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 article doesn’t assert that all indigenous European societies, such as the Celts, Germanic tribes, and other groups, operated uniformly. Each had unique languages and cultural practices that contributed to the diverse heritage of ancient Europe. While much of our knowledge about these cultures comes from secondary sources like Roman writings or religious accounts, our intention goes beyond mere celebration. By harnessing insights from these traditions, we’re crafting a framework for their application in the modern world, aiming to rejuvenate our myths and reshape contemporary society.
Up until now, Toutā Caillte has centered predominantly on Polytheism. While spiritual traditions were a significant facet of various indigenous European societies, our vision is broader and more holistic.
It’s important to understand ancient European traditions weren’t compartmentalized. Instead, they existed in a dynamic web where spiritual beliefs informed political decisions, ecological practices were intrinsically tied to spiritual observances, and arts flourished in this, reflecting and influencing all other dimensions. To merely resurrect spiritual beliefs of old would be to miss the interdependent nature of these traditions and ultimately fail.
Thus, our initiative seeks not just to rediscover but to rejuvenate and weave these interconnected threads into a coherent and vibrant cloth that can clothe our modern society. We aim to provide a framework that goes beyond Polytheist revival, offering a blueprint for the formation of a new people who embrace and embody the depth, richness, and interconnectivity of indigenous European traditions, adapting and integrating them thoughtfully into the contemporary world.
It’s essential to recognize that not all indigenous European traditions and societies experienced an interruption or full integration into other peoples. While groups like the Celts or certain Germanic tribes have undergone significant shifts or interruptions in their practices due to factors like Roman conquest or Christianization, others, such as the Sami people, have maintained a continuity with their ancestral customs. This distinction serves as a reminder that not every indigenous European tradition is open or available for broader engagement. Respect for the boundaries and integrity of closed traditions is essential, ensuring that we approach our endeavor with care, understanding, and solidarity.
Origin and Meaning of Barbarian
The term “Barbarian” is rooted in the ancient Greek word “barbaros”. For the Greeks, this term was attributed to anyone unfamiliar with their language. The onomatopoeic “bar bar bar” mimicked what, to Greek ears, sounded like nonsensical babble from foreign tongues.
However, this term’s innocent beginnings evolved into a pejorative as it journeyed from Greek to Roman lexicons. It soon symbolized the “other”, the unfamiliar, or the uncivilized. Such divisive labeling laid the groundwork for widespread misunderstanding and hostility. The Romans, under this banner, committed numerous atrocities against indigenous groups, painting a narrative of these European tribal traditions as being inferior.
But among barbarians no distinction is made between women and slaves, because there is no natural ruler among them: they are a community of slaves, male and female. Wherefore the poets say,
“It is meet that Hellenes should rule over barbarians;”
As if they thought that the barbarian and the slave were by nature one. – Politics by Aristotle Book 1
Translation and Context: This quote essentially means, “It is appropriate or fitting that Greeks should rule over the barbarians.” “Hellenes” refers to the Greeks, and “barbarians” was a term used by the Greeks to describe non-Greek-speaking peoples, often with a connotation of being uncivilized or inferior. The sentiment illustrates the ethnocentrism of the time, reflecting the belief that Greeks, because of their perceived cultural and intellectual superiority, had a natural right or duty to dominate other cultures.
Abolition of Whiteness
The process of Romanization served as a pretext to commit acts of violence against the Celts and other indigenous cultures of Europe. Tracing back the lineage of power dynamics, one can connect Romanization to Christianization and, from there, to the contemporary concept of whiteness. The justifications later employed by Christians during their global conquests are eerily reminiscent of the narratives about “others” propounded by Roman writers, particularly figures like Aristotle and Tacitus. In our era, the legacy of this “othering” can be seen in the systemic discrimination and violence against non-white communities.
As we reconnect with our roots, embracing Barbarianism and its relationship with indigenous European traditions, it is imperative to challenge and reject whiteness. In its essence, Barbarianism champions unity, freedom, and European tribal traditions, which are directly at odds with any constructs that promote othering and superiority.
Many white people might feel drawn to the indigenous identities of old Europe. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that our current culture and socioeconomic class align far more closely with that of a fully-fledged Roman citizen than with those ancient tribes. Merely adopting a new label won’t erase this history or its implications. Embracing a genuinely indigenous European identity means more than just a name—it requires a profound reckoning with and shedding of the dominant structures and ideologies, notably whiteness, that we’ve inherited.
Given this stance, it becomes abundantly clear that there is absolutely no room for prejudice, racism, or fascism within our movement.
