The etymology of this word from the Greek drous, "oak", has been a favorite one since the time of Pliny the Elder; according to this the druids
would be the priests of the god or gods identified with the oak. It is true that the oak plays an important part as the sacred tree in the ancient
cult of the Aryans of Europe, and this etymology is helped out by the Welsh word for druid, viz. derwydd. But there is a difficulty in equating the
synonymous Irish draoi and Welsh derwydd.
Probably the best-substantiated derivation of the word is from the root vid, "to know", and the intensive prefix dru. According to this etymology,
the druids would be the "very wise and learned ones". But this, like the others, is merely a conjecture, and it has been surmised that the word as
well as the institution was not of Celtic origin.
Although the druids are mentioned with more or less fullness of account by a score of ancient writers, the information to be derived from their
statements is very meagre, and very little of it is at first hand. Even Caesar, who probably came more in contact with the druids than any other
writer, does not seem to speak of the druids of his time in particular, but of the druids in
With the ancient writers the word druid had two meanings; in the stricter sense it meant the teachers of moral philosophy and science; in the wider
sense it included the priests, diviners, judges, teachers, physicians, astronomers, and philosophers of Gaul. They formed a class apart and kept the
people, who were far inferior to them in culture, in subjection.
They were regarded as the most just of men, and disputes both public and private were referred to them for settlement. Thus their influence was much
more a social than a religious one, in spite of the common opinion that they were exclusively a priestly class or Gaulish clergy. They enjoyed certain
privileges, such as
exemption from military service and the payment of taxes; and the ancient authors are unanimous in speaking of the great honours which were shown
Above all, the druids were the educators of the nobility. Their instruction was very varied and extensive. It consisted of a large number of verses
learned by heart, and we are told that sometimes twenty years were required to complete the course of study. They held that their learning should not
be consigned to writing. They must have had a considerable oral literature of sacred songs, formulae of prayers, rules of divination and magic, but
all of this lore not a verse has come down to us.
Either in their own language or in the form of translation, nor is there even a legend that we can call with certitude druidic. Pomponius Mela is the
first author who says that their instruction was secret and carried on in caves and forests.
It is commonly believed that the druids were the stubborn champions of Gaulish liberty and that they took a direct part in the government of the
nation, but this is an hypothesis which, however probable, is not supported, for the early period at least, by any text or by the statement of any
"The principal point of their doctrine", says Caesar, "is that the soul does not die and that after death it passes from one body into another."
But, as is well known, the belief in the immortality of the soul was not peculiar to the teachings of the philosophers of ancient Gaul. Just what was
the nature of that second life in which they believed is not quite clear. Some of the Greek authors, struck by the analogy of this doctrine with that
of Pythagoras, believed that the druids had
borrowed it from the Greek philosopher or one of his disciples.
The practice of human sacrifice, which has often been imputed to the druids, is now known to have been a survival of a pre-druidic custom, although
some members of the druidic corporation not only took part in, but presided at, these ceremonies. Nor has it been proved that the druids had gods of
their own or had introduced any new divinity or rites into Gaul, with the exception perhaps of the Dispater, who, according to
Caesar, was regarded by the druids as the head of the nation, and who may have owed his origin to their belief.
The druids, in addition to teaching, which was their most important occupation, seem to have been content to preside over the traditional religious
ceremonies and to have acted as intermediaries between the gods, such as they found them, and men. It is certain that they had a philosophy, but it
is very unlikely that their doctrines had penetrated into the great mass of the
Although the only positive information we possess on the druids is to the effect that their institution existed in Gaul and Britain between the years
53 B.C. and A.D. 77, there is evidence to show that it must have existed from a much earlier time and lasted longer than the limits fixed by these
dates. It seems reasonable to suppose that the influence of the druids was already at its decline when Caesar made his campaigns in Gaul, and that to
them was due the civilization of Gaul in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. We may affirm that references to the druids and signs of the existence of
their institution, in the germ at least, are found which would date them as early as the third century B.C. With the Roman conquest of Gaul the druids
lost all their jurisdiction, druidism suffered a great decay, and there is no reason to believe that it survived long after A.D. 77, the date of the
last mention of the druids as still in existence.
