Druids, the ancient Celtic priests and spiritual leaders, continue to captivate the imagination and curiosity of many in modern society. While often associated with ancient times and mysterious rituals, the practice of Druidry has evolved and found its place in contemporary culture.
Druids are difficult to nail down and understand in one simple article. There is a rich history of druidic culture throughout the world, that many today still try to practice. But what is it that the druids actually do? Well, in the simplest terms, a druid is a person who practices wild magic.
Druids are in many mystical stories of Prehistoric Britain. The source of the word ‘Druid’’ is not clear, however, the most popular view is that it comes from ‘doire’, which is an Irish-Gaelic word for oak tree (frequently a symbol of knowledge), also meaning ‘wisdom’. Druids were focused on the natural world and its powers, and considered trees to be sacred, specifically the oak.
The ancient Druids had a complex religion that was deeply connected to the belief system that’s widely known as Animism. While there are a lot of descriptions of animism, but the most part it’s about the worship of the natural world, including the elements, plants, and animals.
The Ancient Romans were once the most powerful empire in the world. Their borders stretched Rome all the way to northern Europe, the United Kingdom, and much of northern Africa. Their trade routes were long, complex, and extremely profitable, and it allowed the Romans to create an empire that last almost 2000 years in total.
A Druid was a part of the learned class amongst the ancient Celts. They were priests, teachers and judges. The earliest known records of the Druids are from the 3rd century BCE. Their name could have been derived from a Celtic word which means “knower of the oak tree.” Not a lot is known for sure about the Druids who did not keep records of their own.
The Druids had nothing to do with the building of Stonehenge. This statement appears in a brand-new illustrated guide Stonehenge and Avebury and Neighbouring Monuments that is published (H.M.S.O., 3ss) by Professor RJC Atkinson, Professor of Archaeology at University College, Cardiff. He says that ever since it was first proposed 300 years ago that stone circles were temples of the Druids temples it has been generally supposed that Stonehenge was built and utilised by the Druids.
There are a lot of belief systems in the world, and while many of them share similarities, others couldn’t be more different. The choices that we make in terms of our spiritual beliefs can have long term effects on the rest of our lives, which is why it’s important to do some soul searching before settling and following one.
In the last 100 years, thousands and thousands of people have banded together across the world and revived a belief system that was once completely gone. Druidry is quite unique compared to other belief systems in that many millennia ago, it was all but wiped from the face of the earth, and much of what we know about Druidry in the modern age is based off third hand accounts.
While Druidry has made something of a rebound in recent years, with more and more people interested, more authors creating books, and entire new sects popping up around the world, today’s Druidry is quite different to the one that the ancient Celts would have practised. The biggest contributor to this is because a lot – if not most – of the information about the ancients have been completely lost to the passage of time.