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Posted by: barddas 04-Aug-2003, 12:29 PM
I thought this topic could get a good discussion going...

I found this article on the net.....

Did the Celts and Druids
perform human sacrifice?

Last updated 1/1/2003

Here's the short answer: yes, the Celts do appear to have performed human sacrifice as part of their religious rituals. And, since the Druids were the religious/scholar/priestly social class, they almost certainly would have participated in human sacrifices, and probably officiated at them.

We have three sorts of data regarding Celtic human sacrifices. We have the words of Classical Greek and Roman writers, usually with a political agenda, and often reporting hearsay (Strabo for instance, was repeating the observations of the earlier no longer extant author Poseidonius), we have a few references in medieval Irish texts, primarily in the mythological tales, and we have archaeological data that is increasingly important.

First, here are some extracts about human sacrifice among the Celts from two Classical authors.

According to Strabo (64/63 B.C.E. - 21 C.E. at least) in his Geography (4.1.13):

The Romans put a stop both to these customs and to the ones connected with sacrifice and divination, as they were in conflict with our own ways: for example, they would strike a man who had been consecrated for sacrifice in the back with a sword, and make prophecies based on his death-spasms; and they would not sacrifice without the presence of the Druids. Other kinds of human sacrifices have been reported as well: some men they would shoot dead with arrows and impale in the temples; or they would construct a huge figure of straw and wood, and having thrown cattle and all manner of wild animals and humans into it, they would make a burnt offering of the whole thing (trans. by Benjamin Fortson, in Koch and Carey 1995, 18).

And according to Julius Caesar (writing c. 15 March, 44 B. C. E.) De Bello Gallico 6.16):

All the people of Gaul are completely devoted to religion, and for this reason those who are greatly affected by diseases and in the dangers of battle either sacrifice human victims or vow to do so using the Druids as administrators to these sacrifices, since it is judged that unless for a man's life a man's life is given back, the will of the immortal gods cannot be placated. In public affairs they have instituted the same kind of sacrifice. Others have effigies of great size interwoven with twigs, the limbs of which are filled up with living people which are set on fire from below, and the people are deprived of life surrounded by flames. It is judged that the punishment of those who participated in theft or brigandage or other crimes are more pleasing to the immortal gods; but when the supplies of this kind fail, they even go so low as to inflict punishment on the innocent (trans. Anne Lea, in Koch and Carey 1995. 22).

Strabo's reference to arrows is especially intriguing; there's little or no archaeological data to support Celtic use of bows and arrows. Neither are mentiond in the medieval Irish tales, and the Irish words for bow and arrow are borrowed from Latin and Norse (Piggott 1975, 110).

The idea of a "wickerman" is reminiscent of references in both Irish legend and the second branch of the Welsh Mabinogi to men being inveigled into a specially built house, which is then set fire, immolating them. There is also a reference by Lucan, and the comments by later scholars as part of the Lucan scholia, in the Pharsalia, to three Celtic deities; Taranis said to have been propitiated by burning, Teutates by drowning, and Esus by hanging. Esus is mythologically similar to the Nordic deity Odin, also associated with hanging from a tree. And there is Tacitus' account of the Roman attack on the Druid stronghold of Anglesey, which, although almost certainly politically motivated (Aren't we Romans wonderful! We stopped those dreadful human-sacrifices by those nasty druids), he does refer to altars as "soaked with human blood" (I can't help but wonder how he knew the blood was human) and Boudicca also impaled victims during her rebellion in 60 A.D.