The opening of the schools of Marseilles, Bordeaux, and Lyons put an end to their usefulness as teachers of moral philosophy; and if some of them
remained scattered here and there in Gaul, most of them were obliged to emigrate to Britain. The Emperors Tiberius and Claudius abolished certain
practices in the cult of the druids, their organization, and their assemblies, but their disappearance was gradual and due as much to the romanization
of the land as to any political measure or act of violence or persecution on the part of Rome. Yet there can be no doubt that Rome feared the druids
as teachers of the Gallo-Roman youth and judges of trials. In Gaul in the third century of the Christian Era there is mention of women who predicted
the future and were known as druidesses, but they were merely sorcerers, and we are not to conclude from the name they bore that druidism was still in
existence at that late date.
According to Caesar, it was a tradition in Gaul in his time that the druids were of British origin and that it was to Great Britain that they went to
make a thorough study of their doctrine, but the authors of antiquity throw very little light on the institution and practices of druidism in the
island of Britain.
"Druidry is not a religion. No it wasnŪt, though neo-Druidism is. The archeological record have uncovered approximately 370 some Gods and Goddess
of the Celts. Though only a handful (approximately 33) are repeated more than once.
Neo-Druidism is a religion and is recognized as such my several of the major governments in the world today, including Britain, Australia, Canada and
America. Neo-Druidism as define by Isaac Bonewits founder of the ADF (Ar nDraicht Fe`in) is "... a philosophies and ways of life, rooted in ancient
soil÷polytheistic nature worshipers." This concept falls in line with many of the neo-pagan religions of today, taking the best of the past and
making up the rest.
For Druidism to be a religion, it would have to have been a very eclectic one to encompass that many
different Gods/esses and forms of worship necessary to appease them all.
It's a philosophy and you can worship a God or a Goddess, it's up to you. You can be a Christian or a Moslem or anything else and still be a Druid.
"But while a Christian will say God made that tree, a Druid will say the energy of a creative force is in that tree." Kieron, a North-East UK
There are those who choose Druidism over other forms of neo-paganism. Perhaps a reason for that is because Druidism is not only a branch of
neopaganism, but also the subject of academic study.
Druidism is often of interest to archaeologists, historians, and mythographers who don't necessarily consider themselves Druids, or even remotely
Thus, there is a wealth of serious academic material available concerning the Druids, and many discover Druidism through it.
According to the New Age Dictionary a Druid is defined as "a member of Celtic priests, poets, healers, and judges in pre-Christian Britain, Ireland,
and France." Too the best of our knowledge that is what the Druids were, which implies that they were also something more.
To further define the Druids we must take a look at the Celts and what there system or social order may have been like. To do this we must rely on the
classical writers, as the Celts themselves did not write anything, at least not to our knowledge, and very little is known other then what the
classical writers and the Anthropology have given us to go by.
The classical writers include Strabo, Caesar and Pliny, among others, have given us a general idea about the Celts. Suffice to say the Celts were a
war like society which as a people control most of Europe during the 900 BC to about 100 AD. These writers also have been able to tell us that the
Celts were a people with a class system. According to Caesar the Druids were ranked above the equities, Knights, and in some cases equal to the Kings.
This would imply that the Druids were a class, not a religion. T his statement is also supported by the type of skills the Druids were said to
possess, from priest to judge, bard to healer, and philosopher to holder of the sacrifice.
What does the word Druid mean?
The typical meaning is oak, drus with the second syllable wid, meaning knowledge, so Druid would mean oak knowledge. Though P.W. Joyce states in the
Druid Source Book that the word druid is Irish in origin drui, and means wizard. Joyce bases the claim on the fact that the word drui was translated
in the Latin texts as magus, Latin for wizard. The Welsh word Derwydd means prophet.
There is however evidence that the word Druid does mean the way of the oak, or oak knowledge. This may come form the fact that there is plenty of
historical reference to the oak tree in association with Druids.
