Review: it’s Druids vs. Romans — and history — in TV series Britannia

TWH — In the new TV series Britannia, a Celtic sorceress in ancient Britain draws a large pentacle on stone and casts a spell, saying, “Dark mother, send me a demon to do my will!”

Early in the series, top-dog Druid Veranm and his Druid tribe, who live in a rocky, mountainous hollow apart from the warring native tribes they serve, capture an invading Roman soldier. Veran performs some sort of ritualistic soul-sucking thing which causes the soldier to reanimate as a zombie under Veran’s control, after being tossed over a waterfall to his death. The zombie soldier shows back up in the Roman camp and delivers a verbal get-the-hell-out-of-our-land message to the general, Aulus Plautis. The general and Veran then trade notes back and forth by placing messages in the mouth of the dead Roman soldier’s severed head. Later Veran, who looks like a cross between Skeletor of He-Man fame and Richard O’Brien’s characters Gulnar (in the Robin of Sherwood TV series) and Riff Raff (in the Rocky Horror Picture Show), has a Vulcan mind-meld with Aulus Plautius, who has decided to seek the Druid’s help to go on a vision quest to the underworld..

Uncovering the Past: Irish Ancestry, Queen Nefertiti, Honey Locust Tree and more!

As some Pagans and Heathens attempt to revive ancient or indigenous religions they often rely on the work of historians, primary texts and archaeologists. For this reason, when something new pops up that challenges long held academic ideas on cultural or religious practice, we pay attention. Here are some of the new(er) finds making waves in archaeological circles. Ireland was inhabited earlier than thought… A knee bone from a brown bear had been sitting in the National Museum of Ireland since the 1920s.

Passings: Mike Gleason, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Anne Ross

Three personages who’ve had an impact on our interconnected communities passed away recently: one a Wiccan Elder, and two scholars whose works have been cited repeatedly by Pagans, and indeed helped shape how many of us perceive ourselves. All three should be honored and remembered for their contributions, for what is remembered lives. Mike Gleason (1951 – 2012): A beloved Elder within his community, Mike Gleason was an Alexandrian High Priest who distinguished himself as an early supporter of pan-Pagan festivals in the 1980s, and as a strong advocate for Pagan rights. This included serving as the head of WARD’s (Witches Against Religious Discrimination) Massachusetts chapter, the Witches Education League, and the Lady Liberty League. In addition to this, Gleason  was co-editor and publisher of the now-defunct  THINK!

Alexei Kondratiev 1949 – 2010

Word has come to us that noted Celtic scholar, linguist, and author Alexei Kondratiev passed away last night due to an apparent heart attack. His writings on Celtic religion and spirituality, which included the ground-breaking book “The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual”, were highly influential on both Celtic-oriented Druidic groups and the nascent Celtic Reconstructionist movement. He was a passionate defender of Celtic language and culture, and regularly advocated that Pagan religions that drew from Celtic culture should immerse themselves in the living Celtic languages and communities. Alexei Kondratiev

“For those of us who speak only English, the treasure-trove of the Celtic consciousness is still behind a locked door. But the key to unlock the door is there, within our grasp.

Books, Blood, and Mistletoe

Historian Ronald Hutton’s “Blood and Mistletoe: The History of Druids in Britain”, the more academic-minded companion to his 2008 book “The Druids” (now out in paperback), is now out in the UK (and will soon be out in the US) and reviews are starting to trickle in. So far they have been extremely positive. “This book is a tour de force: surely the definitive work on our perception of the Druids. The only thing missing from this exhaustive account is an overview, however brief, of today’s colourful Druid groups – an odd omission by the acknowledged historian of neo-Paganism. For that, you need his earlier book.”