Echoes From The Past: Improving Mental Health With Celtic Wisdom

In this article Jane Fisher explores the value of Celtic traditions in improving our emotional and mental health

Even though 1 in 4 people will experience emotional distress this year, the total number of friends and family affected is far greater. As doctors and other healthcare professionals continue to provide mostly medicine and treatment, some people are choosing to seek healing help from the ancient Celts, just as they have for thousands of years. While it may be tough to separate history from legend, there is no denying the strong connection between the ancient Celtic people and the spiritual powers in both humans and earth. Ranging across vast expanses of territory, these originally nomadic groups built complex civilisations from western Europe to eastern Asia with their mysterious culture of ritual, symbolism, and nature.

Cracking The Code

Celtic symbols continued to endure long after their homogeneous individual cultures disappeared, replaced by the dominant civilisations throughout Europe in the areas that they lived. Because of this, determining the age and original meanings of particular symbols can be difficult, though some are still known. Symbols invoking good health, safety, a bountiful harvest, or victory in battle would be carved into rocks and trees, or even constructed into giant stone monoliths such as the one found at Stonehenge. Seen often, spirals are commonly associated with the cycle of life: from birth to death, and then ultimately to another birth. The direction of these spirals, number of groups, even sizes can be interpreted to remark on any particular aspect of life’s journey. Knots are another Celtic symbol often found in today’s culture, as they make popular tattoo, jewellery, and decoration ideas. Like spirals, knots can be depicted in a variety of ways in order to focus on a particular topic, their often unbroken lines representing strength, steadfastness, loyalty and honour, amongst other uses.

Exploring The Maze

Similarly, the Celtic maze resembles the more elaborate knot symbols, though it is often accurately regarded to be more of a straight line spiral. Whereas normal mazes have a beginning and end, the Celtic maze continues indefinitely, with some depicting the worries and troubles of life within the design. In order to achieve inner peace, it is said that one should mentally follow the maze’s route in a meditative rhythm, releasing problems and stress as you go along. Because a Celtic maze has no end, you can find peace in the inward journey knowing that while troubles are an inescapable part of life, we can continue to move forward despite them. The maze, like the spiral, reminds us of our inner journey: not to escape or merely survive it, but to achieve an inward strength, healing and growth.

Turning Back The Clock

Despite the decline of their culture, the Celtic people struggled to preserve the mysterious knowledge that they accumulated over thousands of years. While anthropologists and other academics continue to study what is currently known, the picture that emerges is of a people deeply connected with the earth, as well as with the potential of the human mind. Living in an era of warring tribes, inexplicable illnesses and other tragedies, the Celts managed to endure due in part to the resiliency achieved through their balance of the physical and spiritual worlds. Perhaps in the future even more secrets, lost now to history, will be uncovered, leading us to an even deeper understanding of the power within the human mind.

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