“The most striking adornment of the Arch-Druid was the iodhan moran, or breastplate of judgment. … The Druidic tiara, or anguinum, its front embossed with a number of points to represent the sun’s rays, indicated that the priest was a personification of the rising sun. … An early initiate of the Druidic Mysteries related that admission to their midnight ceremony was gained by means of a glass boat, called Cwrwg Gwydrin. This boat symbolized the moon, which, floating upon the waters of eternity, preserved the seeds of living creatures within it boat-like crescent. …
“Eliphas Levi states that the Druids lived in strict abstinence, studied the natural sciences, preserved the deepest secrecy, and admitted new members only after long probationary periods. … Although celibacy was not demanded of them, few married.” ~Manly P. Hall
While there is plenty of evidence that the Druids wore a number of “adornments”, including the iodhan moran, I think the claim that it would strangle anyone who lied while wearing it is not literally true. The Arch-Druid may have said that to make sure a witness would speak the truth. It may have also been allegorical, as in we all choke on our own lies.
The tiara Hall mentions is more interesting to me. Hall says that the points represented the rays of the sun and indicated that the wearer was a personification of the rising sun. This is believable. I wrote before on the design of early crowns and how they represented the sun, especially the spiritual sun.
As with other mystery schools of the past, the adornments of the Druids were not just for show. They usually served a purpose. The Essenes wore stones and crystals to ward off evil and to aid in healing. The adornments of the Druids were usually made of gold or plated in gold. All such schools associated gold with the sun.
Much of what we know about the Druids must be taken with a grain of salt. That is because most of it was written by their enemies. This is true of other ancient Gnostic and spiritual groups as well. One reason for such lack of inside information is that the Druids kept much of their teachings and ceremonies secret. They didn’t invite strangers to watch. They didn’t write things down unless it was codified. Truths were written as myths or with allegorical tales to hide the true meaning from the profane. This secrecy probably applied to the true meaning and purpose of some of those Druid adornments.
Celibacy and Marriage
While the Druids may not have practiced celibacy, some other spiritual groups did. Even when they didn’t require celibacy, not many married. There are a number or reasons for this. One is that having awakened their immortal souls, they felt no great urge to have children. A second is that they were just too engaged in spiritual practices to look for a mate. Another is that they often had little contact with outsiders so few opportunities to meet someone. Finally, they didn’t want to wed someone who didn’t follow the same spiritual practices they were following. In some cases, it was forbidden to marry outside the group. This was partly due to the secrecy thing, but also because they didn’t want the students vibrations lowered by a doubter.
In those schools celibacy was required by some or all members. In some cases, this was because the student priest was considered a bride/groom of God and should not get another into that relationship. More often,however, it was simply because sex was considered to cause the loss of life energy that aided in spiritual growth. Occasional sex was not a problem, but some schools didn’t trust the students to keep their sexual activities limited, so they banned sex altogether. A major problem with that approach is that when members don’t have offspring, it’s hard to get replacements when they get old and die.