There are different theories on the actual origins of the ancient Celts, but evidence based on archaeological finds suggests that they may have originated from the merging of two groups of people in the late Neolithic period.
These two groups (named after the artifacts found in their respective burial sites) are known as the Battle-axe folk, from the Steppes of Southern Russia, and the Beaker folk, from Iberia or Central Europe.
It is not until the Iron Age, however, that we see the Celts spreading throughout Europe as distinctive group of tribes or clans, speaking a form of the Indo-European language family from which many modern-day European languages derive.
The Celts taught and passed down their laws, legends and beliefs through a strong oral tradition based on the trained memories of their poets and priests.
A well-known figure of Celtic society, in fact, is the Bard, a poet/musician whose task was to record and narrate the histories, events and legends of the Celts.
This well-developed oral tradition consequently made writing unnecessary. Today, therefore, our knowledge and understanding of Celtic symbols, tradition, religion and mythology are based almost entirely on the study of archaeological remains and on Greek and Roman records (the earliest dating back to 500 B.C.)
The meanings of ancient Celtic symbols thus remain subject to interpretation and, while most of these symbols are fairly evident, there are still a great many conflicting theories regarding the origin of some of them.
Despite their primitive origins, Celtic symbols are still extremely relevant and meaningful today. They are ageless and timeless archetypes that we, regardless of (and, perhaps, to balance out) the dizzying speed of modern-day progress, continue to refer to in order to remain in touch with the innermost, nature-ruled and untapped energy of the Unconscious.