Druids (drevneirlandsk. drui, Gallic. Druis) — closed caste of priests, healers and poets of the ancient Celts (or Gauls from Lat. Galli — «blonde") — Indo-European tribes who lived in central and western Europe from the beginning of III millennium BC to V-VI centuries. BC

Druid casts a spell during the winter solstice at Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in southern England December 22, 2010. In the northern hemisphere winter solstice — the shortest day of the year. (REUTERS / Kieran Doherty)

The word "Druid" is derived from the Greek «drus» — «Oak" and the Indo «wid» — «to know, know." This view is popular with many researchers since ancient times. Pliny (Roman writer) pointed to the relationship between these terms (clearly seen in the Greek «druidai» and Latin «druidae» or «druides» and by the fact that the Druids were located in the sanctuary of the sacred oak groves).

However, modern linguists argue that the etymology of the word "Druid" should be considered, based on the value of consonant words in Celtic languages. They believe that they used the word galls «druides», as well as the Irish «drui» comes from «dru wid es» — «very learned." Oak same named differently («dervo» on Gaelic, «daur» Irish, «derw» Welsh and «derv» in Breton), because the foundation of the term "Druid" the word can hardly be considered.

DruidsDruids were in charge only of religious affairs and healing, in politics, they did not intervene. Misconception. To political life had nothing but druids and soothsayers vastes (ancient IE. Faith; Gallic. Vatis, vates), specializing in the predictions and holding magic rituals, and practice various methods of treatment (surgery, herbal medicine, a magical effect ). But the other druids involved in the political life of the state is quite active. In education, religion and justice engaged theologians also oversees the authorities. Various diplomatic problem (negotiation, the truce and alliances with neighboring states) were laid on the shoulders of court musicians filidov (fili; from welet, wel — «to see clearly," "seer"). They were the creators, performers and curators poems, studied history and genealogy, were in charge of training. In this case, to make a clear distinction between the bard — ordinary singers (who could be without any training, just having a good ear and voice) and filidom, magician and soothsayer, well versed in the traditions and history, (to gain this title, a person had to learn more than one year).

DruidsDruid ceremonies were held in the oak groves, as this tree was considered sacred. In magical rites druids appeared not only oak (symbolizing the Axis world and is considered a plant lover, the Supreme Deity (a positive attitude to the sacred tree of God is manifested in the form of lightning often strikes the highest oaks)), but also all that grows upon the sacred tree ( and was, according to the ancient Celts, the gift of Heaven), in particular the mistletoe. Moreover, it was believed that it grows only in the oak, but in fact this bush parasite on other trees — and deciduous trees (poplars, birches, willows), and conifers (larch, fir, pine). In addition, according to the Druids, the oak was the personification of machismo, and it grows on mistletoe symbolized feminine. Since the neighborhood of these two plants is not so common, the priests spent a lot of time and effort trying to find a suitable tree. If the search for success were married — in 6 lunar day was a solemn ritual cutting mistletoe (and this applies to only a sickle made of gold, and cut the sacred plant priest, dressed in white, was just to the left hand), followed by a sacrifice (under a tree, with which cut the mistletoe, stabbed two white bulls). The collected mistletoe was considered a panacea for all ills and a powerful antidote. In addition, it has been used in a variety of divination and the drawing. Sacred trees the Druids worshiped as ash and hawthorn. In addition, traces the separation of trees on "forest know" (oak, apple, walnut and yew) and "forest slaves" (elm, willow).

DruidsDruids — priests, appeared in Europe long before the Celts. At this point there is no consensus. Some researchers believe that the Druids — the deposed kings, who became priests (although According to historians, it was representatives of caste as druids could topple and enthrone the ruler of the Celts). Others are of the opinion that the bards and filidy, druids and prophets — they are representatives of the same priestly class, variously manifests itself in a particular era (however, note that in the legends and written sources, all of them are mentioned at the same time and therefore existed in parallel). Still others believe that the Druids — representatives praindoevropeyskogo priests, whereas the origin filidov — Indo-European (but in this case, there remains unexplained along with the Order of Druids other priestly class — gutuaterov (so-called "experts prayers"), which, although they appeared on Celtic lands previously druids, but neither authority nor orderly organization could not boast).

Druids — priests of the ancient Celts, who lived in the merger with nature and at a low level of technological development. It is not. Modern researchers believe that the Celts, who were one of the major nations of Europe in the second half of I millennium BC. e. in many industries (metal, pottery, etc.) not only equal, but superior to the Romans. In addition, the Celts reached considerable success in trade, crafts, planning and architecture.

Druid rituals and lifestyle company, controlled by them were harmonious and perfect. The idea of this kind expressed Stoic philosopher, contrasts civilized society, is experiencing a period of decline and decay, the image of a different social structure — living serene and happy life, full of goodness and humanity, in a harmonious fusion with nature. Ammianus Marcellinus (Greek historian) mentioned that the activities and Druids filidov enhanced the education of the population and the development of a "laudable sciences."

However, the life of the "noble barbarians" (one of which is as mythical Hyperboreans, and real-world Celts and Scythians) did was not so serene. First, while the Druids slaughtered sacrifices not only white bulls under the sacred oak. According to their beliefs, the gods of the best people in the hearing request if the human sacrifices. So to appease the heavenly patrons of people were killed, but not limited with only foreigners, prisoners or criminals — sometimes victims were local residents. And the more serious danger threatened the Celts — the higher the social status of man was brought in as a sacrifice to the gods. For example, the so-called "A man of Lindow," whose body was well preserved in peat bogs near the village Mobberli Lindow (UK, Cheshire) belonged to a noble family (as the uniformly developed muscles and manicure). And, judging by the injuries (broken skulls, cut throat, a broken rib and a noose around his neck), and was found on the body of the pollen of mistletoe, a man was killed in a ritual sacrifice. Also, some historians (such as Pliny the Elder) mention that the ancients not only sacrificed the people, but also ate human flesh. Confirmation of the charges referred to in modern researchers believe cannibalism found in a cave near the city of Alveston (Great Britain), human bones (most likely — the sacrificed people), split in a certain way (apparently, in order to extract the bone marrow).

