The Quick and the Dead

Bonjour From Brittany

To talk of the soul is, to many, to touch on the very essence of existence. First century authors noted that the ancient Celts believed in the indestructibility and inevitable transmigration of the human soul and, despite the march of Christian dogma, such beliefs remained in the Breton tradition where there was no significant separation between the living and the dead; both dwelt in discrete worlds that were in perpetual relation with one another. The souls of the dead surrounded the living, wandering the skies and sunken paths of the land as black dogs, petrels, horses or hares.

The Bretons once counted kinship over nine generations and it was said that the dead did not immediately reach the afterlife but stayed in the vicinity of the living for those nine generations. The souls of the damned were thought lost forever, confined to Hell for eternity although a soul might fleetingly…

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