La Tene: a visual manifestation of energy in art?

April 16, 2010

I have had only a passing interest in the La Tene culture, having seen it mentioned infrequently in historical texts related to the druid culture and early Celtic tribes. However, when I did a Google Image search and found some pictures showing the shapes of the La Tene art I was also struck by the similarity. I have no doubt that Celtic and pre-Celtic civilisations had several influences that were more ‘energy-oriented’ than ours:-

  1. They probably still had an oral history of the megalithic cultures who built the ancient stone monuments
  2. They were closer to the land, the cycles of the seasons and Nature generally and this would have influenced their art, if only in an inspirational sense
  3. There was undoubtedly more rock art in existence at the time to copy
  4. Shamanic practises were still being used at that time, and so ‘getting in touch’ with Nature and her energies was a more regular practise than it is nowadays. Purely from a psychedelic standpoint this would bring forth such patterns through the visualisation of energy flows. cf. The Gundestrup Cauldron

It is not the spread or influence of the La Tene culture that interests me. As you can see from the diagram below it is considered that the influence of their culture was quite limited. What interests me is that such a culture, a culture with obvious similarities to other tribal cultures that are more native to this soil, was able to create artwork that seems to be based upon geodetic designs. Now, I introduce the term “geodetic” because I have been reading Guy Underwood. What I mean by the term is that the shapes and designs employed by the La Tene crasftsmen and artists mirror the underlying subtle energy forms that Kal and I have found, as have may others of course, when we have been dowsing around these islands.

In the first set of shapes I see the circle used as a central point, with branches swirling outward from that point. If you look at some of my diagrams from stone circles where I have sketched the shapes that emanate from the stones themselves you will recognise the similarity immediately. Good examples I can think of are Nine Ladies, Moel-Ty-Uchaf or Gors Fawr.

In this second set of diagrams of La Tene art I see another familiar shape – that of the double-headed spiral form that represents the travel of the sun across the sky in a year. This is actually found in subtle energy form as a sigil at several sites that I have dowsed recently, including Dinas Bran near Llangollen and at Birkrigg Moor stone circle in Cumbria. I am sure there are many more. The shape is defined as akin to that of a treble clef symbol, with one end more tightly wound that the other. The tightly wound end runs anti-clockwise and represents the female end (I’m sure there are parallels in life there, with the female being more tightly wound!) and the male end being fewer turns and clockwise.

It appears to me, and to Riverwolf – the kind reader who spotted this connection – that there is some inherent familiarity with these forms that is seeking expression in these symbols and the art that is produced using them. We are fortunate enough to still have them represented in our own time to be able to refer back to them, and to make such a connection. Whether or not that connection makes any difference to us on a practical level is not the significance. The significance comes from the acknowledgement – tacit or otherwise – that previous “tuned in” cultures were closer to the Megalith Builders that we are, and knew Nature’s flows more intimately than we allow ourselves to now. We hope this may soon be knowledge whose practicality is soon re-discovered.

In this sphere of recovering ancient knowledge the recognition of interesting coincidences can often put us back in touch with a clue to that way our ancestors thought, and how they viewed the world. Perhaps this expression of energy forms in art may be one of those clues?


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  1. Dear Gwas ,

    Great post ! thank you! Early celtic art sing to me a “melody” since I discovered it, the vibrations of the shapes and curves , are musical notes to my heart, my soul ! The constant movement in balance is a teacher for each day of Life .A Great Song , without a doubt ! 🙂 … Very similar of sacred sites energies , now that you point it out ! 🙂 … Great work ! 🙂

    Happy Beltane !

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