Over the centuries, the Druids have been a persistant image in the Celtic nations of Wales
Over the centuries, the Druids have been a persistant image in the Celtic nations of Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Ireland, Brittany and Manx. They are also crop up in England. When most people think of the Druids, they imagine men in long white robes, cutting mistletoe with golden sickeles. Or, especially if British, they think of the people in long white robes that gather at Stonehenge every Summer Solstice. In the Neo-Pagan community, people think of Druids as men and women in long, white robes, who wear white berets. Well, they are all Druids, of a sort.
The Druids, as an organized above ground group, pretty much ceased to exist by the seventh century C.E. Despite their destruction, their spirit lived on in the imagination of the people in the British Isles and elsewheres.
In the past two hundred years, there have been a number of groups that have called themselves Druids.
Some, such as the Masonic Druid organization formed by Iolo Morganwg, claim to carry on the ancient traditions of the Druids. A few groups say that they are the decendents (fam-trad) of the origanal Paleopagan Druids, and have an unbroken line from then to now. Since the 1960's, there have been a number of Neo-Pagan groups that have called themselves Druids.
This topic is broken down into five parts. It is based upon the times that the various groups existed. The groupings are:
1) The Paleopagan Druids
2) Meseopagan Druids
3) Neo-Pagan Druidism
4) Druidic Survivals
5) Non-facts about the Druids
Who really were the origanal Druids?
What does "Druid" mean?
What do we accurately know about them?
What are the sources of our knowledge?
About 6000 years ago, 4000 BCE, there lived a group of tribes on the northwest shores of what is now the Black Sea. These tribes shared a set of certain common beliefs, similar social systems and a common basic language. History has labled the language and the peoples the Proto-Indo-Europeans, or PIE.
As the name implies they are the root stock of the modern peoples and cultures from Europe to the Indian sub-continent. Over the milleniums between then and now, they migrated from their home lands to cover Europe and part of Asia. They were known throught history by many names. Among the civilizations they founded were the Vedic and Iranian cultures in the Indian sub-continent, and the Hittites in Mideast. In the west, they were the founders of the Greek civiliztion. To the northwest, they established the Celtic, Slavic, Germanic, and Baltic cultures.
The Indo-European social system is most easily seen in Vedic India. It is based on a one plus three plus one groups. The three major groups, or castes are the clergy, the warriors, and the producers. At the top, above the clergy, was a High King or Queen. Beneath the hewers of wood and drawers of water, were the slaves and outcasts.
This 1+3+1 caste system carried over into the cosmology and other aspects of life.
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