Tuesday, November 6, 2012

WAY of the DRUID

by Ron McVan

"There is no higher incentive for learning than the self-esteem that flows spontaneously from the awareness of a great past."

The Druids were the wise, high spiritual elders of the ancient Celts, the teachers and keepers of high esoteric knowledge and sacred lore. 
While no literary documents exist to prove the date of the establishment of Druidism in Britain, the educational system adopted by the Druids is traced to about 1800 B.C.E. 
The Druid mystique has always maintained a curious fascination in the Western World; even Julius Caesar had become intrigued with the Druids during his Roman invasions into pagan Gaul over 2,000 years ago. 
The Druid High Priests evolved from the Indo-European social order, practicing an Aryan religion which contained many elements already ancient in the days of the Gallic Empire. In those far distant times, to become a Druid was not an easy task. 
Training for a Druid would normally begin in early childhood and could take as long as 22 years of rigorous physical and mental conditioning. 
The Druids were always highly respected for their arcane wisdom throughout the Celtic world and professed to know the will of the gods. To many they were considered wizards. The Celtic word for wizard is 'Fer-Druaight'. 
The Irish dictionary tells us that draiocht means both magic and spells. It comes from the root word draoi, meaning magician, sorcerer, or Druid. 
The Druids felt that magic in essence is the alignment of the Self with the harmony of the Cosmos; this is a fundamental principle of draiocht. 
Caesar stated explicitly that, "Druids had a tradition of secret instruction, specifically about numbers and the secrets of the universe and nature of things". 
They were exempt from taxes and from military service. In Ireland, no one, not even the king, was allowed to speak before a Druid had spoken, since the art of correct utterance was considered a mystical power exclusive to a Druid high priest. 
Words, as the ancients knew well, had the power to destroy and wound as well as to bless and heal. "Knowest thou what thou art, in the hour of sleep---A mere body---a mere soul---Or a secret retreat of light?"

The Way of Druidry as a religion comes from the head, from reason and logic. It does not uphold any particular belief higher than God and truth.
 It upholds that the understanding knowledge and oneness with God and Nature is its highest ideal and the pursuit of truth as the supreme virtue. 
Druidic doctrines taught: "The three foundations of learning: seeing much; studying much; and suffering much." "The three foundations of judgments; bold design; frequent practice; and frequent mistakes." 
"The three foundations of happiness: a suffering with contentment; a hope that it will come; and a belief that it will be." 
"The three foundations of thought: perspicuity; amplitude; and preciseness.”
The three qualifications of poetry: endowment of genius; judgment from experience; and happiness of mind." 
"The three canons of perspicuity: the word that is necessary; the quantity that is necessary; and the manner that is necessary." 
"The three canons of amplitude: appropriate thought; variety of thought; and requisite thought." 
The Druid's prayer, said to be an old ceremonial invocation, is translated from the Welsh language:
 "Grant, O God, Thy Protection And in Protection, Strength And in Strength, Understanding And in Understanding, Knowledge And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Justice And in the Knowledge of Justice, the Love of it And in that Love, the Love of all Existence And in that Love of all Existence The Love of God, and all Goodness" 
The Druids did not accept the duality of Good and Evil, but understood their own lives and the universe itself as being guided by a single internal movement. 
There was, in consequence, no concept of reward or punishment in the afterworld. Religious truth, it is stated in the Druid Book of Pheryllt, spreads out like ripples across a pond---mirroring itself in a grand reflection of the universe over-head.

"Who so neglects learning in his youth, loses the past, and is dead for the future."

Early tribal Celtic society was powerful and widespread across Northern Europe. Students in today’s modern history classes are inaccurately taught that Columbus discovered America or the Vikings had landed first 500 years before that.
 There is in fact more than enough substantial evidence now obtained to prove beyond any speculation that the Celts were superb seafarers in the most ancient of times and had already explored America as far inland as Oklahoma and Arkansas, no less than 1,200 to 1,500 years earlier than the Viking explorers. 
In Washington State a 9,000 year old Aryan skeleton has recently been found and equally significant ancient findings of Celtic Ogam writings in stone have been discovered in Utah. 
The eminent English poet William Blake, himself a practicing Druid, believed that the Atlantean King Albion led the last of his subjects to Britain, where they became Druids. Ancient Egyptians, Goths and Scythians were all believed to be escapees from the doomed continent of Atlantis.

“The wind blows heavy, loud they thunder thro’ the darksome sky, Utterine prophecies & speaking instructive words to the sons of men………. These the visions of Eternity. But we only as it were the hems of their garments When with
our vegetable eyes we view these wondrous Visions.” …………….William Blake

One can find a variety of links between the Celtic and Teutonic pantheons. Poetry between both cultures was considered a divine art. 
The Norse Wotan, was known to have correspondence with two Celtic gods, Lugh and Esus, is inter alia, God of Poetry, which is the "Precious Mead". 
One legend tells how Wotan stole it from the evil giant Suttung; from whom he escapes by changing into an eagle (Lugh also changes into an eagle in the Welsh story of Math Son of Mathonwy). 
With it, he flies to Asgard, the home of the Norse gods. Wotan is sometimes referred to as "God of the Rope" or "the Hanged" on account of his ritual hanging of himself. 
This also gives him kinship with Esus in whose honor sacrificial victims were hanged and, in addition, there is equation often made between Wotan and Mercury. 
The great sacred tree of the Teutonic mythology is the ash, known as Yggdrasill closely associated with Wotan, whose Celtic counterpart is the magician-god Gwydion.
 In British folklore, the ash is a tree of rebirth and regeneration. 
Without the ancient mysteries all religions become a transparent shell--powerless and impotent. 
Teutonic lore is mainly "father kin" in character, while Celtic lore is mainly "mother kin". The deities of the Teutons are controlled by the Great Father, and their elves by a king. 
The deities of the Celts are children of the Great Mother, and their fairies are ruled over by a queen.

