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Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions

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Author Topic: Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions  (Read 4751 times)
Crissy Herrell
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Posts: 3407

« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2009, 01:15:27 pm »

with evil spirits, was not on a much higher plane than the powers for mischief exercised by the magicians.

Such tales fittingly represented a period, when demoniacal possession accounted for diseases or vagaries of human action, and when faith in our Heavenly Father was weighed down by the cruel oppression of witchcraft.

Still, in the many credulous and inventive stories of the Middle Ages, may there not be read, between the lines, something which throws light upon the Druids? Traditional lore was in that way perpetuated. Popular notions were expressed in the haze of words. Lingering superstitions were preserved under the shield of another faith.

Then, again, admitting the common practice of rival controversialists destroying each other's manuscripts, would not some be copied, with such glosses as would show the absurdities of the former creeds, or as warnings to converts against the revival of error?

Moreover,--as the philosophers, in early Christian days of the East, managed to import into the plain and simple teaching of Jesus a mass of their own symbolism, and the esoteric learning of heathenism,--was it unlikely that a body of Druids, having secrets of their own, should, upon their real or assumed reception of Christianity, import some of their own opinions and practices, adapted to the promulgation of the newer faith? No one can doubt that the Druids, to retain their influence in the tribe, would be among the first and most influential of converts; and history confirms that fact. As the more intelligent, and reverenced from habit, with skill in divination and heraldic lore, they would command the respect of chiefs, while their training as orators or reciters would be easily utilized by the stranger priests in the service of the Church.

But if, as is likely, the transition from Druidism to Christianity was gradual, possibly through the medium of

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Culdeeism, the intrusion of pagan ideas in the early religious literature can be more readily comprehended. As so much of old paganism was mixed up in the Patristic works of Oriental Christendom, it cannot surprise one that a similar exhibition of the ancient heathenism should be observed in the West. O'Brien, in Round Towers, writes--"The Church Festivals themselves in our Christian Calendar are but the direct transfers from the Tuath de Danaan Ritual. Their very names in Irish are identically the same as those by which they were distinguished by that earlier race." Gomme said, "Druidism must be identified as a non-Aryan cult."

Elsewhere reference is made to the Culdees. They were certainly more pronounced in Ireland, and the part of Scotland contiguous to Ireland, than in either England or Wales.

Ireland differs from its neighbours in the number of allusions to Druids in national stories. Tradition is much stronger in Ireland than in Wales, and often relates to Druids. On the other hand, it differs from that of its neighbours in the absence of allusions to King Arthur, the hero of England, Scotland, Wales, and Brittany. Rome, too, was strongly represented in Britain, north and south, but not in Ireland.

it is not a little remarkable that Irish Druids should seem ignorant alike of Round Towers and Stone Circles, while so much should have been written and believed concerning Druidism as associated with circles and cromlechs, in Britain and Brittany. Modern Druidism, whether of Christian or heathen colour, claims connection with Stonehenge, Abury, and the stones of Brittany. Why should not the same claim be made for Irish Druids, earlier and better known than those of Wales?

As megalithic remains, in the shape of graves and circles,

p. 27

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