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Old 03-05-2012, 05:30 PM   #211
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Arrow Druid priesthood

Undoubtedly the single aspect of Celtic life and culture which springs most readily to mind when the subject is discussed is the existence of the mysterious priesthood known as the Druids. Little or nothing is known about them beyond the descriptions found in the writings of Julius Caesar, who founded most of his knowledge on the Gaulish Celts rather than the native Britons. Beyond this we know that the word 'Druid' probably stems from the word Duir, 'oak', which has given rise to the assumption that the Druids were priests of the sacred oak groves believed to have once proliferated in Britain and Ireland. Other fragments of informations suggests that there were a number of Druid Schools which taught the precepts of their religion, and trained their formidable memories (they were required to momorize vast genealogies for the scattered tribes of the island).

JC in the sacred oak grove...

That the Druids regulated all religious ceremonies and festivals goes without saying. Like other ancient priesthoods they studied the movement of the sun, moon and stars and regulated the calendar accordingly. As with many other nations they had festivals at the equinoxes and solstices. The year was personified at these festivals at the spring by a youth, at the summer by a middle aged man, at the autumn by an elderly man and at the winter by an old man. It is probable that the lighting of bonfires at certain times, which is a very ancient British custom and has continued until recent times, is of Druidic origin. Besides lighting these at the solstices and probably also at the equinoxes there were two other festivals which were of especial importance. These are Beltaine on the 1st May, and Samhaine on the 1st November. The Druids, however, attached even more importance to the moon, and there were festivals on the day of the new moon on the sixth day of the moon and on the day of the full moon.

Last edited by lightgiver; 03-05-2012 at 05:44 PM.
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