I am frequently asked if one has to have Irish ancestry to practice the Old Celtic Religion or Celtic or Druid shamanism. I have two answer to that question. First, your ancestry doesn't determine or control the spiritual path to which you are called. We have all lived many lives and lived in many places so our current ancestry is just one of a multitude of ancestries that we have. The eternal spirit within each of us has experienced all of those lives, blood lines, places and times and so we may naturally feel an affinity to a path that differs from our current blood line. For example, your current blood line may be found far from Celtic lands but if you lived many past lives in the Celtic world then you may feel a soul call to that spiritual path.
My second answer to that questions is that we often underestimate the extent of the Celtic expansion and the degree to which we may have a blood line that is colored with Celtic blood. The Celtic world was not located in just Ireland, Wales and Scotland. In fact, those countries were just the far Northwestern reaches of the Celtic expansion as shown in the map below.
So guess what, even if you don't like my first answer above (and I really think that it is a better answer to the question) then if you look at the map above and see any of your ancestral lands colored then it is likely that your blood has a Celtic taint. We don't often think or Spain and Portugal as Celtic countries. However, a modern example of this coloring is found in the album released by The Chieftains (an Irish/Celtic band) that they recorded with musicians from Northern Spain. They felt such an affinity and connection with the music of Northern Spain and parts of Latin American that they recorded the album Santiago.
A significant part of Europe was dominated by Celts in the times before the Roman, Germanic and Slavic expansions into what is now Northern and Western Europe. This Celtic expansion has left behind a legacy of Celtic cultural traits, artifacts, art, and language. The territories in north-western Iberia, particularly Galicia and northern Portugal and Asturias have historically been referred to as Gallaecia. The six remaining territories that are still considered to be Celtic nations today (not in the legal or political sense) are Brittany (Breizh), Cornwall (Kernow), Wales (Cymru), Scotland (Alba), Ireland (Éire), and the Isle of Man (Mannin). In each of these "nations" a Celtic language is either still spoken or was spoken into modern times and many of the Celtic traditions still remain.
Welcome to the Celtic world,
Click to read more about the Gundestrup cauldron.
I'm Dr. Dave, a modern druid. I lived and worked in Bolivia and Peru for over six years, where I and was trained by Andean Shamans, and today practice Druidcraft and contemporary shamanism.