Many have heard of the Philosopher’s Stone, sought after by alchemists throughout history. Roman historian Pliny talks about an object held in similar renown by the Druids, the Druid’s Egg. What was the Druid’s Egg, how was it used and what properties was it believed to hold?
Pliny recalls that according to Druids, the Druid’s egg is formed from the saliva of lots of serpents coiled in a knot and as it is tossed into the air it, is caught in a cloak. The Druid who catches it flees on horseback, until he has crossed water because the serpents are said to pursue whoever catches the egg. He describes the egg as being bound in gold and the magical Druids claim that it has to be obtained at a certain phase of the moon. However, although Pliny believes the tale to be fraud, he does state that he has seen Druid eggs as large as apples in a chequered cover worn by Druids. It seems to have been an identifying badge for Druids used in law and allowed them audience with kings.
Druid Eggs are actually believed to be the same as an adder stones, also known as hag stones, Glain Neidr (adder glass or stone) in Wales, or Gloine nan Druidh (Druid’s glass) in Northern Scotland. An adder stone is a smooth glassy stone with a naturally occurring hole through it, bored by water. They are seen as powerful amulets of healing and protection, as well as giving the wearer abilities to see into other worlds. Since the holes were formed by water erosion over eons, they were believed to retain the power of running water, with the ability to ward off evil spirits. In some places they were (and still are) placed above beds, doorways, barns, stables and milking stalls to protect the area from evil spirits.
These stones were not exclusive to Druids. In Scandinavia they are called Odin Stones, used to protect mother and baby through childbirth. In Russia the stones were believed to be the abode of spirits and called Kurinyi Bog (The Chicken God). They were placed above chicken coops as protection. Polish legends tells of the Night Hag, who comes at night to terrorise children. The hag stone was hanged above the child’s bed to stop her screeching torment. For a magical stone to be effective, though, it is believed it must find you, either as a gift, or by coming across one. Another name for these stones is a Wish stone. So if you want a Druid’s Egg, you must wish for it to find you.
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