A catechized presentation of the Keltoi Tradition
Table of Contents
Q. What are we by nature?
A. We are spiritual beings undergoing a human experience.
Q. What is meant by “spiritual beings”?
A. We believe that there is an immortal component in all of us that is of Divine origin.
Q. What is meant of “human experience”?
A. That immortal component is encased in this human body and bounded by this experience we call life.
Q. Why are we undergoing this experience?
A. To evolve our immortal components by the process, to fulfill our duty of keeping the wisdom traditions alive, and to help restore balance wherever it is amiss.
Q. Are we then divine beings?
A. Yes, inasmuch as we are limited by our human forms, and inasmuch as all humans are divine beings.
Q. What is meant by “wisdom tradition”?
A. Wisdom traditions are systems of belief and/or instruction that attempt to further our connection to and our advancement of our spiritual natures.
Q. Why then is it our duty to continue the wisdom traditions?
A. Our awareness of them obligates us; our respect for them drives us; our love for them inspires us.
Q. Upon what may we rely to achieve this?
A. Our selves, our Keltoi tribes, and our Gods.
Q. How may we live a fulfilling life?
A. Recognize that we are of divine origin; recognize that all others are also of divine origin; recognize that our common origin binds us together; live in harmony with the natural order; honor tradition and the ancestors; live freely in the present; hear the voice of tomorrow; and take joy in this human experience.
Q. Are the Keltoi pagan?
A. By the definition of the word, yes we are; however, negative connotations have become associated with that label. Until we can help to undo that damage which has been done we rarely identify ourselves that way. We are Druid.
Q. What is meant by Druid?
A. The Keltoi are a particular delineation of Celtic Pagan. It is a nature-based tradition following as closely as possible the mystery tradition of ancient Western Europe as adapted to our current age.
Q. Do the Keltoi believe in God?
A. Yes we do, but we define God in terms of various manifestations of Deity. These manifestations are how we represent the ineffable Divine, much as any religious tradition has its face for God.
Q. What then is the Keltoi concept of Deity?
A. We recognize various forms of Deity including animism, pantheism, polytheism, pan-polytheism, duo-theism, and certain interpretations of monotheism; however, our liturgy is based around a fixed pantheon in duo-theistic rotation. This is adaptable very readily to most of the above listed deistic interpretations. We do view this as an individual and highly personal choice but have structured the liturgy to be as true to the ancient concepts and adaptable to the modern ones as possible while maintaining its theological value and purity.
Q. What does this mean?
A. This means that your personal relationship to Deity is your concern. We offer a focused approach for the purpose of uniformity and group direction. Your view will likely not be in disagreement with it. In other words, your view of God will likely not be diminished through our lens.
Q. What is the Keltoi pantheon?
A. It is a paleo-Celtic “family” of Gods and Goddesses each with special significance to the cycle of the year and the natural order of life.
Q. Do all Keltoi use the same pantheon?
A. Yes, but they do not all use the same names.
Q. What does this mean?
A. Any culturally homogonous paleo-Celtic pantheon will work if the various faces of the Gods and Goddesses are the same behind their names. Their representations and the balances of one against the other are much more important than the language by which they are called. Of most importance though is that the pantheon be culturally homogonous and fixed. Our view is that an unfixed or eclectic pantheon only disrupts focus and indicates lack of scholarship and discipline. It is not that we have a narrow or rigid view of religion, or even of worship. However you are much more likely to make progress down a path if you continue to face a uniform direction, especially when leading others.
Q. What other facets are there to the Keltoi cosmology?
A. We recognize and honor our Ancestors, because they tie us to our memory and our past. We also recognize the Nature Spirits, because they tie us to the Earth and the moment in its passing. We view reality as a malleable thing in the hands of the wise, and we practice the workings of magick which are intrinsic to the rest of our beliefs.
