The Druids were, and are, a society of people who respected and worshiped all living things and all things of nature. There are many interesting aspects about them and these are a few that I thought interesting.
The Druids were a part of Celtic society. The Celts lived in Gaul, Britain, Ireland and other parts of Europe in ancient times. It is believed that they have been around for thousands of years. The first written histories of them were by ancient Romans around 400 BCE. We have our best accounts from Julius Caesar in his history of the Gaul Wars from 59 to 51 BC. We are lucky to have this account because the Druids did not keep written histories.
Druid society was divided into three areas of study: The Bards were the keepers of the histories. This was the first area of study for a Druid. They studied for as many as twelve years. They learned the oral traditions, laws and rituals of their tribes. They composed the stories about the past and current histories of their groups to be passed on to the next Bards. The Ovates were the healers and the prophets of their tribes. They were in touch with the ancient ancestors and could foresee the future. This was the second area of study for the Druid. The Druids were the teachers and educators. This was the third and final area of study. They studied as many as twenty years. They led the public rituals much as the modern-day priests do today. They brought the wisdom and knowledge of many years of study to be the advisors to the tribal chiefs and the tribe.
Although the Druids did not write down their stories and rituals, they did have an alphabet called the Ogham. It had 20 letters, each representing a sacred tree. Each letter was made with lines or branches that made it look like a tree. Although writing with this alphabet was labor intensive, the symbols were reminiscent of the forests that were sacred to the Druids. This alphabet was also used for divination like Ruins. The symbols were drawn on sticks of wood and tossed on the ground. The answer to a question was interpreted by how the sticks landed.
The Druid Sabbats were celebrated by dividing the seasons into The Wheel of the Year which represented the four seasons of summer, fall, winter, and spring. These were called Solar Festivals. The summer was the fire season and celebrated fertility and birth. This season had the first harvest. It was celebrated from May through August. The fall, or earth season, celebrated the equal time of day and night, light and dark. This season had the second and third harvests. It was celebrated from September through October. The winter was the air season and celebrated the darkest time of the year. It was a resting time. It was celebrated from December to January. The spring season was the water season and celebrated the return of the sun and the beginning of the cycle of life all over again. It began in February. These celebrations often took place under cover of night in groves of trees and in forests among the very things of nature that were being celebrated.
There are still groups today who practice Druidism. It might be worth our while to take a look at the Druids and their respect for Mother Nature and her Earth as we seem to have lost touch with our responsibility to protect our planet. I don't think it would hurt any of us to dance around a bonfire in the moonlight in any forest on any continent. Even if we sat around that bonfire and toasted marshmallows and looked at the stars it could very well get us back in touch with our planet.
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