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  • As the sun rises on a fall morning in 55 BCE,

  • Camma lays two pigeons on the altar at the center of her village.

  • She offers a prayer to Matrona mother goddess of the Earth,

  • and Lugus chief of the gods.

  • Then, she wrings the birds' necks

  • and cuts them open to examine their entrails for divine messages.

  • Camma is a druid.

  • This means she conducts religious rites,

  • but she also serves as a judge, healer, and scholar,

  • teaching children and mediating conflict between Celtic tribes.

  • She began her studies as a child,

  • memorizing the countless details necessary to perform her many roles,

  • since the druids' knowledge is considered too sacred to record in writing.

  • Like many druids, she spent years studying in Britain.

  • Now, she is a resident Druid of the Veneti tribe

  • in a small farming village near the western coast of Gaul,

  • in what is now France.

  • Since returning to Gaul, she has received many offers of marriage

  • but she has decided to devote herself to her work, at least for now.

  • This morning, the omens are troubling.

  • They tell of war and strife, as they often have in recent months.

  • A neighboring tribe, the Redones,

  • have raided their village and stolen cattle in broad daylight twice this fall.

  • The children have gathered around to watch her work.

  • Camma plays her lyre and sings to them.

  • She weaves stories of the powerful kings who once ruled their land

  • brave warriors who were slain naked in combat but who will be reborn,

  • as will all the Celts.

  • When the children go off to help in the fields,

  • Camma heads across the village to visit an old woman with an eye infection.

  • On the way to the old woman's hut,

  • she passes men salting pigs for the winter food supply

  • and women weaving clothing from dyed wool.

  • She delivers a remedy for the injured eye

  • it's made from mistletoe, a sacred healing plant,

  • but deadly if used incorrectly.

  • From there, Camma visits the chieftain to discuss the omens.

  • She convinces him to go and talk through their problems with their neighbors.

  • Accompanied by several warriors,

  • they head through the forest and demand a meeting

  • outside the Redones' village walls.

  • The Redones' representatives bring their own druid,

  • who Camma recognizes from the annual gathering in central Gaul

  • where head druids are elected.

  • The chieftains immediately begin to argue and threaten each other.

  • Camma steps between the opposing sides to stop them from fighting

  • they must honor her authority.

  • Finally, the Redones agree to pay Camma's tribe several cattle.

  • In spite of this resolution, Camma still feels uneasy on the long walk home.

  • As they approach the village walls, a bright streak shoots across the sky

  • another omen, but of what?

  • Back home, Camma sits among the elders for her evening meal of porridge,

  • a bit of meat, and a cup of wine.

  • While they were out during the day, an intercepted parchment arrived.

  • Camma recognizes the writing immediately.

  • Although the druids are forbidden from recording their knowledge,

  • she and many other young druids can read Latin.

  • From the message, she learns that the Romans are drawing closer to their lands.

  • Some of the elders say that the tribe should flee to the nearby hills and hide,

  • but Camma counsels them to trust in the gods and remain in their home.

  • Privately, she has her doubts.

  • Should the Romans reach them, her power to help might be limited.

  • Unlike the other Celtic tribes,

  • Roman legions have no regard for the druids' sacred role as peacemakers.

  • Before going to bed,

  • she observes the course of the planets and consults her charts,

  • trying to make sense of the meteor she saw earlier.

  • The signs are converging on a larger threat than their neighbors.

As the sun rises on a fall morning in 55 BCE,

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B2 US TED-Ed village tribe celtic sacred recognizes

A day in the life of an ancient Celtic Druid - Philip Freeman

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    ally.chang posted on 2020/02/25
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