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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Druids

The Druids
Peter Berresford Ellis
Running Press , 4/10/2002

The Druids were an Indo-European people who migrated out of the Danube River area and settled all over Europe. Their realm extended all the way from Ireland to Galatia in Turkey. The word Celtic meant “ The Hidden ones” Their language Gaelic was related to Sanskrit another Indo-European language. In fact it could well be said that many of their religious customs are similar to customs held in India.

In Hindu society there were the Brahmin who were sort of like the priestly caste or the intellectual caste. They were the judges, lawyers, philosophers and doctors and sometimes wizards. THe Celts, who name meant the hidden ones were indo -Europeans and as Indo Europeans they have a caste system. The equivalent off the Brahmins for the Celt were the Druids.

Not much is known about the Druids as they left almost nothing behind in writing. Writing their holy texts was something they shunned for a variety of reason. One such reason is that if the information were to fall in the wrong hands it could be used against them. The Druids also used to memorize their religious texts verbatim. To commit religious texts to writing would cause them to rely less on their memory. There is also a third reason why nothing is left. Celtic written sources were all destroy by invaders whether they be Romans or the British.

What is known about the Druids is writing left behind by the Romans and the Greeks. Much of what was written about the Druids is biased against them. Most of the writers did not observe the Druids first hand but relied upon the observation of others such as Poseidonous. Often times Roman writing used to depict the Druids as being barbaric and cruel with their human sacrifices. Truth be told the Roman and the Greeks both practiced human sacrifice and such a practice was rare in Druidic society.

As mentioned earlier the Celts were spread over Europe. They were known as fearsome fighter and since they had learned how to use Iron they had advanced weapon and were able to conquer anyone they went against. There were several battle and wars in which they victorious over the Greek and Roman Armies. In fact Celts were such good fighters that often times they were used as merceneries and saw action as far a field in the Middle East. In fact the Celts helped the Phoenician Hannibal to fight against the Roman.

Anyone could learn to be a Druid male or female. In Celtic society both had equal power and equal rights. There were even women warriors. Kings were selected by vote and did not have absolute rule. Kingship was not automatically handed down from father to son. The Druids ruled over cases , cured people, and ran Druid universities. The Druids were also expert astronomers and knew the stars and had their own system.

The Celts claim descent from the Goddess Danu and her consort Beleni. Dagda was their son. Danu was represented by a river and Beleni was represented by a Oak Tree. The Druids supposedly could conjure mist and shape change. This book is a must read for those who wish to learn about the Druids and Celtic society.

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