Tuesday, July 1, 2014

DRUIDS...Ancient Bad Boys of Summer




DRUIDS…Ancient Bad Boys of Summer.

My name is Sophia Kimble, and I want to thank everyone at Paranormal Romantics for inviting me to post on the first of the month on this wonderful blog. This month’s theme is Bad Boys of Summer and what better way to start this off than talk about Druids.

Who were the Druids?


The Druids were ancient peoples during the Iron Age (roughly 1100 BC until the time of the Roman Empire…27BC until about 500AD) from Gaul, Galicia, Ireland, and Britain. They were an educated class of a religious order that included ancient lawyers, poets, doctors and other learned professionals.

***Not one single artifact or image has been discovered regarding the Druids. What we know of them has been surmised through ancient text written by others. The earliest known text written about the Druids dates to 200 BC.***


The Druids were mainly a religious order who practiced Druidism, which was a nature-based religion. Within Druidism there were three specialties.

The Bards: The Druids never penned anything. All their knowledge was learned and passed on by oral tradition. According to some, Bards trained for upwards of 20 years memorizing the hundreds of stories, poems, genealogical lines, and philosophy.

The Ovates: These Druids specialized in death and regeneration. The Druids believed in reincarnation. They believed upon death the soul went to The Otherworld where it waited to be born into another human or animal. The Ovates also specialized in healing, conversing with the ancestors, divination, and telling the future.

The Druids:  The Druids were the priests, teachers, astronomers, ambassadors and conductors of rituals.

What were some of the Druid’s practices?

Human sacrifice?

Julius Ceasar described the Druids as being concerned with  divine worship, the due performance of sacrifices, private or public, and the interpretation of rutual questions.” Ceasar claimed their main teaching was “the souls do not perish, but after death pass from one to another.” He also said, “the stars and their movements, the size of the cosmos and the earth, the world of nature, and the powers of deities”.

Ceasar also wrote that the Druids were “administrators” of human sacrifice. He states that criminals were usually used, and that the method was through burning in a wicker man.

I see Nicholas Cage here!

Fortunetellers?

The Druids were prophets and Diodorus Siculus states that for a sacrifice to be acceptable to the Celtic Gods, it had to be performed by a Druid.

“The men predict the future by observing the flight and calls of birds and by the sacrifice of holy animals: all orders of society are in their power…and in very important matters they prepare a human victim, plunging a dagger into his chest; by observing the way his limbs convulse as he falls and the gushing of his blood, they are able to read the future.”


Rituals?
It has been surmised that the Druid’s practiced their rituals within ancient stone circles. Though the stone circles, such as Stonehenge, have been around much longer than the Druids.

They were also known to have performed their rituals in ancient groves in a circle of one of the 9 sacred trees such as oaks, ash, willow, hawthorn, holly, alder, birch, hazel, and rowans.

Were Druids the original Hippies?

The Druids, in search of enlightenment, would partake of magic mushrooms. The fly Agaric is one such mushroom. It has been said the Druid would fast for 3 days prior to ingestion. His urine (which would be mostly water and the hallucinogenic components of the mushroom) would then be drunk by others.



The body absorbs the fly agaric's hallucinogens first, and then expels the toxins from the stomach. The hallucinogenic chemicals then exert their influence on the body and are expelled unaltered in the urine. 

As terrible as this sounds, I found I had to put this in my novel, Protect Her, which features an evil Druid, Lailoken.

Holidays:

Samhain- November 1. This is the time of year when the veil between The Otherworld is most easily penetrated.

Winter Solstice- December 21( usually). The shortest day of the year.

Imbolc- February 1. This is the time marked by the return of light, when the first stirrings of life were noticeable. It is associated with the goddess Brighid who was later Christianized to Saint Brighid. She was thought to visit households on Imbolc and was related to fertility.

Beltain- May 1. The celebrations of The Fires of Bel. This would mark the beginning of the growing season.


Typically a bonfire was lit on top of a hill. The flames, ashes and smoke had protective powers. The ritual would include running around the fire and driving the cattle through or over it to ensure protection from evil and disease.

Summer Solstice- June 21 (usually). The longest day of the year.


Lughnasad- August 1. The feast of Lugh (the god of light). This was the time for celebration of the harvest. Religious ceremonies, matchmaking and athletic contests were usually involved.


Ancient Symbols:










The Triskelion: An ancient symbol found on many ancient stones including the entrance to Newgrange.



It’s ancient meaning is thought to be each of the triple spirals represents: Birth, death and rebirth. After Christianity came to the lands it took on the meaning of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost.

Downfall of the Druids:

When Christianity came to the lands it was the beginning of the end for the Druids. Their role in Celtic society began to be relegated to that of a sorcerer. One who practiced healing magic and cast spells. Their once high esteem declined steadily.

In the Gallic Wars of 58- 51BC, Julius Ceasar, conquered many chiefdoms of Gaul and annexed it as part of the Roman Empire. Many laws were subsequently passed banning Druidism from being practiced.

So, with new laws and a new religion (Christianity) taking over the lands of the Celts, the Druids were lost and disappeared from the lands and almost nearly from history.


As I said, all that we know of the Druids comes from the writings of others. Some scholars believe the Druids took part in human sacrifice while others vehemently deny this. I’ll leave this up to you to decide. 

Where's the romance? Well, some authors have romanticized the Druids and made their hero's and heroines hot Druids that ultimately are good, but I decided to make mine a villainous one hell bent on wreaking havoc!

This article only touches on some of the practices and beliefs of these ancient peoples who are no longer with us. Though there has been resurgence in Druidism in modern times, there is no proof that any of these ‘new Druids’ retain the blood of those ancient bad boys of summer.

I’ve done much research on the subject and hope this helps anyone with an interest in Druids.

My debut novel, Protect Her, will be released in October, 2014 from Soul Mate Publishing. It is the first novel in The Druid’s Curse Series.

Find out all about me, Sophia Kimble, and my novels on my Website





4 comments:

Veronica Scott said...

Welcome, Sophia! I really enjoyed the post, learned quite a bit I never knew about Druids before!

Diane Burton said...

Great post, Sophia. I learned so much about the Druids. Welcome to the group.

Maureen said...

What a great post Sophia! I've learned so much about the Druids. Welcome! So great to have you here.

Sophia Kimble said...

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome!