The ancient Druids had a complex religion that was deeply connected to the belief system that’s widely known as Animism. While there are a lot of descriptions of animism, but the most part it’s about the worship of the natural world, including the elements, plants, and animals.
Animals have been used as the basis of a number of religious beliefs since the dawn of history, and while it’s almost entirely died out across the world, there are some sects that still worship animals. The Druids are one of these, and while we tend to associate plants with Druidry, they also held several animals in extremely high regard, and even based part of their religious beliefs on different members of the animal world.
Respect For Animals
One of the most common themes among the ancient Druid belief systems that survived to this day is a healthy respect for the natural world. Plants and animals alike were held the same importance as a human being, as the Druids and many similar peoples didn’t see themselves as separate from the natural world. This was such an intrinsic tenet to these systems that they actually formed the foundations of much of what the people worshipped.
Cats, dogs, cows, horses, and pigs were all seen to have their own inherent magical properties and were associated with sorcery. Some historians believe that the Druids cherished certain animals the same way that the ancient Egyptians venerated important animals.
Birds were special among the Druids, and it’s possible that a lot of specific associations made with birds first originated during these times, such as having the owl known for its wisdom.
The dove was especially important for the ancient peoples that lived in much of Ireland and Scotland and was connected to many of their sacred rites and celebrations.
The wren is another bird of great importance; so important, in fact, that it was valued not just among the Celtic druids, but by many different groups throughout Europe, and was widely considered to be the king of the birds and was often used as a symbol of the sun and was sometimes sacrificed to Pluto.
Another animal that’s found frequently in both written texts and oral legends is the hare. Quite different from the domestic rabbit that are generally found at the local pet store which we buy for our kids so we can enjoy ICC World Cup betting in peace, wild hares are much larger, much more agile, and were long a main source of protein for many of the peoples that lived in Northern Europe as well as the United Kingdom.
In ancient Egypt, the hare was part of daily worship, and it was something that could be found in various other cultures of the ancient world. It was mentioned that the Celts would not hunt or consume hare, and some even believed to the hare to be the earthly form of one of their deities.