We’ve all heard of the Druids, but how much do you really know about them? The classic image of a circle of white-robed wizards who gather at Stonehenge is immediately conjured to mind. Beyond that, there is the image crafted at Hollywood…
…two teenage Druids must prevent the son of Satan from using runestones to bring about the end of the world (Warlock 2: The Armageddon).
…a Druid nanny must sacrifice newborn babies to her sacred tree, which has the powers to protect and heal her (The Guardian).
…a tribe of Druid shamans, who drink orange soda, dominate a tropical island possessing an active volcano that requires an occasional sacrifice (Joe vs. Volcano).
[This blog is based on materials originally appearing in the third edition of “Sorcerer’s Handbook of Merlyn Stone” (1998), written by the present author at age 16, reprinted within “The Lost Books of Merlyn Stone” (2011) and the “Wizardry” anthology.]
Unfortunately there has been a lack of decent materials for the aspiring modern Druids. Most of the books available are rehashes of their questionable history. Fewer resources will relate to the reader something pragmatic and practical for our times – again, unfortunate. However, the Mardukite Truth Seeker Press has recently released the revised and expanded edition of the complete course curriculum in Druidry, now available as THE DRUID COMPLEAT by Joshua Free.
1. There were no human sacrifices related to Druidry in Britain or Ireland. There is some evidence for this on mainland Europe, for example Gaul (now France) — and even then, only in regards to the Gaulic Wars involving Roman prisoners. The Romans, whose tales are used by historians as a bible for learning of the Druids, had encountered and wrote of the Druids of Gaul before they invaded Britain. The accounts are extraordinarily biased and xenophobic in their interpretation.
2. The Druidic histories and lessons were written down. This was one of the many purposes of the Ogham script – in addition to using the ‘tree alphabet’ to arrange ‘forest libraries’ consisting of dried leaves. The Druids also knew how to apply the Ogham to hand signals and gestures giving them a silent ‘sign-language’. Romans sought to destroy all the evidence that the Druids exist-ed and their legions of soldiers were fed with a new-found ‘fire’ when invading the Celts. Julius Caesar once even recounted that the Druids had put up the most resistance to an invasion than any other culture encountered by the Roman Empire.
3. Druidism never was, nor should it be, considered a “religion” in the context that the word is used in contemporary society. It can be better examined as a “fraternity,” “brotherhood,” or “secret society,” with an equally significant Celtic-based “sorority” known as the Motherhood of Avalon. Similar organizations still exist and they share a long lineage of participation with various ‘secret orders’.
The Druids are an interesting archetype. For all of recorded time, there has always been someone or some group claiming to be druidic. In spite of this, or maybe because of it, the hardcore lineage and true sources of practical modern Druidry are difficult to ascertain. In many ways, Druidry can be best described as a niche – it seems to come naturally, and people are naturally inclined or drawn toward it or not…