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 Druidism
Thorn
post Jun 8 2007, 01:54 PM
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Hey, I was wondering if anyone knew anything about original ancient druidism, before the druid revival and neo-druidry and stuff. Druidry has always fascinated me, but i get the impression this whole druid revival thing is only a blurry shadow of what druidism is supposed to be; somewhat like wicca in regards to magic. I know it's kind of a broad topic, but I'm curious to know what the differences are between druidry and neo-druidry, if anyone knows of any good books on the subject, and any general thoughts you might have. Thanks:)

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Goibniu
post Jun 8 2007, 08:05 PM
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We know very little about what the original druids believed as they had a taboo about writing it all down. The best you might do is research the Greek and Roman historians, contemporaries who did believe in writing things down. Caesar did write a bit about them, but what he wrote is rather suspect as he was busy conquering Gaul at the time and wasnt exactly unbiased. We know that the training to become a druid was log and arduous, something around twenty years training.
It looks as if you have a lot of research ahead of you. Here are a couple of druid sites if you are interested.

http://www.fellowshipofisis.com/
http://www.adf.org/core/
http://rossnichols.druidry.org/index.html


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Thorn
post Jun 8 2007, 08:56 PM
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:S Thanks. Me and research have gotten pretty close lately. I'll see if I can find anything helpful over the next little while.

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Acid09
post Jun 10 2007, 02:45 AM
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Ahh the druids. History really is written by the victorious. Firstly Celts didn't call their priests "druids". The Gauls called their high priests(esses) derwijes which we think means "those who know the oak". Which makes since given the druids learned ogahm, a system of characters that corresponded to various trees; each had a different story and other mystical connotations. If I remember correctly pupils of the druids were called ovates by the Romans. I could be wrong on that one. But it is known that these students spent around 20 years of their lives becoming druids and commiting their entire oral tradition to memory. The fact that the druids followed an oral tradition is largely why we know so little and have to rely on second hand sources from the Romans. The Romans didn't exactly sugar coat the image of the druids either. The roll of druids in celtic society varies. But generally speaking they were healers, soothsayers, advisors to tribal chieftians, they communicated with spirits and the dead and they played a critical role in burial rites as well as appeasing the Gods. They could act as arbitrators in civil disputes and it is believed at least some of these druids were also warriors. An example would be the person historians believe could have been the real Merlin. Had he existed it is likely he was a Briton or Welsh Priest who was more of a militant leader against the Romans and possibly the Saxons too. Druids were exempt from paying tribute to their chieftian and it is believed that at least some of the Druids held all authority second only to the tribe's leader him/her self. There were female druids. The people who became what we understand today as the Celts were matriarchal. Later Celts catered more to patriarchal societies but the honor for the sacred feminine still played a major role. This is partly why the Church made it a point to down play the role of Women in Gaul and Brittain.

There is very little evidence that the druids ever messed with stone hindge in anyway, at least that I have seen. In fact if I remember correctly the Celtic people believed the place was cursed after they drove out the pre-celtic people's living there earlier. If there were any celts who held rituals or used the monument it was probably after the occupation and Romanization of the Britons.

To really understand the druids I think you should really be researching the Celts themselves. I don't know what you know but for the sake of discussion I'll throw in a little of what I know. The Celts were not a single ethnic group. Rather they were mixture of tribes and customs who's only major commonallity was language. While much of Celtic culture is similar from one group to another, there are still differences. The binding tie between celtic people was the language they spoke. There are actually three different branches you have the Gaels, the Britons and the Guals. The Gaels were mainly the Ires and Scotts. The Britons were the Picts, Welsh and... Britons and the Guals were the dialects of the celtic tribes on main land Europe. What ties these languages together is that they all originate from a mass migration of tribes from the steps of the Urals and central Asia from some 5000 - 7000 years ago. The Celts actually lived pretty much everywhere in Europe other than the far north, Greece and inland on Itally. They thrived in Spain and even as far east as Northern Turkey. There is even some indication that the Celts traded with the ancient Egytains. Most likely the trade was secondary through trade with Greece. The Celts actually were pretty adept at sea faring given the time and technology. They are also the first Europeans recognized to work with broze and actually likely taught the people who would later become the Greeks what they know. The Celts didn't reffer to themselves as "Celts", they went by tribal names and it was only the Romans who called the Gauls the Celts, or Galatai, which I believe is equivalent to foreigner. Only did later scholars catagorize the Celts of beyond as a single language group. Again because the Celts had no written language we are forced to rely on secondary sources and archeological evidence. While the people thrived for thousands of years and actually made considerable contributions to ancient technology, the majority of the Celts died out or were homoginized into other groups of people by the 2nd century AD. The Celts of Ireland held on to their traditions until St Patrick introduced Catholicism, and saved ancient western history by stashing texts in Churches. But now I'm just babbling because its past 2:30, I'm pretty intoxicated and I need to go to sleep...

