Stonehenge Druids – The mysterious guardians of the ancient Celtic knowledge.

7 02 2011
Druids_celebrating_at_Stonehenge

Druids_celebrating_at_Stonehenge

The Druids were the priests of the Celtic religion during the Iron Age

The Druids were the priests of the Celtic religion during the Iron Age which was before the Romans invaded Britain.

The Druids has been popularly associated with Stonehenge ever since an earlier researcher John Aubrey said in 1666 that stone circles were built and used by Druids as places where they conducted their rituals.

Today we know that this ancient Druid connection to Stonehenge is not true.

Druids and most of what we know of them today have been written about by Julius Ceasar and Pliny during the Gaelic wars.

According to Ceasar Druids chose to conduct their rituals in densely wooded areas and did not built special places to perform their ceremonies. Druid comes from the Celtic word for “knowing the oak tree

Pliny writes mostly about the Druids practicing medicine and sorcery.

According to him the Druids held the mistletoe plant in the highest veneration. Groves of oak were their chosen retreat. Mistletoe grows on the oak trees and a priest dressed in a white robe would cut it with a golden knife. It was the custom that two white bulls were to be sacrificed on the spot.

Druidic lore consisted of a large number of verses to be learned by heart and a novice would apparently train for up to 20 years to prepare for his duties as a guardian of the sacred knowledge.

It is interesting that many Druids were women. Celtic woman enjoyed more freedom and rights than women in any other contemporary society. They had the right to enter a battle and even divorce their husbands.

The modern version of the Druids is known as The Ancient Order of Druids and was formed in 1781. Neo Druidism is apparently based on Freemasonry.

The Ancient Order of Druids was not able to hold a ceremony at Stonehenge until 1905 and at this occasion 650 of them arrived for a mass initiation.

They erected their own marquee and were well stocked with food and drink.

Druids Autumb Equinox

Druids Autumb Equinox

Apparently they used a secret password to keep outsiders outside. Sir Edmund Antrobus the then owner of Stonehenge was also one of the 258 novices present to be initiated.

After the feasting the initiates were blindfolded and led into the stone circle while an anthem which was especially composed for the event was played.

The ceremony was lead by GA Lardner, Most Noble Grand Arch Brother of the Order who waved his battleaxe over a so called sacred fire. After he recited the sacred oath the blindfolds were removed and everyone apparently had a hearty singsong of the anthem.

Over the years a number of famous names have had involvement with the Druids.

Here are some of their members;

Winston Churchill – Prime Minister

Ludwig van Beethoven – Composer.

Benjamin Franklin – Politician and American President.

Salvador Dali –Artist.

More recently Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury who is the head of the Anglican Church was initiated as a member.

Today Druids mostly gather at Stonehenge during the summer and winter solstice days.

which was before the Romans invaded Britain. The Druids has been popularly associated with Stonehenge ever since an earlier researcher John Aubrey said in 1666 that stone circles were built and used by Druids as places where they conducted their rituals. Today we know that this ancient Druid connection to Stonehenge is not true. Druids and most of what we know of them today have been written about by Julius Ceasar and Pliny during the Gaelic wars. According to Ceasar Druids chose to conduct their rituals in densely wooded areas and did not built special places to perform their ceremonies. Druid comes from the Celtic word for “knowing the oak tree” Pliny writes mostly about the Druids practicing medicine and sorcery. According to him the Druids held the mistletoe plant in the highest veneration. Groves of oak were their chosen retreat. Mistletoe grows on the oak trees and a priest dressed in a white robe would cut it with a golden knife. It was the custom that two white bulls were to be sacrificed on the spot. Druidic lore consisted of a large number of verses to be learned by heart and a novice would apparently train for up to 20 years to prepare for his duties as a guardian of the sacred knowledge. It is interesting that many Druids were women. Celtic woman enjoyed more freedom and rights than women in any other contemporary society. They had the right to enter a battle and even divorce their husbands. The modern version of the Druids is known as The Ancient Order of Druids and was formed in 1781. Neo Druidism is apparently based on Freemasonry. The Ancient Order of Druids was not able to hold a ceremony at Stonehenge until 1905 and at this occasion 650 of them arrived for a mass initiation. They erected their own marquee and were well stocked with food and drink. Apparently they used a secret password to keep outsiders outside. Sir Edmund Antrobus the then owner of Stonehenge was also one of the 258 novices present to be initiated. Image Credit After the feasting the initiates were blindfolded and led into the stone circle while an anthem which was especially composed for the event was played. The ceremony was lead by GA Lardner, Most Noble Grand Arch Brother of the Order who waved his battleaxe over a so called sacred fire. After he recited the sacred oath the blindfolds were removed and everyone apparently had a hearty singsong of the anthem. Over the years a number of famous names have had involvement with the Druids. Here are some of their members; Winston Churchill – Prime Minister Ludwig van Beethoven – Composer. Benjamin Franklin – Politician and American President. Salvador Dali –Artist. More recently Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury who is the head of the Anglican Church was initiated as a member. Today Druids mostly gather at Stonehenge during the summer and winter solstice days.

External links:
The British Druid Order – http://www.druidry.co.uk/
The Council of Druid Orders – http://www.cobdo.org.uk/
The Druid Network – druidnetwork.org
Stonehenge Guide – stonehengeguide.com
Stonehenge Tours – StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone circle Website

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7 02 2011
Tweets that mention Stonehenge Druids – The mysterious guardians of the ancient Celtic knowledge. « Stonehenge News and Information -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by stonehengetour, Stonehenge UK. Stonehenge UK said: More recently Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury was initiated as a member of the Druid Order ? http://bit.ly/dF3209 […]

1 03 2011
Auron Renius

Nice post. It’s easy to romanticize about the Druids but Caesar wrote about them and was convinced they partook in human sacrifice. The only way they could please the gods was to kill people, criminals if possible but if not, someone had to get it.

“The whole Gallic nation is virtually a prey to superstition, and this makes the serious invalids or those engaged in battle or dangerous exploits sacrifice men instead of animals. They even vow to immolate themselves, using the Druids as their ministers for this purpose. They feel that the spirit of the gods cannot be appeased unless a man’s life is given for a life.

Public sacrifices of the same sort are common. Another practice is to make images of enormous size, with the limbs woven from osiers [willows]. Living human beings are fitted into these, and, when they are set on fire, the men are engulfed in the flames and perish. The general feeling is that the immortal gods are better pleased with the sacrifice of those caught in theft, robbery or some other crime. But if a supply of such criminals is lacking, then they resort to the sacrifice of completely innocent victims. . . ”

How much of this is true and how much was propaganda is difficult to say, but the chances are there was some truth to the accusations.

http://www.primarysourcebook.com/ancient/human-sacrifice-and-the-druids-by-julius-caesar

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