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In celtic society what type of people would have been shamans? Were the druids shamans?


  1. Depends on what you mean by the words shamans… Druids were certianly spiritual leaders in pre-christian lands… but I’m not sure what the druidic tradition taught, or what makes a person a shaman

  2. The Druids were priests and scholars who officiated at the various ceremonies held throughout the year. Besides having a religious function they were also bards, who wrote poetry and composed music for special occasions. They also administered the law.
    According to Roman historians they practiced human sacrifice. Since their tradition was entirely oral there are no accounts written by Druids to corroborate or refute this. Graves with burnt human remains were discovered near Stonehenge in the 18th century and this appeared to lend credence to the accounts of human sacrifice, but later research showed them to be the remains of people who had died of natural causes and been cremated. At Stonehenge there is a stone lying flat which is known as the Slaughter Stone and was widely believed to have been a sacrificial altar, but once again there is no evidence to back this up.
    Druids were adopted for training at an early age and the religion was handed down to them by word of mouth. In order to qualify as a Druid they had to memorise everything they had been taught and had to pass a rigorous oral exam. The religion died out after the Roman invasion of Britain but was revived in the 19th century and modern Druids are well known for holding Summer Solstice ceremonies at Stonehenge, and presiding over the Welsh and Cornish Eisteddfods, among other things.
    The ancient Orders of Druids were exclusively male but women are now admitted.

  3. The druids would have been closest to what we think of as a shaman. They administered religious rites,law and so on,and did divination from the entrails and from the death throes of animals (and probably occasionally humans.) In ancient Ireland some druids appear to be female as well as male. They worshipped in natural settings such as oak groves, and had nothing to do with stone circles such as Stonehenge which predate their cults.


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