Druid, Shaman, Priest: Metaphors of Celtic Paganism

Druid, Shaman, Priest: Metaphors of Celtic Paganism

Druid, Shaman, Priest: Metaphors of Celtic Paganism

Druid, Shaman, Priest: Metaphors of Celtic Paganism


"The first attempt to look at the changing figure of the druid from classical times to the present. There are two main versions of "druidism": the nascently Christian priest and the shaman. Both these images have their roots in the representations of druids, saints, warriors and poets found in medieval Celtic literature. The book begins with a survey, from the perspectives of folklore, anthropology and archaeology, of what little we know about druids in the Celtic Iron Age. It then looks at the image of the druid in medieval texts. The third section assesses the religious and political agendas underlying the resurgence of interest in druidism in eighteenth-century Britain. The final section looks at the image of the druid in the twentieth century as it appears in popular films and television, in books aimed at the New Age and Neo-Pagan markets, and in on-line discussions on the information superhighway." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


I take my first epigraph from that Taliesin of modern times, the man who's been everywhere and known everyone, Dr. Who:

So you're a druid? You know, I always thought the druids wore made
up by John Aubrey in the seventeenth century. a great joker, John

I take my second epigraph from myself as a somewhat bemused undergraduate first encountering Lacanian literary criticism:

One signified—the unconscious—corresponds to infinite signifiers….
Every time you think you have the signified pinned down to this
particular signifier, it slips out and pops up somewhere else. It's all
rather like trying to catch oiled mice in the dark. the common tactic
taken by most critics is to deliberately blind oneself to the other pos
sible signifiers … but to blind oneself is not to see is to cut off the
seeing/unconscious which is to deny the ultimate repository of
meaning, and we, as sophisticated and advanced Deconslructive
thinkers, cannot allow this to happen. Therefore we put on our sand
paper mittens and go back to trying to catch those mice.

Trying to discover the authentic druid is like trying to get a clear view into the Lacanian unconscious—the only way to do it is to project the contents of one's own mind onto the figure of the Other. This, I would argue, is exactly what all theorists of druidry have been doing for, say . . .

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