Gender

Female Druids

For the last 1,000 years of history it was believed that all druids were men.

Yet much new evidence is confirming that this just isn’t true.

Druids were part of a culture where women and men were equals in many aspects of life.

It’s hard to believe that there would be an exception in terms of religion.

This is a great article on Female Druids that gives more details: CLICK HERE 


More Than Two Genders?

 

Watch this episode of Taboo for a more in depth look at the existence of multiple genders in Indian, Indonesian and Albanian culture.

Throughout Western Society, there is only room for two genders: male and female. Although there is a growing acceptance of homosexuality and transgendered people in the modern world – most homosexuals and transgendered folk still live on the fringes of society.

Yet in some cultures around the world, there are more than two accepted genders.

In India there is a third gender: The Hijra, men who cut off their genitals and live like women.

In parts of Indonesia there are five genders.

In Albania, a woman traditionally could forsake her female gender in exchange for male duties and responsibilities.

In the cultures that accept other genders – this other gender is often endowed with a spiritual significance. People with both male and female gender have a certain relation to the Gods that heterosexuals with their one gender do not.

I believe that in indigenous cultures there is more acceptance – and even an embrace of such sexual diversity, because this is only natural. After all, if nature chose you to have a unique gender, that is a destiny chosen for you by the Gods. Do not be ashamed. You are a product of the natural world and thusly beautiful as you are.


Modern Day Amazons

Ukraine is a country where many women  experience daily oppression and get trafficked into Sex Slavery against their will. However, a group of women in the Carpathian mountains have taken matters into their own hands by grabbing a hold of swords and battle axes. These sword swinging warriors have declared complete autonomy from men. They have called themselves Asgarda and have revived the traditions of the ancient Scythian Amazons of Greek legend. They spend their time in the mountains learning martial arts and other life skills to empower themselves as women.

Check out the link below to see more on a tale of women “brandishing braids, battle axes and boxing gloves (Jenna Martin).”

http://www.planet-mag.com/?s=asgarda&x=0&y=0

(DISCLAIMER: I did not make this post as some kind of statement against men. This is a blog that is merely interested in people who embrace ancient traditions in modern times. For this group of ladies, they have found refuge in the traditions of their ancient Amazonian sisters. I respect whatever life style choice people choose for themselves.)


Does the Male Deity Get Enough Attention in Modern Paganism?

Picture Found HERE

Is it just me, or does modern Pagan spirituality feel like a hot dog bun fest? Much of the material I come in contact with emphasizes the power of the Goddess, the feminine divine that is necessary for creation. Yet the God, in comparison, merely tags along in the shadows as the Goddess’s consort. In particular, this mostly seems to occur in the Wiccan branches of Paganism. Not so much on the Heathen side of the spectrum.

This tendency to focus more on the feminine aspect of creation is not necessarily a bad thing. I see no problem with Dianic Wiccans that set themselves aside to focus purely on The Goddess. By the same turn, I see nothing wrong with Male Mysteries that focus purely on a God like Apollo or Dionysus.

Yet there are often situations when Pagans claim to worship both the male and female aspects of the divine…but seem to worship the female aspect just a tad more.

Why does the Goddess end up eclipsing the God in modern Paganism? Here is my theory:

Modern Paganism is a reaction against modern day, Patriarchal religions like Christianity, Islam and Judaism

2,000 years of worshiping a male God only has created quite the unbalance. Many people retreating from the major world religions have sought refuge by flocking into the opposite direction – by seeking refuge in the bosom of a more maternal Deity: Wise and white armed Athena, powerful Diana, Inspiring Bridget, Beautiful Freya etc.

Many in the Neo-Pagan traditions have re-created the ancient world to be a Matriarchy. Those in the occult are familiar with Aleister Crowley’s Age of Isis. He believed there were three ages of history:

The age of Isis, the age of Osiris, and the age of Horus.

The age of Isis represents the beginning of human history. Crowley believed this was a peaceful age that was more Matriarchal. People lived in small communities in which Priestesses had power and influence over the village.

I do believe that women definitely had more power in Pre-Christian times. However, I have talked to some Pagans who have said absurd things – such as there were only Priestesses and no Priests in the beginning of human history (we’re talking the Neolithic Era).

First of all. There is still much uncertainty that shrouds the ancient world. Much of the Pre-Christian temples, scrolls and texts were burned when Christianity came along. Also, the evidence that points to a “Goddess dominated society” is rather weak. So they had more naked female statues in ancient times? There are also way more female models in magazines, nude women on the internet and images of the female body in art in the modern world. Yet a plethora of female pornography is hardly an indicator of respect for the female form.

Paganism represents many different things to different people. In this blog alone, I cannot say what Paganism is and what it is not. Yet to me, it represents a Spirituality that is more in tune with nature, with the energy manifest in the natural world. Both the Masculine and Feminine energies permeate nature.

