Monday, 5 October 2015

The Power of the Druids (Welsh History)


When Rev Rowan Williams was the Archbishop of Canterbury he became a Druid at the Welsh National Eisteddfod. Our Christian friends were astounded and horrified that a leader in the Christian Church would become part of a group dedicated to pagan worship. They couldn't understand it at all.

What they didn't understand was that the modern association of Druids has absolutely nothing to do with ancient pagan worship.
The ancient Celts worshipped thousands of deities, representing things that were important to primitive people, like the sky, the sea, the stars, aspects of the weather, and parts of nature like the trees and lakes. The only people who could talk to these gods were the priests – the Druids. They had no written language, so all their knowledge was committed to memory and handed down orally.
The easiest way to remember large amounts of information is to turn it into poetry and song. Thus the Druids also became important people surrounding the tribal chiefs, praising their great deeds and sharing tales of the people's history. The roles of poet and musician were highly valued in their society, and they were known as bards.
The Romans believed that they were also encouraging plots against them, as they travelled from place to place. In AD61 Suetonius Paulinus led his legion to the Druid base on the island of Anglesey in North Wales, and killed them and destroyed their sacred groves. The power of the Druids was broken.
Because they left no records, very little is known about them or their practices. So when interest in Druids revived in the 18th century, there was very little to go on. Modern Druidic practices and beliefs are based on largely fictitious material.
The Druid ceremonies at the Welsh National Eisteddfod are based on the old bardic traditions and celebrate great poets, writers and musicians.

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