Druids were a civilization of ancient Britain. They were a polytheistic with beliefs similar to those of the Wiccan religion. This group of ancient people has been said to have a link to Stonehenge. Their origin, beliefs, rituals and sights of worship have a link to the mysterious monument.
The Druids originated from ancient Celtic tribes, at a time when the people had to live close to nature to survive. A Druid’s connection to nature is the source of all their power (Spence166). At the time only the Celtic people called their religious professional Druids; other cultures had other names for their clergy, and expected different duties from them. To become a Druid, students assembled in large groups for instruction, and training, for a period of up to twenty years (Spence 67). The mythologies describe Druids capable of many magical powers such as divination and prophesy, control over the weather, healing, levitation, and shape changing themselves into the forms of animals. Druids even filled the roles of judge, doctor, mystic, and clerical scholar; in other words they were the religious intelligentsia of their culture.
The Celtic people believed in a variety of gods and goddess, although not every Celtic nation believed in that same group of gods, they were organized into tribes. They also believed in an afterlife when you die. They believed once you are dead you are transported to the Otherworld by the god Bile. That your life continued in this location mush as it had before death. The Druids believed that the soul of a person was immortal
(Spence 91). Druids, past and present celebrate a series of fire-festivals, on the first of each of four months, dancing around a bonfire. Each would start at sunset and last for three days, most of the bonfire would be built on hilltops, and couples would take turns jumping over or run between the bonfires. Some examples of Druid festivals are Samhain: festival for the dead, Imbolc: The Return of the Light, Belataine: Fires of Bel, and Lughnasad: The feast of light.
The Druids are said to have practiced human sacrifices the Romans recorded that the Druids sacrificed condemned criminals. The Romans also wrote that such victims were tied into a huge wicker man shaped effigies and burned alive. Some mythologies describe one person’s life being sacrificed so terminally ill noble would survive, indicating a belief in a cosmic balance of forces. The Druids were very noble to their gods, because the gods were similar to humans in disposition and temperament; they are so much more accessible and comprehensible to humans. The idea that the gods might be makers of morality and judges of humanity is a foreign idea to most ancient European people (Spence 68). This has happened since the pre-Christian times the people believed in complex and imperfect gods who, like human beings, had personalities, interests, and feelings (71).
Druids also had ritual implements like the sickle that was used to cut a mistletoe cut from an oak tree they used it many times to harvest plants (Spence53). A Druid rod was used to direct their magic, usually when cursing or shape changing. A bell branch
was also used to please the gods and attracted their attention and drew malevolent spirits who were thereby driven away. The crane bag was a ritual object that contained treasures
from many deities. A cauldron had magical importance it was said that if it was drank from it gave you wisdom. The druid egg was a small object possessing magic. Healing qualities was used to give instance healing. Animal and plant remains were used for decorative religious purposes Stones were also used to perform religious sacrifices or ceremonies.
Many people believe that Druids constructed Stonehenge located in South Central England as a astronomical use. But the current formation was made in 1500 BC the Celtic civilization did not start almost a millennium before the Celtics. In Ireland and Great Britain, there are many ancients “Druid” alters, bed, rings, stones, stone circles and temples. Druids may have used these megalithic monuments, but they did not build them.
Another place of worship is Woodhenge, which is not far from Stonehenge and is made of tree trunks (Spence 121).
In conclusion Druids are magical and there are a number of good reason for modern people to consider Druidism today. Some see it as a way to reconnect, or “ground” themselves in history, or to prove their understanding of their origins, beliefs, rituals and worships.
Melton, Gordon J. The Encyclopedia of American Religions Gale Research Company.
A. Carr-Gomm, Philip. The Druid Way Rockport, Mass
Spence, Lewis. Druids Their Origins and History.New York.
Barnes and Noble: 1995