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Thread: Druids

  1. #1
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    Default Druids

    I have read up on a few things when it comes to Druids...Would others pls post what they know about them. I have a very good friend who is a druid. I'd like to see others who may have this in common also.
    With in thy self is the magic of many.
    http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x...amoon2side.jpg

  2. #2
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    Default RE: Druids

    I have found some info on druids and thought that some may like to read about them.


    What is a Druid?
    In Celtic history, the Druids were the "clergy" or spiritual leaders and advisors of the tribes. They were professionals- meaning they possessed abilities that others did not possess, but abilities that were needed by fellows of the community. They held (and hold) the Earth and entire environment as sacred, and they were (and are) responsible for helping to broaden the spiritual awareness of others in their communities.

    The Druids were judges, mages, diviners, scholars. The ancient Druids studied for many (up to twenty) years before they were considered capable of their practise, or teaching. It is said that the ancient Druids had incredible abilities- prophesy, healing, shapeshifting, levitation, weather control, and more, and they had an invaluable connection to nature.
    The Druids were well-trained and eloquent speakers, they were poets, they could see all of reality clearly, they were the ultimate judges for the Celtic people, they could see the past, present, and future in any situation, they were responsible for the magickal well-being of their community, they were counsel to the kings, and were fully adept in the art of magick.

    I explain some Celtic history on my Celts page, and explain that the Druids were considered a class in Celtic society.

    We cannot know every exact detail of the beliefs of the ancient Druids, but we do know a bit beyond the basics of their beliefs and practises. Some Druidic history was censored, and even lost, but we are fortunate to have some sources containing information of the Druids- such as the writings of Christian monks, the Romans, archaeological evidence, and writings of contemporary Scottish and Irish artists. To learn of the Druids, we do have to piece together their history, but there is enough preserved information for us to grasp a full understanding of their beliefs. Today, many authors have done the hard work for us and pieced together this information in books that, thankfully, are available to most anyone.

    Druidic Symbols
    As with many religions, practises, and belief systems, their are symbols that were, and are, used within Druidism. The Druids were divided into many tribes within the Celtic nations, so there probably was not one specific symbol used to represent the Druids. However, there are some common symbols that were used among the different tribes in ancient times and used by Druids of today:

    The Triskele- this is a symbol consisting of three branches, or arms, turning counter-clockwise and radiating from a center point. The arms, or branches, represent the land, sea, and sky, which made up the foundation of Celtic cosmology.

    The Awen- this symbol looks similar to: /1\ The word "awen" is Welsh for "inspiration." The symbol was often drawn with three stars above the lines, and the whole enclosed in three circles.

    The Spiral- as for pre-celtic times, we really have no way of knowing why people drew spiral shapes or what they represented. But it is possible they stood for life and death, the cycle of the seasons, and day and night. It is also possible that the spirals represent the clockwise spiral movement of the sun as it rises in the east and sets in the west, and also the counter-clockwise spiral of the stars as they rotate around Polaris, the north star.

    The Circle- this is a universal symbol and is used by many people in history. It represents unity, infinity, and many other ideas. It is the shape of the sun and moon, and has been embraced by many people of many cultures.

    The Druid Sigil- this is a circle intersected by two verticle lines. A large Druidic organization in the U.S. uses this symbol. The only origin of the symbol I have read about- and the only origin I've heard others say they've read about- is in a book called The Druids by Stuart Piggot. In the book, there is a picture of a building (it is said that it might be a temple) in England, and the Druid sigil forms the foundation of this building. I highly recommend reading this book.

    The Tree- trees are bridges between the realms of land and sky and they also communicate water between these realms. The god Bile (or Bel, Belinus) supposedly made this possible. Different tree species had different meanings to the Druids, so there most likely was not one, solitary meaning of the symbol of the tree.

    The Horned God- this is an image of a male god with stag antlers, and sometimes bull horns. The symbol represents the God aspect of the universal energy, not Druidism. However, the symbol seems to be widely used by Druids today. The stag antlers would represent fertility, but the bull horns are representative of power.

    The Crescent Moon- this is often used along with the horned god symbol and represents the goddess aspect of the universal energy. It may have been introduced to Druidism by the Romantics.

