Where the Druids are concerned, hundreds of years of diverse academic and philosophical debate await the Seeker on their look back. It is now even more controversial to speak of the Pheryllt in neodruid circles – supposed rings of open minds that remain closed in reality…
JOSHUA FREE explains in the preface to the newly released volume: PHERYLLT.
For two decades a modern movement of neodruids
influenced by modern Pheryllt Druidism have become bystanders amidst the unbreakable schism. Alleged authorities on Druidry raise one hand screaming how these documents supporting an ancient Welsh Bardic Druid (and Pheryllt) tradition are a hoax, but with the other hand they borrow from these same sources for their own purposes.
It is by no surprise to many that I find myself tackling the venture of compiling a readable and accessible version of the Books of Pheryllt. My metaphysical and spiritual involvement in the modern New Age consists primarily in the cultural genres of Druidism and Mesopotamia. That being said, my presentation generally is in favor of ancient writings, often collected in the style of an infamous book that is notoriously considered pseudoepigrapha in the literary and underground communities.
These tomes in question are thought not to exist, or entirely the subject of fantasy or fiction. Those who are at all familiar with my historical presentation of the Mesopotamian tradition using the Necronomicon paradigm understand this. In spite of this, the Necronomicon Anunnaki Legacy (Silver Edition),currently available via the Mardukite Research Organization, is the only “version” of a ‘Necronomicon’ on the market today that even begins to meet the vast and fantastic descriptions lent to the book’s existence in the writings of H.P. Lovecraft.
The banner of the National Welsh Eisteddfodd continues to read to this day: Y GWIR YN ERBYN BYD, meaning: Truth Against The World. It is in this light that I have worked over the past twenty years in my modern Pheryllt Druidry and other efforts – both privately in practice and publicly in my literary contributions to the Spirit of the Times. In such, I take the matter of presenting the Books of Pheryllt quite seriously. They exist as a ‘body’ of much misunderstood literary work solidified from ancient oral traditions preserved by the Bardic Druids – bridging prehistory with modern times!
Many antiquated scholarly references to Books of Pheryllt and the Pheryllt themselves may be found by a diligent seeker – some of which are included or paraphrased within this very book. It is, however, Douglas Monroe‘s modern work that brings the Pheryllt to debate among the tables and councils of neodruid Orders. He has used the unpublished Books of Pheryllt in his writings as a paradigm to present a uniquely eclectic form of modern Druidry.
Douglas Monroe undertakes a remarkable feat spanning a trilogy of intensive writings, most famously his debut and bestselling 21 Lessons of Merlyn in 1992, in relaying the 3 memories of the Bard: the history, the poetry and the lineage of the tradition as survived by the hands of Bardic Druids. The authentic premise guiding the modern Pheryllt Druid tradition is the remaining works that do exist from the Welsh MS. Society and the continuing efforts of the National Welsh Eisteddfodd in preserving the Bardic tradition…
Neodruids… Modern druidism emerged with (and essentially as the answer to) the development of an urban-oriented industrialization of society in human civilization. The revival far predates both the modern New Age Movement and contemporary Wicca as an underground counter-cultural movement or secret society — both public and private.
Explore this and hundreds of other facets of new age, metaphysical and occult mysteries in Joshua Free’s underground masterpiece: ARCANUM, the perfect compliment to THE DRUID COMPLEAT curriculum of Merlyn’s School of Druidry & Magick.
The early 18th Century revival in England coincides with the rebirth of the Freemasonic tradition. The Freemasons began to allow “Accepted Masons,” those who were not masons by trade, into their ranks. [Many founding figures of the early neodruid organizations were Masons and Rosicrucians.] Neodruidic revival occurred during the Anti-Witchcraft and Magick Acts (see Book of Elven Faerie or The Druid Compleat), so members were cautious not to be interpreted as “sorcerers” or “witches.” This forced many of the organizations to operate as ecological, charitable and social rotary clubs.
The sacred sites of the Celts and antiquarian interest in the Druids promoted a renaissance of “Celtic Reconstructionism” and neo-druidism. The interpretation of this revival, the differing beliefs and personal inclinations of individuals caused the first of many underground neodruidic schisms. [This entire blog/lesson is excerpted officially from ARCANUM by Joshua Free.]