This post has been edited by Acid09: Jun 12 2007, 06:35 PM


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Heebeejeebees
post Jun 26 2007, 01:49 PM
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QUOTE
If I remember correctly pupils of the druids were called ovates by the Romans. I could be wrong on that one.

You're not wrong, ovate is the romanisation of o-vydd - ovates did still teach, so they weren't entirely pupils of the Art.

Druidism is a difficult subject to penertrate, whatever is left of druidism is to be found in masonry.

I've been to stonehedge and avebury as I don't live that far away from them, the local museums correct the myth that the druids built stonehedge but are unable to specify just who built it other than 'the primitive britons' - talk about vague!

For books on druidry I can only think of Manly P. Hall's writings - but he is understandably brief on the subject. Some of his writings on them can be found online http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta04.htm scroll to: THE DRUIDIC MYSTERIES OF BRITAIN AND GAUL. You may want to look to some of the authors he mentions in that segment for more information.

Whether the people who call themselves druids still memorise the twenty thousand verses of druidic poetry I do not know. I do know however that the cutting of the mistletoe with a golden sickle does occur every year, but they don't sacrifice an white animal below the oak tree anymore. I also know that they don't command the respect that they once did,

i.e "Their power over the people was unquestioned, and there were instances in which armies, about to attack each other, sheathed their swords when ordered to do so by the white-robed Druids. No undertaking of great importance was scatted without the assistance of these patriarchs, who stood as mediators between the gods and men."

ask anyone what they think of the modern druids here in the UK and they will say: "they're just a bunch of new agers!"

This post has been edited by Zugzwang: Jun 26 2007, 01:55 PM

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Acid09
post Jun 26 2007, 06:42 PM
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While I agree that we know alot about the druids and the celts for that matter, from my own research I am hard pressed to believe that any modern day revivalist movement really ressembles the celtic societies of old. Firstly everybody in those celtic traditions are considered druids. In real celtic society you had a cast system that if I remember correctly basically boilded down to four casts - slaves, civilians, warriors and druids. Secondly we just don't know enough to really truely replicate a celtic druid order. For example many of those 20,000 thousand poems you mentioned are lost to time or the real words were christainized. Now I will not dispute there are Druidic orders that are in the likeness of days gone by. But I wouldn't by into any order that claimed to know the exact tradition. That to me is only new age.


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realm_crawler
post Nov 5 2007, 12:49 AM
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(IMG:style_emoticons/default/offtopic.gif) now this goes totally off topic dont know where to throw it so here it goes i should really collect the posts of acid09 and make an ebook well mostly he gives the most excelennt advice and almost a book at a time so it would be some sort of best off acid09 heh ... no seriusly can i acid09?

This post has been edited by jlx: Nov 5 2007, 12:49 AM


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Acid09
post Nov 8 2007, 06:29 PM
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My ideas are not copywritten. IN fact they're pretty much common knowledge among scholars. However I would think it would be better if you compiled an ebook based on legitimate research and not just the ideas of some poor college kid from Colorado. If you want to know the main sources I reffer from I'd be happy to share them with you.


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Scarlett_156
post Nov 8 2007, 06:41 PM
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The book The White Goddess by Robert Graves has some thought provoking writings about the ogham and ancient druidism. It's a well-known and popular book that you should easily be able to find at the library or book store. xoxox


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