Bits and Pieces
It is well known that Druid men and women held positions of importance such as judges, healers, astronomers, philosophers, mathmeticians, advisors to kings and such.
Yet no one can say for sure when and where the Druids originated. Though there a couple or so lines of thought on this subject. There are some who will say that the druids started in the Gaulish countries and eventually migrated to what we know as the Celtic countries.
There is another school of thought that suggests that the druids originated with the Celts.
It would appear that they have been around since about 200 BC.E.
What is known is that in 1781, a revived druidic order called the Ancient Order of Druids was formed by Henry Hurle.
One of its more esteemed members was Winston Churchill, who was initiated into the Albion Lodge at Oxford England.
In 1839, due to internal disruption, a breakaway group was formed, calling itself the United Order of Druids.
And in 1963, after another internal dispute, the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids was formed.
And in a similar case, the Secular Order of Druids was formed in 1975.
To obtain the full rank of Druid, a prospect had to work their way through the three levels of training, Bard, Ovate and finally Druid.
It is suggested that this took a period of 19 years, based upon the Lunar calendar, a calendar which the druids followed.
During the course of their training, each prospect started out carrying a branch made of bronze tipped with bells. The bells were used to alert a gathering that the druid was about to perform. And also to attune ones self with the deitys.
When a Bard reached the rank of Anruth (Noble Stream), which was reached about the ninth year, they were awarded a branch and bells of silver.
The last three years of a Bards training resulted in advancement to the rank of Master (Ollamh) and they were awarded the gold branch and bells.
The Coligny Calendar of the Druids - (Lunar Calendar)
Dark Half Light Half
Samonios (summers end) October/November Giamonios (winters end) April/may
Dumannios (dark) November/December Simivisonios (bright spring) May/June
Rivros (frost time) December/January Equos (horse trading) June/July
Anagantios (stay indoors) January/February Elembivios (wooden fence) July/August
Ogronios (cool month) February/March Edrinios (hot time) August/September
Cutios (time of winds) March/April Cantlos (song month) September/October
Basically a Druids responsibilities were broken down as such:
Bards - storytelling, tree lore, herbalism and healing
Ovates or Vates - skills of prophesy, divination, and sacrifice ( In ancient times, the Druids did practice sacrifice )
Druids - philisophical, teaching and judicial ( Brehon Laws )
The Brehon Laws were abolished in the seventeenth century by King Edward III.
As a religion, the Druids are polytheistic. They believe in reincarnation and hold the number three or triad as being very sacred. Modern day druids do not practice sacrifice.
On the subject of Stonehenge and similar sites, there are two distinct schools of thought.
On the one hand, writers such as Edmond Bolton wrote in 1624 that the Celtic warrior queen known as Boudicca, had stone-henge built as a monument to herself. Others such as John Aubrey ( Templa Druidum, 17th. century ) and William Stukeley ( Stonehenge 1740 and Temple of the British Druids 1743 ) contend that these monuments were built by the Druids.
On the other hand, critics adamantly deny that the Druids had anything at all to do with these sites. Of these are, Architect Inigo Jones ( The Most Remarkable Antiquity of Great Britian vulgarly called Stone-Henge Restored,
1655 ) and Sir John Lubbock ( 19th.century ) whom predates stone-henge as 1800 years before the arrival of the Druids. As is often the case, our pagan history is shrouded in mystery and controversy.
As a witch, I do not personally endorse any particular Druid organization. But here are a few links to help you firther your studies of this pagan religion.
The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids A.D.F. British Druid Order
Month Festival God Goddess Time: Solar Declination
February Oimelc Angus Og Brighid 16 degrees 18' S
March Mean Earrach Angus Og Danu 0 degrees Aries
May Beltaine Belenos Danu 16 degrees 18' N
June Mean Samradh Belenos Aine 0 dgrees Cancer
August Lughnasadh Lugh Aine 16 degrees 18' N
September Mean Foghamhar Cerrunnos Morrigan 0 degrees Libra
October Samhain Cerrunnos Morrigan 16 degrees 18' S
December Mean Geimredh Cernunnos Brighid 0 degrees Capricorn
The Minor High days are, Mean Earrach (Spring Equinox), Mean Samradh (Summer Solstice),
Mean Foghamhar (Fall Equinox), Mean Geimredh (Winter Solstice).
These are are based on the fixed signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. They are calculated by standard means.
The Major High days are calculated as to when the Sun reaches 16 degrees 18 minutes declination, either North or South. This puts them approximately, half way betwee the Minor High days.
Druid New Moons are celerated on the sixth night after the night in which the New Moon is first visible, (the first quarter).