The best archaeological data supporting Celtic human sacrifice is the body of the man placed in Lindow bog in the first of second century C.E. We actually have the body (well, most of it) so well preserved that scientists were able to analyze his stomach contents to discover his last meal (a partially scorched grain cake). Lindow man was almost certainly a ritual sacrifice; he was strangled, hit on the head, and had his throat cut, in quick order, then surrendered to the bog. This pattern fits the "three-fold" death referred to in medieval Irish tales. What's more, the man seems to have been of high social rank, and a willing victim. There are also other bog burials (Tollund Man bog body in Denmark is very similar) in various places in Europe, as well as no longer grain storage pits and shafts in Britain, that had human bodies thrown in them, for instance at the Danebury hillfort. While Anne Ross in Pagan Celtic Britain is positive that the Danebury bodies were ritual sacrifices, most scholars are less certain.

A late Iron age shaft in Holzhausen in Baviaria with a post at the bottom was presumably used for impaling a human victim; the pole when analysed had traces of human flesh and blood. In East Yorkshire, at Garton Slack a young man and a woman of about thirty were found huddled together in a shaft, a wooden stake between them pinning their arms together; the woman was apparently pregnant, since a fetal skeleton was found beneath her pelvis. Presumably the two adults were ritually killed for punitive purposes. There have also been several instances of foundation burials, often of children, which may or may not have been sacrifices (Green 1992, 183-84). Both bog and shaft burials seem particularly appropriate for cthonic otherworld-dwelling deities.

As for the evidence of Welsh and Irish tales about human sacrifice, the second branch of the Welsh Mabinogi tells of Efnisien jumping into the cauldron which brought the dead to life again, in an act of self-sacrifice which destroyed his life, and the cauldron. This myth is of course suggestive when one remembers the image of a line of men moving towards what looks like a cauldron, with one man being submerged head first into the cauldron. The same image is also reminiscent of tales in which an over-heated Cu Chulainn is submerged into a sequence of vats to cool him off. Alternatively, one could argue that the image on the Gundestrup cauldron is of a victim (or perhaps a volunteer) being "donated" to a cthonic shaft.

Works Cited

Green, Miranda J. Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1992.

Koch, John T. and John Carey eds. The Celtic Heroic Age. Malden, Massachustetts: Celtic Studies Publications, 1995.

Piggott, Stuart. The Druids. Frederick A. Praeger: New York, 1968. Reissued Thames and Hudson, London and New York, 1975.

Ross, Anne. Pagan Celtic Britain. Chicago: Chicago Adademy Publishers, 1996.
For more information on Lindow man and other bog bodies, see the bog bodies reading list.

My opinions are my own and don't represent those of anyone else.
Not that anyone would want them smile.gif.

© Copyright 1997-2003 by Lisa L. Spangenberg
[email protected]

Posted by: barddas 04-Aug-2003, 12:40 PM
Here is some additional information on the man found in Lindow.

Maybe Andy Mould had a special knack that most people don't have. Or maybe it was just a coincidence. But in 1983 and then again in 1984, he found human remains in an English peat bog known as Lindow Moss. The first time, he had found the head (mostly a skull with little skin or brain remaining) of a woman.

A year later, on August 1, 1984, he was working with Eddie Slack, placing blocks of peat onto an elevator that would transport them to a shredding mill, when he looked at one block of peat and noticed what he thought was a piece of wood embedded in it. He threw it toward Eddie but it struck the ground and crumbled, revealing a human foot. Without hesitation, Andy reported his disturbing find, and shortly the police arrived. With Andy and Eddie's help, they located the area of the bog where the foot had been found. There, on the surface, was a flap of darkened skin belonging to what was later called Lindow Man. They covered it with wet peat until scientists could be summoned to view the body.

Five days later, in the presence of several paleobotanists and a biologist, the block of peat containing Lindow Man was cut, placed on a sheet of plywood, and transported to a local hospital. There, the authorities attempted to date the remains. After all, no one knew if Lindow Man was a recent murder victim or a man from the past.

As it turned out, Lindow Man had died between A.D. 50 and A.D. 100. The scientists learned, when the body was examined, that the man had been murdered. They determined this by examining his body visually and then inspecting x-rays of it. At the same time, they tried to create an image of Lindow Man's appearance. Then they looked inside--especially at his stomach --to find more clues to the mystery of his death.
   Step 1: Examining Lindow Man Visually

A close visual examination provided obvious clues that Lindow Man had been murdered.