But the evidence of another way of sacrifice (described by Caesar) — burning of people in a huge humanoid stuffed, archaeologists have yet to discover. Secondly, the Druids, though they were not involved in hostilities, and to stop fighting one of its appearance on the battlefield, preparing young aristocrats (and ordinary citizens) are not at a peaceful and quiet life. The main purpose of the younger generation had mastery of combat and acquisition readiness to die in battle. I. Finally, the character traits of the Celts (greed, thoughtlessness, vanity), mentioned by ancient historians did not associate with the harmonious and balanced minded members of the ideal society.

Information about the secret knowledge of druids can be found in the written sources of the ancient Celts and Romans. Misconception. The fact that the training was conducted only in oral form, in fact — in the days of Caesar's ancient writers (eg, Greek writer and historian Lucian) referred to the fact that the priests of the Celts prohibit write any of the knowledge system owners and keepers are they were. This was due, first, to the reluctance of the Druids profane knowledge, and secondly — the desire to improve the memory of students (which will not be as tenacious in the case where a person relies on the recording).

Druids were closed caste, made a vow of celibacy and lived in the woods, away from society. No, it is not replenished the ranks of druids due to their direct heirs, and on the instructions of the gods received the Celtic magicians and diviners. And from the society they are not always fenced off, though, and held in sacred rites oak groves. Druids, unlike the rest of the Celts, were exempt from taxes and military service, independent of the public authorities (they chose the Arch Druid and maintained within the organization a clear discipline and hierarchy). But with society perfectly assimilated: the plant family owned property, move freely around the country for a substantial post (judges, diplomats, etc.).


Women appeared among the Druids rather late — first in this class were exclusively male. This point of view is based on the fact that the written source referred druidessy relate to the III century BC (When the druids really went through a period of decline). But there is also the opposite view — the original caste of priests, soothsayers, and filidov formed mainly of women. Mentioned hypothesis is formulated based on the fact that, first, in the ancient Welsh and Irish legends mentioned druidessy (bandrui) and women filidy (banfile). And, secondly, in the society of the ancient Celts of old women enjoyed considerable respect, in fact — on a par with men in battle (to VII century AD, any representative of the fair sex, in possession of the estate can be held up for military service ).

Druids wore white clothes. Color apparel druids pointed out at any stage of training is representative of this class. The first 7 years pupils (Ovates), understands the sacred texts, wore green. If they continued teaching and moved into the category filidov — clothes color changed to a sky-blue (a symbol of harmony, truth). While white clothes after successful completion of the third stage of training occurred for Druids-priests, who wore on his head a crown of oak leaves or high conical hat made of gold.

Ideas Druids initiated Pythagorean. Said view was held by the ancient authors. And some of them (eg, Hippolytus of Rome, early Christian writer and martyr) believed that the Pythagorean philosophy gave Druids slave named Pythagoras Zamolkisis. Others (for example, Clement of Alexandria, a Christian preacher, founder of a theological school in Alexandria) held the opposite view, arguing that Pythagoras studied the Druids (and the Persian Magi, Egyptian soothsayer, etc.) and then presented their ideas gleaned in his teaching. However, modern scholars believe that the commonality of the two philosophies is valid only at first glance. A deeper study, for example, views on the immortality of the soul, it is noticeable that, in contrast to the Pythagoreans, the Druids believed in reincarnation (ie reincarnation of the dead in the bodies of men, animals and plants) and the circle of rebirth in order to atone for the sins . Ancient Celts practiced the idea of a happy life of the soul of the deceased (and kept the appearance of familiar surroundings for life) in a different, happier world. Because these days scientists suggest that the above philosophies not to lead one another, but most likely, there was a kind of a more ancient concept, based on which they were formed.


Druids fiercely fought the Christians. In some traditions actually find mention of the fight with the Druids first representatives of Christianity (for example, with St.. Patrick). However, a considerable number of them assimilated with the new religions, because the monasteries in Ireland have long been a center for education and preservation of the cultural heritage of previous generations (in particular, many of the songs, hymns and stories.) Yes, and they are often erected near the oak or so detached oak (sacred to the Celts plants).

DruidsIn addition, like many other nations, who replaced polytheism to Christianity, the Celtic sacred festivals devoted to the pagan gods, were assimilated by the Christian. For example, Samhain (November 1) denotes the beginning of the new year (it was believed that on this day people are residents of the underworld) is celebrated as the Day of All Saints, and "Jack the Lantern", produced on Halloween (October 31) is an ancient Celtic symbol designed to scare away evil spirits, appearing on earth during the Day of the Dead (or the date of death). Spring festival of Imbolc, the goddess of fertility, Brigitte (February 1) was renamed the feast of St. Brigid. Beltane (May 1), dedicated to the god Bela became the feast of St.. John, etc.

Christened even some pagan deity. For example, in regions where the Three-Faced God revered ancient Celts (often portrayed as Meadows ("Shining"), identified with the sun), Christian painters depicted the Trinity not as a canonical figure of God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit (Dove ) as well as a man with three faces.

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