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From the book "Celt, Druid and Culdee" byIsabel Hill Elder

Duidism was, in fact, the centre and source from which radiated the whole system of organized civil and ecclesiastical
knowledge and practice of the country.

(1) The Order constituted its church and parliament; its courts of law, its colleges of physicians and surgeons, its
magistracy and clergy. The members of the Order were its statesmen, legislators, priests, physicians, lawyers,
teachers and poets.

The truth about the Druids, to be found amongst fragments of literature and in folk-memory, is that they were men of
culture, well-educated, equitable and impartial in the administration of justice. These ancient leaders of thought and
instruction in our islands had lofty beliefs as to the character of the one God, Creator and Preserver, and of man's
high origin and destiny.

There is reason to believe that this doctrine included the need for atonement or sin and the resurrection of the body.
To reverence the Deity, abstain from evil and behave valiantly were, according to Laertius, the three grand articles
enjoined by the Druids,

((2) In Druidism the British nation had a high standard of religion,justice and patriotism presented to it, and a code of
moral teaching that has never ceased to influence national character.

It has been frequently stated that the name 'Druid' is derived from Drus, an oak; the oak was held by the Druids to
symbolize and eternal. The idea arose from the apparent similarity of the two words, Drus and Druid, and was merely
incidental. A much more likely derivation is from Druthin, a 'servant of Truth.'

(3) The motto of the Druidic Order, "The Truth Against the World" was the principle on which Druidism was based and
by which it offered itself to be judged.

"It, may be asked," says the Venerable Archdeacon Williams, "how has it come to pass, if great events marked the
epoch between the departure of the Romans and the death of Bede, that the whole history is so obscure, and that no
literary documents remain to prove the wisdom of the teachers and the docility of the people?
The answer is very plain. Such documents do exist; they have been published, for more than half a century but have
hitherto wanted an equate interpreter."

(4) The published compositions of the Druids and remains of their works. The Myvyrian MSS now in the British
Museum, amount to 47 volumes of poetry, containing about 4,700 pieces of poetry, in 1,600 pages, besides about
2,000 epigrammatic stanzas.

Also in the same collection a 52 volumes of rose, in about 15,300 pages, containing many curious documents on
various subjects, being 17th or 18th compilations embodying early writings.

Besides there are a vast number of collections of
Welsh MSS in London and in private libraries in the Principality.

(5) In A.D. 383 Druidism, while accepting Christianity, submitted to the judgment and verdict of country and nation
the ancient privileges and usages; the ancient learning, science and memorials were confirmed, lest they should fail,
become lost and forgotten - this was done without contradiction or opposition.

(6) The education system adopted by the druids is traced to about 1800 B.C., when Hu Gadarn Hysicion (Isaacson),

(7) or Hu the Mighty,(Joshua) led the first colony of Cymri into Britain from Defrobane, where Constantinople now

(8) In the justly celebrated Welsh Triads, Hu Gadarn is said to have mnemonically systematized the wisdom of the
ancients of these people whom he led west from the Summerland. He was regarded as the personification of
intellectual culture and is commemorated in Welsh archaeology for
having made poetry the vehicle of memory, and to
have been the inventor of the Triads.

To him is attributed the founding of Stonehenge and the introduction of several arts including glass-making and
writing in Ogham characters
. On Hu Gadarn's standard was depicted the Ox; in this possibly may be discovered the
origin of the sobriquet, 'John Bull.' Hu established, among other regulations, that a Gorsedd or
Assembly of Druids
and Bards must be held on an open, uncovered grass space, in a conspicuous place, in full view and hearing of all the

Concerning the educational facilities available to the so-called barbarous people of these islands, there were at the time
of the Roman invasion
forty Druidic centres of learning which were also the capitals of the forty tribes; of these forty
known centres nine have entirely disappeared. These forty college were each presided over by a Chief Druid

(9) There were also in Britain three Archdruids, whose seats were at York, London and Caerleon-on-Usk.
The territories of the forty tribes (the original of our modern counties) preserve for the most part the ancient tribal
limits. Yorkshire, for instance, retains the same disproportionate magnitude to our other counties - the territory of the
large and
powerful tribe, the Brigantes. The students at these colleges numbered at times sixty thousand of the youth
and young nobility of Britain and Gaul.