The Gods of Britain were much like the Cabiri of Samothrace. Osiris and Isis appeared in their Celtic Mysteries, under the names of Hu and Ceridwen; and like those of the early Persians, their Temples were enclosures of huge unhewn stones.
 The Druids taught the existence of one god, to whom they gave the name “Be’ al”, which Celtic antiquities tell us means “the life of every thing”, or “the source of all beings”, and which seems to have affinity with the Phoenician Baal and both gods are also identified with the sun. 
The Druids also worshiped Apollo. The Supreme creator god of the Celts, most always remained unnamed and unnamable---the Dis Pater of the Gauls--- is a trinity represented with a triple head. 
The greatest of all the Celtic heroes, Lug, or Lugh, ‘the prodigious child, master of all the arts,’ was a Tuatha De Danann. He was the hero not only of Ireland, but of all Celtia, particularly Gaul. 
Lug, the Celt par excellence, who is also identified with Ogmius and Gwyon the initiate, is to Western Europe what Ptah, Prometheus, and Apollo were to Egypt and Greece. 
Both Apollo and Lug have long been thought to be one and the same person. 
The Celts supernatural realm was crowded with a multitude of gods, most of whom had to be approached indirectly, and not by common men but by specialists: the Druids. They and they alone, dealt with otherworldly powers.
 For the most part they used no images to represent the object of their worship. Altogether at least 400 different deities have been identified by modern scholars----partly through inscriptions on altars, partly through ancient Irish literature.

Druid Ceremonies were most often practiced out in the grandeur of Nature within a circle of stones (each stone generally of vast size) enclosing an area of from 20 to 30 yards in diameter constituted their sacred place of ritual.
 Often the Druids would worship their gods in sacred groves and forest glades, preferably near a spring-fed pool. The great Persian King Xerxes proclaimed that the whole world was the Magnificent Temple and Habitation of the Supreme Deity. 
Macrobius stated that the entire Universe was judiciously deemed by many the Temple of God. Plato pronounced the real Temple of the Deity to be the world; and Heraclitus declared that the Universe, variegated with animals and plants and stars was the only genuine Temple of the Divinity. 
The religious responsibilities of the Druids may have been complicated by the number of deities they served. Once the grip of Rome was firm upon the throat of the Celtic lands the Druids found themselves harassed at all points on the mainland. 
They would ultimately retreat to Anglesey and Iona, where for a season they found shelter and continued their now dishonored rites.
 In London, May 22, 1822, the Welsh poetess Hemans wrote a poem which starts with this description of an ancient Druid meeting: 
“-----midst the eternal cliffs, whose strength defied, The crested Roman in his hour of pride; 
And where the Druid’s ancient cromlech frowned, And the oaks breathed mysterious murmurs round, 
There thronged the inspired of yore! On plain or height, in the sun’s face, beneath the eye of light, 
And baring unto heaven each noble head, Stood in circle, where none else might tread.”

The grand periods for initiation into the Druidical Mysteries, were quarterly; at the equinoxes and solstices. 
In the remote times when they originated, these were the times corresponding with the 13th of February, 1st of May, 19th of August, and 1st of November. 
The time of annual celebration was May-Eve, and the ceremonial preparations commenced at midnight, on the 29th of April. 
When the initiations were over, on May-Eve, fires were kindled on all the cairns and cromlechs in the island, which burned all night to introduce the sports of May-day. The festival was in honor of the Sun. 
The initiations were performed at midnight; and there were three degrees. The Druids knew that everything in life is cyclical. The earth, the year and even the day are seen as cyclical. 
The pivot of all this is the Sun, which is venerated as a life-force. The human and earthly cycle are seen as closely intertwined. 
Many of our ancient ancestors regarded space as a crystalline dome centered on terra firma, and the stuff of stars was directed inward predicting the course of one's soul.
 "O Great ones, gods of the night---- O Pleiades, Orion and the dragon, O Ursa Major---- Stand by, and then, In the divination which I am making, In the lamb I am offering, Put truth for me."

Celtic Warriors were well known for their prowess. In the first century B.C.E. the historian Diodorus Siculus described them thusly: 
"They are very tall in stature, with rippling muscles under clear white skin. Their hair is blond, but not naturally so; they bleach it to this day, artificially, washing it in lime and combing it back from their foreheads. 
They look like wood-demons, their hair thick and shaggy like a horse's mane. 
Some of them are clean-shaven but others, particularly those of high rank, shave their cheeks but leave a moustache that covers the whole mouth... they wear brightly colored and embroidered shirts, with trousers called 'bracae' and cloaks fastened at the shoulder with a broach, heavy in winter, light in summer. 
These cloaks are striped or chequered in design, with the separate cheques close together and in various colors."

Modern man equates civilization with buildings. Because Egypt and the classical countries built houses, baths and temples, and people who did not value these things were considered to be "barbarians". 
The Greeks categorized them, with the Scythians and the Iberians, as one of the three great barbarian nations and with the rest of the ancient world viewed them with that terror. 
The Romans likewise held this narrow estimate, understandably; it is less understandable that modern historians have mostly followed suit. 
Whilst paying lip service to the clear demonstrable facts of fine art Celtic jewelry, chariots, armor and weaving of extraordinarily high quality, these myopic academes feel that the Celts do not measure up as a highly cultured civilization.
 Most of the lasting achievements of mankind have been made within the framework of one of some 19 great civilizations, or groups of civilizations, which have existed during the last 5000 years. 
 Man's earliest societies have been shared by all the great civilizations in man's history. But within this common framework, each civilization has developed its own distinctive character.

Celtic culture was musical and eloquent; the individual was valued more than the concerted achievement and personal adornment, more than built-up walls. 
They had exquisite, abstract designs on their metal work and on the many incised stones. It was a world quite at odds with the singular, crude, warlike stereotype which had been assumed from biased classical sources alone.
 The Druids shared a common god with the early Greeks. The god Apollo being originally of Northern Hyperborean origin was likewise worshipped by the Druidic priesthood among other essential ethnic Aryan gods. 
The Irish harp which is as much a symbol of the Celts as the Shamrock extends back to the early influence of Apollo among the Celts. Apollo received his trademark harp from his brother Hermes who invented the instrument. 
The island of the Hyperborean’s as told by Hecateus (circa 500 B.C.E.) was the birthplace of Leto---that daughter of giants---and on this account her son, Apollo, was venerated there above all the gods. 
He tells us additionally that the island housed a vast temple in circular form, which can only be Stonehenge, and the passage goes on to describe the system of calendration there used which is based on a nineteen-year cycle. 
To the eighteenth-century poet laureate-antiquarian Thomas Warton, Stonehenge was a poly-faceted puzzle. He wrote this sonnet about it: 
"Thou noblest monument of Albion's isle! Whether by Merlyn's aid from Scythia's shore, To Amber's fatal plain Pendragon bore, huge frame of giant-hands, the mighty pile.
 T'entomb his Britons slain by Hengist's guile; Or Druid priests, sprinkled with human gore, Taught 'mid thy massy maze their mystic lore: 
Or Danish chiefs, enrich'd with savage spoil, To Victory's idol vast, an unhewn shrine, Rear'd the rude heap: or, in thy hallow'd round, Repose the Kings of Brutus' genuine line; Or here those kings in solemn state were crown'd: Studious to trace thy wondrous origin, We muse on many an ancient tale renown'd."

