B2 High-Intermediate US 114 Folder Collection
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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.
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A day in the life of an ancient Celtic Druid - Philip Freeman

114 Folder Collection
ally.chang published on February 25, 2020
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