A Tale of Two Celticities

Sacred Springs, Legendary Landscape, and Celtic Revival in Bath


  • Marion Bowman Open University, UK




religion, Australia, Pacific, academic study


This article examines examples of Celtic revival in the context of contemporary spirituality in the city of Bath, in the south west of England.

Two case studies are featured, one involving the hot springs of Bath and the other Bath’s alleged ‘Druidic’ heritage. In both cases, there have been revivals which look to a Celtic past as a model for the present, and a vision for the future. However, a variety of markers and measures of Celticity emerge in the study, indicating that that there is an ongoing negotiation over the meaning and conception of what it means to be Celtic.

It is clear that contemporary Celtic spirituality provides a flexible vehicle through which the past can be explored, reassessed and to some extent re-established, and the present can be imbued with significance and sacrality. As examples of vernacular religion, the case studies also indicate that Bath itself is considered a major force in determining the nature of religiosity to emerge there.

Author Biography

Marion Bowman, Open University, UK

Marion Bowman is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at The Open University, President of the British Association for the Study of Religions, and Vice President of The Folklore Society. Her main research interests are contemporary Celtic spirituality, vernacular religion, and a long-term study of Glastonbury; she has published extensively on all these topics.


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How to Cite

Bowman, M. (2007). A Tale of Two Celticities: Sacred Springs, Legendary Landscape, and Celtic Revival in Bath. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 20(1), 93–115. https://doi.org/10.1558/arsr.v20i1.93