Ana of Avalon

Walking the Druid path |ย Grounded Spirituality |ย Travel blog

How to find former Celtic places of power

How to find former Celtic places of power

Have you ever wondered why churches are often found in the most remote places? On hills and mountain tops, deep in the forest or in other places that are difficult to access? Why doesn’t Christianity leave the church in the village? What makes priests undertake all the hardships to build a place of worship in the middle of the wilderness, difficult to reach for worshippers and churchgoers? No, the romantic reason is not because they longed for more contemplation and solitude, but quite banally that all these churches and monasteries stand on former sanctuaries of Celtic nature worship. For the Celts, these were mountain peaks, springs, rivers, lakes and islands.

The most remote church I have ever found is in England in Exmoor National Park on a hill in the middle of a deep forest. No road leads to the church, which can only be reached by a 30-40 minute hike. Inside the church, the ceiling painting shows an old wood carving of the Green Man, a Celtic symbol of the raw natural forces of the forest. Right next to the church flows a small mountain stream and in the graveyard are old yew trees, which are certainly much older than the church. So we are probably dealing with a place where the archetypal powers of the green man were worshipped.

The old nature religion has survived, we just have to do some spiritual archaeology to revive the symbolism of an ancient place. A good clue is always the church saint as well as the miracle performed, if you want to know in which context the place was worshipped in former times. Because the church has often adopted this symbolism one-to-one. In the case of shrines to the Virgin Mary, where the sick were miraculously healed, one can conclude that an ancient goddess of healing was worshipped here, or that there was a spring to which healing powers were attributed.

Ancient church, Culborne, England, UK
The tiny church in Exmoor National Park, the power of the Green Man is clearly felt here!
Ancient healing spring, celtic sanctuary
An ancient Celtic healing spring in the middle of the forest? It is said to help with eye ailments.
There was also a church on the famous Glastonbury Tor in England of which only the tower remains after an earthquake.
old church, celtic place
An old church in Bavaria which stands on a former Celtic place of worship. Right next to it are several springs.

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