Celticsprite’s Blog

Robin Williamson: The Inner Keltia Interview – part 4
March 14, 2010, 11:27 pm
Filed under: Robin Williamson
John: There is a Keltic Renaisaance on at present – one branch of that is a form of paganism which is strongly matriarchal. What do you feel about Keltic religion with regard to Druidism or Paganism, or patriarchal and matriarchal forms of belief?

Robin: Well personally, my religion is art, and I do regard it as being a Spiritual activity. But I have certain pagan…..leanings, if you
like. But I don’t adhere to the present-day operative forms of Wicca or any of those things. But the old gods have a certain meaning for
me, artistically…..and for real !. Also I am not entirely convinced
that there was ever total matriarchy in this country, although it is undoubtedly true that that was an element in the goddess religions.

J: I think a lot of the current matriarchal groups tend to overbalance things in the other direction, which is no better than patriarchy.

R: Yes, if one is really concerned about ending sexism, there doesn’t seem much point in letting it go the other way and saying men are all evil. I think the seres are part of each other.

J: I’ve been talking to a lot of people about renaissances in Keltic culture, interest in Keltic things. There was one at the end of the last century/beginning of this one – quite a pronounged one -but then that died off in the 40’/50’s. Recently there seems to be a new Keltic Renaissance. But people have said to me, “OK if there is one, it’ll just be another short-term one for about twenty years , then it will die out and there will be a great lapse again.” They said that there is not really time left enough for another renaissance and lapse, renaissance and lapse and so on, because they see the Keltic language, especially the languages, as dying out. If this renaissance, as it were, fails, we might not be in a fit state to attempt another ‘Revival’ containing genuine Kelticness.

R: Well they might get a lot of disagreement on that in Wales. Welsh is going from strength to strength at the moment, and Cornish shows every sign of making some sort of resurgence. Breton is stronger than it’s been in a long time, and as for Scottish Gaelic, I mean it was virtually extinct when I was a lad, but it seems now to be doing better than it was then.» I think it shows definite signs of a resurgance.

J: I was just wondering about the possibility of a Keltic Renaissance coming which would stick, which would last, catch fire and continue. There could be a resurfacing of something which could then continue for a long time.
R: I think it is true to say that civilization runs on ideas, not on bullets, and that culture is founded, usually, on aesthetic ideas, and that someone unleashes some sort of aesthetic force which eventually bocones a city. In the end, all you can detect in history are these markers left by people of vision. I mean you don’t see anything left of the wars….all that is left of the wars…..well the blood just -just drains away into the sand. But the statue with blind eyes is still staring across two thousand years later.

J: My ideas behind launching Inner Keltia were to promote this cultural, artistic, religious side, because I see this as being the most important aspect of Keltic culture, and also the most durable, and I think that’s where a lot of the primal inspiration comes from, from that realm, art, poetry, music, religion.
R: Very very true.

J: Whereas most of the Keltic magazines on the market up to now have dealt with politics, economics, language, various thing like that, which are all important, but for me they are not as important as the other ‘Inner’ side. And yet Inner Keltia will be criticized for that approach, it will be “arty”, “airy fairy”, “non-substantial”, etc……

Deirdre: “Out of touch with reality”…..which reality, I ask?!

J: There1s a Keltic magazine called Carn which in a recent issue talked about the shutting down of a steel smelter in the West of Scotland, which is really relevant, but….I mean….think acceptable, that’s talkable material for the general public, whereas the more esoteric things are not.

R: It’s peculiar how often in Scotland you could go up to somebody and say, you know, listen, here we are in the Borders, until the sixth century this was part of Prydain (Britain) it was Welsh speaking, and some of the earliest Welsh poetry was written here, and that would be such news…..it’s never taught in schools.

No-one’s ever heard about it, no one’s ever heard of Taliesin, no one’s ever heard of any of those people. Or what the Arthurian connection is to the Borders and why there is an Arthur’s Seat and a Merlin’s Grave and all the rest of it.

Let alone any connections Finn MacCuil has to the Southern Hebrides or the Island of Arran…..or Ossian or whatnot. And the real Gaelic side is buried even deeper, the real Gaelic stories are away to Canada and lost with the people who knew what the name of that knoll was, or what that rock in the river was called and why.

J: I believe it’s of importance, but what importance do you think there is for modern-day people, out there in the streets, to know stuff about the connections of the South of Scotland with Brythonic-speaking Wales?

R: It’s not very important to a lot of people, but it’s important to some, and it’s important that it’s not allowed to be lost, it’s important that people should be able to revoice some of these things from time to time. One doesn’t really think it’s going to be important to a lot of people, but to those for whom it is, it’s going to be extremely relevant.

J: 3o in a way you’re almost talking to the few?

R: Well, some things you are only going to be able to talk to the few about…..I mean, without being elitist at all, or without even wanting to be – I mean I’d like to be able to talk to lots of people -there are some things you’re only going to be able to say to a few. But they can be worth saying for all that. It’s worth having a go.


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