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 We Know Jack About Druids!

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Lady Gwendolynn O'Danaan
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PostSubject: We Know Jack About Druids!   Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:05 pm

I've heard plenty of people say to me how they don't believe I can be a Druid based on the idea that they believe what some of the scientists, historians, etc say. However in my path to learning more about the Druids I find this belief has a more stable foundation then people would like it to believe it has. Let me provide you with an example. This excerpt is taken from a conversation about something else completely, but since I mentioned I was a Druid this point was brought up so I argued otherwise:

SlaineWildfire of Gaiaonline wrote:

As far as being a druid, well, that's a bit unlikely, as spacecadet said. Druids haven't existed for centuries, and because the Druids never wrote anything down, we can't possibly know the full extent of what they believed or taught in an unadulterated form. This is the problem with oral traditions, people change, add to, delete from, and manipulate them into unrelated forms. Sure you might be a modern version of Druid, similar to what Isaac Bonewits and others have taught, but we don't really know much other than that the Druids were said to be arbiters, advisers, and magically powerful.

~~Note: Spacecadet herself isn't even a credible source to even be quoting.

I argue otherwise on this subject though I haven't had the time to make my own retort on this particular topic, but here's a little something. Many Druids actually did begin to learn to write using the language 'Ogham'. Despite there may be no prerecorded information before 'Ogham' you can bet the Druids did eventually copy down some of their teachings. They used string and leaves (in conjunction with the 'Ogham language') to take down verses of their order because they believed that the 'Trees were of the Gods/Divine' therefore it was not against their laws to write them down as such in this manner (pg 11, Monroe, Douglas. 21 Lessons of Merlyn: A Study in Druid Magic & Lore). This is also where we get the phrase, 'leafing through the pages' or 'leafing through the book,' or something to that affect. They also wrote stories and sagas using 'Ogham' on branches/sticks/wands and bark which could be where the idea of 'Wands' even came from. The Chinese did this for a while as they were even recording their history (not using 'Ogham' of course).
Additionally, many of the chapters within the 'Mabinogion' for example are in fact suppose to be stories and teachings of the Druids. The Druids taught their studies/beliefs through story and the 'Mab' is a collection of many of these stories. The Celts were very wide spread (from like the Balkans and all of Europe) so not all these different Celtic tribes might have held the whole, "our beliefs should not be written down". The Cisalepine Gauls who resided in Northern Italy, for instance, went to schools in Rome and learned Latin as a Lingua Franca (a secondary language/bi-lingual) instead of their mother tongue to write. Many of the writers we believe to be Roman were in fact of the Celts. Some of the topics that the Celts did write about using 'Latin' were topics on History, Biography, and Philosophy.
Yes, indeed the majority of Celtic/Druid learning (storytelling, history, etc) did remain a tradition up until the start of the Christian era (Chapter 2. Ellis Barresford, Peter. Celts, The: A History).

**Note: For those who don't know the Druid's were largely a part of Celtic society however mostly of the United Kingdom/Northern European areas.

A little history on Ogham if you don't really know much about it.

In many of the books I have read they all say the Druids did use Ogham over the few numbers of books that say and/or claim they did not. I don't know who is more right or wrong, but I would like to believe that we really do know more then we think we might. I would also like to believe that the Lord and Lady did choose me to be their priestess, not that my encounter with the Druid/Shaman I met was just a random occurrence and had lead me down the path of a poser essentially. As I once heard someone say before, "You do not choose the path, the path chooses you".

There is something that was said in another conversation in the same guild recently that I just felt I'd like to add to this conversation because it stands true as a belief for me.

Deamond of Gaiaonline wrote:
Saying to people, "Get this and you can be a real druid," is very wrong. Who's to say who is a real Druid as Druidry is very flexible. Also there are different beliefs within each organization, order, or coven.

I can't fit into any of the orders already established because my beliefs are relatively too different for them. So, instead, I am creating my own path. Though I am solitary in my practice, I am not alone entirely. I do have someone who believes relatively the same as I and that helps make the journey that much more bearable.

_________________
"For many are called, but few are chosen" - Matthew 22:14 ver. New American Standard.
"Though my soul is born from darkness, it shall rise in perfect light, I have loved the stars too fondly, to be fearful of the night". Unknown
"On those nights that I gazed upon the full moon in longing it was always you that my heart was calling." - me


Last edited by Nyghtshayde on Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: In Another Conversation About What Druidism Is....   Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:52 pm

In another conversation I had, I believe, in the same guild someone asked the question, "What makes a Druid," or "What Defines who a Druid is"? I answer this question and I will post the conversation that followed.