Pliny and Lucan both mentioned this. Pliny made mention of this referring to a ritual he supposedly observed, in which a white robed priest climbed
the oak and using a golden sickle would cut mistletoe from the tree. (The Druid Source Book, page 21) Lucan further stated that that the oak grove was
sacred to the Celts÷"Nobody dared enter this grove except the priest÷" (Green, page 108)
These conflicting translations can easily be explained as poor penmanship, as most written material was done my hand. The word Druid however in modern
times as come to be associated or equal to that of a priest. Therefore a neo-pagan Druid would be a priest of neo-Druidism.
Modern Druid Fellowship Link - www.adf.org...
More Druid Info
After about 500 B.C., in the northern and western part that was Celtic Europe, wise men and women emerged as the Druids. They arose from the old,
indigenous, shamanic worldview. They provide us with the first evidence of an established organization within the Celtic branch of the Native European
Tradition. By this, we mean the wisdom tradition that arose among the people of Eurasia from the earliest times. The Druids organized knowledge,
passed it on through oral tradition, and served the political, social and spiritual needs of the people.
The primary purpose of this emerging class of scholars and bards was to supply an increasingly sophisticated society with words and images about
itself. The Druids remembered stories, songs, and myths; they knew ancestries, prophecies, pledges, treaties, alliances, and legal codes. They became
arbitrators, lawyers, and judges. They advised the kings, choosing time and places of war, peace, making prophesies. They became teachers to children
who showed skill in any of the branches of learning.
At this point, there was a distinction, but not a split, between Druidry and shamanism. One distinction was that the Druids, serving the elite,
became increasingly male-dominated, while women continued to serve the needs of the far greater body of the common population.
A Druid could be applied to any woman or man wise in the native tradition of their ancestors. Herbalists, midwives, seers, spell casters and
storytellers. Only a few went on into the service of the king or clan chief, and there they selected pupils who would be their successors.
Because the first Druids were providers of magical care from birth to death, the Romans declared them witches and sorcerers. They methodically began
exterminating all organized Druidic practice. It is probable that the "hedgerow" witches with their ancient shamanistic roots survived.
Both witches and Druids were oriented to nature and had reverence for the ancestors. This was all part of the pagan spirituality at the time. The
negative connotation of "witch" derives from later Christian transcribers, and subsequently, the Inquisition instigated by the Catholic Church.
Throughout the early history of Europe the practice of Druidism usually remained on the grassroots level. This ancient tradition had its origins in
shamanism, a practice which depends on the extrasensory and intuitive skills of the individual, as well as on the deliberate transmission of material
in oral form. In later times, shamans and witches received some teaching, but mostly they had to rely on their intuitive skills. By the twentieth
century in Europe, only the Gypsies, and
"family tradition witches" retained some native practices. Even those who went to the American colonies to avoid persecution found no more freedom
there, and much ancient practice was marginalized to the level of folk tradition.
Some say the Wicca is in this line, despite the repression, loss of knowledge and difficulties of
transmission. But most modern Wicca draws more upon the non-historical work of writers, and the ceremonial magic of recent eclectic practitioners,
than it does upon traditional native European spirituality. Modern Wicca departs frequently from what we do know about the Celtic tradition as
organized and practiced by the ancient Druids. Wiccans tend to worship the Goddess and God, while Druidry was pantheistic.
Link - www.freebiearena.com...
Beliefs and practices of the ancient Celts are being pieced together by modern Druids. Because so much information has been lost, this is not an easy
Some findings are:
Goddesses and Gods
: The Celts did not form a single religious or political unity. They were organized into tribes spread across what is now
several countries. As a result, of the 374 Celtic deities which have been found, over 300 occur only once in the archeological record; they are
believed to be local deities. There is some evidence that their main pantheon of Gods and Goddesses might have totaled about 3 dozen - perhaps
precisely 33 (a frequently occurring magical number in
Celtic literature). Some of the more famous are: Arawn, Brigid, Cernunnos, Cerridwen, Danu, Herne, Lugh, Rhiannon and Taranis. Many Celtic deities
were worshipped in triune (triple aspect) form. Triple Goddesses were often sisters.