In our time, it is entirely possible for us to transcend the confines of whiteness. However, those who live outside of whiteness will primarily define that transformation’s scope. Given that white people have only perceived the world through a white lens, our understanding of its actual boundaries is inherently limited.
Recommended reading: Keltoi Rising: Reflections on Whiteness to delve deeper into the historical evolution and contemporary implications of whiteness. For a comprehensive understanding, visit the Abolition of Whiteness section in our Resources.
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.
Beyond Statecraft: Kinship, Confederation, Brehon law & Thing
We have limited firsthand knowledge about the precise political structure of Celtic society. But from second-hand accounts and linguistic reconstruction, a vivid picture emerges. Celtic society, much like other indigenous European societies, was formed of tribal confederations that consisted of tribal senates/elder councils, tribes, and kinships.
Kinships (in proto-Celtic kenetlom) were primarily shaped around familial relations. Yet, various mechanisms existed to transcend strict family ties, such as adoption, marriage, fostering, or simple contractual agreements. Kinships were the smallest unit of communalized property within the Celtic system.
When two or more kinships came together, they formed a tribe (in proto-Celtic toutā). Any disagreements among kinships often led to either reconciliations or parting to form distinct tribes. When two or more tribes would come together, they would form a tribal confederation.
We know little of the tribal senates that Caesar referred to. He notes that in some cases, the tribes were led by a single person, sometimes a senate, and sometimes both.
Contrasting this to the Germanic Thing system. A form of governance framed around open assemblies where free men gathered to discuss matters of regional importance. We see parallels in the emphasis on decentralization and direct participation. Both of these systems display a commitment to local autonomy and a resistance to centralized power.
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. The Celts operated without standing armies, further emphasizing their decentralized leanings. Instead, they relied on warrior classes or mobilized tribe members during times of conflict.
The Celtic legal system was rooted in a reparative model, especially in regions influenced by the Brehon laws. One of the notable aspects of Brehon laws is the recognition of equal legal status between men and women, holding a progressive nature for the time. Instead of punitive justice, emphasis was placed on compensation and restoration. These ancient Irish laws, tied to indigenous European traditions, outlined rights and responsibilities, touching aspects from property and contracts to family matters. The concept of victimless crimes or crimes against the state was alien to them; justice was instead centered around restitution to the community.
As we delve into the intricacies of Celtic governance and other European tribal systems, we see a model for new decentralized community-focused economic and political paradigms.
In envisioning a contemporary application of these ancient principles, we imagine a world of worker and housing cooperatives, where community gardens flourish and communes are bastions of shared resources and mutual aid. All these entities, rooted in local autonomy and shared governance, could be united through free association under the umbrella of a community council. This pays homage to our indigenous European traditions and offers a sustainable, equitable, and community-driven approach to modern living.
Polytheism and Paganism
Indigenous European societies, spanning diverse regions and cultures, were deeply rooted in polytheistic beliefs. Though history has dimmed many facets of these ancient cultures, the remnants offer a foundation upon which we can reconstruct a broader open Barbarian Polytheism, ensuring that the profound essence of the myths remains vibrant.
Polytheism was not merely a facet of spiritual life—it was interwoven with all societal expression, from art and music to politics to language and rituals. A genuine revival of these indigenous traditions must honor and integrate these elements.
It’s crucial to understand that the indigenous peoples of Europe were profoundly shaped by their environment and spiritual beliefs. As foundational narratives, myths guided their actions and perceptions of the world. Embracing Polytheism today is not merely a return to ancient religious practices but a reclamation of a holistic way of life and worldview central to our ancestors.
In the face of unparalleled ecological decline, the line between the spiritual and material realms blurs. To respect and honor our planet, worship must transcend rituals, integrating practices such as permaculture, carbon sequestration, rewilding, and regenerative agriculture.
Both Celtic and Germanic traditions revered natural sanctuaries like groves as conduits of divinity. The Celts found divinity in spaces like lakes and springs, while the Germanic peoples held ceremonies in sacred oak groves. By rejuvenating degraded terrains, we not only heal our environment but forge sacred spaces for reverence. Embracing holistic ecological designs allows nature’s inherent abundance to flourish once again.
Drawing from the well of Mystical Ecology and our convictions to decentralization, we realize that creating ecological abundance benefits humanity and nature alike. In this, food forests serve as more than sustainable food sources; they become sacred groves infused with the Awen. Such sanctuaries can be dedicated to deities like Cernunnos, the horned god of nature, and The Dagda, the good god known for his abundant cauldron, invoking elements of nurture and abundance.
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.”
The echoes of an indigenous past reverberate in our modern struggles. 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 new people will emerge reborn.
All glory to the gods and ancestors. All power to the people.
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