Druids

Druids are priests or priestesses. Most Druids were Celtic and believed in many deities. Druids practiced a pagan religion and believed most of their spiritual power came from nature. They gathered in the dense foliage and woods to gain strength and honor their gods. Druids passed along their knowledge orally and as a result mostly non-druids have documented their religion.

Julius Caesar and Irish writings claim the Druids to be associated with worshipping the devil. While no known other documentation has been directly linked with Druidism and devil worship, the stigma remains associated with the Druid people. The hierarchic of the druids was that the priests ruled the community. They were the leaders and ranked as the highest members of Druid society.

Their theology was that the afterlife exists and is carried out without judgment. The Druids were comprised of territorial tribes. The Druid tribes worked within the boundaries of their land and all members participated. The makeup of the druid hierarchy was a type of pre-serfdom where the priest/priestess reigned over the rest of the community. In the druid society a tribal chief held a high rank of power similar to the judicial branch of the democratic system.

Annually the tribal chief would conduct legal proceedings governing land disputes, cattle ownership or other pertinent actions needed to ensure the success of civil matters. The tribal chief and the Druid priest/priestess level of power did not overlap, but instead, compliment the success of the community.

The Druids were energetic in their festivals and holiday worships.

Druid rituals and ceremonies have their impact on some contemporary pagan practices. Wicca honors some of the festivals and rituals that are clearly Druid in origin. Holiday rituals such as Beltane, this is a springtime festival celebrating the fertility of all life. Samhain is the celebration of a bountiful harvest and impending winter and Imbolc the celebration of spring’s arrival. The Druid practice of placing gifts under an evergreen tree to honor Woden led to the current practice of the modern day Christmas tree.

Non-druids have documented druid culture. The archeological evidence from sites such as Stonehenge among others shows that the Druid culture was a tightly knit society of small territorial tribes with a pre-democratic influence. While the Druids were known to sacrifice animals as well as humans, they continued to maintain a highly spiritual belief in the afterlife.

The Druid influence has maintained a resurgence of new followers. The love of nature, home and hearth, and a closely-knit unity with their fellow man have tapped into a current trend. A critical component of modern day druids is that some sects believe in only one god. They subscribe to the standard that spiritual energy is all consuming; the vital source of that energy is thought the sole power of a single deity. The traditional pagan worship of multiple gods is also a common belief among contemporary Druids.

The unifying factor between the single God Druid and the multiple God Druid is that both maintain the individuals spiritual journey and the path chosen is minor to the journeys end.



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