The path of Druidism, Then and Now
Undoing the history of disinformation on Druidism
The Romans and the Greeks
There is a lot of outrageous rubbish written about Druidism. In ancient times Druidism did not have Priests and no Classical writer (Greek or Roman) ever applied the term Priest to any Druid but they did use the term philosopher while also making a clear distinction between "Druid" and "Priest". The majority of Classical references consist of anti-Druid propaganda by the spin-doctors of the Roman Empire. Caesar had to "spin" the truth to get the funding and support to fight his battles against the Celtic nations. Hitler and Bush used the same technique to force their demands and got away with it even though many knew that these powerful men were twisting the reality to suit their own agendas.
The Romans gave us the image of the Druids as bizarre, barbaric murderers who continuously sacrificed innocents to tell the future from looking at the entrails of their victims. The opposite is the truth. Even the Roman Pope Dionyisus (ad259) attended the bloodthirsty spectacles called "the games" held in the 'circuses' and he is also recorded as owning gladiators. Greek literature is full of references to human sacrifice since 500bc and Roman literature is full of references to human sacrifice until 500ad. We have to wait until the fifth century ad when Rome was invaded by 'barbarians' for those 'barbarians' to put an end to the bloodthirsty Roman orgy of violence. It is obvious that the Romans have lied extensively but even with only a little research it is glaringly obvious that these lies are still being told.
Those that the Romans called "Druids" did not use the word Druid to describe themselves at all. Most linguists see Druid as cognate with a Greek word meaning "an oak". Some Celtic linguists have derived its root as an intensive particle with a second part meaning "to know", this together says � those whose knowledge is very great. Another translation is "those familiar with the oak". Here we have the Romans using a Greek word to describe the native magicians and philosophers of Gaul (France) in an unflattering manner for political reasons.
As the Romans expanded their empire the Celtic culture and the free expression of Druidism retreated west to the edge of the European mainland and then to England. In 55bc Caesar landed on the southern shores of England and defeated the Celtic Cantii. This was followed a year later with a second campaign gaining formal submission from several important southern English Chieftains. Rome never completely conquered England. The remnants of Celtic culture survived by moving west once again. In 82ad plans were drawn up to invade Ireland, but these plans were shelved because of the Irish in what we now call Scotland could not be pacified. The destruction of the Celtic culture by the Roman war machine was stopped by the Irish Sea and by the Celtic armies in the north of England. Only in Wales, Cornwall, Scotland and Ireland did the Celtic culture (and the Druids) survive the onslaught of the Roman armies.
The universal church
The next and most serious threat to the Celtic culture and the path of spiritual Druidism was the creation of the universal (Catholic) Church. In 325ad at the Council of Nicea Constantine the Great fixed the date of Easter and in so doing he fused the political and military might of the Roman Empire with the Christian Church creating an even more potent state religion. Constantine found the tenets and organisational structure of the Christian Church as very suitable to merge into the existing imperial structure of the Roman way. His mother was a Christian and lobbied hard for her god to be accepted. It was his money that she used to build the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, both of which still stand today. He was only baptised on his deathbed. However, he transformed a church that had no central authority for 300 years into a single cohesive religion.
In 410ad, a Visigoth army sacked Rome and destroyed the concept of Roman Imperial might forever. But the Church survived. This Church was designed by Constantine as a vehicle to enhance the political might of Rome but as the empire crumbled the Church ended up superseding it. This happened because the invaders of Rome dropped their gods and embraced the Catholic Church. This was vitally important because the Church claimed jurisdiction not just over lands and armies but also over souls. This created a new social order in Europe � Pagans had adopted the Catholic Church and its jurisdiction as theirs.
This new church spread throughout what was the Roman Empire with ease. Even England became mostly catholic and slowly but surely the church entered Ireland, which had been the last outpost of pure Celtic culture and Druidism. A strange thing happened in Ireland because the existing spiritual system absorbed the 'new' church and became what we today call the early Celtic Church. The Druids disappeared into this new Celtic Church and continued the "old ways". There is so much written during this period by the monk chroniclers that is deliberate disinformation and it is only in recent years that the truth has become known.
But the natural spiritual awareness of the Druids of Ireland connected easily with the early church and ran alongside and inside the system. This can be seen by the Druidic tonsure, which although outlawed survived into the middle ages. The church leaders repeatedly banned the half shaved head of the Druids but it was still in evidence in the second millennium ad. Druid schools disappeared and became centred on individual teachers of families and they began to specialise in medicine, Brehon law and so on. The Druid awareness was re-branded or re-packaged and successfully argued / presented at the highest level.
It was during the middle ages, a time of great darkness when the church of fear was killing (or sacrificing) millions to their false dogma that the Druids saved the Light. This they did by being invisible and by presenting their truth as an advanced awareness of the true Christian way that they had adopted from before the time of St. Patrick onwards. These Druids dressed as Monks went to Europe and held the highest teaching models of the time. Irish Universities (read as invisible Druid schools) were established all over Europe.
