Religion of the ancient Celts. Part one.
One most interesting ancient pagan civilization was the civilization of the ancient Celts, traces of which have survived mainly in the form of popular myths, tales and legends. The most famous fairy tale and legend is so well known to all the legend of King Arthur and his knights, who loved to sit at the round table and the wise wizard Merlin – a trusted friend and advisor to King Arthur. Famous French cartoons and comics Asterix and Obelisk are also associated with the ancient Celts. (Asterix – a true son of the Celtic people) Also, the English writer John Ronald Tolkien, author of the fabulous trilogy “The Lord of the Rings” to draw a fairy-tale world – Middle-earth (filled with a variety of wonderful characters: elves, gnomes, trolls, orcs, wizards and dragons) just based on Many Celtic myths and fairy tales.
But who are themselves the Celts? The Celts in ancient times were one of the major European nations, and inhabited much of Europe. They lived in what are now France, England and Spain. Nation that was quite belligerent and loved going to the military campaigns, so that the traces of their presence can be found in the vicinity of the Danube, and even in the Ukrainian Carpathians (Carpathian Hutsuls I think little family to the Celts). However, such a wide distribution of the Celts was not accompanied by the appearance they have no developed state (as was the case with Greece or Rome). The Celts and continued to be a union of many tribes.
Subsequently, the civilization of the Celts went into decline, a major role in this played a conquest of the Roman Empire. The Roman government did not like the Celts and tried to destroy their culture. This is her most successful, and in modern times the Celtic culture survived only in the territory of modern Ireland and Scotland. Celtic culture today – first of all, a great Scottish and Irish music, Irish dancing hot and exciting tales.
Prior to the arrival of Christianity among the Celts was a very powerful pagan religion, which is inextricably linked with the ancient priests of the Celtic people, who were called Druids. In Celtic folk tales and myths of the druids are portrayed bearded wise old men who know the answers to any questions, know the secrets of medicinal herbs (which makes them top-notch doctors who can cure any disease) often can see the future, understand the language of birds and animals, as well as can influence the weather.
Druids in high esteem among his contemporaries. In the society of the ancient Celtic Druids were priests – intermediaries between gods and men, as teachers, judges and doctors. The famous fairy tale characters – the magician Merlin (the same one who was an adviser and mentor of King Arthur) was one of the wisest druids.
According to one version, the word druid derives from oak and oak in the religion of the ancient Celts was a sacred tree, which symbolized the power and durability. Druids gather themselves and taught each other in sacred oak groves. Druid would be far from each, and trained at the Druid held for many years. On most of the great learning and knowledge, which long ago mastered the Druids, now actually know nothing. The reason – the Druids had never used such a thing as a written language, all knowledge was passed only in oral form and therefore did not survive. The only source from which we all know something about the Druids – the same fairy tales, myths and legends.
According to legend the greatest strength, which had the Druids, was the power of words. This powerful force druids were doing great things can influence people. Legends describe a case where a druid, with a few words reconciled two large army, which for a moment before were ready to come together in a fierce and deadly battle. Also, using the word druids could affect the weather and bring rain, or conversely to disperse the clouds. With the help of the magical power of words druids could heal other people, but they could, and vice versa – to kill. Dangerous weapon was the curse of the Druids. A person, on whom the curse is imposed, may have died in terrible agony.
With the gradual decline of the Celtic culture and religion of the Druids is gradually transformed into a bard. Bards do not have such a powerful force as a druid, but still had the gift of speech, which made them excellent poets, singers, musicians and just. Subsequently, with the advent of the Middle Ages, Bards became completely stray artists and musicians, traveling from city to city, from castle to castle, and in the form of songs sung the legendary tales of the former glory of the great ancient heroes, brave warriors and wise druid. Our itinerant Ukrainian kobzar for his spirit is very similar to medieval European bards.
In the second part of the ancient Celts will explain the Celtic pantheon of gods, and some interesting Celtic myths.