John Toland originally sought to unify the antiquarian movement in 1717 when he founded the (British) Druid Circle of the Universal Bond [“An Druidh Uileach Braithreaches” (ADUB)]. It maintained international membership from the start and was rooted in Toland’s personal researches into the Druid Histories. [Toland’s secret society also went by the name of the “Ancient Druid Order” (ADO).]
Some “mesopagan” Druids, like Henry Hurle, saw neo-druidism as an extension, if not a purely Celtic equivalent, to Eurasian Freemasonry, which was revived in England in the same year and place [“The Apple Tree Tavern”] as John Toland’s ADO in 1717. Hurle led the formation of the “Ancient Order of Druids” (AOD) in 1781 emphasizing his background in Masonry, Rosicrucianism and the Kabbalah. Some members disliked the occult focus, preferring participation in the social-charitable organizations.
These members formed their own branch or offshoot called the “United Ancient Order of Druids” (UAOD) in 1833, which retained the “rotary club” ideals. Other Masonic-Druids joined the “Ancient Archaeological Order of Druids” (AAOD), which was formed by Robert Wentworth Little in 1874, later changing its name to the “Ancient Masonic Order of Druids” (AMOD) in 1886. These Masonic and Rosicrucian-oriented Druids went onto evolve the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (GD). Other Hermetic and Kabbalistic organizations of neodruids continued to form.
Once the revival had been organized it immediately became a public and national identity. Sacred sites such as Stonehenge and Woodhenge would entertain guests by the thousands during neodruidic activities. Large media events were planned around the dramatic reenactments and ceremonies performed by neodruids in full wizard’s attire. The more publicized displays coincided with the autumn equinox and summer solstice festivals. The full eight-fold wheel of the year, now common in the New Age, was not yet a part of the revival. [See ARCANUM for further information regarding this.]
In the 19th Century, when Quasi-Masonic neodruidry was developing, a separate nationalist movement was growing alongside. These “reconstructionists” sought to reinvestigate the Bardic Tradition as a national custom in Wales. Figures such as Iolo Morganwg (compiler of the Barddas), William Blake and Edward Davies all desired to preservation of the language and Druidism of Wales. This led to a revival of the “Gorsedd of Bards” and a “National Eisteddfodd” held annually in public to celebrate the Welsh tradition. With some offbeat claims of “authenticity,” the Welsh revival (and the more recent neo-Pheryllt system) has been subject to historical and mystical controversy in relation to other organizations and revival efforts.
Organized neodruidism did not reach America until the early 1900s as an extension of AAOD/AMOD. Though originally a more Masonic-based secret society, the “Ancient Order of Druids in America” (AODA), as they called themselves, evolved into a standard green magick system under the direction of John Michael Greer, including neo-paganism and sacred geometry. The 1960s displayed a more publicly visible forum for “reformed” neodruidism, evident by the Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA), founded by Minnesota college students: first as a rebellion to the religious requirements of Carleton College, but it became a widespread modern contemporary avenue toward New Age ideals.
Ross Nichols had been a member of ADO for a decade when Arch Druid Robert MacGregor Reid passed away in 1963. The election for a new Chosen Chief produced a schism in the organization. Nichols felt that the Rosicrucian-Theosophical approach to neodruidism did not “feel” truly “druidic,” so he formed the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD). The order still incorporated some Eastern philosophies but remained primarily Celtic. After his death, OBOD was passed down to Philip Carr-Gomm who jump-started the organization again in 1988. Most of the modern revival traditions of the 1990s-to-present seem heavily dependent on the OBOD materials and social networking. Most major contemporary neodruidic figures/authors have some connection to OBOD in England (or to COBOD, the Council of British Orders of the Druids).
Back in America, the RDNA tradition gave rise to an only slightly more solemn practice in the early 1980s under the direction of Isaac Bonewits. The new order, A Druid Fellowship (ADF) sought to provide for America what OBOD does for Europe. Both organizations eventually became an international success. But then, as is common in neo-druidism, another schism erupted. In 1986, some members broke away from ADF to form the Henge of Keltria (HK), which justifiably sought to remove the wiccan influence that overran the ADF materials.