Caesar comments on the fact that the Gauls sent their youth to Britain to be educated. One notable instance has been
mentioned by J. O. Kinnaman,D.D., in his work on Archaeology: "Pilate was not a Roman by nationality, but by
citizenship. He was born a Spaniard and educated in Spain as far as the schools of that country could take him. Then
he went to Britain to study in the universities of that country under the administration of the Druids. How long he
studied in England is not now known; it was Pilate's ambition to become a Roman lawyer and the future governor of
Palestine studied long enough in Britain to achieve not only this ambition but to absorb the Druidic philosophy rather
than the Greek and Roman. 'Vide' Pilate's question to our Lord as they were walking out of the Praetorium, 'What is

(10) This was a question which the Druids were accustomed to debate."

(11) It required twenty years to master the complete  circle of Druidic knowledge. Natural philosophy, astronomy,
mathematics, geometry, medicine, jurisprudence, poetry and oratory were all proposed and taught - natural
philosophy and astronomy with severe exactitude.

(12) Caesar says of the Druids:
"They hold aloof from war and do not pay war taxes; they are excused from military service and exempt from all
Tempted by these great advantages, many young men assemble of their own motion to receive their training, many
are sent by parents and relatives. Report says that in the schools of the D
ruids they learn by heart a great number of
verses, and therefore some persons remain twenty years under training. They do not think it proper to commit these
utterances to writing, although in almost all other matters, and in their public and private accounts they make use of
Greek characters.
I believe that they have adopted the practice for two reasons - that they do not wish the rule to
become common property, nor those who learn the rule to rely on writing, and so neglect the cultivation of the
memory; and, in fact, it does usually happen that the assistance of writing tends to relax the diligence of the student
and the action of memory....
They also lecture on the stars in their motion, the magnitude of the earth and its
divisions, on natural history, on the power and government of God; and instruct the youth on these subjects."

(14) While the Druids used writing for all other subjects taught in their colleges, they never used this in connection
with the subject of religion To the spread of Christianity we owe most of the information we possess of the Druidic
religion; their secret laws gradually relaxed as they became Christian, and some of heir theology was then committed
to writing.

Dr. Henry, in his 'History of England,' has observed that collegiate or monastic institutions existed among the Druids.

(15) Caesar several times calls the Druidic institution a 'disciplina,'(16) a term that implies a corporate life organization
as well as the possession of learning.
Mela speaks of the Druids as 'teachers of wisdom,'

(17) The affirmation of Diodorus that 'some whom they call Druids, are very highly honoured as philosophers and
theologians' is repeated by Hippolytus.

(18) Not only the supreme king, but every other king had his Druid and Bard attached to his court. This Druidic
chaplain had charge of the education of the youthful members of the house, but was also allowed to have other pupils.
He taught and lectured on all appropriate occasions, often out-of-doors, and when travelling through the territory of
his chief, or from one territory to another, his pupils accompanied him, still receiving instruction; when, however, the
pupils exceeded in number that which he was entitled by law on such occasions to have accommodated as his own
company at a house, those in excess were almost always freely entertained by neighbours in the locality.

The chief poet seems to have been always accompanied by a number of assistants of various degrees, who had not
yet arrived at the highest attainment of their profession.

(19) The theological students were given a particularly long course of training, and no Druidic priest could be ordained
until he had passed three examinations in three successive years before the Druidic college of his tribe. The head of
the clan possessed a veto on every ordination.