Head and neck. First, he had been hit twice on the crown of his head with a blunt object, probably an ax; he had also been struck once at the base of his skull. Second, he had been strangled. Around Lindow Man's neck was a small rope that had been twisted tightly, closing off his windpipe and breaking two of his neck vertebrae. Finally, scientists found a gash at the throat, which may indicate that his throat was cut, though some scientists think that the wound occurred naturally after his death. If indeed his throat was cut, it was probably done to drain his body of blood.

Hair. Scientists discovered some interesting details by looking at Lindow Man's hair and beard. They were surprised that he had a beard, since no other male bog body had been found with a beard; this was clearly not common at the time he lived. Scientists also learned that someone had trimmed Lindow Man's hair with scissors two or three days before his death. Historians and archaeologists knew that, although scissors existed in England at the time, they would have been uncommon, most likely reserved for a privileged few. Was the murdered man, they wondered, a dignitary?

Fingernails. Scientists found that his fingernails appeared well-manicured and cared for. They wondered if this showed that he was an important member of society, who was exempt from manual labor. But as Don Brothwell, who studied Lindow Man, explained, no one really knows what the manicured fingernails of a bog person would look like, since no one has ever compared the fingernails of mummies.

Clothing. Unfortunately, Lindow Man was naked, except for an arm band made of fox fur and the thin rope around his neck. Without clothes, he could have been a king or a laborer. As author Brothwell put it:

Why did he have a well-developed, but roughly trimmed, beard - unique among bog bodies - and well-kept nails? Was he an aristocrat fallen on hard times, or a high-born prisoner sacrificed to the gods?

    Step 2: Reconstructing Lindow Man

The next step pursued was the reconstruction of Lindow Man. What did he look like? How tall was he? What was his body build? Because his body was rather flattened and his face squashed by the layers of heavy peat bog pressing against the body, scientists wanted to get a more realistic picture of the 2,000-year-old man.

Height. Forensic anthropologists and other scientists can use the length of a person's leg bones (the femur and tibia) to provide an estimate of his height. Remember, though, that Lindow Man's legs had not been recovered with the body. The scientists had to use another technique which relied on the humerus (or upper arm bone). In this way, they determined that Lindow Man was about five feet seven inches tall, probably a little taller than most men in his realm.

Body build. The team of scientists noted that, judging from the outside anyway, Lindow Man was well-built and clearly in his prime.
    Step 3: Exploring Lindow Man's Stomach

When the scientists explored Lindow Man's interior cavity, looking for any signs of disease, they were pleased to find that his stomach had not decayed. It contained something like brown mud, the remnants of the last meal he had eaten. Because they found only twenty grams of partially digested food, the scientists concluded that Lindow Man's last meal was really more of a snack. It consisted mostly of cereal grains, but something that he ate was burnt. They wondered, was it bread or gruel? Although no one can be certain, they believe that his meal consisted in part of some charred bread (though he could have had some scorched gruel, too).

They also found evidence of pollen from a mistletoe plant in his stomach. If it came from a flower, this would allow scientists to place his death in March or April. If it was dried pollen, added as an ingredient to his dinner, then the time of his death is harder to place.

Archaeologist Anne Ross thinks she knows what happened to Lindow Man. When the Romans invaded Britain, they conquered the local tribes of Celts and wrote a number of accounts describing Celtic ceremonies and practices, many of which struck them as barbaric. In one festival, called Beltain, which was held on May 1, a victim was selected for sacrifice to make sure that the summer's crops would be successful.

Here's how historians believe the festival was celebrated: a bonfire was lit on top of a hill. In it, an oatmeal cake, called a bannock, was baked and a small portion of it charred. The bannock was then broken into small pieces and put in a bag. The person who chose the burnt piece of bannock became the sacrificial victim. Ross believes that Lindow Man was a Beltain sacrifice.

