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Author Topic: Druids and Curses?  (Read 10723 times)
Dalaigh Eoghan
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« Topic Start: November 12, 2008, 05:54:28 pm »

I was talking to a friend at school who is also pagan.

I asked her this question that I'm getting ready to ask here...

"Do you think that the Druids used curses as well as cures? Do you think their view of nature was 100% positive or do you think they balanced it with the negative... I don't really think they viewed 'light and dark' since Nature is a combination of the two... What's your opinion"

Her reply was that she felt the same way that I did... That the Druids must have believed that there was a balance and that in worshipping a Deity one must take responsibility for self before asking the Deity to act on their behalf... I do feel that the Morrigan and many others would not put up with childish behavior and hand answers on silver platters... I remember thinking of Her and I had this feeling, "You may be my servant, but don't think it will come easy and don't think I will give you every request... You must help yourself before I will help you." And it truly made so much sense and I really do feel that's how it works.

So, what's your views... Do you think the Druids did curses as well as cures? Do you think they recognized both the positive and negative aspects of Deity and Nature? If so, why? If not, why?
« Last Edit: November 13, 2008, 05:37:13 pm by RandallS, Reason: Subject made a question » Logged

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« Reply #1: November 13, 2008, 08:53:33 am »

I was talking to a friend at school who is also pagan.

I asked her this question that I'm getting ready to ask here...

"Do you think that the Druids used curses as well as cures? Do you think their view of nature was 100% positive or do you think they balanced it with the negative... I don't really think they viewed 'light and dark' since Nature is a combination of the two... What's your opinion"


So, what's your views... Do you think the Druids did curses as well as cures? Do you think they recognized both the positive and negative aspects of Deity and Nature? If so, why? If not, why?

I've read this a couple of times and I'm still not sure I understand what you are getting at here.  Although I don't presume to speak for the ancient druids I certainly don't consider nature to be 100% positive and I can't see how they would either given that life was much more "raw" in their day. 

I don't see what this has to do with using curses though - am I missing something?

Also  "Do you think their view of nature was 100% positive or do you think they balanced it with the negative... I don't really think they viewed 'light and dark' since Nature is a combination of the two... " seems rather contradictory to me - again what am I missing?
« Last Edit: November 13, 2008, 08:55:59 am by dragonsoup, Reason: typo » Logged

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« Reply #2: November 13, 2008, 09:48:46 am »

"Do you think that the Druids used curses as well as cures?
I guess I don't have enough information to answer that question.  My knowledge of the ancient druids is limited to what I've read of the myths of ancient Ireland.  In the Cattle Raid of Cooley, Medb consults her druid for an omen, but it is the Gods that do the 'cursing', or curses are brought about by someone performing some sort of taboo.

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Do you think their view of nature was 100% positive or do you think they balanced it with the negative... I don't really think they viewed 'light and dark' since Nature is a combination of the two... What's your opinion"
 
Having read the invasions of Ireland stories, I got the feeling that ancient Irish almost saw nature as something to be conquered.  There was a lot of forest clearing and lake digging going on.  I never got the idea that the Druids (of Ireland anyway, I'm not well-read on other areas) were nature worshippers, so, no, I don't think they viewed nature as 100% positive.  I'm also not sure that nature was even a part of their religion or spirituality.
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Dalaigh Eoghan
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« Reply #3: November 13, 2008, 01:23:58 pm »

Although I don't presume to speak for the ancient druids I certainly don't consider nature to be 100% positive and I can't see how they would either given that life was much more "raw" in their day. 

I don't see what this has to do with using curses though - am I missing something?


dragonsoup... I think FierFlye got the gist of it...

I never got the idea that the Druids (of Ireland anyway, I'm not well-read on other areas) were nature worshippers, so, no, I don't think they viewed nature as 100% positive.  I'm also not sure that nature was even a part of their religion or spirituality.


What I was trying to say in my original post was, do you think that the Celts/Druids had an imbalanced view of positve/negative, light/dark, etc... or do you think they were balanced in what they believe? Today it seems like there's a lot of viewing Deity only in a positive aspect but leaving out the negative...

Also, do you think the Celts/Druid would ever use magic (if they used it) in a negative way against another person?
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« Reply #4: November 13, 2008, 02:42:17 pm »



What I was trying to say in my original post was, do you think that the Celts/Druids had an imbalanced view of positve/negative, light/dark, etc... or do you think they were balanced in what they believe? Today it seems like there's a lot of viewing Deity only in a positive aspect but leaving out the negative...


Again this is my view but I think modern neo druidery has very little in common with original druidery.  In a culture where it was believed that the success or failure of the crops, life and death,  was at the whim of the gods- keeping them placated by sacrifice and ritual  would be essential. This seems to me to  be more of  negative view of deity than anything else.

Also, do you think the Celts/Druid would ever use magic (if they used it) in a negative way against another person?

Yes absolutely.  It has been suggested that Lindow Man in Cheshire met his rather grisly end as a desperate sacrifice to the gods to prevent the Romans wiping out the last of the druids. This, as is almost everything  pertaining to the ancient druids is of course open to debate and there is a body of opinion that he met his end by accident.