(20) By very stringent laws the number of priests was regulated in proportion to the population; and none could be a
candidate for the priesthood who could not in the previous May Congress of the tribe
prove his descent from nine
successive generations of free forefathers
. Genealogies, therefore were guarded with the greatest care. This barrier to
promiscuous admission had the effect of closing the Order almost entirely to all but the Blaenorion or aristocracy,
making it literally a
'Royal Priesthood'.

Degrees were conferred after three, six and nine years training. The highest degree, that of Pencerdd or Athro (Doctor
of Learning), was conferred after nine years. All degrees were given by the king or in his presence, or by his license
before a deputy, at the end of every three years.

(21) Druidic physicians were skilled in the treatment of the sick; their practice was far removed from the medicine-man
cult, so unfairly ascribed to them by their contemporary enemies, and lightly followed ever since. They prayed to God
to grant a blessing on His gifts, conscious that it should always be remembered that no medicine could be effective nor
any physician successful without Divine help. The chief care of the physicians was to prevent rather than to cure
disease. Their recipe for health was cheerfulness, temperance and exercise.

(22) Certainly the power of physical endurance displayed by
the early Britons was a strong testimony to the salutary
laws of hygiene enforced and the general mode of life encouraged by the Druids. Human bones which had been
fractured and re-set by art have been found in Druidic tumuli.

(23)  Astronomers were deeply versed in every detail of their profession; such classic judges of eminence as Cicero
and Caesar, Pliny and Tacitus, Diodorus Siculus and Strabo, speak in high terms of the
Druid astronomers.
Strabo has left us a vivid description of the dress of the Britons of his day. On the visit to Athens of the British Druid
astronomer Abaris (Hebrew Rabbi) the Greek geographer writes:

"He came not clad in skins like a Scythian, but with a bow in his hand, a quiver hanging on his shoulders, a plaid
wrapped about his body, a gilded belt encircling his loins, and trousers reaching down from the waist to the soles of
his feet
. He was easy in his address; agreeable in his conversation; active in his dispatch and secret in his management
of great affairs; quick in judging of present accuracies, and ready to take his part in any sudden emergency; provident
withal in guarding against futurity; diligent in the quest of wisdom; fond of friendship; trusting very little to fortune,
yet having the entire confidence of others, and trusted with everything for his prudence. He spoke academy of Athens.
This visit oft was long remembered at Athens."

This visit of the British Druid was long remembered at Athens. Abaris travelled extensively in Greece; Greek fancy
transformed the
magnetic needle by which he guided his travels into an arrow of Apollo which would transport him at
wish whithersoever he pleased.

(24) Ammianus Marcellus, A.D. 350, says, "The Druids are men of penetrating and subtle spirit, and acquired the
highest renown by their speculations, which were at once subtle and profound.

Pomponius Mela(26) plainly intimates that the
Druids were conversant with the most sublime speculations in geometry
and in measuring the magnitude of the earth Stonehenge, 'the Greenwich Observatory' and great solar clock of
ancient times, was pre-eminently an astronomical circle.

Heliograph and beacon were both used by the ancient British astronomer in signalling the time and the seasons, the
result of observations, for the daily direction of the agriculturist and the trader.

The unit of measure employed in the erection of Stonehenge, and all other works of this nature in our islands was the
cubit, the same as used in the Great Pyramid.

(27) The supposed magic of the Druids consisted in a more thorough knowledge of some of the sciences than was
common. - astronomy, for instance. Diodorus Siculus states that the Druids used telescopes (28) - this evidently is
the origin of the story that the Druids could by magic bring the moon down to the earth.

Many of the wells on Druidic sites, known today as holy wells, were the old telescope wells of the Druids, connected
with their astronomical observations.(29) The old saying, 'Truth lies at the bottom of a well', comes down to us from
those ancient times.