Historians, though, have pointed out that the victim selected during Beltain was almost always burned in the bonfire. So how, if Lindow Man was a Beltain victim, did he escape the fire and find his way to the bog?

According to Ross, the Celts considered the number three holy. They had three gods: Taranis, the god of thunder; Esus, the god of the underworld; and Teutates, the god of the tribe. Each required a specific type of sacrifice. Ross explains:

Taranis required prisoners of war to be burnt alive in giant wicker cages, while Esus was offered victims who were either hanged from sacred trees or stabbed to death or both. Teutates, however, took his sacrifices into a watery embrace in the sacred wells and pools that always figured very strongly among Celtic holy sites.

Instead of sacrificing three individuals, the Celts sometimes sacrificed one person to please all three gods. This could have been the case with Lindow Man. First, he was sacrificed to Taranis. Although normally involving fire, sacrifices to Taranis were also made with the use of a weapon. In the case of Lindow Man, the three blows to his skull, writes Ross, were "delivered with the sudden awful force of a thunderbolt, the mark of Taranis." Second, he was sacrificed to Esus when he was strangled and his throat cut. Third, he was sacrificed to Teutates when he was placed in the bog and drowned.

But who was Lindow Man, and why was he sacrificed in such an elaborate ceremony? Although victims might have been sacrificed occasionally, they were not usually killed the way Lindow Man was. Had it simply been the bad luck of selecting the charred piece of bannock? Or was more involved?

Ross concludes that he was either a Celtic priest, otherwise known as a Druid, or a king. Because his hands were free from calluses and his body had not previously been injured, he was neither a laborer nor a warrior. He was clearly an important man - not the type of person routinely sacrificed.

Ross guesses that the invasion of the Romans in A.D. 43 may have caused the Celts to take the dramatic step of sacrificing an extremely important individual in their attempt to appease the gods and thwart the Romans. In fact, she goes so far as to place his death in A.D. 60, after the Romans had attempted to wipe out all traces of the Celts and the Druids. She believes that Lindow Man may even have chosen to die himself in order "to stave off the Roman threat." Whether or not Ross's speculations are correct, they provide an interesting theory. They also show how much - and how little - scientists can learn from a mummy's tummy.
    Where to see him

Lindow Man resides on the second floor of the British Museum (in London) in a fairly out-of-the-way location. For information about his exhibit, click her

Posted by: Shadows 04-Aug-2003, 12:52 PM
Were these really sacrifices or exicusions (SP?) .
There have been arguments for both.

You have to take into account the sources of these aligations...conquering armies often stretch the truth to accomodate their end purpose , being to make those they conquer appear to be in need of conquering...

But then again human sacrifice has been a mainstay of many ancient religions including the Romans!!!

Posted by: barddas 04-Aug-2003, 01:24 PM
Very good point.

I know I have read ( somewhere) that the "wickerman" was used for sacrifices of humans and animals. And that some of these humans were criminals, prisoners of war, and so on... I have a calender of Celtic events and it said that on August 25 of 17?? something..( I can't remember the year off hand) was the last public human pagan sacrifice performed in Scotland. When i get home I will look up the details....

Posted by: barddas 04-Aug-2003, 01:45 PM
Here is a link to an article from Achaeology Magazine on this subject. If anyone is

Posted by: Shadows 04-Aug-2003, 02:34 PM
I find that article interesting, but it still does not point to "sacrifice" it only shows that the Celts were a brutal group and that killing and maiming were prevelent .
Weither enemy or just common criminal can not be supposed by remains, only written text and hard evidence can make that claim.
Believe me I am not argueing against the fact of sacrifice, only the supposed reason.

Posted by: barddas 04-Aug-2003, 02:58 PM
QUOTE (Shadows @ Aug 4 2003, 09:34 PM)

Believe me I am not argueing against the fact of sacrifice, only the supposed reason.

