CELTIC STUDIES: MYTH AND TRADITION

The 2019 course has now begun and enrolment is closed.

Enrolment will open January 2020 to begin in May 2020.

Are you interested in studying accurate and up-to-date information about the native myths and traditions of Ireland and the other Celtic nations?

And are you interested in exploring what an authentic contemporary spirituality – one which has its roots in the old traditions of those countries, but which makes sense in a very different world – might look like in the context of this knowledge?

If you are, then this unique, year-long, interactive distance-learning course is for you.

ABOUT THE COURSE

Much of the available information about Celtic mythology, especially on the web, is either profoundly inaccurate, poorly researched, or outdated by several decades. And so ‘Celtic Studies: Myth and Tradition’ provides a sound and up-to-date introduction to Celtic myth and the folk tradition, and explores their relevance to our lives and practices today.

This course derives from my Master’s-level education in Celtic Studies and doctorate-level training in Psychology. It is founded on an up-to-date understanding of research from several inter-related disciplines, including Classical and indigenous literature, history, archaeology, and folklore. It includes material from all six Celtic nations (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, the Isle of Man, and Cornwall) but focuses primarily on the Irish and Welsh traditions, where there is a greater abundance of material.

Although it’s based on academic material and research, the course materials will be perfectly accessible to all interested students. The course will be of interest to anyone who has a Celtic heritage, or who is fascinated by the old native cultures of the Celtic lands. And if your spiritual practice is based on Celtic traditions, or if you would like to develop one which is, then the course will offer you firm and authentic foundations on which to build.

Course topics

Module 1: Who were the Celts?

Who were the Celts? And what are the original literary sources for the subjects we’ll be studying? 

MODULE 2: the Celtic otherworld

What do we know about the Celtic Otherworld, and Celtic beliefs in an afterlife?

MODULE 3: Gods and Goddesses in the Gaelic Tradition

What do we know about Celtic deities and other immortal inhabitants of the Otherworld?

Module 4: The Welsh Tradition

An introduction to medieval Welsh manuscripts, and what we know about deities in the Welsh tradition.

MODULE 5: Celtic Cosmology – druids, poets and seers

What do we know about early Celtic beliefs and cosmology from the medieval literature which is available to us?

MODULE 6: Celtic Christianity and the Early Saints

Was there ever really a ‘Celtic’ Christianity which differed significantly from that most commonly practised in other parts of Europe?

Module 7: Shamanic Threads in the Celtic Tradition

Is any evidence for shamanic practices in the Celtic traditions?

MODULE 8: The Origins of the Arthurian and Grail Traditions

The origins of the legends of King Arthur, the romances of the Grail, and the character of Merlin.

MODULE 9: Folklore and the Oral Tradition

Folklore – and especially oral folktales – in the Celtic countries.

Module 10: The Ritual Year: animals, trees and plants

Exploring the ritual year, and folk wisdom and beliefs about plants, trees, and animals.

MODULE 11: Gender in the Celtic World

The issue of gender in the Celtic world, with a specific focus on women in history and literature.

MODULE 12: Authentic Contemporary Practice

What do we know about how our ancestors lived, and the nature of their spiritual practice. Can any of this help us in our search for authentic contemporary practice?

HOW IT WORKS

Self-Study

This is a self-study course, without assignments. The course is taught through twelve monthly written Modules, and access to a private, independent discussion forum.

Access to the materials

When you sign up to Celtic Studies: Myth and Tradition, you’ll be prompted to create a login which will allow you access to the ‘Membership’ section of my website. Each month, for the duration of the course, you will receive an email requesting you to log in and view the new course material, which you can download and work through in your own time, as your schedule permits.

RESOURCES

Reading lists and other resources are provided throughout the year, and selected academic articles and book chapters that are relevant to monthly Module content may also be downloaded from the website.

THE FORUM

Participants are able to use a private online forum (which is quite independent of Facebook or other social media) for ongoing discussions with other participants, and to ask me questions about the course material and to discuss its relevance to our lives today. To aid reflection, discussion questions relating to each month’s material will be posted on the forum each month. (You may undertake the course without participating in the forum, but much of the value will be lost.)

TIME REQUIRED

Because this is a self-study course, and because everyone will come to it with different skill sets and learning methods, it’s really not possible to sensibly estimate the time commitment required. It’s very much up to you how you approach it, and how deeply you explore the various threads and participate in the forum.

ENROL FOR THE COURSE

Enrolment for 2019 is closed; the next intake will be May 2020, and enrolment for this intake will open in  January 2020.

The course fee is 195 euros.

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