Q. What is meant by keeping the wisdom traditions alive?
A. We are keepers and regenerators of the wisdom teachings of the paleo-Druids. These teachings represent one culture’s manifestation of harmony with the natural world and the Divine as it is manifested and reflected in the natural world. It is our duty to honor these traditions, to work to preserve and extend their completeness, and to pass them on to our future generations.
Q. What is meant by restoring balance?
A. Our reality revolves around the natural order. That which disrupts the natural order or introduces disharmony causes imbalance. We work to preserve and correct that balance.
Q. How is this done?
A. We guard truth and justice. We advocate harmony and scholarship. We preserve the past, live freely in the present, and prepare for the future with regard to the natural order.
Q. How do we know what these traditions are?
A. The Keltoi emphasize scholarship. Our research leads us into archaeology, anthropology, ancient history, comparative religious study, physics, metaphysics, chemistry, and geneology. Like most established religions, our tradition has been preserved from ancient times as closely as possible and adapted to our present age as carefully as possible to avoid obscuring its basis.
Q. What are the canonized texts of the Keltoi?
A. The Keltoi have no canonized text to speak of. The Ancients did not commit sacred knowledge to writing. It was passed down orally from teacher to student.
Q. Why was it an oral tradition?
A. There were three major reasons: to keep the tradition sealed against modification or dilution, to control its dissemination, and to emphasize mnemonic training.
Q. Under what authority do the Keltoi preserve and perpetuate this tradition?
A. Our research has provided us a strong foundation of what our tradition was. Our application of it to our current age has proven that it is still of value. The evidences we have gathered have proven its validity to us.
Q. How can the Keltoi claim to know these things?
A. Through the evidences of our first-hand experience. However, we do not claim to know all. Our tradition is perpetually being refined, expanded, and then further distilled as we learn and experience more. As we continue to evolve, so does the tradition. Like its people, it is a living thing.
Q. What are the commandments or rules of the Keltoi Tradition?
A. We have no commandments in the way that this question is meant. Neither do we govern ourselves with the Wiccan Rede as it is often interpreted.
Q. Upon what do the Keltoi base their ethics and conduct?
A. We primarily base our daily living upon three things:
- the triad – Truth in our hearts, strength in our arms, and fulfillment upon our tongues ; also known as the Heroes’ Code
- the admonition – Truth Against the World
- and the Natural Order of the Earth and all its cycles.
Q. Only these things?
A. There are also many triads like the Heroes’ Code that have also been preserved from ancient times, which are statements about our basic beliefs in the natural order. They are more specific to particular scenarios and issues and provide a good guideline beyond the above listed primaries. We also draw upon the laws of other wisdom traditions to aid in the management of the Grove itself.
Q. What does the Heroes’ Code intend?
A. There are deep interpretations of this triad, but they are all derivatives of the concepts of truth to yourself, your people, and your Gods; preparedness to defend these; and honoring your oaths to do so.
Q. What is meant by Truth Against the World?
A. Once again there are deep interpretations of this, but they are distilled into the concept that there is an inalienable Truth that we strive to understand and become a part of.
Q. What is meant by the Natural Order?
A. There is a harmony to all living things and it follows a definite progression. This progression is the Natural Order.
Q. What is the Keltoi view of sin and redemption?
A. The Keltoi have no definition of sin. However, we do have understanding of the concepts of injustice, unethical behavior, and disharmony. These are brought about in many ways such as the deviation from the natural order, thus distorting our relationship with the Gods, with other people, and with all creation. All things causing disharmony result in the generation of karma (to use the Hindu word). There is no “redemption” for our disharmony, but by universal law, the disharmony will be resolved in an inexorable return to the natural order. Conscious resolution of disharmony, active discipline to avoid generating it, and assisting others in regaining balance are goals of the Keltoi.
Q. In what way does disharmony have power over us?
A. It becomes reflected in the facets of your life. Disharmony generated by the self, causes the return of disharmony to the self. The generation of balance within the self will radiate balance from the self. The quality of life and spiritual peace is often tied directly to this balance.
