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BlackViolet13
08-18-2008, 08:27 PM
I've been studying a lot of the Eastern energy systems for a class I took this summer to teach holistic stress management, and am absolutely fascinated by them. In addition to that, I've been taking Tae Kwon Do for the last six weeks and that also made me wonder...did the ancient Celts have a martial arts system? From what I gather they weren't as organized in their combat, but I'm sure there are people who can set me straight if that is incorrect. And did they have a name for the energy or life force like so many of the Eastern cultures do? Even the Christians have the halo, so to me it makes sense that the Celts would have something along any of these lines.

My urban fantasy centers on Welsh faeries and druids, and now that I've learned enough to be dangerous with my Eastern knowledge, I want to know if there is a way for a druidess (my MC) to "clear her chakras," for example, so she can effectively manage her magical energy. I found some articles by Donna Eden regarding Celtic Weaves, which are compared to Tibetan Rings, but all of my searches seem to point back to her method. And from what I gather, it's something fairly new, and not something the ancients would have practiced. I also found some things on a Celtic Mandala, which I suppose could be used to meditate. My MC is an apothecary, so I believe this kind of thing would be something she would definitely use in her practice.

If I have to integrate Eastern practices for her uses, that's just fine; in fact, I think it would put a cool twist on her world. But I thought that if there methods in energy and martial arts from her own ancestors to use, it would be really great if I could find more about them!

Thank you!

dirtsider
08-18-2008, 08:33 PM
Try looking up under Druid forums or, failing that, Traditional Welsh Witchcraft or forums. If they don't have it on their forums, they might have links that could be useful.

DeleyanLee
08-18-2008, 08:40 PM
I'm no expert, but in my (limited) readings, there wasn't anything along the line of chi or chakras in Celtic spiritual understanding. Most of the books you're referring to are modern mixes of the authors' two interests/passions. If the publisher of any of these books is Llewellyn Books, I can pretty much guarantee that it's a modern construct, no offense to Llewellyn's business, authors or products intended.

That said--if you're writing a Fantasy, then make it work in your world, do it and don't look back, don't apologize. It's your world and that's part of what makes it fantastic, isn't it?

BlackViolet13
08-18-2008, 08:52 PM
Dirtsider, I have been in every website and forum I can find (and there are an incredible amount of them LOL), and while some of them have been helpful for everything else I need, they haven't given me the answers to these questions, which is why I think they most likely don't exist. I've even searched my university's academic journal database and have come up with the same results. Thanks for your help!

Deleyan, that is exactly the conclusion I'm coming to as well (with both your understanding and the Llewellyn books). My MC lives in an area where New Age is big, so I think that she could very reasonably work the Eastern arts into her own practices, and it could work to her advantage. I sincerely appreciate your help, as well as your permission to not apologize ;). Thank you! :D

Medievalist
08-18-2008, 08:54 PM
No, none of the chakras, or mandala references are authentically ancient.

That said, there are meditation practices that are ancient, and described--I've written a bit about them here (http://www.digitalmedievalist.com/faqs/shaman.html), albeit from an academic perspective.

BlackViolet13
08-18-2008, 09:05 PM
Thank you, Lisa! I love your site so much, and have read so many of the articles over the last several months :) Of course I didn't notice that particular section LOL. Do you have a Welsh translation for Imbas forosna? Or even an English one? Many, many thanks in advance!

ETA: I should probably add not the entire passage, but just the title words. If not, it's not a problem at all.

FinbarReilly
08-19-2008, 01:25 AM
As far as martial arts go, the Celts had an entirely different take on combat. Rather than attempting to be the most disciplined fighter, they were closer to berserkers when they fought; they practiced basic and some advanced moves, but relied on an almost-animal ferocity in combat, using various rituals and other means in order to achieve that in combat.

FR

soleary
08-19-2008, 01:27 AM
Yes, it's called Guinness :)

BlackViolet13
08-19-2008, 01:41 AM
As far as martial arts go, the Celts had an entirely different take on combat. Rather than attempting to be the most disciplined fighter, they were closer to berserkers when they fought; they practiced basic and some advanced moves, but relied on an almost-animal ferocity in combat, using various rituals and other means in order to achieve that in combat.

FR

That's what I'd thought. My character is pretty anal-retentive, likes her processes, discipline, and such ;) Thanks so much!


