The Druids – Successors of the Shamans

15 Aug

Much of the training period was,  Caesar says, spent learning verses. Rhymes and alliteration were in origin mnemonic devices so that we can safely conclude they were learning something more than simple poetry.  Magical spells, which are actually rituals, usually take the form of rhymes and since the law was passed down by word of mouth one may suppose, with the Druids as with the Brahmins, it was encapsulated into jingles for easy remembrance.

But in any event, the epic myths would certainly have formed an important part of the corpus of material to be learnt.  Bards and Druids must once have been united.

At least two of the classical writers mention Bards, Vates and Druids as enjoying equally high regard in Celtic society. Just as “bards” is related to “seers”.   So “vates” (or, as it occurs elswhere, “Ovates”) is a rendering of the Irish “fathi” meaning “inspired one”.  Thus are the three words associated.

In any case, the gift of poetry is, of itself, divine.

Ward Rutherford; The Druids and their Heritage ; (Gordon & Cremonesi © 1978) p.71

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