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
Advanced Search
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

September/October 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.

Of the many esoteric subjects studied by ceremonial magicians, alchemy is often considered one of the hardest and most arcane, while the tarot is thought to be one of the most accessible and "hands-on." Historically the language of alchemy, with its inscrutable riddles and metaphor, has baffled many students, while the images of the tarot are more... read this article
Things That Scare Us...And How to Get Over Them
Llewellyn's Classic Tarot
The Union Screaming House: The Haunting Continues...Long After the Doors Are Shut
365 Ways to Attract Good Luck
The Oracle of the Angels

Most recent posts:
Where Is the Creepiest Place You've Ever Been?
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Debi Chestnut, author of How to Clear Your Home of Ghosts & Spirits, Is Your House Haunted?, and...

A Spread for Guidance
This spread, called Titania’s Dream, is from the Victorian Fairies Tarot companion book by Lunaea Weatherstone (art by Gary Lippincott). It was...

Part 2: Why Work with Demons?
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Aaron Leitch, author of several books, including Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, The Angelical...




Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar
82nd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $10.99 US,  $12.50 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide
Complete Astrology At-A-Glance

By: Llewellyn
Price: $12.99 US,  $14.95 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $15.95 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Moon Sign Book Llewellyn's 2015 Moon Sign Book
Conscious Living by the Cycles of the Moon

By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN