I'm happy to have contributed. I started my investigations nearly two years ago while re-reading Michel Houllebecq's combative novel of ideas "The Elementary Particles" (=my review). A chance reference tied the "Book of Kells" illumination of St Matthew to a "mandala". My curiosity whether any Celtic-Buddhist transmissions could be proven led to this survey of the evidence, or lack of, as opposed to the invention of influences.
In its supersized format my survey comprises this article. A second piece, revised and updated, (if half the 15,000 word length of the "Epona" article) has been submitted (a few days ago) for publication in selected papers revised and expanded from the proceedings of the "Alternative Spiritualities in Ireland" conference held last Samhain at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
The reason my "Epona" article's so lengthy? I wanted to delve as deeply as I could into a topic in the backwaters of exploration. Luckily, this peer-edited journal welcomed my research, for as Dr. Emilia Szaffner explains in her "editorial introduction" to the "Epona" project:
The journal is named after the Celtic horse goddess Epona, who was also an incarnation of fertility. The worship of Epona was widespread, especially in the 1st–3rd centuries CE inside and also outside the Roman Empire, for instance in Pannonia and Transylvania. Among the Celtic gods it was Epona whose cult lasted probably the longest in the Carpathian Basin.
Yeats mused that until the Battle of the Boyne, Ireland belonged to Asia; for the far-westbound Magyar coming from above the Caspian Sea, they stopped only at the Danube. Before they arrived, Pannonia halted at that wide river. I recall crossing the bridge north of Budapest to see right by the roadside Roman ruins-- their military camps did not cross that riparian frontier, home to the untamed barbarians. And among these, perhaps contacts no book extant can account for once happened. What beliefs shared, surmises entertained?
The title of my paper, with the Gundestrup Cauldron, symbolizes one connection, however far-fetched or conjectural. So, the congruent, complimentary Central European-Celtic-and perhaps Buddhist (as mavericks may meditate) route of cultural influences beckoned me down my own Road of Great Events. Maybe not a Silk one, but a pilgrimage I've enjoyed.
It's led to a lot more reading than I'd expected into Buddhism itself, far deeper than shows in my scholarship I confess. It's helped me pursue an endeavor that reminds me of how closely intertwined the personal and the academic paths can tangle when one loves what one does. I let go now-- of retyping of MLA punctuation vs. Harvard Style documentation, refusals of copyright permission for image use, or reduction of amassed research to meet word count and deadline.
Photo: Visit the "Gundestrup Cauldron" entry on Wikipedia; this displays Plate "A" with the horned figure said by some to be Cernunnos the Celtic horned god-- and a few to be an antlered shaman as "yogic adept" clutching a Hindu "naga" snake.