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History of the Druids

An Arch Druid

Modern Druidism is one of the Neo-pagan families of religion, which include Wicca, Asatru, Shamanism, and recreations of other various Pagan religions such as Egyptian, Greek, Norse, and Roman. Today’s Druidism is a reconstruction of the beliefs and practices of the ancient Celtic priesthood. The ancient Druids were first known to exist in around 4,000 BC and believed to date far beyond written history. The ancient Druids are most widely connected with the British Isles; however, history shows evidence that the British Isles were only the last strong hold of the Druids. Most commonly referenced are the islands of Iona and Mona, better known as Anglesey.

These Druids built sacred sites out of stone and these stone formations and monuments have been found all over the world, but were most prolific in the areas of Brittany and France, where their monuments are still scattered across the land in geometric formations.

The ancient Druids were the most learned of men in their time and are known to perform the functions of modern day priests, teachers, astronomers, chemists, musicians, poets, theologians, philosophers, and judges. They were also specialists in healing, herbalism and divination. They were revered by all to the point that kings and social hierarchy would send their children to them to be schooled. In matters of religion, law, and scholastics, their authority was absolute.

The Druids main focus was, “The Belief in Supreme Power of the Universe, and the Belief of Immortality of the Soul.” The Druids led all public rituals, which were normally held within sacred groves of trees. Due to the intellect of the Druids, the Romans feared them.

It was the common folks reverence towards the Druids that interfered with Caesars’s attempt to overcome the Britons in 55 BC, where Druidism was the prevailing philosophy in Briton at the time. Caesar found the Druids to be a threat to his authority and he ordered their demise. He nearly accomplished completely exterminating the Druids at the Isle of Mona, now Anglesey. After the invasions by Rome, the few Druids that were left converted to Christianity through persuasion or genocide.

The Christian Church adsorbed much of the Celtic religion. Pagan Gods and Goddesses became Christian saints, sacred springs and wells were preserved and associated with saints and used for baptism. Many sites of spiritual antiquity became the location of cathedrals.

By the 7th Century, Druidism was destroyed throughout most of the former Celtic lands or was hidden deeply underground for fear of persecution. Druidism was to re-emerge in the 17th century in London England, and survived into the 20th century in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Ancient Timeline:

Up to 4000 BC Mesolithic Period: Hunter / Gatherers.
4000 BC Approximate date of first documented Proto-Indo European culture ,which is believed Druidic, near the Black Sea circa.
4000-1800 BC Neolithic Period: Construction of Callanish, and other megalithic monuments. First farmers
3500 BC Construction of Newgrange which is the largest megolithic monument in Europe.
1800-1600 BC The Bronze Age.
1000 BC Evidence of a Proto-Celtic Unetice or Urnfield culture in Slovakia circa. The Iron Age.
900-500 BC Hallstat Period. (Rise of the Celts)
800 BC Proto-Celtic Tribes formed to create the Celtic culture circa.
500-15 BC La Tene Period. (Heroic age of the Celts, and the time of mythology)
450 BC Celts expanded into Spain. Anglo-Saxon invasion.
400 BC The Celts had nomadically migrated into northern Italy.
390 BC Celts invaded Rome
279 BC Celts invaded Greece
270 BC Celts had moved in to Galatia (Central Turkey).
200 BC They had occupied the British Isles, Brittany, modern France, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland.
82 BC Rome defeats Celts in Italy.
55 BC Julius Ceasar of Rome invaded the Celtic Britian.
52 BC Julius Ceasar defeats Celts in Gaul.
43-409 AD Romano-British Era: Rome controls most of Britian and Wales.
61 AD Rome attacks Anglesey and destroys Druid Monestaries.
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