The following article seeks to sum up both practices and theoretical aspects of the Toutā Caillte project into a simple workable framework, which we have termed Barbarianism. This is a living document, and as the project proceeds new versions of this article will be made available.
This is not an attempt to claim that all of Celtic society functioned in the ways described by this article. The only thing was can say all Celts did was speak Celtic languages and practice Celtic culture, and even the ways they did that was different. Furthermore, much of what we know about the Celts is from secondary sources such as the Romans and Catholic priests. However, we can pick up the pieces of different Celtic societies and unite them into something that would have been recognized, in that time, as Celtic.
Thus far, much of Toutā Caillte has been focused around Paganism. While this was an important aspect of Celtic society, this project is not solely a Neopagan project. The purpose of this project is to reconstruct Celtic society as a whole and adapt it to the modern world as best as possible.
The term Barbarian is derived from the Greek word “barbaros”, which designated anyone that didn’t speak Greek. According to Greek authors, it was used to describe the way barbarians sounded like they were speaking gibberish (i.e. “bar bar bar”).
Over time, this word became an insult in Greek society and would be used in Roman society to designate anyone as the lesser or the “other”. This “othering” would be the basis of the Celtic genocide and atrocities committed against many other indigenous peoples of that region.
Although, bearing in mind their former defeat, the Romans felt a great dread of the Gauls, their victory was neither doubtful nor difficult. Many thousands of the barbarians were slain in the battle, many more in the capture of their camp. Many others, making chiefly in the direction of Apulia, escaped, some by distant flight, and others who had become widely scattered and in their panic had lost their way.
Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 6Rev. Canon Roberts, Ed
Romanization was used as a justification to commit genocide against the Celts and other indigenous peoples of Europe. A direct line can be drawn from Romanization through Christianization to modern day whiteness. All of the justifications that would later be used by Christians to colonize the world can be found in the descriptions of the “others” written by Roman authors; but most notably Tacitus. Today, this othering persists through the subjugation and genocide of non-white populations.
If we are to call ourselves Barbarians, we must reject the poison fruit of whiteness and align with groups that are subject to the same oppression that our ancestors once were.
From this perspective, it stands to reason that there is no place for any sort of racism or fascism within our movement. Race can only be perceived through oppression. All manifestations of whiteness are white supremacy.
In our time, it is entirely possible for us to transcend the socioeconomic class of whiteness. However, the point at which that is achieved will largely have to be determined by those who exist outside of whiteness.
For a further explanation of whiteness, both historically and on its function in the modern day, read: Keltoi Rising: Reflections on Whiteness. For further reading on whiteness, see the Abolition of Whiteness section under Resources.
We don’t have a lot of first hand knowledge about the exact political structure of Celtic society, but we can learn a lot from second hand accounts and linguistic reconstruction.
Celtic society was made up of tribal confederations that consisted of tribal senates/elder councils, tribes, and kinships.
Kinships (in proto-Celtic kenetlom) were mainly formed around familial relations. However, there were many ways to transcend strict family ties, such as adoption, marriage, fostering, or a simple contractual agreement. For example, if a slave survived into midlife they and their children were brought into the kinship.
When two or more of these kindships organized together they formed a tribe (in proto-Celtic toutā). When these kinships had disagreements they couldn’t resolve, they parted or broke away into different tribes.We know little of the tribal senates which Caesar referred to. He notes that in some cases the tribes were led by a single person that represented the tribe, sometimes a senate, and sometimes both.
Not only did the Celts have a robust system of confederation, we know that they strongly resisted the practice of early statecraft . The punishment for attempting to establish what we would recognize as a modern state was death. Two prominent examples of this phenomenon are Celtillus, the father of Vercingetorix, and Orgetorix of the Helvetii.
We also know that most law was based around compensation of damaged parties. They had no conception of a victimless crime or a crime against the state.
In the modern era, these forms of governance could be contrasted with Anarchism or other forms of Libertarian Socialism such as Democratic Confederalism, Syndicalism, Communalism, etc.
While the practices of the Celts differed heavily by region, and much of their culture has been lost to history, we can take what remains in the modern era and assemble a new Celtic Polytheism while preserving the underlying meaning of the myths.
The Polytheism of the Celts inspired a robust culture that is to this day recognized as Celtic. Any Celtic revival that does not include elements of this culture, such as art, music, language, etc. would fall woefully short.
The indigenous peoples of Europe did not exist in a vacuum. Their society was built on a strong backbone of polytheistic beliefs, and these beliefs manifested themselves materially. Myths are the foundation of all human action. As such, Neopaganism is an essential part of this project.
We live in a time of unprecedented ecological collapse. It is no longer enough to relegate our practices to the spiritual realms; we must find ways to manifest these beliefs in the material world by intertwining our worship with practices such as permaculture, carbon sequestration, rewilding, regenerative agriculture, mycology, etc.
We know the Celts saw divinity in a variety of natural places such as groves, lakes, and springs. Through ecological regeneration and the practices mentioned above we can take land seen as “worthless” or “degraded” and create places of worship. This can be done with relative ease by implementing good ecological design and letting nature return to its state of abundance.
Our inevitable conclusion, when we couple our beliefs about Mystical Ecology and Anti-Statism, should be that the creation of abundance to serve man and our entire surrounding ecology is of the highest importance. To these ends, we should employ the use of food forests, not only for their practical merit, but as holy sites to inspire and channel the Awen into our communities. Both Cernunnos and The Dagda are ideal deities to dedicate such sites to.
For a further explanation of Mystical Ecology read: Mystical Ecology.
The ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently.”
David Graeber – The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy
The plight of the Celts continues today, even in their absence. Modern day barbarians find themselves on the front lines of this battle. Surrounded on all sides by the forces of materialism, which seek to condemn the natural world and the divine to mere resources to be commodified and destroyed; and the forces of whiteness, which seek to destroy the history and myths of indigenous peoples around the world.
We must find allies in this battle. We will find these allies not through our words but through material betrayals of modern day systems of oppression and scarcity.
Carrying the torch of our ancestors and guided by the hands of our gods we will light fire, once and for all, to the false idol of whiteness. From its ashes a Celtic society will emerge reborn.
Toutā Caillte is entirely funded by our readers. Please consider donating via my Patreon to fund future writing and ecological projects. Thanks!