Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

March/April 2017 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

The Druid's Gem

This article was written by Tadhg MacCrossan on May 15, 2002
posted under Druidism

Pliny the Elder, in his Natural History, mentions the Druids manufacturing an object called the ovum anguinum, or "snake’s egg," which in Gaulish would have been called ouion natracos. In British and Irish tradition it was known as the snake’s gem, or Druid’s gem.

The Druid’s gem was a round bead about one to one and a half inches in diameter, decorated with spirals or swirls. It was sometimes made out of ceramic (in Scotland), sometimes glass (reported in Wales, Scotland and Cornwall) and, as in ancient Gaul, sometimes out of empty whelk egg cases or despined sea urchin shells. According to Pliny, a Gaulish man who was also a Roman citizen wore an ovum anguinum to court for good luck, but lost his case because the Roman magistrate was prejudiced against him for wearing a Celtic charm.

The snake which dwells in the Underworld is said to have been the origin of these charms. Mythically, Underworld snakes are always guardians of sacred treasures (such as the salmon in Irish tradition, Fafnir in the Volsunga Saga, and the snake in the garden of Eden). The snake as guardian of an Underworld mystery and/or treasure is a theme which goes back to a source common to both Indo-Europeans and Semites.

"Writers will put things into a novel that they daren't put in sober prose, where you have to dot the I's and cross the T's."1 This quote is from Dion Fortune, to my mind the foremost magical teacher of the West. It tells us clearly that in writing fiction, magicians can go out on a limb. They can give us a taste, secondhand but deeply felt, of... read this article
The Angels of Your Sun Sign
Twelve Ways Your Chakras Can Enhance Your Decisions
4 Simple Steps to Receiving Angelic Guidance
The Hearth Witch in March
Four Ways Your Energy Animal Can Appear to You

Most recent posts:
How to Really Bring the Tarot to Life
Bringing the Tarot to Life In my many years of acquiring books and decks for Llewellyn, I’m always looking for something that is new and...

Learning from Childhood Magic
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Penny Billington, author of The Path of Druidry and The Wisdom of Birch, Oak, and Yew as well as...

Tune in to the Angels of Your Sun Sign
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Patricia Papps, author of Heal Yourself with Angels and the new Angels of the Zodiac. Lead a happy...




Easy Tarot Easy Tarot
Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All!

By: Josephine Ellershaw, Ciro Marchetti
Price: $19.95 US,  $21.95 CAN
Animal Lessons Animal Lessons
Discovering Your Spiritual Connection with Animals

By: Danielle MacKinnon
Price: $15.99 US,  $18.50 CAN
Sacred Rebels Oracle Sacred Rebels Oracle
Guidance for Living a Unique & Authentic Life

By: Alana Fairchild, Autumn Skye Morrison
Price: $23.95 US,  $27.95 CAN
Llewellyn's Little Book of Chakras Llewellyn's Little Book of Chakras
By: Cyndi Dale
Price: $12.99 US,  $14.95 CAN
Subtle Energy Techniques Subtle Energy Techniques
By: Cyndi Dale
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN