Celtic Religion (2 November 2017, 13 Heshvan, 5778)
A summary, with additional information and commentary, of our previous article,
Druids and Israel
The Druids were the priestly class of the Celts in the west. Druids were to be found in Britain and Gaul. Irish tradition speaks of both male and female Druids in Ireland. Relatively early German histories also assume that Druids were to be found among them.
Britain was considered the center of Druid belief. Druids in Gaul went to Britain to learn. In Britain the isles of Anglesy, known as "Mona", off the coat of Wales was a center of the Druids. Close to Anglesy was the Great Orme copper mine. This was the foremost producer of copper in the ancient world. The Great Orme is neighbored by Castell Caer Seion (Conwy). This according to local tradition was once a Jewish or Hebrew settlement.
The religion of the Druids owed much to the Phoenicians. The Prophet Amos tells us how the Israelite exiles from The Ten Tribes had been delivered to Edom by Philistines (Amos 1:6-8) and by Phoenicians from Tyre (1:9).
They had been brought to Wales to work the copper mine. They had also been taken to other regions such as Cornwall and Spain.
It had been prophesied that the Israelites would be taken into captivity both overland to the region of Armenia and the Caucasus and over sea.
1 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan
who are on Mount Samaria,
who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
who say to their husbands, Bring something to drink!
2 The LORD God has sworn by his holiness:
The time is surely coming upon you,
when they shall take you away with hooks ["tsinot" i.e. large boats],
even the last of you [Hebrew: "acharitcen" i.e. in Hebrew "your children" ] with fish-hooks ["sirot-dugah" fish boats in hebrew].
3 Through breaches in the wall you shall leave,
each one straight ahead;
and you shall be flung out into Harmon ["HaHarmonah" in Hebrew "to the Mount of Mannae"],
says the LORD.
Amos says that the Minoan Philistines (Amos 1:6) and the Phoenicians from Tyre (Amos 1:9) would turn the exiles over to Edom. Descendants of Edom at that time ruled over the west. The Celtic god "Esus" was named after Esau while the Germnaic god "Odin" was named after Edom which is another name for Esau (Genesis 25:30, 36:8). The Edomites were descended from Esau who was known as "Isous" to the Tyrians and as "Esus" in the west. Esus has been described as the main Celtic god.
Nevertheless "Baal" under the form of Bel was also worshipped and was the main god in the British Isles.
It had been prophesied that the Ten Tribes would worship Baal in their places of Exile:
16 'And it shall be, in that day,'
Says the LORD,
'That you will call Me 'My Husband,'
And no longer call Me 'My Master,' ["Baali"]
17 For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals,
And they shall be remembered by their name no more.
The Druids paralleled similar groups among the people of Judah i.e. the Sages and the Pharisees, and the Tribe of Levi.
The Druids like the Rabbinical groups in Judah were a class amongst the people more than a clique of priests. Both dealt with public affairs as well as religious matters. Both used as a primary means of coercion the weapon of public ostracism including exclusion from sacrifices. Both were held in great honor amongst the people. Both did not go to war, and were exempt from Military service. The Sages were not obligated by public corvees and presumably neither would the Druids have been. Both were exempted from taxes. Both required a long period of training. Both practised the committing of much religious lore and laws to memory. Both the Pharisees and the Druids apparently believed in re-incarnation. Both studied astronomy and secular sciences.
Among the Druids were the Semnothei whose name may derive from Simeon. They were the devotees to religion.
Another class were the Saronidi who were civil judges and instructors of youth. Their name is reminiscent of the Hebrew "saron" meaning local ruler and applied to the ruling class of the Philistines.
Britain was once known as Samothea in honor of Samothes. In our work "The Tribes" we identified Samothes with Shemida son of Gilead from Manasseh (Numbers 26:30). The names Shemida and Samothe are virtually the same since the "sh" became "s" and the "th" and "d" in Ancient Hebrew interchange.] SARRON, the third King of the Britons and Celts was the founder of the Sect of the Sarronides. This was but another name for the Druids. The word "Sar" in Hebrew means "prince". Saron was a title amongst the Philistines for local ruler (Joshua 13:3).
The Druids were the priests of the local people. Their religion reveals a mixture of Hebraic and Canaanite Middle Eastern elements. The Druids were exempt from war. The Druids revered the oak tree and especially the mistletoe that grows upon it. Britain was the center of Druid worship. Aylett Sammes traces the Druids to Abraham and the oaks of Mamre (Genesis 18:1). He claims the Druids imitated the practices of Abraham but corrupted them. [Other studies indicate that the Druids practiced a Canaanite type religion with Hebrew characteristics. This is what we would expect from the Israelites who had been exiled for worshipping false gods and following in the ways of peoples around them (2-Kings 17)]. Sammes identified the Phoenicians as Idumeans from Tyre 'they were also called the Idumaean Tyrians' (p.71). Sammes equated the Phoenicians/Idumaeans as the giants of legend who were named as the first inhabitants of Britain. We saw that Esus was a deified version of Esau and that he was worshipped in Britain and Gaul and Germany. This confirms that descendants of Esau were also in those regions. These people in popular mythology were often equated with giants. Greek tradition related that Gaul (France), the British Islands, and outlying regions in the early days had been settled by Colossi or giants. The area of France had been ruled over by a giant named Eudamon, i.e. Edom. The Druids practised Canaanite type ceremonies such as the Beltain or passing people and animals through fires to the god Bel (i.e. Baal) to be sacrificed or blessed.