My 1st Post:
Tools are not needed to prove and/or show you are a true practicing Druid. In all actuality you don't need tools as long as you have your mind. The higher forms of magic, from what I understand, are performed visually in the mind. If you can perform magic at any given point of time without the need of physical assistance that's more power to you (haha, little Druid joke there).


I also feel magic is a state of mind (if one is to think about it). Magic is really about the power of the mind and the will of people. It is about faith and belief. Those are what make "Magic" a powerful thing. If people don't believe in its existence, then that's more force you have to fight against mentally and spiritually in order to accomplish your hopes, dreams, or desires.


In case anyone didn't realize I am a Priestess of the Druid's Path. My first inspiration/teacher was an actual Druid from Ireland that I met when I was in college. Celtic Magic by D.J. Conway was one of the first Beginners guides he recommended to me to start with. It's a good introduction into Druid magic so I definitely recommend it, especially since it doesn't speak of anything that makes you feel as though they are totally going over your head.

Historically speaking the Celts (and Druids) were very widespread (considered Druidism was very well integrated into the Celtic culture). Despite the Druids largely employed their oral traditions for keeping records eventually they did begin to use forms of writing such as Ogham around 200 B.C.E. and 200 C.E. (10; Thorsson, Edred. The Book of Ogham). Additionally many of the writers we believe today were Roman were in fact Celts learning Latin as a lingua franca (fancy term for bi-lingual). History supposedly remained an oral tradition until the Christian era, but I know of dates indicating that the recording of the Celtic/Druid history started much sooner then that from other texts I've briefly glossed over. They also wrote sagas/stories on pieces of wood such as sticks. Hence another reason why wands (wooden and ones chosen/felt out by the owner) might be considered a powerful asset. However one of the major issues about Celtic History is that no one realizes actually how wide spread the Celts/Celtic culture was. (17, Chapter 2. Ellis, Peter Berresford. Celts, The. A History.).

I know looking over and reading through Celtic Myth and Legend I've seen in passages where it sounds like some of the Gods were indeed 'mortal' at some point. In fact I know of one Celtic Myth/Legend about the birth of the goddess that is like that. However I have searched for it via the web and still can't find anything on it. And if that doesn't make things worse for trying to back up your information, I actually don't own the Myth/Lore book that has the story in it. But I'm going to do some series digging for that one.

Right now one question for me comes to mind to pose to those who are members of this guild. If some of you don't believe in the force of 'Magic' why then are you even here? Is it for the philosophical conversations or something else?

And to try and answer the question of 'What is Druidism' or 'What is the mindset of a Druid' I will say this:

Being a Druid is like what people have said to me about life, "It's what you make it". I am studying Celtic myth/legend/lore and history to give me a better idea of not only who my ancestors were but learn about their culture (s) and way of life. In all the glamor our society today gives things (especially the Druids), there is some truth/fact hidden beneath the romanticized glitter. Which is the same that can be said about all myth/legend/lore.
True Druidism is still a religious path/faith (to me), but it is one firmly rooted in nature and the belief in something either like magic or is the force known as magic. For me it's about knowing there are things out in the world that I may never see or truly comprehend, but I know they are there. For me it's about a spirit/energy that dwells in all things. It is about 'Knowing' and 'Daring' to know, but sometimes remaining 'Silent' when I know it is needed. These are the beliefs, philosophies, and principles that I believe that truly make me a Druid in heart, mind, body, spirit, and soul.

_________________
"For many are called, but few are chosen" - Matthew 22:14 ver. New American Standard.
"Though my soul is born from darkness, it shall rise in perfect light, I have loved the stars too fondly, to be fearful of the night". Unknown
"On those nights that I gazed upon the full moon in longing it was always you that my heart was calling." - me
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PostSubject: Another Conversation Continued...   Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:28 am

Sanguina-chan of Gaiaonline wrote:
See, this is my issue. If Druidry is what you make it, then I can make it anything I want. If one's working definition is "it's what you make it", I can go around burning forests down and saying that's part of my Druid way, if I wanted to. Which is bollocks. If a term can have any meaning, then it also has no meaning.

