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January 18, 2005
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Although since Christian times Druids have been identified as wizards and soothsayers, in pre-Christian Celtic society they formed an intellectual class comprising philosophers, judges, educators, historians, doctors, seers, astronomers, and astrologers. The earliest surviving Classical references to Druids date to the 2nd century B.C.

The word "Druidae" is of Celtic origin. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus, 23/24-79 A.D.) believed it to be a cognate with the Greek work "drus," meaning "an oak." "Dru-wid" combines the word roots "oak" and "knowledge" ("wid" means "to know" or "to see" - as in the Sanskrit "vid"). The oak (together with the rowan and hazel) was an important sacred tree to the Druids. In the Celtic social system, Druid was a title given to learned men and women possessing "oak knowledge" (or "oak wisdom").

The Druids emerged from the ancient Celtic tribes, at a time when the people had to live close to nature to survive. By the light of the storyteller's fire, and with the play of the harp, the Druids dreamed magic for their people. In the deep woods they would gather, bringing together their mysticism and philosophy, their insight and learning. Their spirit emerged from the the tides of the sea, the light of the sun, the wind in the Oak, the cry of the deer. In this way, they created an institution that inspired, frightened, and uplifted their world.

Druids filled the roles of judge, doctor, diviner, mage, mystic, and clerical scholar - they were the religious intelligensia of their culture.

To become a Druid, students assembled in large groups for instruction and training, for a period of up to twenty years.

The mythologies describe Druids who were capable of many magical powers such as divination & prophesy, control of the weather, healing, levitation, and shapechanging themselves into the forms of animals.

Their education was so rigourous that at the end of it they were virtually walking encycopaedias. A good word for them would seem to be "priests", yet I am reluctant to use it for two reasons: The Romans never used it, and because Druids didn't minister to congregations as priests do.

Rather, they had a clientele, like a lawyer, a consultant, a mystic, or a shaman would have.

Caesar and his historians never referred to them as priests, but perhaps they could not recognise them as priests since the Roman priesthood, officiating over an essentially political religion, were primarily teachers and judges, with less emphasis on being seers or diviners, whereas the Druids appeared to have both legal and magical powers and responsabilities.

Some scholars have argued that Druids originally belonged to a pre-Celtic ('non-Aryan') population in Britain and Ireland (from where they spread to Gaul), noting that there is no trace of Druidism among Celts elsewhere - in Cisalpine Italy, Spain, or Galatia (modern Turkey). Others, however, believe that Druids were an indigenous Celtic intelligentsia to be found among all Celtic peoples, but were known by other names.

With the revival of interest in the Druids in later times, the question of what they looked like has been largely a matter of imagination. Early representations tended to show them dressed in vaguely classical garb. Aylett Sammes, in his Britannia Antiqua Illustrata (1676), shows a Druid barefoot dressed in a knee-length tunic and a hooded cloak. He holds a staff in one hand and in the other a book and a sprig of mistletoe. A bag or scrip hangs from his belt.

The main sources we have on what Druids did are the teachings and writings of Roman historians, such data as archeological remains can provide, and mythological literature recorded by monks in the eighth through twelfth century. Also, analogies can be drawn between the Celts and such Indo-European cultures that existed around the same time and had the same level of cultural achievement, such as the Hindu people.

Archaeology is an excellent resource for the study of celtic history. Scientists have uncovered the remains of votive offerings to the Gods in lake bottoms, bogs, and "votive pits" (a narrow hole dug deep in the ground in which votive offerings are buried), which tell us about Celtic religion. There are also the remains of celtic fortresses, habitations, temples, jewelry and tools. These remains speak to us not of events and people in Celtic history, but what life was like, what their technological capeability was, what food they ate, what crafts and trades they practiced, what products they made and traded (which in turn tells us about their economy), and where they travelled and how they got there. These facts about Celtic social life are an important element for understanding Druidism, because it is necessary to understand the whole culture in which Druidism was situated.

Nevertheless they were often impressed by the Druids' grasp of mathematical and astronomical skill. One Roman author, Diogenes, placed the Druids on a list of the ancient world's wisest philosophers; a list which included the Magi of Persia, the Chaldeans (the priesthood of the Babylonians) and the Gymnosophists (an Hindu sect which preceded the Yogis), all of whom were selected for their skill in mathematics, physics, logic, and philosophy.

[Taken from Brittania.com]
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:iconbryseyas:
Bryseyas Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2010  Hobbyist Artist
That was a very precise discription of the druids, although I think for what I've studied, that they were born with uncommon skills, with a great amount of Knowledge. You cannot "train" someone to be a druid, they were born with that "special" knowledge, then, they were taught by the Masters (druids). Plato the philosopher, speaks about them.
The knowledge of their existence was precisely cause of the Romans, Europe was roman fkin(sorry) empire, Lisbon was built over a roman city :angered:they exterminated all kind of peoples, except SOME druids, they brougth them to Rome, to learn, but they never revealed the source of their powers, wicjh I think in my humble opinion was PURE PHYSICS.

:wave:
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:iconfuzzyhair:
Fuzzyhair Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2010   General Artist
Whoa, now this is VERY interesting..:o
Why don't they have this kind of information in our History Books? :?
People as well as us Irish, would be fascinated by this look deeper into this it if they had this info in copys and books. It would increase the amount of archaeolgists studying it and more information on other aspects could likely become found after thousands of years of it being hidden. People would then get into studying Religion like in the past. Thank goodness I have come across this. Not many know the information of Druids inscribed here. :)
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:iconbryseyas:
Bryseyas Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2010  Hobbyist Artist
Because there are no scientific or historic proof of their existence,science somehow considers druids a "myth", non real, non scientific as so, MYTH.
Ancient writtings that speak about them say Druids had a pledge, never to leave a trace,
and that's it, they didn't, only what Plato and other ancient historians wrote, wich is not much.
Druids...were they males and females or only males??
:iconwarmfuzzyattackplz:
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:iconmorrigansfury:
Morrigansfury Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Terrific.
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:iconsoulwhiteblood:
SoulWhiteBlood Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2007  Professional Filmographer
It's always good to read this stuff about druids again =) The info is also well explained.

There's also a tale or sth that happened which I read about somewhere(don't really remember where) which spoke of a heart transplant made by the druids. This happens this way:

Someone fell to the ground and a druid was near, that person had a maid, so the druid opened both chests and removed both hearts, then smoothly put the maid's heart into the other person's chest and then used a golden string to finish the surgery.

Sorry for the lack of info but this is all in my mind (my memory is bad, so I'm lucky to remember this ^^)
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:iconlindowyn-stock:
lindowyn-stock Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2007
Also an awesome source for history and info that might interest people who are seeking further insights, or are looking to simply expand their knowledge: [link]

:peace:
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:iconpupasoul:
pupasoul Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2005  Hobbyist General Artist
Wonderful info! :thumbsup:
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:iconstarcaster:
starcaster Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2005  Professional Digital Artist
wow awesome and very insiteful, hope to see more posts on simular subjects
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