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Monday, 13 June 2011

Styles of Goth fashion: Celtic and Pagan Goth

I am writing up Celtic and Pagan Goth together as there is probably not enough information on each to make two separate posts; plus, the two are extremely closely related - either could be described as a sub-sub-genre of Medieval or hippie Goth.

Inkubus Sukkubus show how it's done.
Source: Google Images
So what makes these styles different from the above-named subsets, and from each other? The clue's in the name really. Celtic Goth is visually close to Medieval Goth but with strong Celtic influences, such as knotwork jewellery and outfits inspired by Celtic legend or history. Needless to say, Celtic Goths often enjoy folklore and music related to or inspired by their namesake, and are often known to adopt Gaelic scene names such as Brom (masculine, 'raven') or Maeve (feminine, 'intoxicating one'). Many Gothic and ethnic clothing brands have a Celtic-influenced line, or at least several pieces, for example Nomads and Dark Star by Jordash.

Why are Goths so intrigued by the Celts - more specifically, the ancient Celts? Well, Celtic history is steeped in legend - faerie queens and warrior kings, mythological creatures both treacherous and beautiful such as the Dana O'Shee (Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab have a 'Dana O'Shee' perfume, and describe them thusly, "In Irish folklore the Dana O'Shee are a fae, elven people that live in a realm of beauty, their nobility akin to our that own Age of Chivalry, eternally beautiful and eternally young. They surround themselves with the pleasures of the Arts, they live for the hunt, and to this day can be seen riding in procession through the Irish countryside at twilight, led by their King and Queen. However, the Dana O'Shee are not benevolent creatures, despite what their unearthly beauty may imply. They are vengeful and treacherous and possess a streak of mischievous malice, and many have whispered that their true home lies deep in the shadowed groves of the Realm of the Dead. Hearing even a single chord of their otherworldly music leaves one stunned and lost to the mortal realms for ever, finding themselves prey to the Dana O'Shee's hunt or enslaved in their Court as servants or playthings."

Additionally, the beauty of the Celtic nations evokes an almost fantastic splendour; the rolling hills, misty glens and ruined castles that are seen as almost synonymous with the word 'Celtic' possess a dark, etheral beauty that is most pleasing to many of those who favour a Gothy aesthetic.

A Pagan Goth might be a Goth who chooses to follow a Pagan religion or faith such as Wicca or Neo-Paganism; the term is also used to describe a style of Goth that is visually close to hippie Goth, but incorporating traditional Pagan symbolism such as pentacles, moons, athames, besoms (broomsticks), bats and many more.
I found this Polyvore set on Google Images - it combines both Celtic and Pagan influences.
There are many visual similarites between Celtic and Pagan Goth - a tendency towards loose, flowing, Medieval-inspired clothing in fabrics such as cotton and crushed velvet, a fondness for tie-dye and jewel tones, hair often worn long for both men and women.

Musically, Celtic Goths may prefer Celtic-inspired music or music with an obvious Celtic influence such as Corvus Corax, Flogging Molly, and traditional Celtic pipe and harp music. Pagan Goths may enjoy bands such as Faith and the Muse, Inkubus Sukkubus and The Moon and the Nightspirit, which fall under the label of 'Pagan rock'.

21 comments:

Claire said...

Very nice. I mostly identify with these two types and faery goth.

"a tendency towards loose, flowing, Medieval-inspired clothing" who doesn't love giant bell sleeves? XD

Excerpts From Hell said...

I feel very well informed now ^.^ I'm not much for subgeneres because I'm quite bad in explaining the differences but you did it wonderfully.....

Duvessa said...

Inkubus Sukkubus is <3

Daisy Fiend said...

I had a friend named Chole that fit into this perfectly. But she was a tad bit more causal. She wore ankle length skirts and tang tops with no make-up. But then she moved away :(

Anonymous said...

Celtic and pagan fashion isn't quite defined as on your polyvore image. You can't just put a cheesy pentagram onto a top and call it pagan. Bordello shoes also aren't the choice of footwear for this style. If mall goths would choose to go pagan, this is what they would wear. Candia is the real representation of the celtic/pagan gothic. nhf.

akumaxkami said...

Dana O'Shee eh? That's a very "Americanized" version and spelling. Originally, and more accurately, they're referred to as the Tuatha de Danann - or the People of the goddess Danu. The description given for them makes them sound like ass-wipes, honestly, which is a little sad. I'm a Celtic Pagan and I work very closely with the Fae. ^_^

ultimategothguide said...

@ akumaxkami - 'ass-wipes', hahaha, not usually a term I'd think of when talking about the Fae... I was going to mention the Cait Sidhe but thought I'd save any further details for my future legends and folklore posts.

@ Anonymous - sadly I couldn't find a better image; and I agree, don't like the shoes. But I liked the model, the knotwork on the cloak, and, yes, the pentagram.