Just good bebate m'freind! wink.gif

I will totally agree that at times they were brutal. I feel that really whether sacrifice, or execution...The only *real* difference between the two is intent.

Sacrifice- is for the purpose to appease a god, bring a better harvest... to bring about a change

Execution- is for the sole purpose of bringing death. Wack your dead... no more thought goes into it...
So, with lindow man *I* believe that it was a very planned and calculated death.... He was killed in 3 ways... Which would follow the triad belief of the Celts.
I know the whole thing sounds a bit "romantic" in the sence he was sacrificed as a way to save his people... But, after reading the book about this it does make some sence to me....

Again, not arguing Shadows, just trying to keep the debate

Posted by: Shadows 04-Aug-2003, 03:10 PM
No need to call this a debate either, I see it as a friendly discussion about observations and thoughts... a debate is a closed minded arguement with a winner and a loser... I have no intent on winning or loosing this discussion, it is for my pleasure and yours I partake and hopefully some kind of shared knowledge in the end! wink.gif

Posted by: barddas 04-Aug-2003, 03:16 PM
ok.. wrong word choice...LOL!

So what are your thoughts on the use of the "wickerman"?

Posted by: Shadows 04-Aug-2003, 03:33 PM
I am going to reserve comment on this until I study it some more, but my first thoughts are that it was a device used to execute or threaten those that did not conform with the then prevailent law... much like the devices used in England to the south... the iron maiden, draw and quarter, etc.

I need to study more before I can comment with certain.

Posted by: barddas 05-Aug-2003, 06:16 AM
Understood... What I have found is a small amount... I will see what else I can find too.

Posted by: barddas 05-Aug-2003, 10:00 AM
while poking around I found this. Neat little thing...

from the web site-

Was King William Rufus a pagan sacrifice?
The Celts celebrate the main part of the festival of Lughnasadh from sunset on August 1 until sunset on August 2. On August 2, 1100 English King William Rufus was killed when shot through the eye by an arrow while hunting in the New Forest. Rufus (?the Red?) was a son of William the Conqueror, and his elder brother, Richard, had also died in the New Forest. Rumours probably abounded that Richard and Rufus were victims of heathen ill will, for William the Conqueror had expelled the dwellers of the New Forest. These were the pagans, for that is what the word pagan originally meant.

\Pa"gan\ (p[=a]"gan), n. [L. paganus a countryman,

peasant, villager, a pagan, fr. paganus of or pertaining to

the country, rustic, also, pagan, fr. pagus a district,

canton, the country, perh. orig., a district with fixed

boundaries: cf. pangere to fasten. Cf. {Painim}, {Peasant},

and {Pact}, also {Heathen}.]



Pagans were thus the dwellers in the forest/countryside, whose old religions were at odds with, and ruthlessly suppressed by, monotheistic religions like Christianity and Islam, the hegemonies of which led to the longstanding pejorative connotations of the term.  

The legend says that on the night of August 1, Rufus dreamt of his blood reaching to heaven, darkening the sky. The same night, an English monk dreamt that King William Rufus entered a church and picked up a crucifix; he gnawed at Christ?s arm, then the figure kicked him, making him fall backwards, and smoke and flames came out of his mouth. Rufus heard about this dream but dismissed it. The a third dream occurred, and on August 2 a messenger brought Rufus a letter from Abbot Serlo in Gloucester, saying a parishioner had dreamt on the same night of a virgin (the Church) pleading at the feet of Christ to be freed from her oppressor (Rufus), and Jesus had assured her he would. William, who had many enemies, for he was known as an oppressor of England, taxing the people heavily, took no heed of all these prescient warnings.

It?s possible that William the Red was killed by his younger brother who was with him on that hunting trip and was crowned King Henry I almost immediately. Tradition has it that William?s bleeding body was taken by a charcoal burner named Purkiss, to Winchester Palace, and for his kindness he was rewarded with an acre or two of land. (It is interesting to note that a charcoal-burning family named Purkiss still lived on the same land at least as late as the 1880s.)

