Caorann (“KOOR-uhn”) is Gaelic for Rowan - a sacred tree traditionally known for its powers of protection, spiritual sight, and connections to the Otherworld. It is one of the trees sacred to the Irish and Scottish Goddess (and Saint) Brigid - She who turns back the streams of war.
Neo-Nazis, plastic shamans, ceremony-sellers and other racists have been trying to co-opt Celtic symbolism and recruit people of Celtic heritage into their groups, sometimes by devious means such as the use of front groups and the plagiarizing of materials from Celtic writers who do not share their racist agenda. Some have even had the nerve to violate our foundation principles - calling themselves Celtic Reconstructionists (CR) while attempting to misappropriate Native American ceremonies and pass off their racist, outsider fantasies as Celtic. We are particularly opposed to this type of cultural appropriation as it is not only racist - in that it ignores the stated wishes of the Indigenous Elders and community leaders who do not want their traditions mimicked and abused - but also because it harms all the traditions being misrepresented. If people pass off watered down and altered versions of ceremonies as the real deal, over time, bit by bit, the real traditions are forgotten. The lifeways lose their power and their ability to sustain the lives of the people. This is a grievous insult to the ancestors who fought and died to maintain Indigenous ways, as well as to the Celtic ancestors whose traditions are being forgotten as their descendants attempt to adopt fake ceremonies or the stolen ways of other peoples. We owe it to all the ancestors to behave honourably, not like amnesiacs or thieves.
CAORANN - Celts Against Oppression, Racism and Neo-Nazism - began as a group of anti-racist Celtic Reconstructionists who are determined to not let these bigots steal our traditions, hijack our image or harm our cultures by disguising their thefts as “Celtic”. We are now an international network. We join together to strategize, raise awareness, and fight racism and cultural misappropriation in our communities and the world at large.
We facilitate anti-racist discussions and activism in our networks, in person and online. We have a banner campaign, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and will soon have a new discussion forum. We have also produced informational flyers for demonstrations and other direct actions.
The CAORANN Council is a collective of Celtic Reconstructionists, Gaelic Polytheists, Native American and First Nations activists who have joined together to campaign against the misuse and abuse of Celtic symbolism and spiritualities, and to confront and eradicate racism in our communities. Our network is international, multi-generational, multi-racial and multi-ethnic, with diverse genders and sexual orientations represented. We have members and advisors from the Celtic Nations, the First Nations, the Celtic diaspora and beyond.