: The dead were transported to the Otherworld by the God Bile (AKA Bel, Belenus). Life
continued in this location much as it had before death. The Druids believed that the soul was immortal. After the person died in the Otherworld, their
soul lives again in another human body. At every birth, the Celts mourned the death of a person in the Otherworld which made the new birth possible.
: No Druidic creation story appears to have survived, although there are numerous accounts of the supernatural creation of
islands, mountains, etc.
: There is some evidence that the Celts had a baptism initiation ceremony similar to those found in Buddhist, Christian, Essene, Hindu,
Islamic, and Jainist sacred texts. Other researchers dismiss baptism as a forgery by Christian scribes as they transferred Celtic material to written
: Druids used many techniques to foretell the future: meditation, study of the flight of birds, interpreting dreams, and interpreting
the pattern of sticks thrown to the ground.
: This is a symbol drawn in the form of three pillars, in which the outer two are sloped towards the center pillar, as in /|\. The
symbol has been in use since the 17th century; it recalls the Druidic fascination with the number three.
: This is an ancient Druidic symbol consisting of three curved branches, bent legs or arms radiating from the center of the
symbol. The flag of the Isle of Man contains a triskele.
Seasonal Days of Celebration
Druids, past and present, celebrate a series of fire-festivals, on the first of each of four months. Each would start at sunset and last for three
days. Great bonfires would be built on the hilltops. Cattle would be driven between two bonfires to assure their fertility; couples would jump over a
bonfire or run between two bonfires as well. The festivals are:
Samhain (or Samhuinn) Literally the "end of warm season". November 1 marked the combined Feast of
the Dead and New Year's Day for the Celtic calendar. It is a time when the veil between our reality and that of the Otherworld is most easily
penetrated. This fire festival was later adopted by the Christians as All Soul's Eve, and later became the secular holiday Halloween.
Imbolc (or Brighid) Literally "in the belly". February 1 marked The Return of Light. This is the date when the first stirrings of life were
noticeable and when the land might first be plowable. This has been secularized as Groundhog Day.
Beltaine (or Bealteinne). May 1 was the celebration of The Fires of Bel. This was the peak of blossom season, when domesticated animals bear their
young. This is still celebrated today as May Day. Youths dance around the May pole in what is obviously a reconstruction of an earlier fertility
Lughnasad (or Lughnasadh, Lammas). August 1 was The Feast of Lugh, named after the God of Light. A time for celebration and the harvest. There were
occasional references in ancient literature to:
the winter solstice, typically December 21, when the night is longest
the spring equinox, typically March 21, when the day and night are equal
the summer solstice, typically June 21, when the night is shortest
the fall equinox, typically September 21, when the day and night are equal.
However, these do not appear to be major seasonal days of celebration for the ancient Druids.
Link - www.esotericart.com...
More Druidic Links Below
International Grand Lodge of Druidism - www.igld.org...
What is Wicca?
'An it Harm None, Do what Thou Will' shall be the whole of the law. It's the rede that most Wiccan witches around the world bind themselves to.
What exactly is Wicca? It's a religion based on Nature.
The most important aspect of Wicca is that the only dogma that it contains is what each practitioner makes of it. This is why there are quite a few
traditions in Wicca, much like the Christian religion and its several sects. Wicca is the revitalization of the Old Religion, which pre-dates
Christianity by at least 10 thousand years, if not more. Its name, Wicca, means "Wise One", and was derived from the Anglo-Saxon word 'Wicce',
which means 'to bend'.
Although some will argue this definition, this term was used long ago, by the wisest of the whole kingdom in England. The Anglo-Saxon kings would
first consult the 'Witan', The Counsel of the Wise, or the tribal witches, before acting on anything. In those early times, it was well known that
the Witan were very wise, for not only did they have to lead the religious rites, but they also had to have knowledge in the fields of law,
herbal lore, alchemy, divination as well as magick.
