- Holidays and Celebrations
Saint Patrick Vs "The Snakes"
Come on take a free ride...
Symbols of the Naddreds (or Serpent Priest)
Short and sweet video with the basics about St.Patrick
Human sacrificise and Cannibalism?
Proof of human sacrifice
Who were these Snakes anyway?
As I have discussed in my past hubs about how Holiday traditions have developed, it has been quite apparent that one culture mythology can easily bleed into the beliefs and traditions of another. In fact, in the case of Saint Patrick’s Day the myths have been so well blended together that it is hard to know what the purely pagan concepts were. In all fairness to the Catholic Church, it is important to note that it seems to be a long standing tradition for an invader to assimilate the traditions and customs of another. In fact, this seemed to be a favorite hobby of the Romans who were constantly “borrowing” or claiming the gods and religious views of the countries they would conquer.
The one thing that always seems to stand out to me in regards to the Irish is that they always love a good yarn! This has been greatly apparent when one attempts to separate the truth from the myths concerning the life of Saint Patrick. First off, this Saint’s real name was Maewyn Succat and he was not even Irish (gasp) but either Scottish or Roman/British. This depends on who you ask, for both countries seem to have laid claim to his citizenship. There are many other accounts about the good Saint that can not be proven. For example, the Shamrock being used by Patrick to represent the trinity has never been proven. Also, most are aware that the “snakes” that were driven out of Ireland were not reptiles but instead was a metaphor for the Druids. The Druids were the religious aspect of the Celts that had established themselves on Ireland since the dawn of history.
Since I have noticed that there are some splendid hubs already written about Saint Patrick, I thought it would be stimulating to investigate how the Celts were changed or influenced by the advance of the Christian religion. However, if you want to explore the roots of the Celts and the Druids you must be willing to dig deep…deep into the past that is! At first glance, there may not seem to be much significance to the fact that the early Christians would call the Druids “snakes” for to them, the pagans were evil and connected to Satan who took the form of the serpent way back in the Garden of Eden. Many would be content to leave it at that and yet, there is much more to this story! It is a story that may lead back to Samara and Egypt and the worship of “The Serpent” or “The Dragon” to be more precise
Both the Greeks and the Romans, give a limited view of the Celts and the Druids as lesser Barbarians. In fact, Ireland was the last stronghold for the Druids since the Romans had by the time of Saint Patrick had pretty much annihilated the Druids from England and other European countries.Julius Caesar seems to be the main source of information regarding the Druids in his “Gallic Wars” memoirs’. In fact there was documentary produced back in 2008 which seems to prove some of claims made by Julius Caesar concerning human sacrifice and cannibalism! If this was true in Great Britain could it also be true in relationship with the Irish Druids? Most likely the answer would be yes!
The reason I state this with such confidence is the Peat Moss Mummies that have been discovered in many places in Northern Europe including Ireland. These mummies seem to indicate that the well preserved bodies were murdered in ritualistic ways. The reason I even mention this, is that in Neo-Pagan groups such as Wicca, there has been some protest against the belief that the early Druids performed human sacrifice. In the minds of many Wicca and Neo-Pagans it appears they view the Druids as ancient peaceful tree-huggers! I have heard the viewpoint that some the Romans over-exaggerated the more brutal features of the Druid religion. Just like at one time it was believed that the Mayan was also some kind of peaceful ancient mushroom-popping hippy society which has now been disproved.
Before we go any further in deciphering what the Druids represented, I think we must at least acknowledge the evidence that they performed human sacrifice. Also combine this with the fact that the Celts were know to be vicious and fearless warriors, the spread Christianity in Ireland was most likely met with violent opposition. When we consider this evidence, it puts in to perspective what Saint Patrick was up against in his quest to Christianize Ireland. For more I ventured into Irish history, the more darker aspect around St. Patrick’s Day become evident.
When attempting to explore subjects like Druidism, it is important to consider were the information we are receiving originated. The reason for this is that the Druids chose to not leave a written recorded of their activities and beliefs. Yes, they did have the knowledge of written language and yet, they preferred the tradition of passing their knowledge though an oral tradition. This of course took much discipline and effort to preserve religious insights from one generation to generation, which seem to be the point. It appears from all I have researched throughout the years (for I started studying the Druids when I was still a teenager) that memorizing text in the form of poetry and song was considered a sacred art. Those who were trained in memorizing these poems or more precise incantations were known as Barids and Fili.
In Ireland, the myths were not recorded into written language until many centuries after the Druids had disappeared. In fact, it was the Catholic Monks that first started transcribing these stories about the Druids activities in Ireland. This leads many to speculate that these accounts were altered to fit the beliefs of Christianity. Also, there is still a debate about the meaning of the word “druid" for the word itself originated in the Greek language and means "Oak knowledge." However, when you venture into Old Irish and other languages concerning Celts, you come up with different terminology and some quite interesting words with several meanings to speak of this special and elite group that have been called the Druids.
For example: in the Old Irish, the word for Druid is "druI" and it is "dcrwydd" in what is known as Middle Welsh and the Gaulish language it is "druvis" These words can be translated to mean "steadfast knowledge."
Another thing to consider is that in Ireland there was a class of people known as Aes Dana that the Druids fell under. Theses also included the Bards and Fili who as said before were a sort of “magical poet” who were skilled in reciting and memorizing poems, stories and songs. This class also includes other forms of art such as metal workers and were all viewed as part of the elite class. In Scottish lore, the term Aes Dana has been translated to mean “people of the arts” and there the bards were active up until 1700’s.
I have gone to such link in discussing the traits of the Druid to show it would be incorrect to state that Druidic society did not consisted of several positions besides that of priest. This would include judges’ counselors’ physicians and scholars. Now since we have identified them, what was there connection to snakes or serpents? The answer to this would be to state that for an island that never had any snakes, there appears to be a huge symbolic connection to serpents and dragons as is also apparent in England. Since the evidence I have found to support this is so extensive, I will supply links to the many sites that go into this in great detail.
There is one tidbit I found interesting and yet dubious and that is the word Naddreds which according to one site (and only one site) it is true Gaelic word for Druid. This word also supposed to mean “Serpent Priest” and yet after checking with several (six to be exact) Gaelic dictionaries I could not find one that had the word Neddred or Naddreds! This site went on to claim that the Druids had their roots in Egypt. I have found other sites which spoke of the Naddreds, and yet did not make the connection to the Druids.
I have also found sites that have lump it all together so to speak, and have even clamed that the modern day Free Mansions have both connection to the Druids and serpent worship. I cannot help but wonder….if there is truth to what the bible claims and that is Satan also known as the Serpent and the Dragon is the true puppet master behind it all and is doing his best in keeping things under wraps until the end game!
If this true then maybe what we need to ask ourselves…are we the Dragon Priest or the Dragon slayer…are we the snake charmer or are we being charmed by the snake?
And yet another intresting symbol...
Some good sites to check out
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- Halloween-the Celebration of Death
This is not only to several locations around the world and though time, but also a trip into other peoples minds and beliefs. This trip will not cost you one soldiery dime, or take any preparation what so...
- Who Were the Druids?
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- Theosophy Northwest, NW Branch, Theosophical Society (Pasadena)
Northwest Branch, Theosophical Society; material on theosophy, reincarnation, karma, etc.; Collation of Theosophical Glossaries; links to theosophy on the web.