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The Religion of the Ancient Celts

Page: 102

769

Those gods who were connected with the sky may have been held to dwell there or on the mountain supporting it. Others, like the Celtic Dispater, dwelt underground. Some were connected with mounds and hills, or were supposed to have taken up their abode in them. Others, again, dwelt in a distant region, the Celtic Elysium, which, once the Celts reached the sea, became a far-off island. Those divinities {229} worshipped in groves were believed to dwell there and to manifest themselves at midday or midnight, while such objects of nature as rivers, wells, and trees were held to be the abode of gods or spirits. Thus it is doubtful whether the Celts ever thought of their gods as dwelling in one Olympus. The Tuatha Dé Danann are said to have come from heaven, but this may be the mere assertion of some scribe who knew not what to make of this group of beings.

In Celtic belief men were not so much created by gods as descended from them. "All the Gauls assert that they are descended from Dispater, and this, they say, has been handed down to them by the Druids."


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