doesn't give any light on woman occupations but does give insight into their rights in relationships. We do know from other evidence that women also ruled and led armies.
Knowing this now, here goes the actual terms of the Structure;
Clan/Tribe - The five groups from the Four Septs and the original one, each of 17 persons. Family rank was by the youngest or newest member, not the oldest or longest like we would do today and of course still with the original Chief or Chieftain. The youngest would recieve all the inheritance when Chief died and the eldest would be kicked out or lose dignity as he aged.
Miscelaneous Celtic Facts
- Goddesses mostly ruled the land and the Gods the sky in later iron age and possibly bronze.
- Kings before they married a bride had to undergo a ritual to marry the land itself. (Gerald of Wales (1146 – 1223 CE). Sex with white mare, drank broth from flesh.
- Kings have to be perfect. If they are missing any body parts or are scarred in anyway or if they could no longer have sex, they could not be King. Why because they strongly believed he would cause the land damage.
- If you disrespected the Goddess you would cause wasting of the land as well.
- The Hero to be King, it was said, had to go through severe testing by the goddess to make sure they were worthy of her hand. The earliest tale of this is Niall and his brothers. Arthurian legends retains it as well – Gawain and Raglan, and also if a King treats his Queen badly. Queen most definitely is directly linked to the Goddess in physical form.
- We see from historical facts that Cartimandua (sleek pony), leader of the Brigantes, and Boudicca, leader of the Iceni, they were warrior queens in their own right and clearly were considered Goddess by their very names.
- If a Queen rules , the King is only her consort – Queen Maeve shows this.
- Wore torcs for divinity or aristocracy
- we know for sure they had a need to sacrifice valuable objects to their gods.
- - we know there were in Swizerland tribes as the bogs filled of Celtic items 100 BCE, lake Neuchatel.
Some of this way of life, in my opinion, should return to modern day and with it would come more respect for our fellow man and the earth and its creatures. We need to learn to live on natural replenishing resources, not irreplaceable secondary products that will be used up like oil and gas.