Ancient Celtic religion

Ancient Celtic religion or Celtic paganism[1][2][3] was followed by the Celtic people in Europe long ago.

Since there aren't written records of their beliefs, we learn about them from what they left behind. The Celts believed in many gods and goddesses, and their religion was similar across different regions.[4] and "a basic religious homogeneity" among the Celtic peoples.[5] Some popular deities were Lugus, Toutatis, Taranis, Cernunnos, Epona, Maponos, Belenus, Ogmios, and Sucellos.[6][7] They also believed in spirits in nature.[7]

The priests of the Celtic religion were called druids, but we don't know much about them. The Celts held ceremonies in special places like groves and shrines.[8] Caesar says the Gauls believed they all descended from a god of the dead and underworld.[6] They made offerings of valuable items in water or wells. They sometimes sacrificed animals, and there are stories of human sacrifice, but it might be exaggerated.

We don't know all the festivals they celebrated, but they had four important ones during different seasons.[6] After the Romans took over Gaul and southern Britain, the Celtic religion mixed with Roman ideas. Later, the Celts started following Christianity, and their old religion faded.[7] However, Celtic mythology and beliefs had a lasting influence and inspired a modern religious movement called Celtic neopaganism.[9][10] Therefore, all there is to study their religion from is the literature from the early Christian period, commentaries from classical Greek and Roman scholars, and archaeological evidence.[11]


  1. Ross, Anne (1974). Pagan Celtic Britain: Studies in Iconography and Tradition. London: Sphere Books Ltd.
  2. Hutton, Ronald (1991). The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy. Oxford, UK and Cambridge, USA: Blackwell.
  3. Jones, Prudence and Pennick, Nigel (1995). A History of Pagan Europe. Routledge.
  4. Cunliffe, Barry (1997). The Ancient Celts. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. p. 184.
  5. Ross, Anne (1986). The Pagan Celts. London: B.T. Batsford. p. 103.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Cunliffe, Barry (2018) [1997]. "Chapter 11: Religious systems". The Ancient Celts (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 275–277, 286, 291–296.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Green, Miranda (2012). "Chapter 25: The Gods and the supernatural", The Celtic World. Routledge. pp.465–485
  8. Koch, John (2006). Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 1488–1491.
  9. Miranda J. Green. (2005) Exploring the world of the druids. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28571-3. p. 24.
  10. Emrys Evans (1992) Mythology Little Brown & Company. ISBN 0-316-84763-1. p. 170.
  11. Emrys Evans (1992) Mythology Little Brown & Company. ISBN 0-316-84763-1. pp. 170–171.