This was an ancient Canaanite practice that the Israelites had been warned against (Leviticus 18:21, 20:2,3, 4, 5). So too the Druids worshipped at sacred groves and sacred pillars which were also Canaanite in origin.
9 Also the children of Israel secretly did against the LORD their God things that were not right, and they built for themselves high places in all their cities, from watchtower to fortified city. 10 They set up for themselves sacred pillars and wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 There they burned incense on all the high places, like the nations whom the LORD had carried away before them; and they did wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger, 12 for they served idols, of which the LORD had said to them, 'You shall not do this thing.'
The Cimbri were a Celtic group who carried a bronze statue of a bull calf with them in their peregrinations. This reminds us of the golden calf and the bull calves erected by Jeroboam when he induced the Israelites to commit idolatry
(1-Kings 12: 28-29).
The parallels between Druidism and the Hebrew need to be considered together with additional evidence of Hebrew ancestry.
The Celts in the British isles spoke languages that had an underlying Hebraic type substratum.
The names of places, gods, and tribal units are similar to Hebrew ones.
Hebrew Celtic Namesakes
GAD. The Gadeni were a people of Scotland. They came from the Israelite Tribe of Gad. They were centred around the site of Edinburgh also called Giudi. A section of the Brigantes in Ireland were the Bairrche traditional descendants of Daire Barrach. A god in Brigantian Britain was called Barreks and linked with Mars of the Romans. In Hebrew, "Barak" means lightning and "Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kadesh Nephtali" (Judges 4;6) had been an early military leader of the northern Tribes. He was probably a Nephtalite. The Hebrew name "Barak " can be understood as either synonymous or at least similar in meaning to Bored and in Hebrew is spelt similarly. Bored was a grandson of Ephraim (1-Chronicles 7;20). There were the Boradi with the Goths, the Bardi in Sweden, and Bordeaux in southwest Gaul was originally known as Bard-galli.
Isru and Isurium (of Britain) = Israel
KEREN: THE HORN OF GILEAD
Numerous ethnic names amongst the western Celts, especially in Britain and particularly of Pictish groups in Scotland relate to the Province of "Karnayim" in Gilead of Menasseh, east of the Jordan e.g. Cernunnos (of Britain), Careni, Corinion, Crinan, Cerones, Carnonaco, Cornwealas (of Britain), Cornavi (of Wales), Creone, Carnone, Cerini, Cornabi, Conall Cernach, Cruithen (all probably Pictish groups of Scotland), Carnutes (of Gaul), Coriondi (of Ireland), Corannied (Vandals of Britain), Careotae and Carbone (Agathyrsi-Picts and Khazars of Sarmatia) all derive their name from "Karnayim" of Gilead in Menasseh.
THE CLAN OF YAIR (DESCENDANT OF JUDAH) IN GILEAD OF MENASSEH
AND IAR THE PROPHET IN IRISH TRADITION:
Iar and the IARI appear in Mesopotamian records concerning the People of Yair from the Tribes of Judah and Manasseh.
The name of Iar appears several times in the Irish genealogies under various forms, e.g. Iarbonel, Iarbanel, Iar, and Jaruanell. These are all versions of IAR!! Not only that but Yair in the Bible was linked to both Judah and to Gilead of Menasseh east of the Jordan one of whose sons was Peresh ("Separated" or "Sanctified") which name is identical with that of "Nemha" in Irish. The above source connects Iar with both Judah and Nemha who in turn is linked to Gilead! Nemha (i.e. Nemedh) was ancestor of the Nemedians and his name has the same meaning as the Hebrew Peresh who was linked with Gilead of Menasseh who gave rise to the Celtic Galatae also known as the Galadi.
The IERNE in southeast Ireland regarded IAR as their forefather and similar usage of the name is also found in Scotland (Hubert p.197)!
In ancient Ireland there was an important ethnic group tribe called Gabraige and a place named Gabran (mod. Gowran in County Kilkenny) and a king of the Picts in northern Scotland had the same name. The Lagin people gave their name to Leinster in east Ireland. They were also known as GABAIR (O'Rahilly). After being conquered by the Milesian Goidels, the Lagin Gabair joined forces with them and participated in raids on, and settlement in, Scotland. They have been equated with the Gailian or Galioin which names may well derive from the Golan in the Land of Israel since GEBER or GABAR appears to have once been an important family name in that general area. To the northeast of Eboracum (York) and the Parissi were the GABRANTOVICES. Further north in the Caledonian region of the Gadeni (Otadeni) was the settlement of Gabrosentas.
