The title of our podcast this week refers to our subject matter, the spread of a mutant form of Spanish flu through Korean pigs and the revival of ancient pagan rites by modern neo-druids.
The annual spring celebration of Beltane, we are told, originated with the druids more than two thousand years ago. However, because the druids disappeared under the combined pressures of Roman conquest and Christian evangelism, we don’t really know much about how the druids worshipped.
One reference that survives is Julius Caesar’s account of the wicker man sacrifice, in which victims were stuffed inside a giant hollow man made of wicker and burned alive. Oddly, modern neo-druids have elected to revive this practice, although without the human sacrifice (which they claim was an invention of Julius Caesar, since his account is the only historical reference that survives).
A wicker man burning at a 2004 Beltane celebration
Manasseh, the last king of Judah before Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion, was condemned for introducing this cult into Solomon’s Temple:
He did what the LORD considered evil by copying the disgusting things done by the nations that the LORD had forced out of the Israelites?