Q. What is the purpose of the resolution of disharmony?
A. If there were one commandment in all religions it would be: the immortal self shall not be disfigured. By resolving disharmony within ourselves and helping to preserve harmony in all things, we permit our immortal selves to evolve.
Q. What is meant by the immortal selves?
A. The parts within each of us which are Divine and of the Divine.
Q. What is meant by evolving the immortal self?
A. Bringing it closer to this resident Divine ideal while it is encased in this mortal vehicle.
Q. What is the Divine Fire?
A. It is the procession of energy from the Divine to us. It is called by many names, most notably in our tradition it is called Imbas.
Q. What is its purpose?
A. It gives us life and connects us with our Gods.
Q. How is it revealed to us?
A. It manifests as life, energy, inspiration, magick, love, and all other similar impressions. It is present when you as an individual feel the touch of the Divine in your life.
Q. How do we recognize it in our lives?
A. It is what binds us together and brings us closer to the Divine. It is the source of our strength and the thread of our connectedness.
Q. What is magick?
A. Magick is change brought about by directed action of the will. It is spelled differently in order to differentiate it from stage magic, which is illusion. Magick is subject to certain laws and requires training and respect to properly understand it and its pervasive nature.
Q. What is a Grove?
A. A Grove is our church. It is a place of training, ritual, and sanctuary. It is a place of celebration, healing, and a stronghold in desperate times. It is not necessarily tied to a particular type of geography, but the Keltoi prefer settings in Nature. A Keltoi Grove must be founded by a Keltoi Elder and include enough people to enact the rites of the Keltoi liturgy.
Q. What do we know of the Groves of our ancestors?
A. They were sacred, hidden, well protected, and places of great knowledge, wisdom, and power.
Q. Who are the ministers of the Keltoi tradition?
A. The ministers of the Keltoi are all clergy of the Keltoi tradition assembled and trained for the purpose of ritual and teaching.
Q. What members of the clergy are necessary to fulfill the liturgy?
A. A “fully staffed” Keltoi Grove will have at least one of each of the following: Priestess, Bard, Seer(ess), Guardian, and Priest.
Q. What are the functions of each of these?
A. Each is unto itself a path within the Keltoi. Discussions of each path are contained in another document.
Q. What are the Rites of the Keltoi?
A. Celebrations or directed magickal workings which correspond to seasonal, personal, or Grove goals.
Q. What is meant by the seasonal rites?
A. The Keltoi year is based upon the solar progression. Our ancestors based their lives around the agrarian year because their survival was inextricably linked to harmony with the land. This wheel of the year is an outward and visible sign of the endless natural order to which we all strive to adhere and with which we all aspire to harmonize. The progression of the wheel of the year is earmarked by eight festivals each corresponding with a particular solar event or traditional pastoral occurrence.
Q. What is meant by personal rites?
A. The Keltoi teachings demand personal responsibility and growth in your spiritual path. Each person’s relationship to the Gods and to their own spiritual path is a cause for celebration as their needs, wants, and Imbas dictate.
Q. What is meant by Grove rites?
A. The Keltoi will often gather to combine their strength to help out the tribe in times of need. These rites range from healing to personal transformation to instruction in the tradition. They are based upon the culture of a particular Grove and not upon the wheel of the year. As with all things they are arranged so to be in harmony with the natural order, though.
Q. What is Initiation?
A. It is a progression of personal transformation in the Keltoi tradition.
Q. What is meant by personal transformation?
A. The Keltoi tradition marks certain milestones of spiritual development with rites of Initiation. These rites change the Initiate such that they might be better able to continue their development.
This catechism is put forth for use by Grove leaders to give a discussion opening for new Dedicants and seekers. It is but a brief discourse on the Keltoi tradition, and is by no means a complete description of our beliefs. The Keltoi tradition is complex and evolving, but this surface glimpse is accurate enough to satisfy the curious and to provide a starting place for the beginning student. May you walk with wisdom.