The fascination with Celtic and Norse traditions, symbols and legends grows exponentially, as modern humanity searches for something that feels more genuine than the two false gods of the twenty first century, science and technology, both having in turn failed to fulfill any of their promises. Science has not brought renewal, rather it has led to a rapidly dying ecosystem, and technology has taken the very nature of mankind and scoured away all that has made our species distinct, the advanced and cultured communication skills, face to face emotional interaction, any real sense of vital community. The old worlds are somehow seen as more enlightened, in touch with forces of nature and spirituality, directly connected to the universe without the need for extraneous links or associations.
Were the Norse or Celtic worlds enlightened, spiritual, connected with nature? Aligned with the natural world most certainly, the only known forces were climatic, humanity lived, died, prospered or failed through the tolerance of the weather, nothing more, nothing less. To be expected those powers were given god like qualities, and were worshiped not through love or devotion, but rather through fear for their possible acrimony. Spirituality was encouraged by pure chance, the mathematics of probability. If certain circumstances arose a predictable result would ensue, so humanity hoped, desperately, for the beneficial, the good, the positive affirmation of the gods, or more correctly just plain good fortune, in response to their concerted worship. Enlightenment, learning that is, follows a predictable curve. The more human understanding of the forces surrounding themselves evolved, the more educated they become, the more planetary movements are shown to be repetitious, seasons predictable, multiple languages scriptable and speak-able, the full meaning of forty-two self-apparent.
That other possible meaning of enlightenment, being to obtain spiritual knowledge or insight, definitely does not relate to the dark ages. The dark ages were morose, difficult, deadly in so many ways that survival itself was a major victory. Humanity had no real inkling about themselves, their own qualities, weaknesses or capabilities, an understanding of anything more complex that left and right, up or down, a fear of the unaccountable, mysteries being pronounced magical, the manifest effects of demons, witches, sprites and hobgoblins, innumerable imaginings simply created to give a face to the inexplicable.
I know of no one of genuine Celtic or Norse heritage who would wish for a return to such terrible turmoil and ignorance, to want to fight every single day to simple exist, let alone flourish. Reenactors, those with a bent towards fantasy are seduced by the apparent glamor, simplicity, panache, straightforwardness of such an age, but would shy away from such endless daily degradation in reality.
Ethical and moralistic agendas did not come about by chance, force, or even necessarily by planning, rather such true enlightenment arose as a solution to a problem, a remedy for multiple murderous infections, including ignorance, selfishness, usury, and an unending struggle simply for the survival of all, not just the fittest.