British architects trained in Druidic colleges were in great demand on the Continent. In this country the profession of
architect was legally recognized. There were three offices of chief Architect,(30) the holders of which were privileged to
go anywhere without restriction throughout the country, provided they did not go unlawfully.
James Ferguson, the writer of one of our best histories of architecture, says: "The true glory of the Celt in Europe is
his artistic eminence, and it is not too much to assert that without his intervention we should not have possessed in
modern times a church worthy of admiration, or a picture, or a statue we could look at without shame, and, had the
Celts not had their arts nipped in the bud by circumstances over which they had no control, we might have seen
something that would have shamed even Greece and wholly eclipsed the arts of Rome. . . . The Celts never lived
sufficiently long apart from other races to develop a distinct form of nationality, or to create either a literature or a
policy by which they could be certainly recognized; they mixed freely with the people among whom they settled and
adopted their manners and customs ."

(31) C.J.Solinus, the Roman geographer, in his description of Britain, mentions the hot springs of Bath, and the
magnificence with which the baths at that place had already been decorated by the use of bathers.

(32) The primitive religion of Britain associated in so many minds with the worship of the heavenly bodies, was the
worship of the_ 'Lord of Hosts,' the Creator of the Great Lights, the sun and moon, not the worship of the heavenly
bodies themselves. The Universe was the Bible of the ancients, the only revelation of the Deity vouchsafed them. The
wonders of nature were to them as the voice of the All-Father, and by the movement of the heavenly bodies they
ordered their lives, fixed religious festivals and all agricultural proceedings.

The way to Christianity for the early inhabitants of Britain was traced by Nature herself, and from Nature to Nature's
God. St. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, writes, "
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is
natural; and afterward that which is spiritual."

Strabo observes that the care of worshipping the Supreme Being is great among the British nation; and the history of
Hume records that no religion ever swayed the minds of men like the Druidic.

(33) It has been said that the Druidic Circles cannot, in strictness, be termed temples, for the Druids taught that there
were but two habitations of the Deity - the soul, the invisible - the universe, the visible. The word 'temple,' in its
primitive meaning, is simply a place cut off, enclosed, dedicated to sacred use, whether a circle of stones, a field or a

In the old British language a temple or sanctuary was called a 'caer', a sacred fenced enclosure. The stone circles or
caers of Britain were therefore, essentially temples and held so sacred by the people that reverent behaviour in their
vicinity was universal. Joshua, it will be remembered, by God's command, erected a circle at Gilgal (circle) immediately
upon the arrival of the chosen People in the Promised Land.  The British 'caer' has no connection with 'castra.'

There seems, however, to be no doubt that generally the chambered barrows and cairns of Britain were used as
temples; several points in their construction lead to this assumption.

Mr.MacRitchie, in his "Testimony of Tradition," mentions several of these points, among them fireplaces and flues for
carrying away smoke. Sir Norman Lockyer

(34) states: "Mr. Spence has pointed out the extreme improbability of Maeshowe (Orkney) being anything but a
temple and, I may now add, on the Semitic model. There was a large central hall and side-rooms for sleeping, a stone
door which could have been opened or shut from the inside, and a niche for a guard, janitor or hall porter.

(35) The great circle and temple known as Avebury ('Ambresbiri, the Holy Anointed Ones') is of special interest as the
Westminster abbey of ancient times,

(36) the last resting place of princes,  priests and statesmen, warriors, poets and musicians. One of the old Druids
alluding to Avebury calls it 'The Great Sanctuary the Dominion'"

(37) The Circles or temples were composed of monoliths upon which the employment of metal for any purpose was
not permitted. Druidic  worship was without figure or sculpture of any kind.

(38) The monolithic avenues, symbolic of the sun's path through the Zodiac, were in some instances seven miles long.
The national religious procession moved through these to the circle on the three great festivals of the year
. In several
of our own cathedrals we have the signs of the Zodiac, represented as sacred emblems on the tiles of the sanctuary
floor, for instance at Canterbury and Rochester.

In his description of the temple at Jerusalem, Josephus states: "The loaves on the table, twelve in number, symbolized
the circle of the Zodiac."

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Druids and Stone Circles
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