Druidism & Christianity: Reflections on the theme

According to Mark Townsend, Matthew Fox and Barbara Erskine, some of them OBOD members, and their book Jesus Through Pagan Eyes: Bridging Neopagan Perspectives, there is no doubt. Let’s examine the question better. Druidism, but above all, neo-Druidism is not a path that we might call “pure” for the simple reason that no Religion or Spirituality has ever evolved in isolation matter, but in each of them there are elements taken from other traditions . Roman cults heavily involved with the Greeks and Egyptians, Tibetan Buddhism has strong roots in Bon esoteric cults, Christianity is rich in Pagan traditions that has strongly made its own. What is the “true and pure” religion? Back we go in time and more we can see that the “new” religions borrowed elements from ancient cults, , obviously building around rituals and cults that would on the one hand mark a diversity, often favored the new priestly caste. It has happened in Christianity as in the Egyptian world. If we eliminate the orpellas that weigh heavily on “Neo”, New or Ancient religions, we find a common core.

Let’s examine, for example, the two central elements of Christianity. The image of the Virgin Mary is absolutely equal to that of many Greco-Roman goddesses, in turn similar to the image of Isis and Horus. Moving more and more behind, we find that the feminine and madriarcal image and his Son and Companion, the vegetarian god, are present in all the cosmogonies and myths of the ancient world. The worship of the God who dies in order to be resurrected, symbolized by Christ, is absolutely identical to the stories of Attis, Adon, Osiris, Taliesin. In turn, these are revisions of more ancient shamanic and animistic cults  that tell us about rituals of dismemberment and death, an expression not of an unjustified violence but of the life that rises from the agricoltural world. Even the custom of eating meat and blood of God, borrowed from Christianity, is very ancient but not exclusive of one Tradition.

When the first Christian missionaries discovered in Gaul a group of Celts intending to venerate a female figure in the act of giving birth to a child, they did not even try to change their religious conception. They were just explaining to indigenous people who, without knowing it, were already Christians, and they were worshiping an image of Our Lady. If everything was fine, a church was built on the sacred place, and the pagan idol, transferred to it, automatically transformed into a Christian representation and to justify the presence of Marian figurations that sometimes preceded the very birth of Mary. Theologians even coined a term “Prefiguration of the Virgin”. Unfortunately they did not know their very origins.

For many neo-pagans the “true” worship was that of the Gauls … but this is not the “primigenic” cult, in turn they have assimilated it from other rituals and ancient religions. So what is True Religion? The writer leaves “inspiration” from Nature, the expression of that Awen that belongs to all, beyond priestly practices, those invented by men too often prevailing over the dominant castes. Druidism and Christianity have co-lived for centuries. The land of the Celts, with the Roman conquest, was soon reached by Christianity and by those “apostles” who wanted to convert the pagans of the North to the New Religion. In Britain, Christianity came to around 200 AD, though we should wait at least another hundred years before it is radicalized in the territory and find Bishops from these lands. It is in fact that already in 360 d.C. Bishops and Celtic Thinkers had become eminent characters in Christian hierarchies. An example may be Pelagio, thinker and theologian, Saint Augustine’s friend. He, permeated by that culture that we might call “druidic”, attempted a strong sincretic operation, attempting to bend local Christianity to the oldest Druid legacies. Without going into the merit of “pelagic”. I just want to emphasize the absence of the concept of “original sin” and the strong resemblance to the rituals of the church of the East. For example, Baptism was practiced through a full immersion, inherited from ancient Celtic rituals. Even the concept of “trinity,” was somehow adapted to the Druid “triple sacredness”. Finally  in the “Celtic Christianity”, I do not like this name but it makes well ideas, very important function had the Women. Unlike Roman Christianity, women were always priests and / or druids in the British area. We can think, for example, at Santa Brigida, a missionary nun to the same name as the old Brigid daughter of Dagda, who has always been revered by the Celtic people. The legend tells Brigida that she was born by a woman carrying a pot of milk, something important for the continuation of the vicissitudes of the saint. The little girl, in fact, had the characteristic of not feeding on common food, but only of white cow’s milk with red ears, a recurrent animal in Celtic mythology, and which remembers the close bond between the saint and the goddess, always represented in the company of her Magic oxen. Become Kildare’s crib, Brigida made the cows of the convent huge quantities of milk and butter baskets so much that in Scotland was called “Milkmade Bride”, a patron saint of milking and milking. Much of Druidism and Pagan Practice more generally survived the manuscripts and the ritual adaptation of the Christian Church. The common mistake among today’s neopagans is to think that their culture has been eradicated and eradicated by Christianity, but this is misleading and often based on poor folk knowledge. The South American and African world, much more accustomed to Western, never had trouble picking up new names to not forget the old ones. Thus it became easy to superimpose the divine figures, Christ seemed so much like Oxalà, while the Virgin Mary was the perfect description of Yemanjià. The ancient African animistic cultures were easily reflected in the monotheistic Christian polytheism made by a distant God and by many saints whose cults, absolutely personalized, made them so much like the Ancient Spirits. They adored the ancient gods with new names, nothing ever changed for South America. The Orishas, ​​their gods, survived. It should also think of the “neo”. This belief is a lesson that many neopagan ways have yet to learn. Ross Nichols had emphasized it already in the mid-1990s.

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