    Numbers And The Elements
    The Celts organized the world in triads, and the number three was an important number to the Druids. They probably did not work with just four elements, for they felt that the number four was unbalanced- as it had nothing in the middle. The numbers three and five both have a middle number, therefore are more balanced. However, ancient Celtic cosmology doesn't seem to make use of elaborate numerical and elemental correspondances, as Romantic Druidism does make use of such correspondances.
    The the modern Druidic symbol- the awen- signifies truth, knowledge, and justice. The triskele may stand for any triad, but is known to represent the realms of earth, sky, and sea. These are evidence of the significance of the number three in Druidism.
    Although the Druids may not have favored simply four elements, there is evidence to suggest that they did work with, or at least acknowledged the elements earth, air, fire, and water- or the four directions. The well of healing, which was constructed by the Irish god, Diancecht, required four operators- Diancecht and his three children. Most assume they probably stood in the north, east, west, and south, with the well in the middle. This actually may have been more proof of the significance of balanced numbers, as there were four beings and one well, making five physical bodies represented in this situation.
    Ireland was also divided into four territories- Ulster, Lenster, Connaught, and Munster. But in ancient times, there was a fifth territory, or province, called Meath, which was in the center of the other territories. Meath was reserved for the high, sacred kings and was on the hill of Tara. This is evidence that the ritual "center" was important in old Druid magic and also another possible example of use of balanced numbers.
    The spiritual significance of fire and water is also evident in Celtic mythology. Fire and water were believed to have given birth to the three realms. They are opposing forces which can both destroy and construct- but do not represent good and evil. They are just two separate divine forces.

    Holy Days- the Sabbats
    The Celtic celebrations were fire festivas- four were celebrated each year, and later, the Romantic revivalist Druids incorporated four more into their practise. These festivals lasted three days and began at sunset on the first day. These festivals were considered the best times for sacrifice, divination, and most magickal rituals. Great bonfires were burned on hilltops and kept burning throughout the entire festivals. During the day, the Celts would celebrate, and at night, the more serious magickal rites would be held. Often, animals were lead between the fires for purification, and people would run and leap over the flames- also for purification.
    For a brief description of these festivals, please visit my Sabbats page.

    Gods
    The Celts believed in many different gods and goddesses, but not all Celts worked with the same group of gods. The Celts of Ireland, Gaul, and Wales all worked with separate gods. However, not all gods had names, for some believed that the gods were too holy to have pronouncable names. In pre-christian times, many people spoke with gods who were more human like, with flaws and personalities just like us. The gods were not the creators of morality and not judges of humankind, but were immortal beings. Also, the Celts did not believe in the dualistic polarity of the "god and goddess" as many witches, Wiccans, and other pagans do. They believed that each god existed separately and independantly.
    To find a list of Celtic gods, you can search online, or find a good book suggestion on my Bookshelf page.

    Geas (pronounced, GESH- plurally spelled Geasa)
    This word describes a magickal obligation- a certain magickal responsibility that a person may posess, and it was often imposed on heros in mythology, Druids, and kings. The sacred kings were considered to be keepers of the spiritual welfare of the tribe and also were spiritually and magickally coupled with the goddess of the land. It was their duty to keep peace and maintain prosperity and balance of the land- and keep magickal balance. This was a serious obligation and anyone who had this Geas placed upon them was bound by this obligation for life.
    There were different ways to receive a Geas. Druids could impose Geasa upon others, parents could announce they were imposing a Geas upon a child, a Geas could be imposed upon a criminal as punishment, and it is written that some heros received their Geas from women of the tribes. Each Geas was unique and specific to each person.
    By breaking a Geas, a person was acting against the forces of nature and could be put to death for disturbing these forces.

    Beliefs
    It is difficult to summarize the religious and spiritual beliefs of the Druids. But I'll try to touch base on some important things.

    The Druids communicated much of their wisdom through poetry. The Triads are a collection of Celtic poetry and it is important to study this poetry in order to gain certain understanding of the Druids.
    A Druid's most important tool in magickal practise was his or her voice, and the Celts had an oral tradition that was possibly more important than their written tradition.
    For the most part, written records were not favored because to write something down was to dishonor that information and weaken the power of the mind. The Celts did have the Ogham, a runic writing system, but oral, poetic inspiration was their most important magickal and spiritual practise. I have read and heard some say and that Druidry is a poetic religion, or a religion of poetry.

    The Druids believed that the universal forces were omnipresent and were especially close to the realm of the living on certain occasions, such as Samhain. They felt a strong connection between life and death, and generally felt that death was a transitional phase in the course of a human's eternal life. The spirits which exist in the Otherworld are neither good nor evil, and there is no separation between the Otherworld and this world.

    I don't know for sure that the Druids believed in a type of reincarnation. They did believe that our spirits lived on beyond this physical realm but there is no direct evidence that they believed in reincarnation of the spirit into new physical bodies. There is no direct evidence to suggest they did not believe in this type of reincarnation either. There is speculation on both ends and there is evidence that can be taken in both ways, but no one can know the ancient Druids' exact beliefs of reincarnation.