I think many in the modern world today are lost. There are many men and women who do not know who they are, because there are countless magazines and television shows telling them what it means to be a “real woman” or a “real man.” All of course designed to make you feel insecure and buy more things.

Yet reading Ancient Mythology can often function as a mirror to reflect upon us the truth of our own natures. These are timeless values remembered and restored because they worked. There are male Gods who are cultured and musical like Apollo, Odin who was wise and loving to his wife, horned Celtic Gods who were wild and free. I’m not saying there is one way to be male or female, but it is helpful to read the ancient myths to see which Gods resonate with you.

What is God to me? I believe the Gods are many and one. All the multi-faceted faces representing the energy of the divine, shining on the multitude sides of a diamond. God as a male is a force of fertility and wisdom. He ploughs the field so that she may bare fruit. He is the brightness of a sun giving life and intensity, while the gentle light of the moon gives comfort and relief. Although that is merely my opinion, I entice you to find your own.

Some Notes on the Male Deity by the Pagan Federation

Facebook: A Place For Male Witches

EDIT: Shortly after writing this article, I found a relevant quote in Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner.”

“The Goddess and God are equal; neither is higher or more deserving of respect. Though some Wiccans focus their rituals toward the Goddess and seem to forget the God entirely, this is a reaction to centuries of stifling patriarchal religion, and the loss of acknowledgement of the feminine aspect of Divinity. Religion based entirely on feminine energy, however, is  as unbalanced and unnatural as one totally masculine in focus. The ideal is a perfect balance of the two. The Goddess and God are equal: complementary.”


Woman Shaman

For the last 2,000 years of human history, the role of female spiritual leaders has been cast in shadow.

In this time we have seen a shift to Patriarchy in many of the world’s cultures.

Women who once provided a role as healers and diviners in the community

were accused of witch craft, heresy or other crimes to solidify the power of Male Priests.

The movie above shows a different story.

An ancient story.

The truth about women’s roles in spirituality and magick.

Both the Masculine and Feminine energies of the Divine are necessary in our lives.

One without the other provides for a grave unbalance.


Ancient Celtic Women

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“A whole troop of foreigners would not be able to withstand a single Celt if he called his wife to his assistance!” ~ Amicus Marcelling

The women in Ancient Celtic society enjoyed rights that women in Greek and Roman societies did not have. A woman could own property, get a divorce, be a priest, a judge, a doctor, a poet, fight in battle and even own her own fighting school.

As Moyra Caldicott says in ‘Women in Celtic Myth’ . . .”one of the things I find so refreshing in the Celtic myths is that the women are honoured as much for their minds as for their bodies. The dumb blond would not stand much of a chance in ancient Celtic society.”

There was a specific class of warrior in Celtic society called a BAN-GAISGEDAIG. “BAN” meaning woman and “GAS” young warrior. These women would teach boys the arts of fighting and love. Some of the more famous warrior women were on Celtic Coins.

Here are a few prominent Celtic Women.


GODDESSES:

These are certainly not all the Celtic Goddesses. These are just a few that I found interesting. 

THE MORRIGAN

(Shapeshifter/Goddess of Death)

I have no doubt that the shape shifting witch in Dragon Age was based off this Goddess. And yes, her name is usually mentioned with a “The.” Her mythic body is that of a bird or a woman. In the form of a falcon she will lead a hunter to his goal. Her cosmic body is that of a cloud with pathways leading from it. People are pulled down these passage ways by their desires and sins. She is also a teacher who gives one wisdom, by making them suffer through pain. You must sit in her black cauldron before you gain the wisdom you seek. Such are the trials of life. The best lessons are sometimes the hardest to learn. I would not want to end up on her bad side.


BRIGID

(Healing Goddess of Fire, Healing, Inspiration, Creativity, The Hearth and Metalworking)

You’ll notice that on her left there is a spear and on the right there are leaves (I’m assuming to be made into some healing balm). The Celts had no problem with someone being a Goddess of healing and destruction. She was a Goddess who presided over warfare and also used miracles to heal people. Death and life were two intertwining forces that existed together for the Celts, you cannot have one without the other. Brigid was such a loved Goddess by the Celtic people that the Christian Church could not get rid of her. Eventually they just adopted her as a saint and called it a day.


EPONA

(Gallo-Roman Goddess of Horses)

She was a Goddess adopted by the Romans from the Gauls, who were an Indo European Celtic culture. The Romans were usually tolerant of another culture’s Gods, provided that said culture was willing to worship Roman Gods in addition to their own. The Roman empire itself had much syncretism, since they absorbed the beliefs of the people they conquered into their own repertoire. However, while the Romans worshiped Goddesses, they were not tolerant of the power that Celtic women had in their own societies. Eventually when the Romans took over Celtic territories, they subverted the prominent role that many women once had.

