Who or what are the Druids?
What do they believe and what is their purpose in this time?
The Ancient Druids were once, Judges, Kingmakers, Scientists, Magicians and Priests and their modern counterparts may be viewed likewise. The word itself (Druid) comes through both Brythonic tongues (Cornish and Welsh) meaning either knowledge of the Oak or Wizard, or Wise man, in Gaelic ( Irish and Scots.)
Druidry itself is both a philosophical viewpoint and a religious world view, although it would be fair to say that many Druids view themselves also as Pagan Priests.
So what is a Pagan Priest and how does a Priest differ from the rank and file? To answer this question we have to first look at other belief systems and the way in which they differ betwixt believer and Priest.
The Druid or Pagan Priest in this context may be seen as the Celebrant and the believers, not as a congregation as is the case in most systems, but as equals. It should be noted that Pagans tend to meet or congregate in circles the importance being that they have no head, nor do they have beginning or end (rather like the Round Table). Thus, the circle mirrors the turning of the wheel, and the cycle of the seasons held in such reverence by the Pagan community.
There are three basic grades or types of Druids.
The Bardic grade, which deals predominantly with musical, poetic, artistic, and academic skills.
The Ovate grade, which deals predominantly with the Intuitive and Magical skills including healing, astrology and divination.
And of course the Druid grade that deals with Public ritual and Judgments, ceremonial, inspiration and culture.
There are many different Orders of Druids, both National and Local. Some prefer only to work within their own Sacred landscape, whilst others are equally at home in many different locations. Some Orders concentrate on the teaching side of Druidry, whilst others will concentrate on the Magical and Intuitive, and yet others, the Ritual. It is up to the individual as to which type of Druid Order they join, bearing in mind how he or she prefers to work.
Tradition has it that Druids, as opposed to other branches of the Pagan faith, work with the Sun and the Solar Festivals. This is because ..
"All we do. we do in the eye of the Sun and before and in the presence of the assembled congregation"
It is this Spirit of openness that has led to the spectacle of Public Ritual, and the rebirth of an ancient magical religion.
Responsibilities of the Druids.
There is an inherent responsibility for those involved in the first type Bardic orders to pass on such knowledge and understanding as they have received, for generations yet to be.
Likewise, there is a responsibility for the use of such knowledge by those of the Ovate grade and that such knowledge should be used for the benefit of the planet and our environs.
Those Orders and individuals who perform ritual in the public eye, and are therefore themselves in the public domain, have likewise a responsibility to the public as a whole and therefore should speak out publicly against injustices at least as frequently as they do in Ritual. They must be able to support their magical beliefs by their daily conduct in life.
©Arthur Pendragon /|\