The ancient druids seem to have been the powerful elite of society. I don't believe that basic  human nature has changed much  in 2000 years and we all know the lengths modern humanity will go to to retain power and control.
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« Reply #5: November 13, 2008, 03:15:13 pm »



I believe that the ancient Druids more than likely used curses against others. I don't think that they would have peacefully endured the invasion of Gaul by the Romans without uttering curses against their enemies. They probably did a lot more than that as well. Since ancient times magick has been used for both positive and negative means and I see no reason why the Druids would not have done the same thing. The Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law are modern Wiccan concepts. Neither would have gone over very well in a warrior society such as that of the ancient Celts.

And I also think that they emphasized the light and dark of their deities. After all, no one is all good or all bad. Everyone has a shadow side and that goes for deities as well. Nature is not positive or negative. It just is. Rain can bring life-giving water to crops, people and animals. But it can also destroy that life through flooding. That's neither positive nor negative, not good or bad. It's just the way nature is.
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« Reply #6: November 13, 2008, 04:37:04 pm »



Well, not enough information to do more than guessing on this subject, right?

Most likely: the views they might have held were very different from our neo-pagan and new-agey ones. Not really comprehensible for us nowadays because we lack the factors that formed the people in those long lost societies.

My guess on curses is, since the originally subjects of magic were usually (and often still are): money, sex/love, revenge, so I think they cursed when they wanted to and somehow I think they didn't torture themselves with moral issues about it.
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« Reply #7: November 13, 2008, 09:14:51 pm »

"Do you think that the Druids used curses as well as cures? Do you think their view of nature was 100% positive or do you think they balanced it with the negative... I don't really think they viewed 'light and dark' since Nature is a combination of the two... What's your opinion"

Yes, absolutely.  I'm surprised no one here has yet mentioned the historic account of the female Druids of Anglesey cursing the Roman soldiers.  I don't have exact references handy but, there are other accounts in the "myths" of Druids standing on one leg, one arm behind the back with one eye closed (traditional "curse position") cursing people.

Personally, in my Druid work, "harm/curse" is every bit as important as "healing/blessing". 
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« Reply #8: November 13, 2008, 10:44:13 pm »

Yes, absolutely.  I'm surprised no one here has yet mentioned the historic account of the female Druids of Anglesey cursing the Roman soldiers. 

In addition to that, we have archeological evidence of curse tablets recovered from the baths at Bath in Britain, where Sulis was worshipped.  Although they weren't necessarily made by druids, they are certainly evidence of curses made by ancient Celts.
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Dalaigh Eoghan
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« Reply #9: November 13, 2008, 10:45:49 pm »

Well, not enough information to do more than guessing on this subject, right?

Most likely: the views they might have held were very different from our neo-pagan and new-agey ones. Not really comprehensible for us nowadays because we lack the factors that formed the people in those long lost societies.

My guess on curses is, since the originally subjects of magic were usually (and often still are): money, sex/love, revenge, so I think they cursed when they wanted to and somehow I think they didn't torture themselves with moral issues about it.

What you've stated is precisely my views on this issue...

However, as you said, there's not enough information to do more than guessing... Which is why I want your opinions to kind of help me understand a bit more... I will state that Neo-Druidic vs. Druidic practices are totally different and I have no intention of describing them as the same but do refer to Neo-Druidism when I claim that I am on somewhat of a Druidic path, a Neo-Druidic path I should say.

The Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law are modern Wiccan concepts. Neither would have gone over very well in a warrior society such as that of the ancient Celts.

And I also think that they emphasized the light and dark of their deities. After all, no one is all good or all bad. Everyone has a shadow side and that goes for deities as well. Nature is not positive or negative. It just is. Rain can bring life-giving water to crops, people and animals. But it can also destroy that life through flooding. That's neither positive nor negative, not good or bad. It's just the way nature is.

Precisely my views, thanks for posting this though!

----------------------------

It'll still be neat to continue this discussion and hopefully find more references to bring more understanding of this topic even if UPG and personal opinions are subjective, or objective, to the resources... So anything to kind of give us more ideas on their practices in the hexing/healing arts.
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« Reply #10: November 15, 2008, 08:30:25 am »

So, what's your views... Do you think the Druids did curses as well as cures? Do you think they recognized both the positive and negative aspects of Deity and Nature? If so, why? If not, why?
Yes, and there is ample evidence to suggest they did.

In addition to what others have stated, there are three fili "curses," as it were, known as The Shield of Aitherne-- Šer 7 glŠn 7 ailges--"satire and extempore lampooning and importunity."

Cursing features in the literature with druids and filidh just as prominently as praises and blessings, and was likely essential to a fili's curriculum.
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Dalaigh Eoghan
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« Reply #11: November 15, 2008, 10:47:17 am »

Yes, and there is ample evidence to suggest they did.

*snip snip*

Cursing features in the literature with druids and filidh just as prominently as praises and blessings, and was likely essential to a fili's curriculum.

That makes quite a lot of sense actually. Thanks!
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« Reply #12: November 15, 2008, 11:27:28 am »

]-- Šer 7 glŠm dicend 7 ailges--
Fix
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Dalaigh Eoghan
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« Reply #13: November 15, 2008, 12:30:51 pm »

-- Šer 7 glŠm dicend 7 ailges--

What does that mean exactly?
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« Reply #14: November 15, 2008, 12:36:30 pm »

What does that mean exactly?

Whitely Stokes translates it as "satire and extempore lampooning and importunity."
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