The Celts themselves, existed as a rather loose community of tribes who each had their strong own beliefs and even gods. They were strongly differing by region.
Thanks to ole Cesar and a few other twitwitted scribblers the historic druids are known publicly at all. But they where neither all from the same tribe nor the same for the last 5000 years: As a matter of fact, the Celtic druids profile changed most dramatically with the Celtic tribes transit from nomadic to settled lifestyle.
The determination of the seasons by observation of the sun, animals, weather forecast by observation of clouds, animals and vegetation, were essential for the survival of agrarian tribes right from the beginning. Even more and more important became the transmission of messages between the tribes to forge alliances, to negotiate or to warn of threats. Last but not least, the druids of ancient had a vast and profound knowledge of healing and the ability to communicate with animals, trees, other plants and even with other beings.
At the beginning of settlement, Celtic, protogrec and certain Germanic tribes elected their king every year anew. He then publicly had to prove his manhood in a ritual hierogamus. He then was considered the representative of the tribes fertility and protection god, often called the “Tou-Tatis”. His duty was by means of his publicly proven potency to inseminate the female aspect of the tribe, often represented by a high priestess or as in some cases a white mare. After his year as a king, he was ritually sacrificed. In Ireland for an example he “went under the earth”, – only to be resurrected in form of a new king at the beginning of the next year. The only exception of this cycle was, if, he was being pardoned by his subjects at the end of his year. – So every king tried his best… The selection of possible candidates and the rites were organized by the priests cast, that is the druids and the wise white women.
The white or wise women, the female druids by the way had an enormous knowledge of everything concerning human health and development, from pregnancy, birth, to rites of passage, healing almost every medical and psychic condition. Their knowledge about the powers of moon and water was legendary. – As legendary as the consequences of their fury. Parces, Moires, Norns (yepp!), Banshees… even until the early middle ages they were known and respected for their abilities.
Male druids very early in life were “marked” by illness, special abilities or certain omen for the “ancient way”. After an intensive theoretic and practice basic education, they specialized in one of three possible branches. That is what Cesar misunderstood when he mentioned Bards, Ovates and Druids. After him Ovates where the ones responsible for oracles, rites and the appeasement of the gods. Bards so to say the “newspaper and radio” of the Celts and the druids in his opinion the highest ranking as counselors and politicians – typically roman that intriguing “maybe not so biggus” Dickus.
Luckily the druids did not only survive in form of neoromantic resp. reenacting druid orders. Therefore we know a very central dictum of the druids is “No masters subject, no subjects master”. Therefore a ranking is completely different from the original druids philosophy. – Even being king was a rather uncomfortable honor, as described above.
The three branches:
All three druidic ways of lore for men and women run along triskels, which are by no means detached from each other, but are interconnected and dependent units. Even the basic education contained not only learning (a lot!!!) “by heart”, but taking influence by means of words and music, but some healing knowledge and a profound knowledge in astronomy and especially observation of mother nature and her beings.
The most powerful healers amongst them professed themselves fully to peace, harmony and the knowledge of the healing powers of thoughts, herbs, stones, and the different waters. Well known are the white lady of the lake or the lady of the apple-islands. (Hey call her “Lady Idun” if you ever are going to meet her).
Those few who felt attracted to the raw power of sexuality and fertility, of the whole land, tribe, animals and people alike, went the red way. Their role was to ever and ever again dissolve hatred through love and mediation – and therefore prevent costly war. When this knowledge was more and more forgotten, matriarchy fell and the last of the three branches power was waxing. Known until today are the “red houses” the “red lantern”, the Maenads resp. Bacchantesses and some fragments in Indian culture,
Way back, the black ways purpose would have been the noble dual way of manhood, but sadly as ever there where those so-called druids who lusted for power and might. Those where the erring who went the path of death, pain and fear – and human sacrifices. Blackfrocks who ignited their goddamn pyres in the name of the lord (!!!). It was the same vermin who adapted and usurped the Christian church, burning witches. They are druids no more. Until this day one may discern them by their cold cheerless appearance which is based on rules, austerity and fact-centered sense-depraved punditry. One can find them on pulpits, courthouses, and some crammers.
Let’s return to more happy times: The abilities of the Druids were unrivalled: Some Bards like Amyrgin forbade whole armies to combat simply by power of song. Druids like Merlin by power of divination made kings and predicted their downfall. Healers like the Lady of the lake were able to return deceased from the darkness of the grave, even to lead them back into life. But please do never forget they did it as No subjects master, no masters subject.
The best known Druid of all times? – Well beside of Miraculix, it has to be Merlin. When in young Years he took part of a battle, seeing all this senseless slaughter, suffering and death around him, he fell into a special kind of “anti-battelmadness”. Today every veteran knows its mild form as PTDS.
Merlin however entered completely into the realm of animals, plants, stones and water, earth and sky. – He fled into the woods, then a very dangerous strange realm – and survived still senseless by pain of having seen human demons unleashed in battle. By means of this extreme suffering he acquired some extraordinary abilities. To reintegrate him into human society misfired in a disastrous way. Living amongst his beloved trees in midst of his animal friends was his only way from then on. There at last he consequently went the path of the ancients, the path of harmony and equilibrium between the forces. He acquired a reputation of extreme knowledge and wisdom. He even counseled a certain king who at that time was having a certain problem with building his castle. – By means of his chant he let a whole fortress rise from the ground itself. It was the same king he then by means of deception he helped to fulfill his lust for a certain (married) queen. – After having predicted the dire consequences. It was him who proclaimed young Arthur king after having pulled the destiny’s sword from the stone. It was him who counseled Arthur to build a round table, so he was master to none but true king. But alas: Arthur was but a mortal man and so he was vulnerable to love and might. After the downfall of Arthur’s kingdom (like predicted by Merlin even before Arthur was born) Merlin let himself be locked in by one of his pupils Morgana in a capsule of air or crystal, to be able to endure the times until the return of the new true king. – Believe it or not, but not far from the very official and overcrowded “tombeau de Merlin” is a spring, beneath the roots of two old trees whose roots are deeply interlaced in an eternal loving embrace…