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Duncan Royale Druid


Item Sku: 12Druid
In ancient Britain the Druids used to celebrate the winter solstice by keeping the Festival of Nolagh. They observed this season in their great ringed temples at Stonehenge and Avebury. Many of our Christmas customs such as the Yule log, and the use of mistletoe and holly originated there. One tree that was especially sacred to the Druids was the mighty oak. The Druids believed that whenever an oak was struck by lightning, it was really one of the gods coming down to earth. And so during their winter festivals, they decorated oak trees with apples and burning candles as a way of offering thanks to the gods who gave them sunlight and food. 

Another important symbol for the Druids was the Yule log. in a special rite, they blessed, then lit the Yule log by using magic crystals and sunlight. It was kept burning for the entire Festival of Nolagh and afterwards a brand from the old log was saved to rekindle the fire for the new one the following year. 

During the winter solstice, they killed a boar and offered its head to the goddess Freya, as a gift. The custom of the boar’s head procession continued into Medieval times and even survives today at some English universities. Wren hunting after Christmas, which still takes place in some parts of Ireland and Wales, began with the Druids, who hunted them for use in telling the future. The song of the wren was used in prophecy and its feathers were used in magic potions. 

Among plants that were sacred to the Druids were mistletoe and holly. Mistletoe it seff is a parasitic plant which is found high in the branches of certain oak trees. To harvest it, the Arch Druid had to reach up and remove it with a golden sickle, careful to make sure that it didn’t touch the ground and lose its magic properties. They believed that the plant could cure illness, produce fertility and help to make peace with one’s enemies. A kiss beneath the mistletoe symbolized the end of grievances. 

The holly plant was believed to have special magical powers to ward off witches and other evil spirits. The druids usually wore a sprig of holly on their robes for protection. We see this same image today with Santa Claus wearing a sprig of holly in his hat. 

The mid-winter festival of Nolagh continued until the end of the sixth century A.D. At that time St. Augustine arrived in England and began converting the people to Christianity. Rather than stamping out the many pagan customs, the Church simply took many of them over, adapting them and applying new meanings. They were ultimately successful in regrouping the customs of the Nolagh Festival around the Mass of Christ, which in England was called “Christes Masses”, the mass or church festival of Christmas.
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$500.00 / $175.00   12''   
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