Sacrificial kingship
It?s widely believed amongst neo-Pagans that William and other kings who died violent deaths on or near Celtic cross-quarter days, such as this one, were actually victims of sacrificial kingship. This ritual of pre-Christian times in Europe was related to giving thanks to the sun for a good harvest. Such sacrifice was also practised in ancient Greece, and the Celts might have acquired the practice from there.

Lughnasa would be the time for the king to reaffirm his sacred ?marriage? to the prosperity of the kingdom. One notes that both the murder of King Olaf of Norway, and his feast day, are close to Lammastide (July 29); sacrificial kingship is also known in other parts of Europe. Also, apparently it is known in Africa: Walby, Celestin, ?The African Sacrificial Kingship Ritual and Johnson?s Middle Passage?, African American Review 29.4 (1995): 657-669. It has strong connections with the self-sacrifice of Odin in Norse mythology, and to the Christian myth of the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

William Rufus might have been the last pagan sacrifice of a king, and his death disguised for the Christian authorities as a hunting accident. Some of the clergy, by the way, hated Rufus and saw his death as divine judgment, while some contemporary accounts said he was accidentally shot by his friend William Tirel.
It was on a Lammas night,
When corn rigs are bonie,
Beneath the moon's unclouded light,
I held away to Annie:
The time flew by, wi tentless heed,
Till 'tween the late and early;
Wi' sma' persuasion she agreed
To see me thro' the barley.

The sky was blue, the wind was still,
The moon was shining clearly;
I set her down, wi' right good will,
Amang the rigs o'barley
I ken't her heart was a' my ain;
I lov'd her most sincerely;
I kissed her owre and owre again,
Among the rig o' barley.

I locked her in my fond embrace;
Her heart was beating rarely:
My blessings on that happy place,
Amang the rigs o'barley.
But by the moon and stars so bright,
That shone that hour so clearly!
She ay shall bless that happy night,
Amang the rigs o'barley.
I hae been blythe wi' Comrades dear;
I hae been merry drinking;
I hae been joyfu' gath'rin gear;
I hae been happy thinking:
But a' the pleasures e'er I saw,
Tho three times doubl'd fairley
That happy night was worth then a'.
Among the rig's o' barley.
Corn rigs, an' barley rigs,
An' corn rigs are bonie:
I'll ne'er forget that happy night,
Among the rigs wi' Annie. 

Robert Burns  Audio  Source

Harvest, death and rebirth
Despite its marital associations, Lughnasadh was also a mourning feast. A long tradition of a symbolic funeral procession during Lammas continues today in Lancashire, England?s Wakes Week, and long wake processions such as one across the Yorkshire moors, called the Lyke Wakes Walk. To this day, young men carry an empty coffin about 60 km (about 40 miles) along an ancient track. We must bear in mind that while Lughnasadh is Lugh?s marriage, when the sun is called upon to allow a successful harvest from the feminine earth, it is also Lugh?s wake, for he is the Sun-King, whose light begins to pale after the Summer Solstice.

Lughnasadh, too, recalls the theme of death, because, as the first of the three harvest Sabbats, (Lughnasadh, Mabon and Samhain), ancient people celebrated the ripening grains and corn, which must be mowed (killed) for ?rebirth? to begin. The Greek story of Demeter and Persephone, likewise, is a story about the cycle of death and rebirth associated with grain. Here is where the theme of the sacrificed god motif is so central, Lugh?s death being essential for rebirth of the land to take place.

Lugh?s death is a sacrifice that will occur again with the new growth in the spring, and must be repeated each year. Thus it was that pagan kings sometimes had a duty to sacrifice themselves for the land, although we do not fully know to what extent human or animal sacrifice occurred in pagan cultures. All we know is that in those times, kings did at times allowed themselves to be sacrificed at the end of the year, whereupon a new king could be appointed and the cycle could begin anew.