A More Complete List of Celtic Gods and Goddesses


PEOPLE

QUEEN BOUDICCA

boudica

Boudicca was the Celtic Queen of the Iceni tribe. Since she was a woman, the Romans (living in a very male dominant society) did not take her very seriously. The Romans originally had friendly relations with her husband, the king of the Iceni tribe. Yet when he died, half of his land was given to the Romans as a token of goodwill and the other half was passed to his wife to rule over. The Romans decided that it was ludicrous that a mere woman could rule over anything and decided that it would be a cake walk to march in and take over her half of the land.

When the Romans succeeded in their conquest, they flogged the queen herself in public, raped her daughters and stole her land. The Romans underestimated the respect women had in Celtic culture – let alone the power of a queen. The Iceni people were furious at the humiliation of their leader. In vengeance Boudicca gathered an army of 100,000 against the Romans. She ended up burning 3 Roman towns to the ground and killed 70,000 people. What’s that phrase? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Her rebellion was eventually squashed by a Roman General. Yet for a Celtic leader living under Roman occupation, I think she still managed to kick copious amounts of butt. Not to mention that she at least had the courage to try.

More information about Boudicca

Watch a Documentary About Boudicca Here


QUEEN CARTIMANDUA

210px-Cartimandua

More information about Queen Cartimandua

Cartimandua was also a respected queen with much power among her people. But that is where the similarities to Boudicca end. While Boudicca was a rebel, Cartimandua was a loyalist to Roman interests.

She was the ruler of the Brigantes people in the 1st century from (43-69 AD) in what is now Northern England. She came to power during the time when much of Britain was under Roman rule. She formed a tribal conglomeration that was largely friendly to Roman interests. After concluding a treaty with the Roman emperor Claudius, she was faced with a series of Anti-Roman revolts by not only her subjects – but also from her ex husband Venutius. Talk about difficult exes! From 52-57 he tried to overthrow her twice by rousing anti-roman sentiment.  Both times she managed to get enough Roman support to hold him at bay. Yet the third time was the charm when he managed to overthrow her in 69, taking advantage of Roman instability in the year of the “four emperors.”


THE BANDROAI  (FEMALE DRUIDS)

druidgirl

Source

Who were the druids? The druids were the religious leaders of the Celtic People in ancient times. They were a member of a type of priestly class. Julius Caesar wrote that the druids were responsible for organizing worship and sacrifices, divination, the judicial process and that they were exempt from military service. They were the philosophers, scientists, theologians and holders of sacred knowledge in their culture. Extensive training was required to become a druid and the training period took 19 years!

There is a misconception that druids were only male. Most of the Romans and Greeks who wrote about Celtic society may not have taken note of women in power, since the Romans and Greeks had a Patriarchal culture. This misconception continued into the 17th and 18th century when the Druid Reformation took place. The founders of this movement had a Romantic view of the druids and not very much historical evidence to work with. The Druid orders that were founded during these years were for men and men only.

Yet in the Celtic myth itself, there are mentions of females being involved in druidry, as well as other magical and religious functions.

The information below details female druids in myth and was taken from “The Female Druid” on Druidcircle.org:

  • In the story of Fingin Mac Luchta of Munster, Fingin visits a Druidess every Samhain who would fortell the events of the coming year.
  • The Second Battle of Moytura mentions two Druidesses who promise to enchant the rocks and trees “so they become a host and rout” their enemies.
  • Prior to the famous Cattle Raid of Cooley, Mebd the Queen of Connacht, consults a Druidess named Fidelma who predicts the outcome of the coming battle with the Ulstermen. “How seest thou our host?” asked Medb. “I see the host all becrimsoned…” replied Fidelma.
  • Dio Cassius mentions a Druidess named Ganna who went on an embassy to Rome and was received by Domitian, youngerson of the Emperor Vespasian.
  • Pomponius Mela in De Chorographica speaks concerning nine virgin “priestesses” who lived on the island of Sena, in Brittany, who “knew the future.”
  • The Historia Agusta which was written in about 400 A.D. by Aelius Lampridius mentions a Druidess foretelling the defeat of Alexander Severus. “Go forth but hope not for victory, nor put your trust in your warriors.”
  • Then of course, there are the keepers of the eternal flame at Kildare, which was for a long time a pagan temple dedicated to the Goddess Brighid. The flame was tended by Druidesses and later by Christian nuns, in honor of Saint Bride.

In the modern practice of druidry today, there are a good number of women involved and while I don’t have a scientific figure, I would say that the druid community has a good representation of both men and women in their ranks.

For more information on Female Druids, read the following article “Female Druids” at the Magical Buffet. 


Still Curious About Ancient Celtic Women?

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To Learn More About Ancient Celtic Women, Click Here