â€œWere the Druids crazy?â€
After reflecting briefly on the human condition, both now and looking back, the answer to that question would seem to rest entirely on ones definition of the word â€œcrazyâ€. That definition, and the response to the question, will likely vary wildly between different people, cultures, religions and even recent periods in history.
â€œAs someone who comes from a Celtic/Druid background I have to say they were not crazy but then again, many people think that self identified "psychics" are crazy (I do not agree of course). The druids were not crazy by any means. I find them to be simply amazing and full of wisdom that has been passed along through the ages. I walk the path of a Druid each day and I am not crazy. Just another perspective.â€
I also come from a Druidic background, and echo that opinion.
â€œFor instance, maybe talk about how Druidic thought and practices could be expressed in, and enhance our daily lives in modern culture.â€
From my point of view, Druidry is expressed in, and enhances my daily life by helping to keep me focused on the things that really matter, namely, love for oneâ€™s family, and a deep respect and reverence for the Earth.
â€œHow did/do Druids view life? What's the purpose of life on Earth from a Druidic perspective? What are the holidays, the foods? Was the goddess important?â€
Those questions will almost undoubtedly draw very different responses from any two Druids, and even between generations of Druids in the same family, such as mine.
â€œBut what would be much more interesting is reflections on experiences and perspectives from people who really walk that path, or at least know someone who does.â€
My perspective may be seen as extreme from the point of view of many, even â€œcrazyâ€ by some. Since the age of 16 (about 36 years ago), I have lived a simple, even austere minimalist lifestyle, owning only the barest of essentials. I have never owned a car, a home, computer, cell phone or any of the myriad other things that most people take for granted, and at the age of 52 have never in my life purchased one drop of gasoline for any reason. I just recently got this computer (it was salvaged) for the purpose of fulfilling my motherâ€™s dream of publishing her work. In keeping with the tradition of self education and development that goes back in my family to my great great grandmother, Ange Mosher, who wrote a book called â€œThe Spell Of Brittanyâ€, and my great grandfather John MacKinnon Robertson, who was a self educated scholar and prolific journalist, I dropped out of school and spent quite a bit of time when I was younger haunting the various libraries at the University of Washington (while volunteering as an assistant occupational therapist at the University of Washington Hospital). My experience of Druidry has been one marked by utter simplicity, and a "Do No Harm" philosophy that I try to apply to every area of my life.
â€œI still dont know what differentiates a druid from the collective group of pagans?â€
There may be a line separating the two, but if there is, it is a fuzzy one.
â€œFrom what I have read here druids simply fit into that category, so what sets them apart?â€
It does seem that there is an additional emphasis in Druidry on self education and development combined with community service. I have not seen that expressly stated as a central tenet of Paganism, generally, but that does not mean that Pagans are any less civic minded than anyone else.
â€œShamans (again, from my limited knowledge) are based mainly around animals, animal magick and spirits/energies
But druids? I draw a blank... I know its due to a lack of my knowledge, all i can associate them with is trees and forests, perhaps forest spirits but im just plucking terms out of the air now!â€
No, you have actually hit the nail on the head! Trees, and particularly the Oak tree, in Druidry, are symbolic of Nature, the respect and reverence for which is probably the most fundamental tenet of the path. Druids derive their name from two Gaulish words. The first, â€œDruvisâ€, means â€œOak Treeâ€, and the second, â€œWidâ€, which means â€œTo Knowâ€.
â€œWikipedia says that the old druids, before and during the first decades of roman rule, practised sacrifice, both human and animal.
You also said in the other thread that he has put snakes blood on his forehead, assuming this is real blood from a real snake what is the druidic view of sacrifice, animal and human, and how does this a) fit in with the reverence of life and b.) what is the reason and point behind it?
Assuming the reason is so gain empowerment or perhaps knowledge of future events or something similar, how does a druid expect that the loss of a life will aid them?â€
This gets back to definitions of what is or is not rational mentioned earlier, and is completely open to interpretation, though I would add that what seemed rational to people thousands of years ago, and even recently, cannot easily be reconciled by todayâ€™s standards.
â€œI saw a show about Druids on the National Geographic Channel. Archaeologists had found the remains of Druids who appeared to be used as human sacrifices to the gods. There was also evidence of cannibalism. When I watched the show, I thought that it was no wonder that the Romans wanted them dead if this was really how they were. They were frightening. A druid man's body was found and he had been knocked in the head, but not enough to kill him, then he was garrotted (basically choked) while at the same time having his throat cut. The researcher said that his blood would have spewed out in a dramatic way, which made her think it was a sacrificial ritual.â€
Conjecture and speculation. There are, in reality, only about one or two thousand words written by authentic historical figures about the ancient Druids, and many of those are suspect. Also, there has never been any archaeologically verified discovery of remains that can be unquestionably linked to them, though many academics continue to present their theories in a factual light.
Strength to you all, Aemilus