This is a heavily pondered topic with many ideas on what the Ouion Natracos (Snake egg) is and it’s meaning. Some modern folks suggest all kinds of things, and they are of value. Well, some are. We will explore a little of this. We will start with the attested documentation from Pliny.
There is also a sort of egg, famous in the provinces of Gaul, but ignored by the Greeks. Innumerable snakes coil themselves into a ball in the summertime. Thus they make it so that it is held together by a bodily secretion and by their saliva. It is called an anguinum. The Druids say that [the snakes] hiss and cast it upwards and that it is to be caught in a cloak so that it not touch the ground. One must immediately ride off on a horse with it, for the snakes will continue to pursue until the course of a stream blocks their way. If one tests it, the anguinum will float against the current of a river even when covered in gold. And, as the magi will throw a cloak of deception over their trickery, they make out as though the eggs are to be taken only on a particular point in the lunar cycle, as though it was up to human beings to determine the snakes’ role in this procedure. Nonetheless, I have seen one of these eggs myself. It was round, the size of a small apple. The shell was cartilaginous, and mottled with cups like the tentacles of a squid. The Druids value it highly: it is praised as insuring success in litigation and in going to audiences with kings. However, this is nonsense; for once a man (a Roman knight and a tribesman of the Vocontii) held one of these eggs against his body during a trial, and was condemned to death by the Emperor Claudius, for that reason alone so far as I can tell.Pliny’s Natural History, XXIX.52
With the above, what are we left with? What exactly was the stone? Was it indeed a Snake Egg? Was it a handmade object? Here are a few things folks suggest.
- Whelk egg – These are many different kinds of sea snail castings.
- Adder Stones – They are Stones or Glass found with holes in them. These holes are created from water and are usually found on the coast or in rivers.
- Hemicidaris crenularis Lamk – This is a fossilized sea, Urchin.
- Hand Crafted – It is also suggested that they were handmade from many different materials.
There are many more theories on what they were, some logical sounding and others way out there. There have been several items found to be Druid Eggs in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Also, stories of what is thought to be the Druid egg. We will not be talking about these.
So what is it?
It truly does not matter what it was, as in what it was made of or its form. Instead, I will focus on bringing to the front what it symbolizes and the philosophical thought.
Now, it seems it could be many things, but either way, the symbology of the snake egg is what matters the most. With the above quote from Pliny, I hear traces of a myth and some ritual. We do know that the Druids spoke in riddles and sayings from other accounts that have been documented. It is a metaphorical philosophical speech describing how the eggs came to be. Precisely what is the myth? Well, it could be many things. I favor the Snake Egg representing the Cosmos, the serpent, and the creative spirit – the egg is the source of the universe. This is a common theme in Indo-European creation myths as it symbolizes the primordial state from which the universe comes. Found in Greek, Germanic, the Vedic myths as well as the reconstructed Indo-European cosmology. The Primordial cosmic egg seems to also be within the lost mythology and cosmology of Gaul. Death to life to rebirth; the never-ending cycle of creation. The snake is often guarding a sacred thing in many stories and myths worldwide.
I am not here to create or reconstruct that myth. Only to talk about the Druid Snake Egg.
Let’s take a quick stop for thought.
In Greek Orphic thought, the cosmic egg hatched the primordial being. It is often depicted with a serpent wrapped around it. So the universe was born from this egg.
A mystic Greek religion offering initiates the purification of the soul from innate evil and release from the cycle of reincarnation. It insists on freeing one’s soul from the physical chains of the material realm. The orphic concept of reincarnation is that the soul is purified in its sufferings during the physical rebirth. As the soul occupies the body, it is really doing penance for previous incarnations, which gradually purifies the soul. The Cycle goes on and on. The way to stop this cycle is through divine grace that could only be achieved by devoting oneself to Orpheus’s teachings through the writings and its rituals and thus receiving the initiation into the mysteries of its teachings. We do not know the exact way of initiation, but one could assume fasting, purification rites, prayers, etc.
Some claim that Pythagoras was a founder of the above tradition or had something to do with it. Why are we talking about Pythagoras? It has been heavily speculated that some of his thoughts are the same or similar to the Senodruides. As we do not have written Druið Philosophy, we must look to the Ancient Greeks to help us.
- An expert on the soul’s fate after death thought that the soul was immortal and went through a series of reincarnations.
- An expert on religious ritual.
- A wonder-worker who had a thigh of gold and who could be in two places at the same time.
- The founder of a strict way of life emphasized dietary restrictions, religious rituals, and rigorous self-discipline.
The Pythagorean doctrine prevails among them [the Gauls], teaching that the souls of men are immortal and live again for a fixed number of years inhabited in another body.Diodorus Siculus, “Histories”, v, 28, 6
Into the Teachings of the Journey of the Soul
Metempsychosis – meaning transmigration of the soul, and most especially its reincarnation after death. In which a soul lives in a succession of forms, including both human and animal. In between each life ~ in human or animal form, the soul rests in the Antumnos (The Otherworld) Philostratus of Tyana documented this view in the 2nd century. We are born in this world and die in the otherworld. Furthermore, when we die in this world, we are born in the otherworld, but the anation (soul) and the Conuextion (Cosmos) are not indestructible. At some point, Aidus (Fire) and Dubron (Water) will prevail over them Strabo, Geograohy, 4.4. With this, there is the idea of Death and Rebirth, of not just our souls but that of the cosmos. —this is a common theme in Senodruides Death, Rebirth, and Renewal. We can see this in Nature all around us.
I only mention this as it relates to a philosophical approach to the Ouion Natracos symbolism. That with Devotion and understanding, one can be born free from the chains of this realm.
Read more about the soul from the Druið/Bardos Cunolugus Drugaisos
Our essence is linked with that of the Dēuoi. Our destination, our being, becomes clear when we have understood the nature of the realm of life. That which is between the others.Carnutos
Anation of the Bardos, Uātis, and Druið
When a Bardos, Uātis, or Druið becomes initiated, the soul hatches forth. Reborn from the physical into the spiritual.
- The Egg represents the Soul of the Bardos, Uātis, and Druið (Or Galatis)
- The serpent is the Mysteries that surround each Bardos, Uātis, and Druið (or Galatis)
This is for those who want to put their religion and belief at the forefront of their lives—the truth-seekers and lovers of uissus (Wisdom, Knowledge), those that think upon the nature of reality. Set on a path of devotional living and rigorous discipline, following the Trirextoues (The Three Laws) and Nauan Nertoi (the Nine Virtues) and a form of Monastic living with the Conuextion (Cosmos). Bringing focus, Awareness, and remaining in a state of stillness and centeredness. This is a philosophical view of the regenerative system of transmigration to develop the progress of the anation (soul) to reach purity.
More to come with Part 2 the Soul and the Material
These opinions do not reflect the greater Gaulish or Druid Communities.
How Druidobessus sees the snake egg is not historical.
This is what calls to me, and it is the meaning that Druidobessus shall hold.