My passion for the craft brings me to post another topic you might find of interest.
In Celtic Times.
Human sacrifices sometimes took place. They constructed gigantic images of osiers and wicker-work, partly filled with inflammable materials, and in the round enormous legs and arms of these hideous effigies living men were enclosed. At the appointed time for the sacrifice, fire was applied to this structure, and presently the whole mass was enveloped in flame and smoke, and soon reduced to ashes. Over the horrid scene the Druids presided as usual in their official capacity, with great ceremony, using incantations and spells to make the sacrifice more effective in propitiating the god. And so little did these grim spectacles shock the feelings of the people, that many amongst them, of their own free choice, and without any compulsion, offered themselves as victims on such occasions.
The Romans endeavoured to abolish or check this barbarous custom, but, generally, their efforts in that way were not of much avail.
Was the burning at the stake, which even in England, and other countries, continued to a late period, a remnant of this? Or was it used against persons on account of offences against religion, because, perhaps, it had been the special punishment with the Druids of impiety to their gods? The Druids had temples, altars, and sacred places for the performance of their worship. Some of these still exist in Ireland, and also in England, Scotland, and France. Perhaps in this country we have the most numerous specimens, though not of the most gigantic proportions. We have the Siorcalleact (Circle temple), the Cromleact, the Dalian, the Carnan, and the Cam, with many other objects, the uses and origin of which are now utterly unknown.
There is no proof that the Druids ever used any covered temples, at least in this country, or probably elsewhere.
In France are the remains of such temples, which are popularly ascribed to the Druids; but it is more likely that they belonged to the Romans, who had conquered and occupied a great part of that country. It appears to have been a prominent article of the Druidical creed, that to worship their gods within covered temples was contrary to the notion that ought to be entertained of the divine immensity. We have this on the testimony of Tacitus, and other ancient writers.
It is, however, stated that owing to Roman ideas the Druids of France erected temples of unusual magnitude, some roofed, and others open and roofless according to the ancient rule. In a part of that country, called Montmorillon, was a stately edifice of this kind, having on the entrance over the gate the statues of eight gods, which were believed to be Druidical divinities. These were probably the effigies of the gods, whose names were bestowed on the seven days of the week, together with that of Minerva, who was a favourite deity of Druidism. It is not known whether this temple, and its rude statues, was erected by the Druids themselves, or by the Romans, who generally adopted the gods of the conquered countries, and who, by constructing an edifice of this kind in Gaul, would have performed an act highly calculated to flatter and conciliate a people of strong religious feelings.
The earliest simple specimen of their temple was a circular portion of ground, inscribed all round with a furrow, or enclosed within stakes.
This temporary construction was called teavipul, (temple,) from the word timchcal, or tiomchal, which means “round.” But where there was an opportunity of surrounding the place with growing oak trees, it was much preferred for their teampul by the Druids. All the temples of this kind have, of course, disappeared; but there are others of a more permanent construction which have survived the lapse of ages, and now raise up their grey heads on the hill-side and in the valley, awakening the curiosity of the beholder, and the deep interest of the antiquary.
These are the Siorcalleachts, which are composed or constructed of large pillar stones, set on the ends, round a space of ground in the form of a circle. Of these there is a large variety. Some attain to majestic proportions, both with respect to the size of the stones and the quantity of ground enclosed. Others are small and unpretending in their structure. The presumption is, that they were made small or larcre according to the numbers of the worshippers, the relative importance of the Druidical stations or, perhaps, the extent of the religious ceremonial offices in connexion with them. It appears they were composed of twelve pillars, or of the multiples of twelve, and it is conjectured that these were emblematic of the twelve signs of the zodiac, as, probably, the Siorcalleacht was a temple of the sun. Sometimes there were three circles of these pillars, one outside the other, and the whole surrounded by a lios, that is, by a fosse or trench, in which were two or three openings or passages, to admit ingress and egress.
No doubt, there was some symbolic meaning in the three circles of pillars which, perhaps, it is now difficult to find out or conjecture.
They might, not inappropriately, have been intended to represent a crown of rays, which was typical of the sun, and also, perhaps, to express some points of their belief, indicated, by the number three, which was a mystical number with them, in reference to God, Time, and Eternity. It is also certain that, in many instances, the erect pillars had horizontal cross-stones placed over them, reaching from one to the other, in the shape of a rude binding course. This, however, was not essential to the Siorcalleacht, and many there are without it.
It is not easy to say that any particular species of site or situation was needed for these temples, as they are found on the hill, in the valley, and by the sea-side.
Altar stones have been found in the centre of the Sior- calleachts, as at Stonehenge in England, laid east and west; for the Druids worshipped with their faces turned to the rising of the sun, or the east. In some instances only a semi-circle of stones is to be found, and it is supposed that the corresponding portion was made up of temporary stakes fixed in the ground. There is a semi-circle of this kind, consisting of six stones, at a place called Bin-na-leacht, near Mallow, and the name given to it, from time immemorial, by the people, is Seisearleacht, that is the “six-stone heap, or altar structure.
“Bin-na-leacht means “the hill of the stone of death;” Icacht being a compound word formed from Ha, “a stone,” and audhacht, “death.” This is in allusion to the victims slaughtered there. There are some who are of opinion that the semi-circle was a temple of the moon, which often assumes that figure, while the full circle always represented the sun.
Siorcalleacht is a compound word, from siorcal,”a circle,” and Icacht,” the flag-stone of death;” while siorcal, or circle, itself, is made up of sior,” continual, or always,” and cal, “to surround.” Cal is also “to surround or embrace,” in the Hebrew. It is from this word siorcal, or siorcalleacht, that the English word “church,” is probably derived; as also circulus, “circle,” of the Latins, and kuklos of the Greeks. If we look in our dic- tionaries for the derivation of the word “church,” we will find for our information, circc, of the Saxons, and kirk of the Scotch. The lexico-graphers cannot go higher. But here in the Celtic we find the original root siorcalleacht, ” the pillared temple of the Druids,” from which comes in plain regular succession, the Saxon ” circe,” the Scotch ” kirk,” and the modern English word ” church.” The word “church,” however, as we shall see hereafter, may have been formed from cai-erc, “the house of heaven.”
Many thanks to admin for posting
Thought for the day
The name of Medium is an American invention, and is based upon the assumption that only a few favored persons are able to enter into direct communication with spirits, who may then convey the revelations they receive to others.
Thank you for visiting our website may your God or Goddess be with you.