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THE DRUIDS EXAMINED

 The British, among others, have romanticized the Druids, and this certainly does not help things. Much of the writings of Druids from the 1700's on or so ranges from theory and speculation, to outright forgery.

       An example of this type of romanticizing in it’s most extreme form is a spurious apocryphal "missing" 29th chapter to the book of Acts, in which St. paul acknolwedges the Druids as "Kosher"!  In verse 13 it says:

"And it shall come to pass that certain of the Druids came unto Paul privately, and showed by their rites and ceremonies that they were descended from Jews which escaped from bondage in the land of Egypt, and the Apostle believed these things, and he gave them the kiss of peace."

      This is so obviously a fake, and anyone could see why.
I have to wonder what the forger of this verse was thinking when he wrote it. Paul saw a similarity between the Jews and the Druids? Was it the human sacrifice, or the worship of oak trees that convinced him??? No one with any common sense takes this forgery seriously. Paul would have never embraced the Druid worship of Pagan gods and human sacrifice.

    The work is no doubt the product of 19th century "British Israelite" types desperate to establish a link between the Celts and the Israelites. Only one copy of the missing Chapter 29 manuscript was found, and that was in the 19th century, when British Israelitism was at its peak. The Late PhD and Televangelist Shock Jock Gene Scott tried to rationalize it by saying "A Frenchmen found it"...so it had to be genuine. Dr. Scott was ignoring the fact the French are also Celts, and identifiy with the Druids as well.




Pictured above: The "shock jock" ot TV Evangelists,  the Late Great Dr. Gene Scott. Believe it or not, he had a PhD in Education from Stanford, plus two minor degrees in History and Geography. Yes really.

So Who Were The Druids Really?

        What we know about Druids is sketchy, and mostly from the pre-Christian (i.e. Pagan) sources. Since the Druids were illiterate until Christian missionaries educated them in Ireland, they left no written record.
The Druids served three functions in Celt society; as teachers of traditions, as lawgivers and settlers of disputes, and as calender makers.

      We do have some accounts of the Druids from contemporary sources. These descriptions come from the Romans and the Greeks. Because of romanticizing of Celt/Druid culture by modern writers, much of these writings are being dismissed. The general take of the Celts by the Romans and Greeks seem to be that the Celts were tough, fearless, illiterate, usually drunk, and had considered human life cheap. They were said to be formidable foes in battle. Sometimes one Celt soldier would throw himself on the spear of an enemy, sacrificing himself so another Celt could kill the enemy.

      The Druids were the Priestly cast of the Celtic peoples. We usually think of Druids as being located in the British Isles, but they also inhabited Gaul, and could just as easily be identified with the French. In fact the Celtic territory stretched all the way to modern day Turkey and the Ukraine at it’s height, around 475 B.C.

      Juluis Caesar had invaded Britain in 55 BC and 54 BC He describes the Druids as being held in such high esteem that their decisions would be final even in matters regarding the tribal leaders. In his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars he wrote:

“The Druids hold aloof from war, and do not pay taxes with the rest, they are excused from military service and exempt of all other liabilities. Young men in great numbers flocked to their ranks. In the schools of the Druids they learn a great number of verses, and therefore remain some twenty years in training. They do not commit these utterances to writing. I believe they have adopted this practice for two reasons; they do not wish the rule to become the practice, and reject the written word for the cultivation of the mind. The cardinal doctrine they seek to teach is that souls do not die. They believe in the indestructibility of the human soul, which according to their belief, merely passes at death from one tenement to another. By such doctrine alone this robs death of all its terrors. Fear of death is thereby cast aside, they hold this to be the greatest incentive to valour. They also hold many discussions touching upon the stars and their movements, the size of the universe, and of the earth, and the order of nature.” 

     They did seem to possess the ability to make calenders, like many primitive people at that time did. The Aztecs and Mayans for instance, made even better Calendars than the Druids, left no written record, and were even more bloodthirsty in their sacrifices. Druid traditions were transmitted orally. What little bit of information we do have on the Druids was preserved by the Christian missionary, St. Patrick. Ironically, Patrick is considered somewhat of a villain by Neodruid types nowadays. Had it not been for Patrick, we would know of even less of the Druids!

     The word Celt can mean many different things. It can mean a group of peoples who spoken the Celtic Language or their descendants. It can mean the people of prehistoric Europe who shared some common cultural traits. The term 'Celtic nations' usually describes Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and England, but France and even Spain were Celtic as well. The British Isles today are populated mostly of decedents from Celtic people, according to modern DNA tests.



Did The Druids Build Stonehenge?

       Short answer: No.  Stonehenge was already ancient when the Druid religion came along. Stonehenge was a necropolis. It seems to have been used as a burial place for important tribal people and a place of human sacrifice. That is not to say it wasn’t built by Celts, but that the Druid religion probably didn’t exist yet when it was built. In ancient times the Celts probably practiced a religion when knowledge of the sun’s position was important, since they did not understand the sun was basically just a big ball of fire, not a god.

Commenting on Stonehenge, Ronald Hutton says,

"To sum it up, it is clear that at particular times and places in British and Irish prehistory the cardinal points of the sun, and particularly the winter solstice, had considerable ritual importance. None the less, the vast majority of prehistoric monuments do not relate to any of them, so that no overall or enduring pattern of cult can be detected. Furthermore, a considerable gulf separates all these monuments from the pre-Roman British Iron Age, not one of the temples yet has been found to have possessed a significant solar alignment." [Stations of the Sun by Ronald Hutton, page 5]

       There is also much evidence to suggest Greek influence of Stonehenge in it’s building. Did the Druids build Stonehenge? It’s very unlikely they would have had the knowledge or skills to do so. In any case, Stonehenge was not part of a wide spread solar cult.

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