The Irish religious development depicts a significant emphasis and the strong human belief on metaphysical beings. The traditional socio-cultural structure provided a conducive platform for individuals to portray their salvation and religious stands. Despite being authoritative and discriminative due to the strict doctrines and dogmas, the traditional religions in Ireland allowed free association. For instance, in a region that the society believes in many gods, little prayers, insignificant general form or structure of worship, and non-existence of temples and worship places, the Irish paganism transcended and commanded great magnitude (Butler, 196). The Druidism religion, the oldest form of Irish traditional and cultural religion encompassed the social customs that facilitated the worship of idols in the open air geographical borough. The druids established a suitable place for the worship of different gods with diverse elements ranging from the sun god, water and fire god. The importance ascribed to the druids accorded them the magnificent power to control major socio-cultural and economic activities of Ireland. For instance, due to their high ranking in the society among the kings and chiefs, the Gaul performed most socio-cultural event such as human sacrifices, which was a major portrayal element of the religion. The druids within the Irish paganism comprises of highly intellectual individuals ranging from the doctors, poets, judges, prophets, physicians, and historians, who were believed to possess the great knowledge to control and redirect the society towards moral, ethical, educational and materialistic success.
Further, the druids occupied every social profession and every part of Ireland including Tara, the residents of the kings and the chiefs. They became very significant due to their ability to display magical performance. The pagan Irish not only allowed magical events but also encouraged it as it portrayed supremacy over the regular human being. For instance, the druids' ability to do magic determined the valor of the combatants rather than the physical strength in the battlefield. They also inspired dreadfulness and fear, as they possessed unromantic magical power attributes that were often viewed as producing madness even in the Christian religions (Cox, 118). Their powers to pronounce horrible incarnation to their victims made many individuals not only to respect them but also to fear an encounter or to disagree with the druids. For instance, the druids lead in war, and bloody battles inspiring fear to their opponents, which made the opposing combatants to run mad with apprehension and horror. Additionally, according to Julius Caesar, the druids performed religious activities like sacrifices, got involved in judgmental procedures in Gaulish and Irish communities that encompassed an important aspect of the society (Cox, 118). Their significant impact to the society resulted in the noble jurisdiction exempting then from the military services such as tax payment. Also, they were accorded the power to declare people outcasts from their society and excommunicating individuals from a religious festival.
In addition, the druids acted as intermediaries between the gods and the Irish pagan communities. They relay messages from the gods to the people and also the plea of the communities to the gods (Nagy, 56). Despite their role in sacrificing people found guilty of a social crime such as prostitution, theft or murder, or sometimes-innocent people to the gods Esus, Teutates and Taranis by burning, hanging or drowning, they also predicted the future by sacrificing a holy animals and observing the calls and flights of the birds. For instance, during animal sacrification, they observed how the animal's limbs convulse while its blood gushes, which made them to understand and predict the socio-economic conditions of the future. Continuously, the Bards, who were a type of druids that knew all the stories and songs of the tribe, the Ovates, who healed diseases and the philosophers, established a sophisticated religious system, which ensured that the society preserved the spiritual doctrines (Williams, 246). Nevertheless, the traditional religious system facilitated by the druids were insignificantly supported by the Romans, who viewed paganism and backwardness hence facilitated and initiated catholicism in the Ireland nation with the emergence of Christian advocates such as Saint Patrick despite Julius Ceasor affirming that the druids occupied important and respected positions in Ireland and Britain. Many youths, who were trained to become druids were subjected into the rigorous education system learning about the stars movements, the earth and cosmos, the power of the immortal gods and the druidism doctrines, as they believed that religious education such as theology was as important as astronomy and cosmology that enabled the druids to perform different socio-cultural roles within the society.
Conclusively, religion provided a conducive platform for spiritual nourishment and development. It commanded and redirected the moral and ethical behaviors of individuals within the society. Despite the druids being strict in ensuring people observe the religious doctrines and dogmas, they promoted peaceful relations among the people (Freeman, 4). Also, their significant roles as prophets, dispute solvers, intermediaries, and mediators not only propelled the Ireland pagan community towards religious prosperity but also towards physical success and materialistic gains, as they were able to eliminate inter-community conflicts. Therefore, the druids were a substantial aspect in the Ireland traditional religion.
Butler, Jenny. "Paganism in Ireland." Contemporary Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Europe: Colonialist and Nationalist Impulses 26 (2015): 196.
Cox, James L. "Druidry and the Definition of Indigenous Religion." Critical Reflections on Indigenous Religions. Routledge, 2016. 92-104.
Freeman, Philip. "Katja Ritari & Alexandra Bergholm (eds.): Understanding Celtic Religion: Revisiting the Pagan Past." Entangled Religions 4 (2017): 1-4.
Nagy, Joseph Falaky. Conversing with angels and ancients: literary myths of medieval Ireland. Cornell University Press, 2018.
Williams, Cwyn A. "14 DRUIDS AND DEMOCRATS: ORGANIC INTELLECTUALS AND THE FIRST WELSH RADICALISM." Culture, Ideology and Politics (Routledge Revivals): Essays for Eric Hobsbawm (2016): 246.
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