Saturday, April 9, 2011

An Older post of mine on an account I cannot access...

Bits and Pieces on Druidism

Druidism and other Neopagan religions are currently experiencing a rapid growth. Many people
are attempting to rediscover their roots, their ancestral heritage. For many people in North
America, their ancestors can be traced back to Celtic/Druidic countries. 
Most modern Druids connect the origin of their religion to the ancient Celtic people. However,
historical data is scarce. The Druids may well have been active in Britain and perhaps in
northern Europe before the advent of the Celts. 
Many academics believe that the ancestors of the Celts were the Proto-Indo European culture
who lived near the Black Sea circa 4000 BCE. Some migrated in a South-Westerly direction to
create the cultures of Thrace and Greece; others moved North-West to form the Baltic, Celtic,
Germanic and Slavic cultures. Evidence of a Proto-Celtic Unetice or Urnfield culture has been
found in what is now Slovakia circa 1000 BCE. This evolved into a group of loosely linked
tribes which formed the Celtic culture circa 800 BCE. By 450 BCE they had expanded into
Spain; by 400 BCE they were in Northern Italy, and by 270 BCE, they had migrated into
Galatia (central Turkey). By 200 BCE, they had occupied the British Isles, Brittany, much of
modern France, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, North West Spain, and their
isolated Galatia settlement in Turkey. 
Although the Celts had a written language, it was rarely used. Their religious and philosophical
beliefs were preserved in an oral tradition. Little of their early history remains. Most of our
information comes from Greek and Roman writers, who may well have been heavily biased (the
Celts invaded Rome in 390 BCE and Greece in 279 BCE). Other data comes from the
codification (and modification) of Celtic myth cycles by Christian monks. The latter included the
Ulster Cycle, the Fenian Cycle, the Cycle of Kings, the Invasion Races Cycle from Ireland, and
The Mabinogion from Wales. Unfortunately, much Celtic history and religion has been lost or
distorted by an overlay of Christianity. 
The Christian Church adsorbed much of Celtic religion: many Pagan Gods and Goddesses
became Christian saints; sacred springs and wells were preserved and associated with saints;
many Pagan temple sites became the location of cathedrals. By the 7th Century CE, Druidism
itself was destroyed or continued deeply underground throughout most of the formerly Celtic
lands. There is some evidence that Pagan religions did survive in isolated areas of Estonia,
Latvia and Lithuania into the 20th Century. 

Druids do not follow the which states (in modern English) one is free to do
anything, as long as it harms nobody. The closest analogy are the Celtic Virtues
of honor, loyalty, hospitality, honesty, justice and courage. "Daven" briefly
describes the Virtues as follows:

"Briefly stated the virtue of Honor requires one to adhere to their oaths and do the right
thing, even if it will ultimately hurt others or oneself in the process. A Druid is obligated
to remain true to friends, family and leaders thus exhibiting the virtue of Loyalty.
Hospitality demands that a Druid be a good host when guests are under one's roof.
Honesty insists that one tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth to
yourself, your gods and your people. Justice desires the Druid understands everyone has
an inherent worth and that an assault to that worth demands recompense in one form or
another. Courage for the Druid does not always wear a public face; it is
standing-strong-in-the-face-of-adversity, alone or with companions. Sometimes Courage
is getting up and going about a daily routine when pain has worn one down without
complaint or demur."

The Celts did not form a single religious or political unity. They were organized
into tribes spread across what is now several countries. As a result, of the 374
Celtic deities which have been found, over 300 occur only once in the
archeological record; they are believed to be local deities. There is some
evidence that their main pantheon of Gods and Goddesses might have totaled
about 3 dozen - perhaps precisely 33 (a frequently occurring magical number in
Celtic literature). Some of the more famous are: Arawn, Brigid, Cernunnos,
Cerridwen, Danu, Herne, Lugh, Morgan, Rhiannon and Taranis. Many Celtic
deities were worshiped in triune (triple aspect) form. Triple Goddesses were
often sisters.

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