There is so much in common with Vedic traditions when it comes to Early European culture. Makes me wonder was it the global trade that brought these to Europe?
There is a general theory, originating mostly upon a theoretical linguistic reconstruction, that it was the migration/spread of a common Proto-Indo-European ancestor. There has been some DNA and cultural studies that seem to support the theory over the years.
Agreed, I think it is very possible. The biggest thing I surmise is, that many thousands of years ago, there was much greater uniformity in the spiritual way of thinking; people had much more in common with each other, throughout the world, in their spiritual beliefs, than today. There are quite a number of similarities between Celtic, Vedic, Greek, Norse, and other mythologies, across significant amounts of distance in land. I can’t see it as just a coincidence.
It seems that in those days, belief systems were a lot more spiritual and nature-based, than the monotheistic religions that came thousands of years later. I find Druidry and very likewise traditions to be refreshing; in some ways they have evolved over the years. But in other ways, they are taking us back to the way things were thousands of years ago, and more importantly, are timeless… It is wonderful, and refreshing, in these times.
I’m not familiar with Vedic traditions. The article link seems like a good place to start learning. Thanks you.
Thank you for your comment. I was just starting a course on Norse concepts, and wondering about relationships to other traditions.
It really gets quite interesting. The theory is that there is essentially a shared ancestor between about a dozen different cultures, including the Norsemen, spread from Ireland back through western Asia. I am currenty reading In Search of the Indo-Europeans by JP Mallory. He’s one of the big names in the Proto-Indo-European academic theory. The Vedic and the Norse are two of our better cultures in terms of immediate, primary documentation. So much of the Celtic stuff was filtered through Christianity.
I’m a professional scholar in this area. I’m preparing some publications – some scholarly, some for a popular audience. Of course, unlike most scholars, I’m also a practitioner of paganism.
Basically, the linguistic theory supported by archaeology, says that about 5000-7000 years ago there was a small group of people called the Proto-Indo-Europeans. With the domestication of the horse and chariot, starting c. 3500 BCE, they spread both to the west into Europe and later east into Iran and South Asia (modern India and Pakistan.) Because they shared the same original language and culture, we see these remarkable similarities.
In my research, I question some of the assumptions such as the timing and the nature of the interaction but the core theory seems more or less accurate.
re: Norse vs. Celtic: the Norse material is actually later than the Celtic and the Norse society was much more Christianized by then than the Irish. I don’t want to get into the whole Norse vs. Celtic thing but both sets of records are only later impressions rather than perfect representations of what the pagan cultures were like prior to Christianity.
If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.
That’s fascinating. Any suggestions on introductory material?
It’s a huge area. For the archaeology and linguistics somebody already mentioned In Search of the Indo-Europeans by JP Mallory, which is excellent. A more recent book which might be more scholarly and less approachable but which is really excellent is The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World.
Then there’s also comparative mythology and religion, Vedic origins, etc. which have their own books.
Regarding the dating of the texts and thus ideas in various Indo-European cultures – such as Norse vs. Celtic – I made this rough chart showing the dates of the different traditions. I hope to clean it up someday.
There is also this article:
Using Indic Texts to Reconstruct Indo-European Cultures: Issues and Methodologies
Some of the cultural connections are explained really well (in a non scholarly paper context) in the early episodes of the “History of English Podcast”. They primarily cover the proto-indo european languages, but also some of the archeological attestations to the connections between these cultures and how things like weaving, tools, and pottery also back this up. They avoid digging into the religious and/or mythological transmissions though - that could be a whole other podcast.
Whoa, thank you for so many great resources!