Basically, it would make Druidry the equivalent of generic neo-Paganism.. Extending that, any neo-Pagan could choose to call themselves a druid and they would be correct. Theoretically you could use the terms interchangeably.

So we're back where we started and I am no closer to a definition of druidry icon_crying.gif

Additionally, I really have to say: the use of magic does not seem to be a major part of most Druid orders. Magic is part of Wiccan worship, but not Druid worship. I'd say most people here believe in it, but they don't necessarily use it or involve it in their rituals. Why are people here? To talk about Druidry, one imagines, and the different Druid orders. Perhaps you are using the term magic in a way I do not usually use the term. Even so, in most cases people are a part of a Druid path to honour the earth and worship their gods. Magic need not come into it.

Guess I should have added that as a Druid I believe that Druid's love nature and worship the Earth (or would that be a redundant statement?). So...I don't know if burning a forest is praising nature so much. I'm a free-form thinker and so the term, "Life is what you make it," just seems to really fit for me (Probably also because I'm a Sagittarius). Druidism works for me and I feel I have a general grasp of what it is and what it means to be a Druid. I am most definitely not using the term as a fail-safe but a differentiation between myself and practicing Pagans and Wiccans.

I call myself a 'Druid' additionally because I feel since it is a far older term then Wicca/Witta and maybe Paganism, that it is the more proper/fitting name if you will. Additionally, I also feel that being called a 'Druid' is just a different name for a true Wiccan/Wittan and/or Pagan. Doesn't meant that it is the true term, but that's just how I feel about it. In fact the only way I found this place was typing in the word 'Pagan' in the search rather then 'Druid'. Druidism is different yet similar for me when it comes to Wicca and Paganism. I feel all three have similar yet very different belief systems all at once. Hence the whole idea of off-shoots if you will of the same thing such as Christianity.

Jumping back to the, "Defining Druidism," if I have to define it, in my own way, I suppose I will. Granted it is my own opinion and belief based upon what I am learning and what I know. The Druids are people who love and worship the Earth and most likely all its living (and possibly non-living) creatures. They have a polytheistic system of gods/goddesses. They believe the powers of both male and female being a strong force and that when joined is far more powerful as one (so to speak). It is my belief that some of their beliefs could be closely related and/or have traits of animism for some tribes of Celts (Druids of those Celtic clans) and Shamanism. And if you have a general idea of what those belief systems are then that helps. Or if that still doesn't satisfy then look at what Wikipedia has to say (granted it really doesn't have much to say about their beliefs). Hope that might be of some help.

And belief is kind of like a magic in it's own right. If you have a strong enough belief that something will happen or that you can make things change, those sorts of thoughts and/or actions can and will eventually come to pass in some way shape or form.

Edit: Additionally a good Druid must have a gross amount of knowledge about herbs and there medicinal uses. [end conversation]

In doing research for another topic of mine I discovered a passage that I wanted to share, because it indicates or at least gives some hint to the fact that though Christianity may have been the new dominate religion, there was still some remote form of practicing the old ways:

All over Britain and Ireland, dozens of sacred springs are named for Brigid; Janet and Colin Bord's Earth Rites (1982) contains a whole chapter on customs surrounding holy wells and fresh-water springs. They say: "Even when Christianity ostensibly ousted the pagan cults in Britain, water worship survived. The sacred wells became 'holy' wells, and the goddesses who had presided over them became nymphs and guardians of wells, or saints to whom the wells were dedicated" (pg. 95; Bord, Janet & Colin. Earth Rites: Fertility Practices in Pre-Industrial Britain. London: Granada Publishing, Ltd., 1982).

I guess what I am trying to get at is, for every person who says we know absolutely nothing about Druids they could find at least 10 sources that would back up their claim. Whether or not those sources would actually be credible is the other story. For every negative against New Practicing Druids they will, most likely, find likely 10 more to support their claim that we do in fact know something about Druids. So I suppose in the end it comes down to it's going to be a, pretty much, never ending vicious cycle.

You know, pretty much before any religion became established and learned some form of writing...I'm pretty certain they told stories about their god (s) and what not. My point is if people claim we know nothing about Druids, how can we be so certain we know any other religion that well at all?

_________________
"For many are called, but few are chosen" - Matthew 22:14 ver. New American Standard.
"Though my soul is born from darkness, it shall rise in perfect light, I have loved the stars too fondly, to be fearful of the night". Unknown
"On those nights that I gazed upon the full moon in longing it was always you that my heart was calling." - me
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