The Celtic languages can be broken up into two different categories: Insular Celtic, and Continental Celtic. The Celts were Polytheistic and their priestly class was called the druids. The Druidic Priesthood was broken down intothree Ranks which were in order the following: Ovate, Bard, Druid. The Ovates were the lowest ranking and they were diviners and healers. Next in rank were the bards. they learned all the Celtic legends and learned how to play the lyre.After learning the legends and music, the bards would go around the countryside and gather information to bring back tothe druids as they told the legends to music.
If a King did not sho the proper hospitality then a druid would come up with a song that would make fun of the king. This would cause the king to lose face among his people.
This type of
song was called a satire. The Druids were the highest rank in the
priesthood. They were lawyers, judges, scholars and main advisor to a
king on all matters. The druids were the power behind the thrown
because no king made a move without consulting his druid advisor. The
Romans and Christianity put an end to the ancient druids.
In the 1700s, the British
isles most notably England and Whales experienced a resurgence in
druidism. This revival was started by John Aubrey, John Toland, William
Stuckley, and thepoet William Blake. John Aubrey was the first to
connect Stonehenge to the druids. Today this information is being
debated by most druidic scholars. Some think
that Aubrey was a Chief
Druid that had been trained without interruption in druidism. John
Toland read Aubrey's theories and wrote a book without giving Aubrey
any credit. John Toland started The Ancient Druid Order in 1717. The
poet William Blake is rumored to have been a Chief Druid in The Ancient
Druid Order. The Ancient Druid Order lasted from 1717 until it split
into two different druid orders in 1964.
Celtic folklore says the faery and other magical creatures will come out of hiding to join in summer solstice celebrations. William Shakespeare dramatized this in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."Contemporary pagans believe the fae, the plural word for faery, are still making their presence known. At a recent summer solstice celebration for the Rowan Grove, a Deltona-based Wiccan community, the wind suddenly picked up when they began praying to the wee folk.The gust died down as soon as the blessing was over but resumed once the pagans said goodbye to the fae.
coincidences andother unexplainable events have made a believer out of
Cheryl Castle, also known as "Druydess" to the followers of the Rowan
"I used to be 'Sure, yeah, right,' " recalled Castle, who is a critical-care nurse by trade.
But now Castle leaves out a
honey-and-wine mixture as a faery offering.
She feels their mystical
presence whenever she is gardening.
Castle feels there's no shame for an adult to believe in what a child might consider make-believe.
"Christians believe in angels," Castle said. "It's no different."
To Wiccans, a faery represents the spirituality of nature, said Selena Fox, a Wiccan priestess in Wisconsin.
The sense of wonder is important to Wiccans who revere nature as sacred and feel a duty to care forthe environment, Fox said.
Wiccans recently won new
respect for their pagan beliefs when the U.S. Department of Veteran
Affairs agreed to allow the pentacle, their religious emblem, on tombs
Fox said the recognition
was the culmination of a decade-long legal battle. Because of the
victory, freedom will be the theme of a weeklong summer solstice
celebration in Ohio.
Wiccans are used to
hostility toward their beliefs, but Fox said Americans should not fear
them because their customs and practices are already entwined in the
The Fourth of July, for example, reflects many of the ancient summer solstice customs. "I see direct parallels," Fox said.
Ancient pagans stayed up
late to celebrate the longest day of the year. They created theirown
Primitive Basque man was converted to Christianity very late, which produced the creation of a vast collection of myths and legends which still exist today thanks to the great Basque oral tradition.Even most primitive Man felt the need to give meaning to the phenomena and natural cycles which conditioned his existence. He interpreted them, named them, found an explanation for them, and with these answers built up his own myths, legends, and religions.These formed the framework for his relation with nature and with anything else in his environment which was incomprehensible or supposedly magic.
Basque man was converted to Christianity very late. He was also all but
cut off from other cultures by aninhospitable and very inaccessible
Thus he came to invent a vast collection of myths and
legends which still exist today thanks to the great Basque oral
For him the mountains and
valleys developed an almost human significance, and in the bowels of
the earth ran rivers of milk, out of the reach of mortals. Two powers
ruled nature and their designs conditioned human life: the god of the
firmament, "Ost" or "Ortzi" - equivalent to the Roman god Jupiter, the
Greek Zeus or the Germanic Thor, and "Ilargia", the moon, a feminine
force which emerged from the world of hidden things.
"Ost" and "Eguzki", the
light of the sun, belonged to the day, to the earth, since it was from
the earth that the sun rose and to the earth that it returned every
day. "Ilargia" though, belonged to the world of thedeceased, of souls,
to the hidden side of existence and nature.
The Basques are very
closely in touch with the moon and its cycles, and this figure appears
in numerous myths, rites and legends. The female divinity of the
ancient Basques was "Mari", the lady or gentlewoman who lived in the
caves which reach deep down to the centre of the earth. Although she
could take on different forms, she showed herself as a breathtakingly
beautiful woman, and moved from one mountain to the next crossing the
sky like a fireball. Any area which holds itself in esteem will have a
model of the dwelling of Mari placed on its highest peak, for example
the mountains of Gorbea, Anboto, Aketegi or the Aralar range.
Drudism is a religion that predates Christianity and emphasises getting in tune with the natural world. Jemma Walton met the guardian of the Peterborough-based Druid Grove of Alban Eiler and asked her about Bardic Chairs, Eisteddfods and walking in the woods.When you're scratching your scratchcards, shopping until you drop or recovering from the hangover of hangovers do you ever think there must be more to life than this?Most of us probably do – but can't really be bothered to do anything about it. But Jody Williams was different. She could be bothered.Jody was drawn to a religion which emphasises building a relationship with the natural world rather than tuning into all the hollow distractions of modern life – Druidism.
teenager, Jody was intrigued when a friend told her she was a Wiccan
"I said 'Ha ha –where's your broomstick?', but then she
explained it to me and I became interested," said Jody. "I went along
to a few Pagan moots, and liked what I heard."
Now 27, she has since
become a committed Druid – but not a white witch, as that is more
fitting with the Wicca branch of Paganism than the Druid part. She
volunteers at Flag Fen, and is organising a Druid-style festival of the
arts there next year.
"Druidry is basically a
form of Paganism, and is all about developing your ownrelationship
with nature," she said. "I can't really explain it too well as it's an
"Basically, for Pagans, the
earth is their altar. It is about paying attention to every little
thing – when you go for a walk connecting with the trees, flowers,
animals and birds around you."
Jody is priestess of the
Grove of Alban Eiler, which basically means she is the "guardian" of
her grove, or group of believers. She took on the role when the
founders of the grove left two years ago.
There are about eight
members of her grove, and they meet up around eight times a year to
celebrate every festival in their calendar.
Druidry is a journey which
encourages you to learn, to experience and build a connecting
relationship with nature and, they say, helps you develop asan