The neodruidism of the 21st Century really belongs to the youth of society, the young and middle-aged seekers. At one time it seemed to be a social organization aimed at the older and more established working class. Today, the ecological responsibility proposed by the “Druid Way” speaks to those that fear the near-future state of the Earth Planet. It is the younger generations that are feeling the effects and fearing the future as they work to solidify their own lives on an ever-changing canvas. The long-term effects of crude oil use, chlorine-based refrigerants, freshwater pollution and air quality are beginning to take affect, though it seems the elder mongers with cash interests in these products simply don’t care about those of us that will still be alive in the oncoming decades. The world of neodruidism has come into existence among the common classes because of the calling felt to aid in the restoration and balance of Nature… —Joshua Free
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Surely, when someone hears the word “new,” it probably means to them that it is ‘not the original’ or that the concept is ‘wholly new’. The neo-movement found within this current age is not really new at all, but tends to work from the most favorable and widely used sources that within themselves will often make claims of originality. I would estimate that the average “New Ager” easily can accumulate a collection of books averaging at least between $50-500 within their first year of mild-to-average avid research and study. While they will most likely still lack the materials often necessary for serious advancement, the second year will often times be spent putting hundreds of dollars into buying and/or making ritual tools and other ‘mystical’ bric-a-brac, often before the full understanding of what the item represents has been fully realized.
The Druids were magicians, though, but they were also poets and musicians, healers and shamans, statesmen and politicians. In the early days of the Celts and Druids, the sacred sites and ‘stone circles’ were sought for their ability to assist in the reverence of Nature and the “Source of All” and the same was not destroyed for the purpose of building artificial churches, a celebration of the means of men more than a God. Even though Druidism appeared to ‘die’ with the coming of Christianity, the practices continued to covertly survive embedded in the works of Bardic Schools, which were able to make contributions with remnants still found today in British, Welsh and Irish traditions.
Unlike ever before in the current age, there is actually a dire need for the Druids to make a return in our civilization today – regardless if they are in one-to-one reflection with the ‘classical’ image of Druidry. But, nonetheless, the fate of the planet seemingly depends on this very presence, under whatever semantics is being observed to represent the Guardians of the Old Ways – true stewards of the very face of the earth itself. Clearly, if this way of thinking is not for you, then it should never be forced. It is a living tradition that comes from the stars – and the blood of those who are called and chosen to bare the title also come from the stars.
What is being described here are the same mysteries that have been explored from the beginning of modern civilization, the inception of the Dragon Kings of Mesopotamia and their spread across Eurasia, through the ‘Holy Lands’ and Magan desert, Egyptian Nile, Asia and India, the Siberian mountains, the European mainlands, the aboriginal traditions of southern, central and northern America… all of this can be traced and linked back to the Source. Those who are coming forth, awakening in this modern world, are feeling the call towards the ‘something’ that has brought us here in this time and place to serve a function that exists outside of time and space…
…we have not long to wait for the realization of our purpose: the uncovering and resurrection of the true source tradition from which we first emerged on this planet, which has been hidden from human sight and left to the politics of self-serving covert organizations to control.
…that time has ended.
…and a new era is in our midst.
Each winter that the annual wheel is observed, Druids, elves, fairy witches and New Agers of all kinds bare witness to the Solar procession that takes place — a cosmic astronomical passion play that is responsible both figuratively and literally for all life on the planet Earth; a dramatic enactment that is observed most specifically from the time of the Winter Solstice (Yule) until the Spring Equinox, called Ostara in the general Celtic-based New Age revivals, a word drawn from the very name of Ishtar (Babylonian), or Inanna to the Sumerians.
These mysteries became particularly important to the descendents of the Star Race that spread their traditions and culture across Europe as explored within Joshua Free’s breakthrough underground literary bestselling materials within The Book of Elven-Faerie, now available in its second public edition, revised and expanded with index!
“Book of Elven-Faerie: The Secrets of Dragon Kings, Druids, Wizards & The Pheryllt“ became the genesis of the modern ‘Mardukite’ movement when privately released by prolific visionary writer, Joshua Free, in 2006. This revolutionary and controversial compendium of lore and magic reveals many things including: How ancient traditions of Mesopotamia (Sumerians, Babylonians, etc.) evolved into mystical, mythical and societal systems of Western Europe; How the most arcane practices shaped the customs and beliefs of the Western World; How modern folk magic can be traced back through the evolution of human civilization as carried by Druidic Tribes, the Tuatha de Dannan and ancient Anunnaki.
