The Druids – From Mythical Legends of Celtic Tradition to Modern Day Icons
Medieval Celtic legend tells of a unique group of people known as Oak-seers. Much of the written accounts of early Druids are associated with Roman documentation when Rome occupied much of modern-day Ireland and Great Britain.
But who are these mystical figures from the pagan Celtic culture, proclaimed by Julius Caesar as some of the most influential people in that part of the world? We’ll begin with the Druids of ancient times, who they are today, and finally discuss how the order has been rejuvenated by a self-proclaimed modern day king.
Who are the Druids
Historians agree that the Druids were an influential part of the Celtic culture. Most insist their social status was on a parallel with lords and nobles. Druids did not have to serve in the military, but their presence on a battlefield would cause fighting to cease immediately.
They were perceived as gifted minds who could foretell the future. Druids also lived in many of the heavily wooded parts of the region, therefore, the name association with the Latin for Oak-Seer.
They were entrusted with organizing religious events and spiritual sacrifices. Their enlightened sense of spirituality gave many people cause to view them as a deity. The Druids were also heavily involved in the judicial process.
Druids weren’t required to pay taxes. They could excommunicate people turning them into instant public outcasts marked for social ridicule and discrimination. Stories tell of a secret lifestyle living in caves and forests, where much of their aura was shrouded in mystery.
During Roman occupation, the Druids were said to offer human sacrifices. Usually, these were nefarious criminal types. However, when the supply was short, innocent people filled the need. For a sacrifice to be accepted by the Celtic gods, a Druid had to present.
They were said to believe in a strict doctrine immortality. Druids believed that men’s souls would reincarnate in the body of another after a predetermined number of years. Modern historians believe their portrayal as masterful philosophers to be very accurate.
However, they also contend much of the insistence that Druids were responsible for human sacrifice to be an unsupported myth. For all the mystery surrounding the Druids, their legend has transcended millennia.
Druids experienced a social revival during the 17th century. There are a number of conflicting stories attributing this reemergence of Druidism to various individuals of English and Welsh descent.
Most historical accounts associate the Druids with the bards of 10th century Wales. While most did not connect the two until the middle of the 18th century, each held such a similar level of nobility the association seemed logical.
This order of learned-class teachers and scholars, with a recorded history as far back as 300BC, are still fodder for historical debate. Regardless of who earns the actual credit, a Druid revival did happen as evidence by modern-day Druid societies.
Modern Day Druids
From priests, philosophers and judicial proclamations, has evolved a new order of Druids. Modern day Druidry or Druidism draws from the Oak-Seer association of ancient mythology. Druidism today is closely associated with an attachment to nature.
Modern day Druids express a love and reverence to live at harmony with the environment. The movement is a blend of spiritual and religious beliefs that proclaim respect for all living things.
A core principle of modern Druidism exemplifies the historic connections to environmental accord. They follow nearly all the inherent traditions established in the resurgence of the late 18th century.
There is a strong foundation rooted in the tenets that resulted from the founding of the Ancient Order of the Druids in 1781. While there are many differences and no documented connection between ancient Druidism, modern day Druids have retained the core values of naturism and spiritual enlightenment.
Most modern day Druids hold sacred many of the beliefs from their ancestral counterparts. They have adapted many of these ancient practices to meet problems in our current world. Some insist that they are channels for spiritual revelations from ancient Druids.
King Arthur Pendragon and Druidism
One such channel is through a connection to a modern day king. King Arthur Pendragon and The Loyal Arthurian Warband became a member of The Council of British Druid Orders in 1990.
Upon recognition by the order, Pendragon’s group changed their name. They purposefully employed the acronym LAW to signify the organizations adamant pursuit of redress through the court system.
The Loyal Arthurian Warband has been proclaimed as the warrior branch of the British Druid Orders. They have brought legal challenges to bear in an array of courts, most rooted in a fight for various human rights.
They insist that their battles are won on a modern battlefield in the courtrooms. The LAW has won decisions for public liberties at historic places such as Stonehenge. King Arthur Pendragon’s Loyal Arthurian Warband is now one of the largest Druid movements.
From an ancient order of Oak-Seers to a modern day society of environmental visionaries, Druids have evolved. Modern day Druidism draws a close association to their ancestral roots. While historians contend there is no direct connection, the basic principles are strikingly similar.
Once closely associated with Christianity, many modern day Druids have stepped inline more closely with the modern Pagan movements. While they believe that today’s Druids have a distinct connection to their ancestors, at the core of their beliefs is a central compassion for all of nature’s creatures.