Yes, it's called Guinness :)

:roll:

waylander
08-19-2008, 01:51 AM
Yes, it's called Guinness :)

Nah!
Poteen

Medievalist
08-19-2008, 02:20 AM
As far as martial arts go, the Celts had an entirely different take on combat. Rather than attempting to be the most disciplined fighter, they were closer to berserkers when they fought; they practiced basic and some advanced moves, but relied on an almost-animal ferocity in combat, using various rituals and other means in order to achieve that in combat.

FR

err . . . well, yes, and no.

There are indications, archaeological and textual, that the chariots were used in very organized and strategic fashions. There are similar indications regarding Celtic cavalry for both insular and continental Celts.

There are some references in Classical writers to Celtic infantry being disorganized and relying on aggressive displays to strike fear into their enemies. But we do not know, or have evidence textual or otherwise about rituals related to combat.

DeleyanLee
08-19-2008, 03:03 AM
There are some references in Classical writers to Celtic infantry being disorganized and relying on aggressive displays to strike fear into their enemies. But we do not know, or have evidence textual or otherwise about rituals related to combat.

The thing to remember about many Classical writers (particularly Julius Caesar) is that the encounters they wrote down was propaganda to promote and justify the encounters and expense. To portray the Gauls (Celts) as a barbaric culture who were very fearsome and horrible fighters was great PR back home. The concept of recording history without a serious personal agenda is pretty modern and certainly not practiced in Rome.

Take Classical writers with a mountain of salt when looking for factual information.

FinbarReilly
08-19-2008, 03:43 AM
err . . . well, yes, and no.
Admittedly, especially as Celtic culture tended to the oral rather than literate.


There are indications, archaeological and textual, that the chariots were used in very organized and strategic fashions. There are similar indications regarding Celtic cavalry for both insular and continental Celts.
Screw it: Purposely being a jerk, I would point out that there is a big difference between cavalry/chariot combat and hand-to-hand. Especially given the expense of horses and especially chariots; it would make sense to insure your investment, especially given the relative cheapness of human life.


There are some references in Classical writers to Celtic infantry being disorganized and relying on aggressive displays to strike fear into their enemies. But we do not know, or have evidence textual or otherwise about rituals related to combat.
Actually, we sorta do. We know that they applied tattoos (woads) before battle; admittedly there is some debate, but given the transformative effect of actors putting on prosthetics, putting on the tattoos before a conflict would serve as ritual enough.

Also note that I'm not necessarily saying that they attacked as a rabble; there is some evidence that they attacked in companies and such, so there was at least some organization. I'm just noting that they tended to count on a certain ferocity rather than training while in battle.

It should be noted that soldiers train in order to make certain maneuvers automatic; once they were automatic, then they could be used without thinking, and would thus be perfectly accessible during even a basic berserk, effectively increasing reflex time and adding to the strength gained from adrenalin.

For what it's worth...

FR

Medievalist
08-19-2008, 03:59 AM
Actually, we sorta do. We know that they applied tattoos (woads) before battle; admittedly there is some debate, but given the transformative effect of actors putting on prosthetics, putting on the tattoos before a conflict would serve as ritual enough.

No, we don't. We have a single reference to picti as "painted people" by Eumenius for a single group of Celtic language speakers. That's it. There's no other reference in Greek, Latin, or a Celtic language that doesn't derive from Eumenius.

Woad, by the way, doesn't work for tatooing. The two bog-bodies that show signs of tatoos both had very very simple, even crude, tats made by local incisions being filled with wood carbon. [/quote]

ideagirl
08-21-2008, 05:36 AM
You could research the awen a bit. It's in some ways equivalent. Welsh for "inspiration"--understood as a flow of divine energy through the person. A flow you can access, direct, and so on.

BlackViolet13
08-21-2008, 07:42 AM
You could research the awen a bit. It's in some ways equivalent. Welsh for "inspiration"--understood as a flow of divine energy through the person. A flow you can access, direct, and so on.

That's great, and sounds very much like something that I can use.

Thank you, IdeaGirl!

Troo
08-22-2008, 02:52 PM
Woad was also used because it is a terriffic anticuagulant and antiseptic. So if you're cut while covered in the stuff on a blood-soaked and muddy field you'll tend to stay on your feet longer than a cut opponent ;)