The Celtic culture is unique in and of itself and displays its own genius of originality and aggressive dynamism; they were a tribal people, much attuned to the spiritual ways of nature and had no special need for large civilizations. 
Power for the Celts and Druids came from the land, from their ethnic gods, from the individual, and from their folk, which provided them a consummate nature-based lifestyle, and therefore no need to compromise with hierarchical empire systems of control. Spirit moves through all things.
 If the human body was devoid of spirit it would not be much different than that of a plant. The earth too has a spirit and should be greatly respected by all humanity. The Druids venerate the earth, and to them all life is sacred and worthy of protection.

"Authorities who govern us have issued fine decrees, to build motorways through wildwoods, and root up all the trees, while licenses for factories are granted without heed, to poison air and water in the holy name of greed." ..........Philip Shallcrass

The Celtic Festive Cycles were quarterly and also served as grand periods for initiation into the Druidical Mysteries; at the equinoxes and solstices. 
In the remote times when they originated, these were the times corresponding with the 13th of February, 1st of May, 19th of August, and 1st of November. 
The time of annual celebration was May-Eve, and the ceremonial preparations commenced at midnight, on the 29th of April. 
When the initiations were over, on May-Eve, fires were kindled on all the cairns and cromlechs in the island, which burned all night to introduce the sports of May-day. 
 The festival was in honor of the Sun. The initiations were performed at midnight; and there were three degrees. The Druids knew that everything in life is cyclical. 
The earth, the year and even the day are seen as cyclical. The pivot of all this is the Sun, which is venerated as a life-force. 
The human and earthly cycle are seen as closely intertwined. Many of our ancient ancestors regarded space as a crystalline dome centered on terra firma, and the stuff of stars was directed inward predicting the course of one's soul. 
"O Great ones, gods of the night---- O Pleiades, Orion and the dragon, O Ursa Major---- Stand by, and then, In the divination which I am making, In the lamb I am offering, Put truth for me."

The Celtic Ritual Calendar began with the great [Samhain] or “fire of peace”, festival gathering on (1 November). It was a pastoral affair, a time when the harvest fruits had been gathered and offerings made to the ancestors to share in the general good fortune. 
 This custom is still observed in Ireland, in the clearing of the house and leaving of food for the family spirits at Halloween (which is the same day). 
On this occasion the Druids assembled in solemn conclave, in the most central part of the district, to discharge the judicial functions of their order.
All questions, whether public or private, all crimes against person or property, were at this time brought before them for adjudication. 
With these judicial acts were combined certain superstitious usages, especially the kindling of the sacred fire, from which all the fires in the district, which had been beforehand scrupulously extinguished, might be relighted. 
This usage of kindling fires on Samhain lingered in British islands long after the establishment of Christianity.

[Lugnasadh] was the main summer festival, held on (1 August). 
The chariot racing and other games may have been inaugurated to celebrate the sacking of Delphi. There, the snake rites that had centered around the oracle goddess Pythia were forbidden by Apollo, the Greek Lugh, who began the outdoor games festival. 
In Gaul, the annual fair at Lugdunum (Lyons) was changed so that it could be reconvened under the patronage of the deified Emperor Augustus. 
In Ireland and parts of Scotland Lugnasadh still survives as the Lammas cattle fair, which is a reminder of how important stock-raising, was to the Celts.

[Beltane] was celebrated on (1 May), as the great spring/summer fertility gathering symbolized by lighting of the May fires. Livestock were driven between the twin flames, and the dancing was a ritual enactment of the sun's movement through the skies. 
The Maypole dance and other folk rituals have their origin in the mad dance around the May fires as the whole tribe would celebrate the resurgence of the primeval life force. 
It was on the first of May that the Tuatha De Danann landed in Ireland, on a First of May three hundred years later that they set off again, ‘beyond the ocean river’, and on a First of May that Prince Partholon and the Sons of Nemred came to the Emerald Isle.
 Since then, the First of May has been regarded as the sacred date of the pagan Celtic religion: May Day, or Beltane is strongly reminiscent of the festival of Bel-Baal the Venusian.

[Imbolic], on (1 February), was closely associated with the sacred flame that would purify the land and encourage fertility and the emergence of the sun from its winter sleep. 
On that day the rites of prognostication and trial marriage would take place. 
The ceremony of the white stones in the fire, recorded in many parts of Ireland, is another throw back to ancient times that has lost much of its prime significance over the centuries. 
White stones, bearing the names or personal marks of all the young men, were placed in the great Imbolic fire. 
When it had died down and cooled enough to take out the stones, each person searched for his mark and as soon as he found it would run as fast as possible from the spot. 
Failure to find your stone was originally a sign that the gods of the fire had bestowed supreme honour on you by choosing your life-spirit to be sacrificed for the purification and general good of the whole tribe.

The Trefoil Shamrock is one of the symbolic spring plants that appear in the footsteps of the goddess Ceridwen and Olwen in their youthful shapes. The three of the trefoil leaf has always been highly significant in the arcane mysteries.
 For the Druid the number three stands for general creative energy, the triangle or triangular 3 rays has become a trademark symbol of the Druidic order. 
The Welsh Triads reveal to us that the Druids followed a process of study which required the practicing Druid to SEE ALL, STUDY ALL and SUFFER ALL to reach beyond the cycles governing rebirth. 
All in life is a process of friction and movement. Without movement there can be no growth. 
The Three Keys of Druidic Mastery: To know, to dare, to keep silent. All manifestation occurs through three, just as the Druids came to find that all learning likewise takes place in three's. 
The Druids, paid the most sacred regard to the odd numbers, which, traced backward, ended in Unity or the God Deity, while the even numbers ended in nothing. 3, was particularly reverenced. 
19 (7+3+32): 30 (7x3+3x3): and 21 (7x3) were numbers observed in the erection of their temples, constantly appearing in their dimensions, and the number and distances of the huge stones.

