St. Patricks Day: Why He Slaughtered the Druids
St. Patrick was born around 450 AD on the Scottish border. His father was a Christian Roman soldier and his mother was a native British woman. Only two of his letters survive telling details about his life. When he was fourteen to sixteen years old, he was taken into captivity in Ireland by the Irish raiders in Britain; he tended cattle for more than six years. In this time of captivity, he drew closer to God before finally escaping on a trading ship. He returned years later to spread Catholicism throughout Ireland while destroying the Druids who resisted Roman and British rule in Ireland. Because he believed so strongly in the Catholic Church, he thought that anyone who was not Christian had to become one in order to be ³saved´. Those who resisted were slaughtered in the Christian holy wars of Gaul
The Irish people at that time were happy and doing quite well. However, St.Patrick was insistent that the Pagan Celts convert to Christianity. He noticed that the Druids were the most powerful people of the Celts, so he figured that if he could convert them, then the rest of the people would follow. When the Druids refused to be bribed by the Romans, this angered the rulers of the Catholic Church.St. Patrick declared that he would drive all of the snakes out of Ireland. ³Snakes´was a metaphor for the Druids.
Since the Druids did not write their teachings down, all we know about them is was handed down to us by the Romans. It was often said that the Celts were heathens who could not read or write, but they did know how to read and write in Greek. While they didn¶t write down the secret teachings of the Druids, they were expected to memorize the knowledge. Julius Caesar had this to say about the Druids:
The Druids usually hold aloof from war, and do not pay war-taxes with the rest; they are excused from military service and exempt from all liabilities. Tempted by these great rewards, many young men assemble of their own motion to receive their training; many are sent by parents and relatives. Report says that in the schools of the Druids. They learn by heart a great number of verses, and therefore some persons remain twenty years in training. And they do not think it proper to commit these utterances to writing,although in almost all other matters, and in their private and public accounts, they make use of Greek letters. I believe that they have adopted the practice for two reasons ± that they do not wish the rule to become common property, nor those who learn the rule to rely on writing and so neglect the cultivation of the memory;and, in fact, it does usually happen that the assistance of writing tends to relax the diligence of the student and the action of the memory. The cardinal doctrine which they seek to teach is that souls do not die, but after death pass from one to another; and this belief, as the fear of death is thereby cast aside, they hold to be the greatest incentive to valour. (Caesar The Gallic War VI.13-14)
We do know that Druidism was a science and not a religion. It was the study of the relationships between opposites: summer and winter, men and women,consciousness and unconsciousness, force and matter. Some of the main tenets:
*Every action has a consequence that must be observed and you must be prepared to compensate for your actions if required.
* Life is sacred and all are responsible for seeing that this standard is upheld.
*You do still live in society and are bound by its rules.
*Work with high standards.
*Make an honest living.
*Be a good host as well as a good guest.
*Take care of yourself. (Health was held in high esteemamongst the Celts, so much that a person could be finedfor being grossly overweight due to lack of care.)
*Serve your community.
*Maintain a healthy balance of the spiritual and mundane.(Nihtscad writes: Ethical and self respecting Druids did nothing without being properly schooled or aware of the consequences ahead of time. They knew when it was appropriate to visit the Otherworld and immerse themselves in the spiritual as well as when it was appropriate to be fully in this world.
*Uphold the Truth, starting with yourself.
*Be sure in your convictions, particularly when judging or accusing someone, but also when debating. Ask yourself:are you really sure? Do you really know that this the case?
One part of the Druid class were the ³Bards´, whose job it was to remember all of the history of the people. The Celts did not rely on a written language because they memorized the songs and poetry of the Bards. The Irish believed that history was very important, for if you didn¶t remember what had happened in the past, you couldn¶t safely plan for the future.Druid priests were the keepers of the knowledge of
Earth and Spirits. It was their responsibility to learn the spirit world in order to keep people in harmony with nature. Priests performed marriages, baptisms, and acted as psychiatrists and doctors.The Romans considered the Celts to be good fighters. In 300 BC, Alexander the Great considered it prudent to treat the Celts as equals. In the fourth century,Ammianus Marcellinus, a Byzantine writer, wrote of the Celts:
Nearly all the Gaels are of a lofty stature, fair and of ruddy complexion:terrible from the sternness of their eyes, and of great pride and insolence. A whole troop of foreigners would not be able to withstand a single Gaul if he called his wife to his assistance, which is usually very strong and with blue eyes.
Ancient Celtic women could be warriors. Legend says that Scathach, a female warrior from Isle of Skye in Scotland, trained a great Irish hero, Cuchilainn. Boudicca, a red-haired queen of the British Iceni tribe, led a revolt against the Romans following her husband¶s death.During large battles, the Celts had a strategy to terrify their opponents: they blew war horns, they roared, they rumbled chariots, they banged their swords on their shields, and then they attacked the enemy. These tactics did not work against the well-trained Romans who were trained to resist the attacks of their enemies. The Celts became disheartened by their inability to break the Romans quickly. The main reason why the Celts lost the war was due to the fact that they were not united. Clans attacked farms and stole cattle and other goods during the battles.This caused many Celts to view their own clans as enemies and kept them from uniting as a people. They did not understand how important it was to fight together as an army against the Romans.St. Patrick destroyed the influence of the Druids by destroying the sacred sites of the people and building churches and monasteries where the Druids used to live and teach. Instead of hearing the teachings and advice of the Druids, the people began to hear the teachings of Rome. Because the Druids were the only ones who were taught to remember the history, with the Druids dead and their influence broken, the history was forgot
By killing off the teachers and the wise ones, Catholicism could be spread. For this mass conversion of a culture to Christianity, and for the killing of thousands of innocent people, Patrick was made a Saint by his church.