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Druids & Celts

Who were they?
In Celtic society Druids were the priests, but that position went well beyond what we think
of as priestly duties.  They were the religious leaders, judges, educators, astronomers and
doctors.

How did you become a Druid?
Druidic education involved 20 years rote memorization.  It was noted by all of the ancient
writers who visited Gaul (Poseidonius, Julius Caesar, Tacitus and Germanicus) noted how
extensive was the Druids knowledge of mathematics, physics and astronomy.

Was there a main druidic center?
All evidence points to Anglesey, where the Romans massacred the druids and defiled the
Druid's sacred grove.  However, there was a pan-Gaul annual meeting of the Druids at
Carnutes.

Are the rumors true about human sacrifice?
Yes.  Many of the historians mentioned above also commented on this practice.  This would
include burning people alive as they were tied to wicker effigies. I've heard reference to
archaeological remains backing this point , when I find them I will list it on the Archaeology
Page.  The Romans also noted the ritual use of triple deaths, where the sacrifice was stoned,
drowned and impaled.  Sacrifice was performed as a trade for life in another form (i.e to save a
person of greater importance).

Human sacrifice was also part of divination rituals, according to Diodorus Siculus.  After
anointing the person, he/she would be stabbed in the diaphragm with a dagger.  The person's
fall, death throws and blood splatter pattern gave the Vates what he/she needed to know.

How did the Druids view the afterlife?
They didn't see death the same way as those of from the Abrahamic traditions see it. They
definitely believed in a soul, but it is reborn here on earth.

Were there female Druids?
Tacitus referred to black-robed women at Anglesey hurling curses at the oncoming Romans
indicates that there were female religious officiants and there were other references of
Druidesses.  There are statuary showing women leading rites in robes and veils which cover
the top and back of the head.

So did the Druids build Stonehenge?
No. Stonehenge, like all neolithic and bronze age megaliths,  pre-dates the ancient Druids by
several thousand years.  However modern Druids, who have attempted to reconstruct the
religious practices without human sacrifice, now utilize the site for their rituals.

Did the Druids wear particular garb?
There is evidence of gold necklaces with sun and lunar symbols.  The above mentioned statue
implies that at least some had their heads covered.

Are there different types of Druids?
Yes.  There were Druids who were priests and judges.  We know from Pliny that there were
also Vates, or seers.

 

 

 

     

Good and Evil
In the British cosmogony, there are 3 concentric circles which represent "the totality of being".  God and Cythrawl are the main
focus of the cosmogony.   God is the idea of energy becoming life and Cythrawl is destruction headed to nothingness.

  • In the beginning there was nothing but God and Annwn.
  • Life began when God pronounced his name and Manred was
    created.  Manred is the "stuff" of the universe.  It is divisible an
    infinite number of times, with God complete in each
    manifestation and yet each is also a part of God.
  • Cythrawl exists in Annwn, which is chaos or an abyss
  • Abred, the innermost, is the struggle against Cythrawl which is
    the power of evil. This is where life sprang from initially.
  • Gwynfyd, or purity, is the second of these rings. This is the pure
    joy and energy of having defeated evil.
  • The outermost circle is Ceugant, or infinity.  This circle is not
    depicted as a single line, but diverging rays of light.  This is
    where god lives, in essence.

 

 

The Celtic Universe
According to the Senchus Mor, there are 7 layers in the
world above the earth:

  1. the Moon
  2. Mercury
  3. Venus
  4. the Sun
  5. Mars
  6. Jupiter
  7. Saturn

The stars above created an outer shell around the sky, like an egg's shell.  12 constellations represented a year, with the sun running through one every month.

 

   
 
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