The Book of Barddas is a Druidic work published in 1862. The writings are said to have been taken from old manuscripts collected in a house which was destroyed by the Roundheads more than two hundred years before that time. 
Much of the existing Druidic belief that the world has come to know is, as most will find, quite similar to Pythagorean doctrines found in the Mediterranean. The Book of Barddas exhibits a valuable specimen of ethical Druidic teachings.
 In these writings we may gather that the Druidic views of moral rectitude were on the whole just, and that they held and inculcated many very noble and valuable principles of conduct.
 From the Druidic Book of Barddas these twelve triads of learning:

(3) Spiritual Instructions of Mankind: MASTERY OF SELF, MASTERY OF WORLD, MASTERY OF UNKNOWN.
(3) Places upon a Bard where Blood may be drawn: FROM HIS FOREHEAD, FROM HIS BREAST, FROM HIS GROIN. 
(3) Things to be controlled above all: THE HAND, THE TONGUE, DESIRE. 

Stone Carving for the Druids was a hopeful guarantee that the sacred Gnostic wisdom would be carried on to the future generations, as most Druid teachings were passed down orally.
 Even the earth itself remembers everything and is a witness to history in a way we cannot fully appreciate. Energy permeates the entire universe but in some objects it is condensed and of much higher frequency. 
The Druids called this energy "Wouivre". Stones, perhaps moreso, due to the density of matter, carry a profoundly significant amount of energy, some stones containing higher frequency than others, which was further enhanced when stones were placed in particular geometric formations.
 The Celts honored the phallus as a symbol of reproduction and the continuation of life. Their roughly carved menhirs were often phallic in form rising from the ground, as is usually thought, or plunging into the entrails of the mother earth. 
The link between fire, spirit and stone is quite clear: the stones are as powerful as the flames, both having great divinity. 
The greatest of stones was of a rare, green quartzite called the "Liafail" (the stone of Virtue and destiny), or "Cloch na cincamhna", (stone of fortune). 
Wherever that stone rested, one of Gallic blood was to rule. 
The Lia Fail stone comes from the tribe of the goddess Danu and was considered their greatest of treasures in the ancient Celtic city of Falias. 
"As soon as the pendulum started to swing....the hand resting on the stone received a tingling sensation like a mild electric shock and the pendulum itself shot out until it was circling nearly horizontal to the ground. 
The stone itself....felt as if it was rocking and almost dancing about." ...............Legend of the Sons of God

Divination was a process by which the Druids could foresee the future. According to the Roman Justine, the Celts were more skilled at divination than any other people of his time. 
The most common form of augury involved animals but any form of animal sacrifice is no longer a practice used today. 
It was said that the Druids could look at birds in flight and make prophecies based on the way they flew or the shape of their talons. 
 The Druids were able to look at the future by cracking open the bones of certain creatures usually dogs and cats or "red" pigs, and chewing the marrow or bloody flesh.
 He would then slip into a deep sleep, during which his totem ancestor or animal would appear to answer his questions about the future. 
Druids were also said to gain prophetic knowledge from their own fingers.
 If they drummed the ends of their fingers while chanting, they could discover the past of any person or article that they touched, in myth, the Celtic hero Finn Mac Cool could put his thumb to his front tooth and gain mystic wisdom.

Druid's Egg was, according to Pliny, an egg like object allegedly made from the spittle and secretions of angry snakes. This 'Druid's Egg' was used as an amulet to help the bearer gain victory in the law courts. 
Pliny describes it as 'round’ and about as large as a smallish apple. The higher Druids were classified as “Adders" and wore what was known as a Gleiniau Naddred, or "Serpent's Egg". 
The egg was actually a blue-green glass bead set in gold and strung on leather and to be worn around the neck. This was to indicate to others that they had reached the level of serpent wisdom as a Druid Adder. 
When a Druid Adder succeeded in acquiring seven eggs, he or she became an Arch Druid. The mythical legend of Saint Patrick chasing all the snakes out of Ireland was not to be taken literally; it meant that he had driven out all the remaining Druids in Ireland.

Bards were highly important to Celtic society. It was said that a Bard's inspiration resided in the heart and blood, while insight was contained in a vein at the back of the head. The author Pennant stated that:
”The Bards were supposed to be endowed with powers equal to inspiration. They were the oral historians of all past transactions, public and private. They were also accomplished genealogists, & etc”. 
The rigorous Bardic training included being taught the art of interpreting riddles, a prestigious skill which displayed the Bard's superior powers of perception. 
Some Bard's inherited the gift of prophecy, while others worked at developing the skill through the course of their training.
 In Irish myth, Bard's sometimes fall asleep on a fairy mound or hill and dream of a leanon sidh or "learning-fairy", a fairy muse who granted them the gift of divination and poetry. 
Part of the Bard's function was to prepare and update genealogies, chant traditional poems, and compose new ones to mark special occasions---births, weddings, deaths, battles, cattle raids, the installations of kings. 
Honoring the Bard's performance was believed to assure the listener's good fortune. 
Through their incantations, Bard's could also exorcise ghosts and evil spirits, control the movement of rats and drive out sickness. 
When a Bard was displeased, however, his savage satires could cause red patches or blisters to break out on the subjects face. As storytellers, Bard's retained their importance in Celtic society well into the seventeenth century. 
Every Druid was a Bard, though every Bard did not aspire to be a Druid. Edward I, of England, in revenge for the influence of the Bards in animating the resistance of the people to his sway, persecuted them with most severe cruelty.

The Oak Tree ( Valonia oak) was absolutely sacred to the Druids and in those days the chopping down of a great oak was punishable by death. 
Among the Druids, trees were always considered to be sacred and were recognized as repositories of memory, lore and the presence of spirit beings. The name Druid itself has its origin in the Indo-European word 'dru' which means oak. 
The oak was symbolic of tradition, wisdom and longevity. The oak and its leaves and nuts are still used symbolically today in a variety of ways as well as the mistletoe which is closely associated with the oak. 
Sacred wood of the Druids aside from oak were the yew, hawthorn, and more especially the rowan tree. A Druid's staff was generally made from the wood of the yew tree. The yew was always considered the guardian of the mysteries. 
The ancient Celts considered hazelnuts to embody inspiration and wisdom. The Druids may be credited with the invention of the aspirin, since it was they who discovered the pain-killing properties of salicin, the willow-bark extract which is its ancestor.