Waverly Fitzgerald* has an excellentarticle at School of the Seasons, called Celebrating Lammas, so why not pay her a visit? She writes,

?Lammas is a festival of regrets and farewells, of harvest and preserves. Reflect on these topics alone in the privacy of your journal or share them with others around a fire. Lughnasad is one of the great Celtic fire-festivals, so if at all possible, have your feast around a bonfire. While you're sitting around the fire, you might want to tell stories.?

As a final word on this ancient calendar custom, I add that ?At latter Lammas? is an old English expression meaning ?never?. And never shall we see the likes of earlier Lammas.


Posted by: barddas 05-Aug-2003, 10:19 AM
I had seen this in my Celtic calendar-

1778 The last Pagan sacrifice of a bull to be conducted publicly in the Celtic world, was performed at Loch Maree, Scotland (claimed).

?Representations of the Pictish bull were found on several stones here, and Bailey's Well is found in a chamber excavated from the rock. In addition to its importance to the Celtic peoples, the well "monumental in scale and character," may have been used as an early Christian baptistry. As far as the bull symbol is concerned, a tradition survives in the sacred Isle of Loch Maree in Wester Ross.

Inis Maree is the Isle of Maelrubha, who most certainly supplanted a pagan deity for whom offerings were made right up to the mid-18th century. The annual ceremony that now takes place on the little island has three aspects: it is connected with the Lammas or Lughnasa (First fruit) Feast, associated with cures for madness and involves the sacrifice of a bull and the worship of bulls. The bull or ram-horned god is one of the recurring themes of Celtic iconography. The Celtic peoples were unique in their preference for choosing animals they saw in their everyday lives to represent their gods; all their animals could be gods in disguise, especially the bull.

In 1656, the Scottish Presbytery condemned the "abominable and heathenish" practices that took place on August 25, the day of St. Mourie (well dressing also formed part of the ceremonies). The island was formerly known as Eilean a Mhor Righ (Island of the Great King) and its festival is closely connected to the Irish Lughnasa, which also featured animal sacrifice. As late as 1778 bull killings on the island were still being condemned by the Scottish Church while cures for lunacy were affected at the sacred well into the mid 19th century.?   Source
?In Scotland, the well at Loch Maree is dedicated to St. Malrubha but its annual rites, involving the sacrifice of a bull, an offering of milk poured on the ground, and coins driven into the bark of a tree, are clearly more pagan in nature.?   Source
?? in Scotland is the sacred oak on the island in Loch Maree, that once overlooked a holy well. Although supposedly once the sanctuary of St. Maree, the local story goes that it was once "Eilean-a-Mhor-Righ", (the Island of the Great King) who was in fact a pagan god. ?   Source (expired?)

Celtic bull clasp
for hair or clothing
?Bulls were sacrificed to the god Mourie, who had his well on an island in Loch Maree, Scotland, as late as 1678.?   Source

Posted by: masonalex 25-Sep-2003, 06:22 PM
These posts are very interesting. Here is a question. Would the Lindow man be a Celt, or a Briton, or a Pict?

Posted by: barddas 26-Sep-2003, 04:47 AM
QUOTE (masonalex @ Sep 25 2003, 09:22 PM)
These posts are very interesting. Here is a question. Would the Lindow man be a Celt, or a Briton, or a Pict?

Everything I have ever read has refered to him being Celtic. I will look again, over the weekend to make sure. As far as being Pict. I believe he is far too south to be. He could have traveled the distanance... but... I think the deciding factor here is his location.
There might be a link above that has some of this information that I do not recall this early in the wee morning.... wink.gif

Posted by: barddas 03-Dec-2003, 12:50 PM
I wanted to bring this topic back to the top.... Since we are begining a discussion on the druids.. I thought this might be of interest as well smile.gif

Posted by: Aon_Daonna 28-Jan-2004, 09:32 AM
I just read a german report about bog bodies and they believe the Lindow man to be a High Priest

Posted by: barddas 28-Jan-2004, 04:23 PM
QUOTE (Aon_Daonna @ Jan 28 2004, 11:32 AM)
I just read a german report about bog bodies and they believe the Lindow man to be a High Priest


Can you post a link that?

