Druid Folklore and Myth
Because Druids were across so much of northern Europe, they are given their own page. The Druids ruled over Gaul (France, western Germany, Switzerland, northern Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and Ireland). They enjoyed one of the original “good ol’ boy,” societies. Everyone wanted to be a Druid, but few were. The Greeks called them “druids,” which translates to “oak seer.” Unlike the majority of known religions at that time, Druids did not worship in temples, buildings, or structures of any kind. They used massive groves of oak.
Druids could usurp princes, and were exempt from battle, tribute, and later taxes. They influenced everything from domestic to foreign affairs, and held position as the enforcers of the law. They were effectively judges, juries, and executioners. There was no appealing their decisions or decrees. To do otherwise resulted in death or exile. They were men of wealth and prestige.
Most of the Druidic system was obliterated by the Roman Tacitus, during the reign of Julius Caesar, when he slaughtered the Druids. The Romans also felled the ancient oak groves used by the Druids. By the time Christianity emerged, centuries later, many historic reports state Druids were little more than parlor magicians, and had completely lost the organization and knowledge they once had.
- All Gauls claimed descent from, Dīs Pater, Roman god of the underworld prior to Pluto.
- In texts before 1900, the Druid’s primary deity was Mercury. Following him were Apollo, Mars, Jupiter, and Minerva.
- Druids had to change their deities to pagan Rome’s deities, or their entire religious system would’ve been destroyed. Only three original figures survived this alteration.
- At the height of their power, Druids had to memorize 250,000 verses that governed their religion.
- Many historic texts state early Druids traveled to Egypt and Chaldea (Babylon) to learn their craft.
- Julius Caesar was not the only Roman Emperor to persecute the Druids. Augustus, Tiberius, and Claudius all took action against them.
- There was no difference between the Druidism observed in the British Isles and that practiced in Gaul.
- Druids originally practiced and governed a patriarchal system. Women didn’t take part until long after the slaughter of the originals, and Druidism was falling out of practice.
- Druids did not worship at stone alters, circles, or structures. They would not have used Stonehenge.
- If a king or nobleman had a question about their fate, and that of their kingdom, one method of divination used were entrails. The noble would disembowel an animal and carry its entrails through the dying embers of a fire pit. If he was injured during the walk, it meant misfortune for himself and his kingdom.
- Druids refused to document their system of belief for fear that commoners would learn them.
- When they used documents, for public or legal matters, they used Greek characters.
- Druids carried a “serpent’s egg.” This amulet was regarded as a symbol of power and protection.
- Many reasons have been given for Rome’s decision to slaughter the Druids, however the most likely is they were entitled to having a say in all matters, including those dealing with Rome.
- Researchers as far back as Victorian times questioned if Druidism was an actual Celtic practice, or if it came from Iberia.
- Druids in continental Europe sent their neophytes to Britain to train.
- People of Cisalpine (Italian side of the alps) Gaul had no Druids.
- Julius Caesar said Gaul had many Druidic seminaries, and students underwent intense practice and discipline.
- Druidic instruction was primarily astrological.
- Druids were considered magi and hierophants.
- Druid magic was closer to black magic than that of seeking power.
- Broichan- a Caledonian (Scottish) Druid. He opposed Saint Columbia.
- Druids claimed they could make rain, they could reign down fire from the heavens, could cause mists and fogs, blizzards, and flooding.
- Druid spells lingered centuries after they were lost. The practitioners simply substituted the names of saints for those of pagan deities.
- Because the ancient spells that are known bare such similarities to Etruscan and Babylonian spells, many thought Druidism came from the east.
- Phallic amulets were worn to counter the evil eye.