"What is the world to the forest? What is conscious to unconscious? That is a question only Merlyn can ask, which only he can answer. 
What is history, in space and time, to the abyss?..... The answer is that he allows the forest, the abyss, to swallow him back, and he becomes again the magic wood and all its trees..."
.............Heinrich Zimmer

Mistletoe was highly venerated among the Druids. The Roman Pliny in his writings of the Celtic Druids commented: 
"Seldom was the Mistletoe found growing upon the Oak, but on such an occasion, the Druids gathered it with due religious ceremony, if possible on the sixth day of the new Moon---when the influence of the orb was waxing, and said to be at its height. 
 Following an elaborate banquet, a white-clad priest cut the plant from the oak tree with a golden sickle, while another Druid held out a white cloak for its reception. 
They believed that the Mistletoe, immersed in water within a cauldron, would import fecundity to barren animals, and that it is the antidote for all poisons---its name meaning 'all healing.' 
“Mistletoe is associated with the oak tree but mistletoe on an oak is often rare and when a Druid found mistletoe on an oak tree, it was gathered with great ceremony and cut with a special golden sickle, most particularly on the sixth day of the moon. 
It is true that the mistletoe----that strange parasite upon the oak----was prominent and sacred among the Druids herbs of power and it was equally respected among other Aryan nations of the time. 
Mistletoe to the Druids was thought to be saturated with the serpent life force and thus, in ceremony, should be handled by the high Druids only. 
The Teutons also viewed mistletoe as sacred to the god Baldur, while the Romans believed it to be the "Golden Bough" that gave access to Hades.

The Three Rays Symbol was the original symbolic name of God, symbol of The Trinity, and known as The Three Columns of Truth, because there can be no knowledge of truth, but from the light thrown upon it; and the three columns of sciences, because there can be no sciences, but from the light and truth. 
This special sign was used as a sort of supreme gesture above all others--- the “Fifth element” of Nyu, Akasha or Spirit. 
The three ray’s symbol pointed downward represents the invoking active/male energy and the three ray’s symbol pointed upward represents the banishing passive/female energy. 
The three rays represent the 3 Illuminations of Awen. The Right Ray represents the masculine attributes of the Sun, while the Left Ray the feminine Moon-energies; the middle, or “Crystal Ray” represents both and neither: the Ray of Balance and Separation. 
The Three Rays Symbol is quite popular with current practicing Druids and used occasionally as a sacred emblem to adorn their white robes. 
“Intuition, feeling, thought are too swift in their coming and going, too elusive for a decisive argument over their nature. 
Though they may shake us by what they import, though what they in an instant hint at may be sacred to us, their coming and going are too swift for precise thought about themselves. 
In normal thought the fusion between inner and outer is so swift that it deceives the most attentive sense into the idea of unity, and we come to believe that there is no other creator of thought than the thinker who resides in the brain, who is with us from moment to moment, and we do not know what rays from how many quarters of the heavens are focused on the burning point of consciousness.”
………………………..George William Russell

Stonehenge rightly remains a traditional symbol for Druidry even though its origins are more than likely much older. The public appeal of the Druids, especially as an ancient people connected with Stonehenge and other monuments is not difficult to understand. 
By today's standards Stonehenge is often referred to as a "Temple of the Sun", when in fact, in ancient history it was clearly linked with the moon. 
The whole area of Stonehenge has the number of the moon in 999. Also the moon is figured by the exact astronomical numbers of 19 (the number of years taken for the moon to return to its place in the sky, the Metonic Cycle), and 56 (both the cycle of the moon's eclipses and 4 times the moon's 14 nights from new to full).

"For it is by the moon that they measure their months and years and also their 'ages' of thirty." ...........................Pliny

The poet Thomas Stokes Salmon wrote the following poem about Stonehenge in 1823 and won the Newdigate Poetry Prize at Oxford. The poem still holds its own as superb poetic composition and captures the enigmic ambiance of Stonehenge:

"Wrap't in the veil of time's unbroken gloom, Obscure as death, and silent as the tomb, where cold oblivion holds her dusky reign, frowns the dark pile on Sarum's lonely plain.

Yet think not here with classic eye to trace Corinthian beauty, or Ionian grace: 
No fluted remnants deck the hallow'd ground; Firm, as implanted by some Titan's might, Each rugged stone uprears its giant height, Whence the poised fragment seems to throw A tumbling shadow on the plain below. 
Here oft, when Evening sheds her twilight ray, And gilds with fainter beam departing day, 
With breathless gaze, and cheek with terror pale, The lingering shepherd startles at the tale, 
How, at deep midnight, by the moon's chill glance, Unearthly forms prolong the viewless dance; 
While on each whisp'ring breeze that murmurs by, His busied fancy hears the hollow sigh. 
Rise, from thy haunt, dread genius of the clime, Rise, magic spirit of forgotten time! 'Tis thine to burst the mantling clouds of age, and fling new radiance on Traditions page: 
See at thy call, from Fable's varied store, in shadowy train the mingled visions pour......"

The Dragon was viewed by the Druids as an entire energy system of the Earth manifested in the singular symbolic form of a Dragon. 
The magnetic ley lines which criss-cross the surface of the globe at strategic points were known as Dragon Lines. 
The Earth itself generated these lines of force, and at certain points where this energy coiled and twisted to the surface, great occult power was to be found there. 
 Inspiration is a quality traditionally seen as a gift of the Dragon. Awen is the old Welsh word for inspiration or illumination, as in that which is channeled down from above, and fills a person's soul during rare moments of spiritual ecstasy. 
The Celtic God Hu was called "The Dragon---Ruler of the World", and his car was drawn by serpents. His ministers were styled adders. 
A Druid in a poem of Taliessin says, "I am a Druid, I am an Architect, I am a Prophet, I am a Serpent (Gnadi)." The car of the Goddess Ceridwen was also drawn by serpents. 
In ancient Druid times one that was well versed in the mysteries was called a serpent, or Adder.
 In this fleeting life of the flesh, man, then, finds himself in a prison; but because of the help of the wise serpent , he has a chance of escape, through knowledge. Man's true home is the Divine Light. 
By the use of his will and intellect, he will eventually achieve freedom. When a Druid summoned a dragon to manifest at a particular spot he would begin a mantric chant such as this:

"Cum saxum saxorum, in dversum montum oparum da, in aetibulum, in quinatum --- Draconis!"