Following up in the same series — the revised and expanded 15th anniversary edition of Joshua Free’s Draconomicon… the controversial underground manifesto describing the deeper Dragon Legacy inherent in the system of the Druids, a tradition born among the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians and carrying through to the present time New Age traditions. Whether looking to incorporate the “dragon” into your personal spiritual or magickal tradition or even simply as a unique and remarkable treasury of esoteric knowledge as revealed by a leading member of the occult underground, Joshua Free, the “Draconomicon“ is the perfect addition to your literary collection and everyday life.
What’s more ??? Both of these books and an additional third are available in the newly designed anthology — the collected works of Druidry by Joshua Free — in THE DRUID COMPLEAT, an amazing volume that will surely make your fellow Druid, nature witch or earth philosopher feel blessed by the Green Man this holiday season!
The Druid Compleat: Self-Initiation Into the Druidic Tradition The most comprehensive course in the magick, metaphysics and secret wisdom of Druidry, designed for both novice and adept alike by prolific writer, Joshua Free, who has developed a huge definitive revolutionary literary anthology contribution for the New Age, comparable to his revolutionary “Arcanum“ volume and even the “Necronomicon Anunnaki Bible.“ Now, come initiate yourself and gain clear understanding of the ‘secret knowledge’ of the Druids unlike anything ever before compiled in print!
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The Druids were historically a learned group of men and women made popular during the “ancient” Celtic times. They formed their own communities in Keltia, what we more commonly know as Ireland, Britain and Gaul (now France). Their counsel and wisdom was sought out by many different groups of people and societies, particularly when some mediation was required.
With much unhappiness I can easily say that the majority of the public texts involving the ancient Druids was documented or based on documents of the ancient Romans, who were notoriously the archenemy of the Druids. With this in mind, there is not much we can take for granted (or at the very least, unbiased) from these Roman accounts. After all, if we were responsible for preserving the memory of our enemies, how might we go about coloring this with our attitudes?
It is well known that the Druids held the Oak Tree as sacred, as well as the herb referred to as “mistletoe.” Both herbs make frequent appearances in Druidic rituals. It has become fairly well propagated knowledge, as well, that human sacrifices played some prominent role in their tradition as well. With the coming of Christianity, Druidism faced its final days with the ‘fall of the elves’ and the donation of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine to the establishment of the “Vatican” Catholic Church. The ‘End of Days’ for the Druids appeared to have come about in the sixth century, when it disappeared for a time…
…but here we are now in the 20th century, going into the 21st [We are, of course, now in the 21st century at the time of printing. -Ed.] Druidism and neopaganism has begun to once again play a significant role in modern culture. It appears to have made a reappearance in the public’s eye sometime in the 1400’s and 1500’s, when Druidism was being studied by medieval historians and the first ‘books’ were written on the topic (post-Romana) explaining what was found from these studies. Lost manuscripts were being discovered in obscure places and many ancient writings were being deciphered by ‘antiquarians’.
In the 1600’s and 1700’s, colleges and universities in Europe were beginning to study this revived interest in the Druids more academically. Lost books containing ceremonies and rituals in varying European languages became the subject of interpretation among people from all walks of life. By the late 1800’s and beginning of the 1900’s, the word was spreading quickly about the revivalist traditions and systems of Druidry – and looking back we can see the period where the majority of what we academically learned about the Druids became solidified in public consciousness was during this time. What had begun as the uncovering of a myth was developing into a historical natural living religion.
English, Welsh and Irish nationalist founded a new order of Druids for modern times, calling themselves the “Ancient Order of Druids.” They set our to revive their own practical interpretation of the ancient Druid tradition – even reclaiming Stonehenge in the name of the Druids and observing public ceremonies there as often as possible. Soon after, because of tourism, Stonehenge began to show increasing signs of damage and the landowners decided to begin charging an entrance fee in order to offset maintenance costs. When the AOD showed up and refuse to pay, they were arrested accordingly for misconduct.
In the 1930’s the name of the revival changed to the “Ancient Order of Druid Hermeticists” – a membership that was composed of ex-AOD members by eighty percent. The AODH devised their own newsletter magazine titled Pendragon. By 1955 only one of the original five chapters of the AODH still existed – they even claimed to be the sole survivors practicing of the original Ancient Order of Druids (AOD)…