Who Were the Druids?

The Druids were the wise ones, the educated class of the Celts. They were the lawyers, doctors, teachers, storytellers, and other professional of that culture. They were more than just clergy.

The Druids received bad press from the Romans, but the Romans had a war of conquest to justify. 

The Druids received bad press from the Christians, but the Christians had a rival religion to establish.

In the 1600s, the memory of the Druids was scorned by the English, but the English were then making war against the Irish.

As Christianity increased in influence, the role of Bard and Storyteller became split from religion. Traditions lived on in legend and secular practice. The Druids did not write their traditions in their own language. These were carried in song and poetry from generation to generation. However, the Druids had no prohibition against writing in other people's languages. Thus we find Celtic writers with Roman names who have interesting stories to tell in Latin.

Once the Druid numbers were sufficiently diminished as to no longer be seen as a threat, their culture became a topic of interest. Beginning in the 1700s, Druids were romanticized.  There came to be the Druid Order, the Ancient Order of Druids, the Welsh Gorsedd, and other smaller groups. There is even a Celtic Restored Church with is part of orthodox Christianity. A similar pattern of romance has grown up around our greatly-diminished Native Americans.

Here are a few online references on Druids, plus groups claiming this ancient heritage:

If someone were to ask me how to become a Druid, I would say, "Go get yourself educated! Get yourself a PhD in something, and then research the history of the ancient ways!"

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