The Book of Pheryllt is perhaps the most important and essential book of Druidic teachings that still remains in existence. 
 The Pheryllt were the legendary Priests of Pharon, an extremely ancient god, whose worshippers were said to be the inhabitants of the Lost Continent of Atlantis. 
The Druids were great believers in the transmigration of souls and in the Book of Pheryllt it is stated something to the effect that new life sparks are always coming into being as emanations from Ceugant; and that all (degrees of ) souls are eternal, and all are in the process of expanding beyond the experiential bounds of their present state---heading toward THE BEYOND. 
All souls evolve through the Mechanism of Cycles: that supreme Law of all nature. When a soul of any grade becomes "saturated" with the experiences available within that life-form, then there is movement onto another higher one. 
Regression is impossible. The Druids taught that all men and women would be saved, but that some must return to earth many times to learn the lessons of human life and to overcome the inherent evil of their own natures.

"Life, as we all know, is conflict, and man, being part of life, is himself an expression of conflict. If he recognizes the fact and accepts it, he is apt, despite the conflict, to know peace and to enjoy it." ............Dr. E. Graham Howe

The 3 Veils of Manifestation, were known to the Druids as these:
 [The FIRST] is the Veil of Annwn: of 'dark forgetfulness', through which one must pass to achieve birth in any form in Abred....the world of the Once-born. Its symbol is a blue chain, for the encircling Seas of Annwn.
 [The SECOND] is the Veil of Cythraul: 'the Ghost', through which one must pass to achieve blessedness in Gwynydd....the world of the Twice-born. Its symbol is the Cwrwg Gwydrin: the boat of glass, for the in-between realms of the Otherworld. 
[The THIRD] is the Veil of Lyonesse: 'the Last Island’, through which one must pass to achieve infinity with God in Ceugant....the world of the Thrice-born. 
Its symbol is the rare blue rose, in kinship to the Waters of Annwn, across the Infinite Sea of The Beyond. From the Celtic Bards this following enigma captures the impossible essence of God and infinity: There is no God but what cannot be comprehended. 
There is nothing that cannot be comprehended, but what is not conceivable. "There is nothing not conceivable but what is immeasurable. There is nothing immeasurable but God. There is no God what is not conceivable".

God, according to Druidic belief, created all living things from the smallest particles of light and ‘in every particle there is a place wholly commensurate with God, for there is not, and cannot be, less than God in every particle of light, and God in every particle; nevertheless God is only one in number’.
 God created all living things in the circle of Gwynvyd, on the astral plane. But the living things wished to be Gods and attempted to cross the sphere of Ceugant, the planes above the astral, and so they fell down to Annwn, the earth.
 Here, once again, we find Lucifer, the being created from light, attempting to go higher than had been intended and falling to earth, ‘Where’, as the bards had it, ‘is the beginning of all living owners of terrestrial bodies.’
 Living beings did not know how to distinguish evil from good and so they had to go down to earth to traverse this sphere till they came back at last to Gwynvyd again.

Magicians & Wizards are born not made. Anyone in life who tries to be something they are not will be very unhappy and extremely frustrated individuals. 
Just think of how many thousands of aspiring musicians would love to become great composers but in reality most all will never have the musical gifts of Mozart nor will most all writers ever possess the divine gifts of genius writers the likes of a Homer or Shakespeare. 
The Magician or Druid is the wisdom-keeper of his people, and wisdom is not easily won. The word Magic itself derived from the priestly adepts and scholars of the ancient religions who were called Magi. Pomponius Mela called the Druids 'magistri sapientiae' (Masters of Wisdom). 
Ammianus (quoting the first-century B.C.E. Timagenes) comments on their lofty intellect, saying that they investigated 'problems of things secret and sublime'. 
Magicians have extraordinary God given powers to see clearly through both past present and future, to know the unknowable and to see between the various planes of being. 
The Druid was regarded as the prescribed intermediary between God and man----no one could perform a religious act without his assistance. 
The sorcerers of Brittany and Great Britain taught magic, the Druids of the Gauls taught history, philosophy, science, and astronomy. They believed in another world, orbis alius, and a metempsychosis reserved for heroes. 
British tradition speaks of the Thirteen Treasures of Britain, which are said to be in the wardship of Merlyn. Perhaps the most famous Druid wizard aside from Merlyn was Mogh Ruith, a great Munster magician of high renown.

"Though time with silver locks adorn'd his head Erect his gesture yet, and firm his tread.... His seemly beard, to grace his form bestow'd Descending decent, on his bosom flow'd; His robe of purest white, though rudely join'ed Yet show'd an emblem of the purest mind." .......................John Ogilvie (1787)

The Tau Cross was a sacred symbol among the Druids and was T-shaped in form. Like the later full cross adaption used by the Christians the Tau also symbolized both life and salvation. In Teutonic Wotanism the Tau was symbolized in Thor's mighty Hammer. 
Druids were known at times to divest a tree of part of its branches to form the shape of a Tau cross. They would preserve it carefully, and consecrate it with solemn ceremonies. On the tree they cut deeply the word Thau, by which they meant God. 
On the right arm of the Cross, they inscribed the word Hesuls, on the left Belen or Belenus, and on the middle of the trunk Tharamis. This represented the sacred Triad. 
The ancient Egyptians used the Tau cross for many thousands of years. It has been found in the hands of mummy-shaped figures between the forelegs of the row of Sphinxes, in the great avenue leading from Luxor to Karnac. The Tau cross represented Life, so when a circle, symbol of Eternity, was added, it represented Eternal Life. The mysterious knowledge of the Druids was embodied in signs and symbols. Taliesin, describing his initiation, says: "The secrets were imparted to me by the old Giantess (Ceridwen, or Isis), without the use of audible language." And he further states, "I am a silent proficient."