What should have been mentioned in my preface is that Wicca, and the Old Religion, are NOT the same thing (when someone says they come from a line of
Wiccans that dates back thousands of years, they're just pulling your chain, because Wicca dates back no earlier than circa 1951.) They're quite
possibly nearly the same, but due to the fact that the Old Religion in itself was not a written religion, there can be no way for sure to know exactly
how worship was conducted.
Who exactly created Wicca?
We all know that religions are a creation of humankind, in an effort to seek spiritual reasoning and explanations for life. Credit for the creation of
Wicca can, in a way,
be credited to Gerald Gardner. He did not create Wicca from his mind however, but rather by borrowing from several traditions and religions.
History tells us of Gerald Garnders initiation into an English witch coven called The New Forest Coven headed by "Old Dorothy" Clutterbuck, who was
hereditary witch. The coven had been in existence for decades, however it wasn't until 1951 that Britain repealed the last laws mandating that all
witches be put to death. Once the law was repealed, Gardner created "Wicca", which combined elements from the New Forest Coven with those of the
Golden Dawn and Masonic-like ceremonies (this was due to the fact that Gardner was a Freemason) as well as borrowing from the works of authors (like
Dr. Margaret Alice Murray who wrote "The Witchcraft Cult in Western Europe" in 1921). The resulting religion was dubbed "Gardnerian Wicca",
and from this creation many other traditions have spawned. But even though Gardnerian Wicca was the
first "Official" tradition of Wicca, this does not mean that all other traditions are false, or "wannabe's" as some Gardnerians refer to them as.
They just need to remember how Wicca was created.
Those who practice Wicca are known as witches, including the male practitioner. Although the term
'Warlock' has been used by television, as well as movie producers, the term is not generally used by
Wiccans. In ancient times, Warlock was a label given unto a person of a village who broke an oath, and is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word
'Waerlog.' Male witches may still refer to themselves as a "warlock", and then explain to those who object to its use that "Waerlog" and
"Warlock" are two different words.
Some ask what the difference is between a Witch, and a Wiccan. Basically, all Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccans, and not all
Wiccans practice witchcraft. This definition is also debated, because of
the dogma or bias that each practitioner creates.
Traditions of Wicca
There are, as in many other religions of the world, several denominations of Wicca. These are derived from the eclectic idealism of the religion
itself, and because of such, Wicca is viewed in a way that suits the needs of the desires and beliefs of each practitioner. As stated previously,
Wicca is comprised of a great deal of Dogma. Many will argue this statement blindly, because they're not well educated in the religion. Dogma exists
because each practitioner has their own belief of who the Goddess and God are, and how worship to the Divine should be conducted. Their beliefs in how
magick works also differs. This is dogma.
This tradition was founded by Alex Sanders, in England. This is a tradition made with many Judeo-Christian and Ceremonial magickal elements. Covens
work sky clad as a rule, and all eight sabbats are observed, as well as both the God and the Goddess being honored.
Many prefer to follow this tradition of Wicca. Not being a tradition to the word, the idea of being an Eclectic Wiccan is that you borrow from many
aspects of the Ancient Religions of the Earth. Some disrespect the Eclectic tradition because they view it as lawless. Remember, the only rule we must
follow in Wicca is our rede of the Witches - 'An it harm None, Do as thou will.' Some prefer to follow the Gardnerian path, yet work robed. Others
prefer to work with only four people, while others prefer to follow a Druid/Arch Mage path. All are valid, and acceptable. Those who do not accept the
Eclectic view of Wicca have either fallen into a tradition comprised of much dogma, or they still have much to learn along their path in life.
Founded by Gerald Gardner, this tradition was actually launched shortly after the second World War. Contrary to the belief of many, Aleister Crowley
did NOT write the Book of Shadows for Gardner. Also, it was not Gardner who brought the rebirth of the Old Religion. This misconception has earned
this tradition the mistaken idea that the Gardner Tradition is the only true trad in Wicca. The Goddess takes emphasis over the God in this tradition,
with the female ranking above the male
practitioner. Also, there is a 'system of degree' that does not allow for self-initiation into this tradition. There is also a rule where covens
work sky clad, and they aim to have 'perfect couples' with equal numbers of males and females, paired, and the covens of Gardnerian are autonomous.