The "sidhe" in Irish connoted the fairy people or gods; this name, "sidhe" is of Hebrew or Phoenician origin. The Balaam inscription (described in our work "Ephraim") indicates that the Ancient Hebrews had adopted pagan practices and revered the sidde or demons. In Hebrew "shed" means demon while "Shadi" is one of the names for God. Very soon after the conversion of Ireland to Christianity the whole country was covered by monasteries, whose complete organization seems to indicate that they were really Druidic colleges transformed en masse (Rolleston p.83 quotes from Bertrand "L'Irlande Celtique").
Extracts from the wikipedia article on baal
"We also find Eshbaal (one of Saul's sons) and Beeliada (a son of David). The last name also appears as Eliada. This might show that at some period Baal and El [i.e. "God"] were used interchangeably even in the same name applied to the same person.
Baal was a Semitic god worshipped by the Canaanites and Phoenicians, who brought his worship to other parts of the Mediterranean. His name means "Lord". Baal was mainly a god of the sun, rain, thunder, fertility and agriculture. The myths surrounding Baal are mainly of the common mythological pattern of the fertility god who is slain and resurrected, thereby creating the change in the seasons. Baal's father is Dagan or Dagon, another Semitic god.
Baal can also be a name for any pagan god.
Though the god Hadad or Adad was especially likely to be called Baal, Hadad was far from the only god to have that title. The Ugaritic texts (mainly preserved in the Baal cycle) place the dwelling of Baal/Hadad on Mount Zephon, so one can probably take as evident that references to Baal Zephon in the Tanach and in inscriptions and tablets refer to Hadad. It is said that Baal Peor, the Lord of Mount Peor, whom Israelites were forbidden from worshipping (Numbers 125) was also Hadad. In the Canaanite pantheon, Hadad was the son of El, who had once been the primary god of the Canaanite pantheon, and whose name was also used interchangeably with that of the Hebrew god, Yahweh.
Melqart, the god of Tyre was often called the Baal of Tyre. 1 Kings 16.31 relates that Ahab, king of Israel, married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians and then served habbaal 'the Baal', the cult of this god continuing to be prominent in Israel until the reign of Jehu under who put an end to this cult (2 Kings 10.26):
And they brought out the pillars (massebahs) of the house of the Baal and burned them. And they pulled down the pillar (massebah) of the Baal and pulled down the house of the Baal and turned it into a latrine until this day.
Josephus (Antiquities 8.13.1) states clearly that Jezebel "built a temple to the god of the Tyrians, which they call Belus" which certainly refers to Melqart.
The contest described in 1 Kings 18.145 between the "prophets of the Baal" and the "prophets of the Asherah" on one side and Elijah as prophet of Yahweh on the other in the context of a drought might suggest that the question is partly about which god actually sends rain.
In any case King Ahab, despite supporting the cult of this Baal, remained at the same time also a follower of Yahweh. Ahab still consulted Yahweh's prophets and still cherished Yahweh's protection when he named his sons Ahaziah 'Yahweh holds' and Jehoram 'Yahweh is high'.
The worship of Ba`al Hammon flourished in the Phoenician colony of Carthage. Ba'al Hammon was the supreme god of the Carthaginians and is generally identified by modern scholars either with the northwest Semitic god El or with Dagon, and generally identified by the Greeks with Cronus and by the Romans with Saturn.
In Carthage and North Africa Baal Hammon was especially associated with the ram and was worshipped also as Baal Qarnaim 'Lord of Two Horns' in an open-air sancutary at Jebel Bu Kornein 'the two-horned hill' across the bay from Carthage.
Baal Hammon's female cult partner was Tanit.
There is no single Semitic sun-god named Baal
End of Wikipedia extracts
Baal in Britain
The worship of baal was also known in Britain and all the associations of baal (Moloch, Kronos, etc) were parallelled in Ancient British religion.
The name of the Celitc god "Belenus" (equated with Apollo) derives from the Phoenician Bel (Baal).
Other parallels are Gallic Minerva Belisama and Phoenician "Belsamen";
In Ireland the supreme god was known as Beal (meaning baal) or as Beal Samhan which name is paralleled by that of the Syrian god "Baal Samim" whose name in Hebrew (Baal Shamayim) means "lord of heaven".
In Britain and Ireland numerous Celtic place-names retain the term "baal" or derivations of it: Baal-y-bai, Beal-Tene, Balhomais, Ballinluig, Balmuick, Balnaguard, etc. It has been stated that in Britain place-names associated with baal are usually near stone circles or other megalithic remains. In Ireland "baal" place-names are especially numerous.
In Britanny a priest is called a "belloc" meaning "priest of bel".
In the Middle East the name "baal" could be pronounced as "bel" as it was in Mesopotamia.
The Jewish sage Rashi (1040-1105) in his commentary on the Biblical Book of Obadiah reported the tradition that the Lost Ten Tribes were in France while Don Isaac Abarbanel (1437-1508) emphasized that the term (Tsaraphat in Hebrew) understood by Rashi to mean France included both France and Britain.
Numerous place and ethnic names in Britain, Gaul and the west contain the root "Eber" meaning Hebrew.