Anonymous said...

I wear a pentagram (very small silver one) around my neck, wearing it on shirts like this screams "mall-poser-goth" and is an insult for the pagan religion/culture. The knotwork is nice. :D

ultimategothguide said...

@ Anonymous - would that also be true if the person wearing it was also a Pagan? In that case I would have thought it was a matter of personal taste/choice. However if the wearer was not a Pagan, I agree, hugely tacky and stupid.

Anonymous said...

My opinion is -yes. Either way because let us say a muslim or jew wears their religious signs on shirts and walks around like that, wouldn't it be really stupid? For me, it's the same as goths running around in shirts which say "goth" or "gothic". don't you agree?

ultimategothguide said...

@ Anonymous - no, I don't. If a Christian wants to wear a T-shirt with a big cross on it, why shouldn't they? Likewise if a Goth wants to wear a T-shirt saying 'Goth' or a babybat wears a top that says 'Babybat'. I'm not denying it's a little cheesy but I wouldn't go as far as stupid and certainly not offensive.

Agree to disagree?

Gaia_Noir said...

Ah, this look is so beautiful and ethereal when it's done right! And it's still quite fun when it isn't (although my babybat days did see a LOT of not-very-awesome tribal-celtic tshirt designs on the high street and I did come to view some of them as *whispers* a just a wee bit tacky...!) :D Most of the designs looked glorious, though - it's not a style I wear myself, but all that knotwork is so beautifully intricate.

My partner and I were maybe planning to go to a major Celtic music festival (we live in Scotland) this summer - I wonder if there will be any gothy folks of this mould there? :)

And..indeed..Inkkubus Sukkubus <3 !

chaoskitten[DF] said...

Ah, I love this post ^^

I'm Irish (hey neighbour! *waves*), and have had a huge interest in Celtic mythology and the Celts themselves since I was a kid. I even plan to study Celtic Studies in university in September :)

I'd also identify as a Pagan (Celtic Wicca of course! Haha) And wear a pentacle -with a ring of celtic knotwork surrounding it- on a daily basis :) (I'm wearing it as I type :D )

Pagan metal... god I love it XD

Thanks for this post ^^

Tenebris In Lux said...

About the anonymous user -- I used to practice Wicca enough to wear a small pentagram. There's nothing tacky about it. I still find it to be beautiful, really. And even crosses -- and I'm not religious.

Chloë Noir said...

Nice one..I have to say..i love this style series. Btw...what about otaku goth? :D :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy your blog is amazing I read it everyday :) have you heard of Ghost goth fashion by any chance if so will it be covered at some point?

best wishes xx

ultimategothguide said...

Thanks Anonymous. =D

I haven't heard of Ghost Goth fashion but I will see if I can find some info on it. Do you happen to have any links I can check out?

Anonymous said...

Sorry I dont have links ive just noticed that in clubs and gigs around my area people are starting to dress "ghost"- mainly people have been wearing shades of white and grey. Sometimes with black accents. They tend to have white/light blonde hair, tho ive seen people- one girl I spoke to had silver/grey ombre dyed hair with black tips who says she knows a few of her friends that dress this way. I'm under the impression its like vampire or dark fairy. I noticed 3 girls in this group at a club that looked like Yūrei. Next time i'm out I will try and get more information if I can

ultimategothguide said...

@ Anonymous - sounds slightly similar to ice Goth what with the white clothing and all.

InfiltratorN7 said...

Never heard of ghost goth before. Sound interesting if they are dressing up like yūrei. I guess in that sense it does sound similar to the type of people who dress like vampires of fae.

I'm a fan of Dark Star and always liked Celtic knotwork. I like Celtic and Medieval goth fashions. Those subsets have always appealed to me. I'm interested in history and always going to museums and visiting historical sites like abbeys, castles etc.

I don't get why whenever medieval goth is described anywhere on the internet it's always just the men who are referred to as having an interest in swords?! I love visiting armouries and shops selling medieval weaponry. It's not just a male interest! I'd collect them too if I could afford to.

Ulva said...

I my self love celtic mythology and studied a lot of pagan religions ( finding a path for my own )and I so happen to be into and love the gothic sub-Culture but I have to say, all wiccans are pagans but not all pagans are not wiccans. It is a religion and they may show it in there style of dress but I don't think it should be a sub-type of goth.
When it comes to what sub-type they are closest to I don't think it would be fairy but more of medieval or hippy. medieval is very close because of similar dress and music. hippy I guess because there open mindness about new age stuff and well they'er hippies, they love nature.
I can see that fairy goth can be closely related to celtic because the celts did in fact come up with elf's and fairies and I can see celtic being close to wiccan/pagan because they share a lot of similarities and there are a lot of celtic wiccans/pagans.

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