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The Alnwick Town Crier
Pliny wrote of their belief that the eating of human flesh was a ‘wholesome remedy’. Caesar stated that, 'the most important Druid belief was that after death the soul passes from one to another - hence the Celt's bravery in battle.' If a warrior leader was defeated in battle he would often turn his sword upon himself. The Greek historian Pausanias wrote about the eating of flesh and the drinking of blood. These practices are diametrically opposed to the Christian belief that life is a gift of God and, as such, of immense value. The confederation were engaged in outright war against the inhuman practices of Druidism. During the last war, many Christians underwent immense persecution for maintaining a conscientious objection to war. However, many others fought against what they saw as the evils of Nazism. I doubt if anyone, whichever view they held, would deny the authenticity of a Christian soldier's faith. Looking back upon the confederation's battle tactics it is important to also realise that no historic event should be judged according to criteria of today's society, but by the mores of the society of that era.

The Fall Guy

Past Times: Druid


When we consider Arthur and his confederation of kings we face a dichotomy. We understand them to have held a Christian faith. They were known as 'the baptised'. Arthur carried the emblem of Mary the mother of Christ into battle with him. Therein, lies the seeming contradiction as the images of war and bloodshed are not easy bedfellows with Christianity, which many view as a religion of peace and love. To solve this puzzle we need to consider the pagan forces that they opposed. I have written elsewhere about the 'high places' of heathen worship which were overthrown by the confederation, to be replaced by churches bearing the name of the archangel Michael. The high places contained altars upon which human sacrifices were regularly made by Druid priests. Many were made at Beltain, a festival to mark the beginning of summer. Yet more were made by Druid priests as a method of divination. Matters were decided by the victim's squirming after a dagger was driven into the belly or by the squirting of blood. This apparent disregard for human life was not occasioned by a placing of little value upon such. Rather it was due to their firm beliefs about the afterlife. In 'Pharsalia', a verse written by the Roman poet Lucan he addresses the Druids with the following words, 'If we understand you right, death is only a pause in a long life.'