"It well appears that those who established the Mysteries, or secret assemblies of the initiated, were no contemptible personages, but men of great genius, who in the early ages strove to teach us, under enigmas, that he who shall go to the invisible regions without being purified, will be precipitated into the abyss; while he who arrives there, purged of the stains of this world, and accomplished in virtue, will be admitted to the dwelling-place of the Deity. The initiated are certain to attain the company of the Gods." .........................Socrates

Druid Training continued on during the period of transposition, colleges were taken over, and with nominal changes, they became monasteries and nunneries. 
Druids became Culdees (Chaldeans or magic workers), or Magi (Seers); the word "Druid" was strictly forbidden by the later Christian overlord authority. 
Druids were of the belief that the friends of truth are those who seek it, not those who boast of having found it. Just living life itself is a form of initiation. 
The Druid initiate was viewed as someone who was beginning to understand something and although his knowledge did not go far he was at least on the path. 
Since initiation is not knowledge of the truth, it can only be a search for truth and a conquest of permissible knowledge by a marvelous return to the beginning of heredity (heritage) and tradition.
 It is possible for the neophyte to attain superior knowledge by his work and merit alone, and acquire the genetic code of a Master by a kind of biological alchemy within the conscious and unconscious realms. 
The Druids paid much attention to the order and laws of nature, and investigated and taught to the youth under their charge many things concerning the stars and their motions, the size of the world and the lands, and concerning the might and power of the immortal gods.
 Through the Middle Ages much of the sacred high teachings of the Celts was transformed or lost. 
The schools of the Filid (Seers) of Druidic nature are said to have survived in the Scottish Highlands until the 18th century, Ireland and parts of Scotland having escaped Roman influence.
 Contemporary Welsh Druids consist of three ranks of membership: Bard, Ovate and Druid, the Druid being the highest. The most senior of the Druid rank is given the title "Arch-Druid".
 Only the Arch-Druid's were allowed to wear implements of gold as insignias of rank. Druids taught the immortality of the soul, they believed in the indestructibility of the soul, which implies in some sense the divinity, of the material universe. 
To the Druids a soul does not suffer death, but after death passes from one body to another; and they regard this as the strongest incentive to valour, since the fear of death is disregarded.

"Man is not body. The heart, the spirit, is man. And this spirit is an entire star, out of which he is built. If therefore a man is perfect in heart, nothing in the whole light of Nature is hidden from him.... 
The first step in the operation of these sciences is this: to beget the spirit from the inner firmament by means of the imagination."

Druidesses, according to the Greek historian Strabo, were “The Devotees of Bacchus” and mentions that Celtic women paid him homage on an island in Okeanos (the specific location is unknown but generally believed to be somewhere in the British Isles.) 
Here they formed an exclusive female society, maintaining both the Bacchus and Druidic mystery tradition and performing ancient rites of initiation.

In the days of St. Padraic the forced conversion from pagan Druidism must have been an insidious transition, as much of the "new" Christian religion was merely a counterfeit of the sacred pagan ways. 
After all, both cults taught survival of death, and both espoused an in-dwelling supreme spirit. 
Druidry had a deity quite similar to the Jesus figure long before Christianity was conceived, known as "Hesus" or "Esus", linked with the oak tree, of which the Jesus figure upon the tree of the cross has become an obvious simulation. 
The whole concept of the crucifixion sacrifice symbolizes man upon the cross of the astrological zodiac. Man made religions have caused so much pain and strife through the entire course of our history and literal rivers of blood have been spilled as a result of it all. 
The Teutonic god Wotan also was bound to a tree and pierced with a spear long before the advent of Christianity. Even "The Lord’s Prayer" was copied almost verbatim from an existing pagan prayer written numerous centuries previous to that time.
 There were actually 16 major religions of ancient times that contained the symbolic display of a crucifixion and most all which is now claimed by Christianity. 
The entire human race has always had a penchant to create their own special little spiritual sects and divide themselves from all others. 
Having your own ethnic or select spiritual path is a fine thing as long as one understands that there is only one truth no matter how many ways you want to slice it, no matter how many ways you want to disguise it, describe it, browbeat it, or build temples to it. 
All paths eventually lead to the 'One', The Absolute Godhead! Follow the path which is your path, not my path. Should we happen to share the same path then let us walk forward together in our equal enlightenment moving ever onward and upward to the light of God!

Descendants of Celts living today, were they knowledgeable of the accurate history of St. Padraic (St. Patrick, 389-461 C.E.), might have a less than enthusiastic opinion of the figure whom they celebrate. 
It is recorded that St. Padraic was singularly responsible for the book burning of no less than 300 volumes of rare and irreplaceable sacred Gnostic Druidic literature, a major link to the high wisdom of our ancestors reaching back to Atlantean times, which the Christian church deemed unfit to be transmitted to posterity. It is no wonder that much of Druidic learning has vanished. 
It was a tremendous loss to Celtic history and heritage, tantamount in its own way to the loss that all of Europe suffered by the burning of the Great Library at Alexandria. One must always remember however that no tradition ever dies until the last person who honors it dies.

The ancient Druid religion in the times and reign of the real Druids was highly nationalistic, much akin to Teutonic Wotanism in that way. 
Our ancient ancestors held the idea that the people are the guardians of the earth, and that the specific land of an indigenous people belongs to the whole tribe and by proxy to their gods and the godhead, and this is echoed in a variety of Celtic place-names stemming from the sun god Lugh. 
For the Druid sect, these vital natural instincts would degenerate in later times through the adulteration brought about through liberalism and Universalism.
 The Neo-Druidism of today is a pale shade of what it used to be, if not an outright blasphemy to its grand beginnings when the Celts identified themselves with their gods, as the Tuatha De Danann. 
These were a tribe of the former Atlantean peoples who came to settle in the early Celtic lands. It was they who first called what is now Britain "Albion". 
The Tuatha De Danann were named after the eldest daughter of Danaus, an ancient Danaan priest, later elevated to the stature of a goddess. The Danaans were a warrior race and said to originally be of the early giant races of Atlantean Aryans. 
The Tuatha De Danann people dominated what is now Ireland before the coming of the Sons of Mil, the ancestors of the present inhabitants.

