Druidism. Got to love the Druids! Okay, I am not talking about the neo-pagan Druids or anything modern. And I am also not talking about the strange non-Druidic neo-lithic Celtic religion either. I am talking about the Druids of Jesus’ time. Now, the Druids became Christians quite easily, the only group that did. There were no martyrs. According to most of the collected works of antiquity, principally Procopius of Ceasarea in 530 AD, the Druid had been waiting for Jesus.
Here are a few facts:
The Druids believe in one God who was in the form of a Trinity.
Life began when God pronounced his name and the universe formed.
They worshiped without figures or sculptures so there was no idol worship.
They believed in the immortality of the soul and it was a basis of all their teaching.
Sound familiar? Contrary to popular belief, the Druids did not have many gods and goddesses. They believed in one God and all of the beings that we refer to as Celtic gods and goddesses, are what they thought of as attributes, representations or basically archetypes used for a better understanding of God. Also since they knew of Fairies they had stories of them as well but later writings lumps them into the so-called Celtic Pantheon.
They were not nature worshipers, they were nature lovers. They would see the divine in all of nature. Like the Divine fingerprints of God in His Creation. Therefore we can learn from nature. Now, we can see some of this Druidic belief in the Bible. Druids believed, as did many people, especially during the Early Christian Middle Ages, that all living things were also symbolic.
In Matthew 10: 16 Jesus said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
Druids believed that serpents were symbols of wisdom.
When Jesus said “I will make you fishers of men.” They knew it meant gathering people together for God but also it was fish were considered symbols of truth. The Romans even called Druids, Magi.
Yeah, that’s interesting, j, but you said they were waiting for Jesus.
Yes, and they thought when the Messiah came he would be called, Hesus. This gets really interesting. Now, the Tree of Life, which they believed it was the World Tree, was called the Crann Bethadh. The Crann Bethadh was thought of as an oak. The oak was associated with the All Father, self-existent and eternal. The reason it is the Tree of Life is because God, taking the name Hesus, would come into the world of His creation and sacrifice Himself for His people on the World Tree. They thought that mistletoe, that is sometime growing on oak trees, was a gift of God because it was called an All Heal. It was also associated with Hesus.
The depictions of Hesus even included a lamb to symbolize His innocence and an Elephant to symbolize the greatness of sin. How cool is that! One of the rituals of the Druids involved going into the forest and finding an oak that grew in the shape of a cross. The first branches were stretched out like arms. Then they would carve the word Hesus on the right branch, Belenis (Holy Shining One) on the left and Taranis (Or Thau – meaning God, All Father) in the middle over it all. Taranis means thunder and protector, which is associated with Thau meaning God. As a matter fact the Messiah was referred to as The Branch in the Old Testament four times!
But I thought the Druids were bad?
Were there bad Druids? Power hungry Druid? Of course! There are bad ministers, preachers and priests so why wouldn’t there be bad Druids? Did the Druids practice human sacrifice? That is really under debate. There is no archeological evidence either way and if we go by what the Romans said, who bad mouthed everyone that wasn’t them, then Druids did make human sacrifices and Christians were cannibals who drank the blood and ate the flesh of their sons. So that’s history for you.
So the Druids were waiting for Jesus. How did the Druids first hear about Jesus? Joseph of Arimathea.
The apocryphal story says that Jesus appeared to Joseph after His death and told him to get out of Judea. Joseph sold everything he had and took what apostles and others who would go and he sailed to England, seeing as the King was an old friend and business partner of his. Together they sold British tin to the Romans. It is a very long story, which I will tell you sometime, but the upshot is that Joseph told them all about Jesus and they accepted it because without contradiction or opposition Christianity confirmed their beliefs. The first official archeological record of its acceptance would not come about until 383 AD.
So why am I telling you all of this? What do you care about comparative religion when you have faith in Jesus?
I am telling you this for two reasons. First and most importantly because it affirms what Saint Augustine said about Christianity.
That which is known as the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist; from the beginning of the human race until the time when Christ came in the flesh, at which time the true religion, which already existed began to be called Christianity. – St. Augustine
The Jews were chosen to be the people in which Jesus was born but they weren’t the only ones God told of His coming.
Secondly, we can learn from the Druids. God gave us this world to learn from, to spread more love, to find our way. We need to look at the world and see it, not as a possession to be made over the way we want it but to learn from it. The world, the stars, all of nature was the Druidic Bible. See how the trees teach us to reach for Heaven. See the flowers turn the faces towards the Light. Learn from the world. The plants and animals, the moon and the stars, fire, water, earth and air all have things to teach us. This is a place of learning to be the person that God knows you can be.
He would not have created a school without books.
Peace be with you.