Most who are members of this tradition claim it's the only true tradition. This is due to the
misconception previously pointed out. However, fact remains that many still believe that it was Garnder that fathered Wicca.
There are a lot of concepts and ideas of Wicca and the Old Religion. The following are explorations into those issues.
God and Goddess: Some have asked which entity, or deity, we worship. We're accused by many of worshipping Satan. However, we all know this isn't
true, because we do not recognize Christian doctrine in its whole, while many don't believe any of their doctrine. When you ask a Wiccan who they
worship, the answer can, and will, vary. Some only worship the Goddess, while others only worship the God. There are many however that worship both
the God and the Goddess, recognizing the Duality Aspect. When asked which Goddess or God, the answer too can vary. There are many names and faces
worn by the Goddess and the God. Many believe that the Divine Being, Mother Creator, "God", whichever name you use, goes by many names, and has many
faces. T he belief that all the Gods and Goddess' of the world are all but the same one "Supreme Being" is a common belief, shared by many.
The different names are chosen to suit the need of the one calling them, as all items in magick are used. This purpose is for a focal point, to help
concentration. One last group of people are those who maintain that the Divine is a field of energy that surrounds us, and penetrates us. Christian
doctrine shows this philosophy which teaches that God is everywhere. This is one example of shared doctrine.
: To understand how magick can even be considered to be real, one must understand physics. All
objects are comprised of atoms, be it living, or inanimate objects. Atoms are comprised of a nucleus, and electrons which orbit the nucleus. How is
it then, that some objects are hard, and others are soft? I t all has to do with how the atoms bond together, as well as the specific atoms in
question. Bonding occurs when electrons from one atom, are shared and exchanged with electrons from another atom. Since atoms are basically free
floating, and electrons are shared with other atoms, everything in the known universe are linked together by a common theory - Electron bonding.
Humans share their atoms with every object or life form that they come in, or close to, contact with. The exchange of electrons is a form of energy.
Since magick is the act of manipulating and working with the energies in nature, all one has to do is tune themselves into this concept just
presented. Using ones mind to control matter is magick. Hence, we get the term "It's all mind over matter." Items used within magick are tools
used as a means of making focusing much easier. The flame of the candle is used to help fix a gaze, so one can have a clear mind.
: The Pentagram is perhaps the centerpiece of our religion. It's to our religion as the
crucifix is to the Catholics. Contrary to modern day Judeo-Christian teachings, it is NOT a symbol of Satan. It's a symbol of all living things in
nature, and how everything ties together. Each point leads to the next, which ends at the point where it began. There are five points to the
pentagram, each representing an element in nature. Yes, there are at least five elements in nature. These are: Earth, Fire, Air, Water, Soul. The
circle found to encompass the pentagram represents the cycle of life. It has no beginning and no end. It symbolizes reincarnation, where death comes
rebirth of the soul.
Good and Evil
: This topic alone brings division in the ranks of many who claim to follow an Earth Based Religion. All it takes is an open mind,
and understanding to comprehend the fact I'm about to present - Contrary to what Judeo-Christian teachings, as well as many "Witches", there exists
in nature, no such thing as ABSOLUTE GOOD or ABSOLUTE EVIL. There does exist the concept of both. We must look at the definition of each word to
understand this. Good is defined as "acceptable, or lacking Evil. The Opposite of Bad." And Evil is defined as "the Opposite of Good, Morally
wrong or Bad." Therefore, neither can exist independent of the other. This means that each and every one of us are just as evil, as we are good.
It's our morals, religions, beliefs, and upbringing that
determine the dominant quality. To further provide examples to that just mentioned, yet another opposite exists in nature. The concept of Day and
Night. What is Day but the opposite of Night. Light is the absence of Dark, and Dark the absence of Light. Hate is the absence of Love, and Love is
the absence of Hate. This is a perfect example of Duality in nature. This is fact, and cannot be argued against if intelligence is used.
Link - realmagick.com...