The Druids history consisted in traditional tales, in which the heroic deeds of their forefathers were celebrated. These were apparently in verse, and thus constituted part of the poetry as well as the history of the Druids.
 In the poems of Ossian we have, if not the actual productions of Druidical times, what may be considered faithful representations of the songs of the Bards. Druid history today remains an intricate weave of fact and fantasy. 
They have become victims of much bad press over the many centuries. Modern knowledge of the Druids is thus based on a smattering of Greek and Roman accounts that were usually second-or third-hand at best. 
Also the Romans had run a vicious propaganda campaign against the Druids in the effort to break their power over the Aryan tribes of Western Europe which put up the strongest resistance to the Caesars and armies of Rome. 
Thus the Druids conferred upon their followers a sense of exclusivity, of being the sole possessors of a special knowledge handed down over the ages. 
The wisdom of God and His hosts and the secret of spiritual philosophy slowly faded from the conscious mind of the Aryan pagans into the modern age yet remain, however, permanently impressed upon the subconscious intellect. 
One might even further say that the ethnic gods of our folk are indelibly stamped into the very DNA of our being as a species.

The Purpose of following the Druidic path is to seek a deeper understanding of Nature, the Planet and oneself. 
Through the path of Druidism one will also gain a deeper understanding of his ancestral roots, spirituality, his ethnic gods, life, death and the All High Creator God of the universe. 
Druids are and should always be scholars hungry to learn all the important knowledge of life and the world of which we are an essential and active part. The Druid also serves as a guardian of the arcane knowledge and mysteries. 
A Druid does not waste and squander his time; he is well aware of the swiftness and importance of life and uses his time wisely and effectively for the greater good. 
Druidism also serves as a process by which we can balance our inner world of thoughts, intimations, insights and emotions with the activities and pressures of the 'outside' world. 
Tlachtga and Mog Roith are the Celtic Lord and Lady of the Wheel of Life and Death, the keepers of Druidic Knowledge, and the secrets of both still remain in their hands

"O, the life of the Druid is the life of the land. We are one with the dark earth on which we proudly stand. One with the Mother who has suckled us from birth, her streams and her rivers, we are one with the earth; One with the Father, whose oak supports the sky, who gazes on us daily with his great, immortal Eye."
........................Philp Shallcrass

In today's times, as we move amidst the debris of the technological, chemical and nuclear age, we find ourselves far removed from our ancient traditions, and in the Western World we stand witness to the imbalance of man, earth and spirituality. 
When man is reduced to economic-man he becomes an animal that preys upon his own kind and set far adrift from his indigenous tribal instincts. 
The existing government controlled schooling institutions of mis-learning grossly destroy the thinking process of our youth, and rape them of all sense of identity as does the Fourth Estate (media). 
The medical institutions genocide our race enmass with abortion and birth control pills and medications that severely damage the human body. 
By means of rampant immigration and miscegenation, governments further work at destroying the ethnic identities of all races both genetically and nationalistically. 
Hollywood filth and multi-media mind manipulation, crime ridden cities, vital industries sold out to foreign investors, our youth slaughtered in ongoing no-win foreign wars which only continue to fill the pockets of the controlling Power Elite. 
Dying oceans and rivers, choking atmospheres, widespread mental illness and most everyone swallowing tranquilizers and antidepressants, junk food, increasing forms of cancer and heart attacks, inadequate health care for the elderly! 
All this, to what end? To feed the beast of a greed driven money centric ruthless self devouring, self destructive, consumer trash society! Is this the life that you really want to live in, promote, defend and protect? 
Can you in good consciousness say that this is the type of world that you want your children to live in, to look up to, learn from and covet? Progress is never made by evolution, but by revolutions! Social and physical cataclysms are inevitable.

The current plight of Aryan survival has become very grim indeed and as a result many Aryans are rediscovering their ethnic, European spiritual roots such as Teutonic Wotanism or the Celtic, Slavic and Olympian pantheons.
 It is an attempt, not only to reconnect with their indigenous folk soul and heritage, but also a need to reclaim an essential identity, strength and dignity as a people which is so very vital in these rapidly declining times. 
The survival of our race as a species and culture will never come about if we do not first share a collective ethnic 'vision'. Vision forms 'direction' direction brings about 'unity' and from unity comes 'strength'. 
As individuals we must unabashedly call upon our ancestral folk soul within and around us. We must become rooted again in national pride as a strong and vibrant people in the great wealth of our heritage. 
We need only look to our ethnic gods and noble ancestors to find that enrichment that we seek in our present day lives. Roots in the past, Minds in the present, Eyes to the future!

"The Mysteries of antiquity have seemingly perished. The faith, however, of the Golden Age---the first religion of man---can never wholly die. In all its pristine purity it is preserved even to this day and may be rediscovered by everyone who will devote his life to this supreme and holy task. 
It is not decreed that man should be so easily deprived of that which is his own; for even in this generation, which is a stranger to the gods, he who will follow in the footsteps of the neophyte of old may
still receive the priceless heritage of Truth and Light." ...............Manly P. Hall


I kissed a stone of boundless age, a runic stone from long ago, and cast it to the waves below. Standing here on Ireland’s shore, this windworn cliff above the sea, like music on a Celtic harp, it stirs and beckons’ me!

And gazed I there into sun and sky, my mind consumed with legends brave, repleated with each sounding wave. O Ireland, O Inis Fail, the Emerald isle of mystery, Celtic Bard and Druid Sage, recount thy glorious golden age!

From empires lost, of the fisher king god, and Atlas to whom he was sire, Thy wisdom’s chain unbroken remain, in this ancient land of Eire. These standing stones they are not mute, they speak to those who see, and Poseidon’s trident Britannia still holds, reminder of your sovereignty!

Awake brave Celts, and never forget! Never forget your goal! By the stones that speak the Grail you seek, is your own true Celtic soul! And in the wind I hear sweet voices, though torn with cannon shot and fire, for freedom’s bell it rarely rings, in this ancient land of Eire!

Yet on my stone, my runic stone, which I cast to wind and sea, I made a wish for Ireland, to reclaim her noble destiny! Through the heather blows the fresh salt air, and the lonely gulls still sound on high, I turn to leave but this haunting refrain, brings a teardrop to my eye!

O Ireland, O Inis Fail, the Emerald Isle of mystery, Celtic Bard and Druid sage, Recount thy glorious golden age!

cybershamans (karmapolice) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0


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