    The Druids believed that the "gods" and "goddesses" were decendants of a divine ancestor, which separated them from mortals. They believed that all nature was filled with different spirits and that nature was sacred, and divine as well. They also believed in a type of "creation theory-" the supernatural creation of islands, mountains, and possibly the entire Earth and humankind.

    The Druids, as I mentioned earlier, were expected to be professionals, offering their talents and skills to others in the community. They were expected to use their skills- their connection to the gods and nature- to advise the tribal kings, assist in agricultural decisions, and assist in domestic and legal disputes. They would also assist the armies in war by using their insight to learn of the enemy's plans and to call upon the spirits of nature to assist the tribe. The Druids would also oversee rituals such as childbirth, marriage, and death rituals.

    Druid Magick
    Druid magick is a spiritual connection to nature and the gods and goddesses who exist in nature. The Druids would call upon the assistance of the gods and give an offereing to the gods in return. There is no evidence that Druids ever sacrificed humans, as the only mention of this comes from the Romans, who were their mortal enemies. It is my opinion that the Druids did not engage in any type of human sacrifice- at least not for magickal purposes. There is certainly evidence that the ancient Celts believed in and practised capital punishment, but no direct evidence to suggest that that this practise was conncected to their spiritual and magickal practises, rituals, etc. The Druids did, however, sacrifice animals. They did have a need for blood sacrifice in their practise.
    It is believed that the Druids did not conjur or control spirits- but much evidence to suggest that they had a special communion with them. The Druids worshipped their gods and did not believe they had rights to attempt to control or command the spirits of nature, but rather, they believed it was best to work in harmony with them.
    Here are some magickal concepts of the ancient Druids:

    Aisling- a vision, dream, possibly altered state of consciousness.

    Imbas- poetic and divine inspiration, the "fire in the head," also, possibly refers to a type of altered state of consciousness.

    Immram- journey to the realm of the gods by a type of "astral" travel. Immram means "sea journey" and it is said that the islands of paradise in the Otherworld exist in the western seas.

    Echtra- this means "adventures" and journeys on holy grounds. This is the type of magick that was experienced by warriors and hunters and those who travelled in the wilderness.

    Fi/rinne- means truth and justice (in one word). This is the binding force, or the way of nature.

    Dra/iocht- this was a word for magick. The literal translation is "what Druids do."

    Some Misconceptions
    It seems that most people are very misled when it comes to Celtic history. There are even books out there that teach false information about the Celts and Druids. I'll list some of the more common misconceptions I've heard and read.

    The Celts used pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns- Pumpkins are from the western world and it would have been impossible for the ancient Celts to have pumpkins or know of pumpkins. Neither was the jack-o-lantern a Celtic creation- it was a legend originating in medieval times.

    The Celts worshipped the god Samhain- Samhain means "summer's end" and is the name of a Celtic fire festival associated with the dead. But, the Celts had no god named Samhain. Most myths that surround Halloween are from medieval times as well, when people developed fears of death and of the old religion.

    The Druids were from Atlantis- Celts did not even exist in Atlantis (and most agree that Atlantis may not have even existed). Plato was the first to document any thoughts of Atlantis, and he speaks of the people of Atlantis worshipping Greak gods, not Celtic. Although anything is possible, there is also no evidence that the Celts ever believed the Druids were from Atlantis. This concept is just a myth.

    The Book of Pferyllt- This is a text that supposedly contained magickal writings of the ancient Druids. This book was a forgery- a complete work of fiction. The Barddas, which claims the Book of Pferyllt as it's source, is also just a work of fiction. It is a book that was written by Edward Williams, an English stonemason, who used the pen name Iolo Morganwyg during the Romantic period. The texts are not good sources for historical Druidic information, and any book which claims these texts as a source is also unreliable.

    There were no female Druids- there is much evidence to support the concept of female Druids. The Celts believed women were equal to men in most ways and did not separate the sexes in ways other cultures did- except for obvious separations, such as motherhood, and so on. Magickally, men and women were not separated, women were able to own and sell property, divorce their husbands, and even enter battle.
    The Druids were not a class of only men.

