THE FOLLOWING OPINIONS OF THE AUTHOR ARE LARGELY UNSUPPORTED BY FACT
My statement early on, that the early Celtic Christian Church in Britain was comfortably intertwined with pre-existing pagan ritual and icons, perhaps errs in the use of the term "comfortably." Putting aside the issues of faith for a moment, the early Christian missionaries in Britain were very much involved in a struggle for the minds and hearts of the people. Pre-Christian belief in England was certainly a varied pastiche of Roman, Celtic, Scandinavian and assorted other mythologies. Add to these an abundance of local sacred relics, altars, and deities. What the early Christians had going was a unification of effort, belief, and purpose. Rather than uproot age-old existing beliefs, I think that these practices were either replaced (if thought to be threatening) or absorbed (if thought to be relatively innocuous). If certain spots were sacred to the old beliefs, the Christians could have taken the tack that these areas were somehow tainted,building their early churches on newly staked-out Holy Ground. But they didn't. The approach, at least initially, would seem to be less confrontational, allowing the practicioners of the old beliefs to gather in the same spots, practice some of the same rituals, and celebrate on many of the same days, so that the transition was slow and relatively painless.
And where else but on the Mudcat, may I say, would you find a group of people knowledgeable enough in these areas to have a discussion like this one. I have certainly learned a lot, and have thoroughly enjoyed it.