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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: druids

DEFINITIONS

Druids: Pre-Roman spiritual leaders of Europe, there is much speculation and relatively little factual documentation about them. They seem to have been involved with divination, incantations, healing, magic, advising royalty, carrying history in song. Druidry was an oral tradition, hence the minimal documentation.

Druids were said to meet in groves (especially of oak) and in caves. They were seen as anti-Roman, so Rome (under Augustus) forbade the practice of Druidry and the armies (and later the Christians) would destroy their sacred areas and burn them.

There was a Druid center of learning on the island of Anglesey (Ynys Môn) in Wales. Druids assembled there for training from all over Europe, although the oral secrets revealed there are not known. Rome eventually invaded the island and destroyed the groves.

Today, many of their mysteries are being rediscovered.Donald Michael Kraig


ARTICLES

Who Were the Druids?
To mention the word Druid is to evoke images of ancient wizards and wonder-workers from old Irish sagas, Welsh legends, Caesar’s Gallic Wars and Scottish folktales. If you have read about the Druids, you’ve probably retained one of their many images ...
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Druidic Vestments
The appearance of the Druid is known to us from two main sources: Greco-Roman writings and medieval Irish tradition. There is also some evidence from Irish and Scottish folklore. Druids wore white tunics, which in early Ireland ...
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Celtic Religion
Druidism can be used synonymously with the phrases Celtic religion and Celtic magic. In order to enter into this magico-religious system, a familiarity with mythology is necessary. Celtic mythology is best represented in the Irish Book of Invasions ...
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Neo-Druidism Since the 1700s
The last vestiges of the Filídhecht schools were stamped out in the 1600s as Elizabethan English conquered and destroyed most of Ireland’s remaining Gaelic culture. The "plantations" of Ulster, and the extension of the Pale beyond Leinster into ...
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Rebirth in the Celtic Tradition
In Old Celtic (Gaulish-Brittonic and Goidelic), the word for rebirth was ategenos (Old Irish aithghen). In this doctrine of limited reincarnation the spirit of an ancestor was reborn among his or her own kin. This means that certain inherited ...
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Oral Tradition and the Druidic Class
The ancient Druids considered it profane to record their teachings in writing. All of their teachings were handed down by spoken word in verses or stories. People at different levels taught different categories of the ancient lore. The highest in ...
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Time
The earliest Indo-European measurement of time was by the moon, and this reveals the nature of the Celtic calendar. The Celts never deviated from lunar time measurement, as their Druids had preserved it from the Indo-European tradition. Luckily for ...
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Why Do Runes Have a Bad Reputation?
Runes have always been mysterious and forbidding. The very word "rune" means a secret, a mystery. In popular folklore runes are dangerous, evil, pitiless, and destructive. But how did runes get so wicked a reputation? Part of it can be attributed ...
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Review of the Celtic Oracle
Summary: The twenty-two oversized cards of the Celtic Oracle provide both an excellent divination tool as well as an introduction to Celtic studies. It elegantly combines Celtic astrology with the Ogham (or Celtic alphabet) and tree symbolism ...
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Celtic Magic
The Druids and filídh were known for their divination and mysticism. These took manyforms, such as the learning and verse forms for composing blessings and curses,and the memorization of old hymns, chants and incantations. The basic song wascalled a ...
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