The cannons of Cromwell
Back in Ireland, the mostly invisible Druids were now primarily attached to the ruling dynasties and their supports systems in the castles of the great Irish families. Cromwell destroyed almost all of the castles of the Irish families with the advantage of his huge cannons. Nowhere was safe from these cannons and the support system of the local king's advisors (invisible Druids) was completely destroyed. This was followed by a prolonged and protracted genocide of the native Irish that some say is still in evidence in the north of the island. Colours and styles of dress were banned and the bearing of arms outlawed, singing and story telling were made illegal. Druidism, like Irish race consciousness, was almost eradicated by the English Empire and the Roman Church.
Somehow, through the poor farmers and travelling labourers the ancient traditions survived in poem and song and were eventually recorded by German, Scandinavian and occasionally Irish researchers. In these poems and songs that were the remnants of the oral tradition, the key to undoing the disinformation of the monk chroniclers survived and modern analysis has through deep research returned the true concepts of our native Druidism to us once again. Modern language analysis has shown us that the systems and knowledge of the Druids is hidden inside the Old and Middle Irish language despite the attempts of the church to eradicate it.
Romantic English Druidry
Outside of sole practitioners, it is reckoned that Druidry in England had disappeared or become extinct by 750 CE. In the seventeenth century, William Stukeley began to recover what he presented as the 'Druid Wisdom' of the past and in 1694 he re-founded the Mount Haemus Grove at Oxford. John Toland (1670-1722) founded a Druid organisation in London. These gatherings had no-thing to do with ancient Celtic culture and their mystic incantations are chanted in the English language. Despite this false premise, the romantic attraction of Celtic culture has inspired many to believe that this modern English cabalistic magick is true Druidism, when it is pure fantasy. It was around this time that the term priest began to be applied to the Druid as if to validate the new "tradition" as an acceptable religion.
Nineteenth century Druidry was influenced by the works of Iolo Morganwg (1747-1826) and evolved into a mature system with the occult revival launched by Eliphas Levi (1801-1875). Eliphas Levi is the man that Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) claimed to be a re-incarnation of. There are many today claiming to be Druids who have no practical personal research done except on the romantic modern version of Druidry. Druidry from the 1900s to the 1960s re-evolved in England as an occult (hidden) society of philosophers and alchemists, magicians, painters, poets etc, shapers of society who were for the most part quiet and private about their Druidical magical practice. WB Yeats, AE Russell and Bram Stoker are some of the famous Irish names from the Golden Dawn period of modern Druidry.
Modern Druidism: Representing the modern path of Druidism
In the 1960s, modern paganism began to increase its active membership and this brought difficulties for the core beliefs of Traditional British Druids. This was because most modern Druids practice according to traditions of knowledge evolved since the 'Druid Revival' of the seventeenth century but most modern pagans wanted an Earth based religion instead. There has accordingly been an evolution or expansion of what is meant by the term Druid for many and this has expanded the Druid practices of traditions based on the 17th century re-invention. Whether this is appropriate will be shown by the passage of time.
Much modern Druid expression is romantic and appeals to the dreamer in us, but this diverts us from the full and true expression of Druidism. Druidism did not have a priest hood. Religion is a Latin word meaning "to be tied with ligament" � this means to be have something fixed to you or to be held to a set of laws. Priests interpret these laws and in doing so they put themselves above and between you and the source. This denies your right to full and direct connection to source except through those who claim to be your betters. This system has served its purpose and now belongs in the past.
The potential of the Path of the Celtic Druid today
Celtic Druidism is the ancient spiritual tradition of Ireland, it roots lie in the oldest temples in this island where many modern Druids still honour the Solar and Lunar cycles. Druidism is a spiritual path to gaining and holding inner Light and expressing your higher self. This path does not lead anywhere but as a Celtic Druid you have to walk it all the time. Walking this path is only possible by being balanced and in your centre. To be in your centre is to achieve a balance between thinking and intuiting. It is only in your centre that you can discover and express your magical higher self. Being in this balance means being in the godlike awareness we call the 'Witness'. This is where the modern Celtic Druid of today holds his/her awareness ie 'turned on and in balance'.
Technically speaking, this is not about killing the ego, it is not about killing the intuition, it is not about killing our base brain (medulla oblongata) � it is about working with all three and not being controlled by any of them. We need our left brain (thinking) and our right brain (intuiting) synchronised to transcend the reptilian brain (fight or flight) to activate the connecting bridge (corpus collosum) to hold our awareness in the higher mind. This I suggest is best done by focused magical training on a spiritual path of self-realisation in unity with Nature.
Our ancestors saw the world as Three Relams; Sky, Land and Sea with a corresponding inner expression as Three Cauldrons; Warming, Vocation and Wisdom. Celtic Druidism is a path to knowing yourself, to know where you came from, to connect with and activate your incarnational potential, to discover the secrets of the universe, to understand Love, to be happily at One with the Source. The Supreme Being for Druid is Nature as expressed through the Gods. With the inner stillness and peace of the Celtic Druid Path you can once again connect with Nature as you dissolve any illusions of separation. We all know the truth of Oneness, it is just that we have forgotten it. The Celtic Druid path is a way to remember our purpose, why we must practice meditation and why we must find the Light and dispel the Darkness. As a Celtic Druid you have direct access to the spiritual realm, no intermediary is ever needed to pray, meditate or to gain wisdom. Everything, every place and everyone is sacred because all is filled with the spirit of creation i.e. Nature.