Posted by: Aon_Daonna 28-Jan-2004, 05:54 PM
can you read german? I'll get the link in a moment

Posted by: Aon_Daonna 28-Jan-2004, 06:04 PM
found one

Des Rätsels Lösung könnte aus England kommen. Der so genannte Lindow Man lässt Moorleichen in einem neuen Licht erscheinen. Der 1984 in Lindows Hochmoor gefundene Leichnam eines Mannes, ist vor dem Versenken im Moor stranguliert worden. Nachforschungen ergaben, dass es sich bei der Person um einen offenbar hochrangigen Priester handelte. Er dürfte um etwa 200 vor Christus gelebt haben. Die Forscher gehen davon aus, dass er geopfert wurde. Sollten die Götter besänftigt werden für eine gute Ernte?

This part says that new evidence says that the man seems to be a high ranking priest. Scientists still think he was sacrificed.

Posted by: balisodare 15-Apr-2004, 11:21 PM
I actually have just been doing some reading in this area of interest....

The Lindow man is believed to be celtic. At this time the Picts were almost exclusively in Scotland. The (Roman) Britons were still dealing with these Pictish neighbors and would be warring with them up until the building of Hadrian's wall in 122 AD.

His death is pretty much secured as sacrificial because of a few key points of forensic evidence.
1)They found no defensive wounds or anything indicitive of a struggle. Even if they had bound him with either shackles or rope, marks would have remained on his wrists which scientists have analyzed closely.
2)Despite his face being slightly distorted by the weight of the peat bog, forensic scientists have been able to discern his facial features circa death. No traces or shock or pain have been fact his expression was that of complete peace at the time of death.

Hope this helps...


Posted by: barddas 19-Apr-2004, 12:56 PM
Here is something I stumbled on... Interesting...

Posted by: barddas 19-Apr-2004, 02:43 PM
Here is a small bit I found on the wicker man-

looking for more....

Every year at Beltane, before the crops were planted and the weather was just turning to Spring, the Celts - and before them the pagans - would turn their thoughts to preparing the ground for the year's crop. Today, farmers use chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth, but hundreds of years ago they used natural fertilizers such as manure or potash.

The Wickerman was an important part of the Beltane fertility ritual, but for reasons that will become evident, it was not very well publicized. As a result, the Wickerman ritual has become steeped in speculation and myth fuelled in part by the now famous movie of the same name.

The Wickerman consisted of an effigy built from waddle (twigs, debris, corn husks, dried plant matter or anything flammable) supported by the frame of a wooden cross. At Beltane, the Celts would burn the Wickerman in an elaborate night ceremony, gather up the potash it left behind and spread the fertilizer( pot ash) on their fields.

According to folklorist MacIain MacDonald, in olden times the Wickerman ritual was accompanied by human sacrifice.

In those days, the community or the chief would arbitrarily decide who was going to be the sacrificial Wickerman for that year. Usually it would be outcasts, criminals, the so called "village idiot", or any other undesirable whom they felt they could lose without cost. Then the villagers would get together and build a large Wickerman effigy, lure the person into the frame - because the victim had to come willingly - and set it on fire. The larger the effigy, the more potash it would create and the greater the intended benefits for all.

The ancient Celts didn't always burn human beings inside the Wickerman, but for the ritual to be done properly a living thing should be sacrificed. The practise of using humans for Beltane Wickerman rituals died out centuries ago, but smaller Wickermans are still burned in a few Celtic enclaves where its practitioners may sacrifice a small animal such as a chicken.

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