    Fire Worship
    The Druids did not hold the four elements as equal- as many other cultures, such as the Greeks did. Fire was a special element, a spiritual force that was held as sacred and above the other elements. It had the powers of purification and destruction, it was responsible for the survival of civilizations, as it brought heat, light, and energy. Since fire always stretches to the sky and is a spiritual force, this most likely is the reason for the Celtic fire festivals held on hilltops. The Celts had fire rituals, gods and goddesses of fire, and called poetic inspiration the "fire in the head." Fire was indeed a sacred and spiritual element in ancient Celtic culture.


    here is the sight www.geocities.com/astraeaaradia/Druids.html just put this in and the person seems to have a lot of good info.

  3. #3
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    Default RE: Druids

    i didnt really know that much about druids til' now...i know my great-grandfather was....or something like that....

  4. #4
    H
    Harlock Guest

    Default RE: Druids

    very interesting indeed, im hoping to take a college course on pagan religions and ill save this site might come in handy for a future report lol it was very enlightening

  5. #5
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    Default RE: Druids

    I have heard that the Druids all died out. Originally, they were more like politicians than anything else.

  6. #6
    R
    redhand Guest

    Default RE: Druids

    We don’t much about what the the classical druids did or thought. Although we are gaining increasing amounts of information from archaeology and through multi-disciplinary examination of literary sources and material culture sources about Celtic religions, we still do not have enough information to form definitive pictures of what the religions were like or how the druids were involved in them or how the druids were involved in the structures of various Celtic societies. Based on Irish literature and some ancient Roman commentaries, it appears that the classical Druids were a class of intellectuals and priests in their society and that Druids filled many roles, including teaching, presiding at rituals, being judges and lawyers, being poets, philosophers, prophets, and many other roles. But exactly how it all worked over time and within each Celtic society is unknown.

    This lack of knowledge has made “druid” a useful name for spiritual/magical societies. One can ascribe all sorts of knowledge and practices to druids and it would be hard to disprove them. The Reformed Druids of North America consciously used “druid” in just that way — they were looking for a name that had connotations with spirituality and religion, but for which little was known.

    Revival Druid groups did try to model themselves on what, at the time, was the cutting edge of scholarship on the classical druids. To fill in the gaps, they added influences and ideas from hermetic magic, masonry and Judeo-Christian mysticism and created working systems that have stood the test of time.

    Many modern Druid groups also try to model themselves on what is now the cutting edge of what is know about the classical druids and fill in the gaps with ideas from other ancient pagan religions or from Asian religions, with different interpretations of hermetic magic and with modern psychology.

    Isaac Bonewits classified Pagan religions and Druid groups as one of three types based on when the religion or group was founded. He used the term, “paleopaganism” or “paleo-Paganism” as a term for the “original polytheistic, nature-centered tribal faiths from around the world. Most of these belief systems are now extinct, but a few have survived to the present day.

    “Mesopaganism” or “meso-Paganism” is a general term for a variety of movements founded in the 17th through 19th centuries that created spiritual/magical/philosophical systems or methods of practice based on what was believed to be the best of paleopagan beliefs, as they were known at that time, but influenced by the religious and/or philosophical ideas from that time. Often there was an attempt to reconcile these “reconstructed” or “revived” practices with then contemporary beliefs and practices.

    “Neopaganism” or “neo-Paganism” is a general term for a variety of religious/spiritual movements started since the 1960s or so based on what was known about paleopagan practices at the times of their founding and blended with more modern ideas about religion, history, psychology, etc.

    The University of Virginia’s New Religious Movements web site uses a similar scheme with slightly different terminology:

    What Bonewits calls "paleopagan Druid," the UVA web site calls “classical Druids"; what Bonewits calls "mesopagan Druids," the UVA site calls "revival Druids"; and what Bonewits calls "neopagan Druids," the UVA sites calls "modern Druids." I mostly use the UVA terminology.

    Many people don't realize that there is a wide variety of groups that call themselves Druids that have different ways of “doing Druidry” and then are puzzled by conflicting information about what Druids “do” or “don’t do.” There are no simple definitions about what modern druidry or druidism is. Each group conceives of druidry/druidism in its own way.

  7. #7
    L
    Lady Dunsany Guest

    Default RE: Druids

    Being a druid myself, I have not died out yet or at least I do not think I have. What say you Redhand.

  8. #8
    R
    redhand Guest

    Default RE: Druids

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Dunsany
    Being a druid myself, I have not died out yet or at least I do not think I have. What say you Redhand.
    No you have not LOL but, we don’t much about what the the classical druids did or thought. So we can only go by whats available and whats left over.

  9. #9
    L
    Lady Dunsany Guest

    Default RE: Druids

    So true, so true. As always you hit the nail on the head. LOL.

  10. #10
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    Default RE: Druids

    So much knowledge of the past druids have been lost, but much is still carried on thankfully

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