A real life druid

14 Oct

In historical context, the druids were once dispelled from their homeland. But certainly, culture and theoretical praxis are not objects that can be abolished by mere force. In the North West of Ireland— county Sligo, I met a survived real life druid.

In class, I learnt that druids possess supernatural powers, and they are able to heal the sick and liberate minds with philosophies and life wisdoms. They seemed invincible and irreproachable. In my mind, they were imagined as a group of clandestine, mysterious and superstitious witches and wizards who live in gloomy fortresses. But the truth is much more surprising!

I did not expect that old lady who calls herself a druid looks…normal. She is in fact a science teacher, who has an inherited secret mission to teach and maintain the traditional philosophy—druidism. Such a tradition is passed down through generations, from first daughter to her last son, then from him to his first daughter, so on so forth. This simple system made a key impact on keeping the fragile Celtic culture alive throughout years of evolution.

She told us a tale about the other side of the Catholic saintly figure: St. Patrick. In her story, Patrick was a short-tempered young missionary. When he returned to England, he falsely claimed that Irish people abused him as their slave. But as a matter of fact, his past duty as a pig keeper was actually a sacred job as pigs were viewed as sacred animals in the Celtic culture; the misunderstanding of Irish and young Patrick then begins. Patrick, who had supernatural powers, casted spells to punish those busy Irish farmers who were unwilling to listen to his preaching, fortunately, a local Irish defended his spells and saved the people from sickness and tragedies, but those dark spells were landed on the sky, top of the mountain and the horns of sheep, and they were all burnt badly from the spell. Ergo from then onwards, the sky of Ireland is always grey and gloomy, the top of the mountain is bare without leaves, and the horns of sheep are in deep charcoal colour.

The disputes between druids and Christians are deep, partly because the significance and social status of druidism in Ireland rapidly decreased due to the in coming of Christianity, and they almost extinct in the modern world where traditions are undermined.

Even nowadays, when all religion and philosophies are free, the druids are still hidden and keep a low profile. That is because in the past, druids were to be executed if they were being discovered, and they were only set free since late 20th century. It is understandable that in measly two decades of freedom is no more than a trial process for both parties, the druids and the mass Catholic population in Ireland. The century-long life threat remains fearful to the druids, and I bet that sentimental scar needs more time and effort to heal.

-Juliana Law


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