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Celtic Christianity and Spirituality - Inspiration for the Soul

"God is love." I John 4:16

If you seek the face of God, you may see it reflected in the mirror or across the table, in the stillness of your heart, or in the wind, at a lakeshore or on a mountaintop as you pursue the teachings of Celtic Christianity.

If you tire in your pursuit of social justice and find yourself poor in spirit, you may find communion and renewal in Celtic Christianity.

If your love and care for creation has you seeking a nature-based spirituality outside the realm of Christendom, you may find an unexpected fellowship in Celtic Christianity.

If you seek the face of God, you may see it reflected in the mirror or across the table, in the stillness of your heart, or in the wind, at a lakeshore or on a mountaintop as you pursue the teachings of Celtic spirituality.

Some of the teachings of Celtic Christianity and spirituality include community, spiritual friendship, life as a pilgrimage (and actual pilgrimage), family loyalty, the intimate communion of saints both living and dead, the immanence of the spiritual world, the goodness of nature, hospitality, contentment in simplicity, and contemplation.

If these ideas speak to your heart, the books listed here should give you inspiration in making more of your spiritual journey.

Buy Books about Celtic Christianity and Spirituality
Anam Cara
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Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
by John O'Donohue


Anam Cara is Gaelic for "soul friend", a spiritual mentor, a fellow traveller on the true path, the one who keeps you going when the going gets tough and faith is hard to find. O'Donohue's best-selling book beautifully explicates these and other elements of the Irish/Scots Christian spirituality - an intricate wholeness based on ancient celtic unity and converse between our world and the Otherworld - body and soul, temporality and spirit.
Eternal Echoes
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Eternal Echoes: Exploring Our Yearning to Belong
by John O'Donohue


Celtic Christianity has always been grounded in community, rather than hierarchy. Irish culture revolves around home, family, clan and village life. In this book, O'Donohue talks to us about our need for belonging and our yearning to be a part of something beyond ourselves. It may be read as a book about "home" and what that concept means. Or it may be read with joyous recognition by those whose longing for the Beyond is so fierce the heart aches.
Listening for the Heartbeat of God
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Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality
by J. Philip Newell


In very readable form, Newell traces the evolution of Celtic Christian thought, comparing its distinctions to those of Rome. It has been often said that the Irish/Scots church conforms to the teachings of St. John, while the Roman Catholics opted to follow St. Peter. It seems to boil down to two things: one, Celtic Christianity emphasizes God's unconditional love and forgiveness over the need for constant good works. Two, Celtic Christianity rejects the utter depravity of mankind (Calvinists beware) and considers the creation (including mankind) to be fundamentally good.
The Book of Creation
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The Book of Creation: An Introduction to Celtic Spirituality
by J. Philip Newell


Newell covers the elements of Celtic Christian thought within the framework of the seven days of creation. This is highly appropriate, as the Celtic view incorporates strongly God's revelation in nature and the gifts that nature provides. An excellent introduction to the subject. Each chapter closes with suggestions for meditation and prayer. Might be a good choice for group as well as personal study.
celtic Treasures
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Celtic Treasure
by J. Philip Newell


"Challenged by his children's growing disinterest in prayer and spirituality, Philip Newell set out to find a cringe-free guide to family devotions. Unable to find anything not written for an ideal Christian family with totally compliant offspring, he decided to create his own devotions.

Celtic Treasure is structured in seven books covering the whole arc of Scripture — from the stories of creation and Israel through the life of Jesus and the New Testament letters — and these seven books each contain seven daily readings. Each day begins with the simple lighting of a candle and retells a passage of Scripture in a manner appropriate for the whole family. With original prayers inspired by the Celtic tradition, it then moves into prayer for the surrounding world and concludes with words of blessing that accompany the putting out of the candle.
Every Earthly Blessing
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Every Earthly Blessing: Rediscovering the Celtic Tradition
by Esther de Waal


Ms. de Waal has written many lovely books, particularly on prayer, and leads retreats and pilgrimages to sacred places in the Isles. This is an outstanding and extremely readable introduction to all aspects of Celtic christianity - pilgrimage, contemplation, the importance of the Trinity, and very much more. Recommended.
Celtic Christianity
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Celtic Christianity: A Sacred Tradition, a Vision of Hope
by Timothy J. Joyce


Father Joyce, an Irish Catholic, provides a history of the Irish church as he takes us on a voyage of discovery through the unique features of Celtic Christianity. A beautiful book, particularly for those wishing to reconnect with their Irish Catholic roots.
Carmina Gadelica
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Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations
compiled by Alexander Carmichael


Carmichael traveled throughout the Scottish Highlands and the Hebrides in the 19th century, collecting these prayers and chants while there was still time. An incredible look into the living spirituality of the highlanders before the changes of the 20th century, and a rich source of inspiration for our own devotional lives. In English, translated from the Gaelic.
Sacred Spaces
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Sacred Spaces: Stations on a Celtic Way
by Margaret Silf


Silf draws on the Celtic belief that there are sacred places (wells, groves, hills, etc.) where the line between our world and the Otherworld is thinned, or stretched. Using such symbols as a take-off point, she draws us into considering what such sacred spaces might mean to us and how we might enhance the sacramental in our own lives.
Celtic Spirituality
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Celtic Spirituality
Edited by Oliver Davies and Thomas O'Loughlin


The real deal on original sources - St. Patrick (in his own words), St. Brigid, St. Brendan, St. Columba - all the ancient references and texts, including prayers and poems. A wonderful historical and devotional guide to what the originators of Celtic Christianity believed and practiced.
Iris Jesus, Roman Jesus
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Irish Jesus, Roman Jesus: The Formation of Early Irish Christianity
by Graydon F. Snyder


More than 1000 years before they reached Ireland, a large group of Celts settled in Asia Minor and stayed put - they were the Galatians. In this fascinating book, Dr. Snyder examines Paul's letter to the Galatians, and demonstrates that the Galatian Christians exhibited the same beliefs (for which Paul remonstrated with them) as the later Irish Christians. It would seem that the tenacity of certain Celtic worldviews is universal.

We recommend our sister site's article Celtic Christianity and Spirituality for a lengthier overview of this topic.