In Celtic culture of the past few were more highly though of as the druid. It is common today than many people perceive the druids as robe wearing proto-hippies but this could not be further from the truth, this collective of highly respected people sat at the top of society and were leaders amongst the people of the time. Today it is hard to know exactly what the druids got up to since much of what we do know was chronicled by romans who saw them as an eclectic outfit to say the least. Though we do have some archaeological evidence that supports their existence, the written recollections mean that some of the information today may be incorrect or it could be as outlandish as it sounds.
It’s no exaggeration that these were high ranking people, sought to have exceptional wisdom druids were advisors to kings and queens of the time. Their place at the top of society made being part of their collective a desirable spot and many wanted to join. However only the elite of the druids themselves would secure positions whispering in the ears of the most powerful, and it wasn’t exactly like joining a book club.
Wisdom from Training
It is said that it took 20 years to become a proper druid. The training involved would include learning their many teachings, understanding their practices and learning the secrets that nature held. This makes sense as to why druids are often depicted as older bearded men since their seniority would be an advantage here. Druids also lived as a community and therefore by becoming one would require you to step away from the society you knew. This cult-like enclosure is often a red flag for those looking in but as druidism was seen objectively as a legitimate religious movement this would be no different than joining a convent or an abbey.
In Touch with Nature
Druids are commonly known for their collaboration with nature, their name even comes from the Celtic word for knowing Oak. Druids found power in plant life and were known to use herbs, flowers and fruits in many areas of their practice. They also had a connection with animal life, able to communicate with non-human species in many ways. One of the most bizarre retellings speaks of druids cutting out the inside of a bull and then laying inside of it, thus gaining any wisdom the bull had before it was killed.
This isn’t the only time druids have been known for seemingly being casual about killing, many stories tell of druid sacrifices. From the burning of effigies like a wicker man to the threefold killing of humans. This act relates to the elements of nature and would work by hanging, drowning then burning those sacrificed which may seem like overkill but was all part of the ritual.
This and many other odd activities fill stories of what the druids got up to in their prime. These people were essentially Celtic magicians and had all manner of tricks up their large sleeves. Druids were alleged to have been able to predict the future as well as have something to do with the mystery of Stonehenge. Whichever of these claims is true, they were undoubtedly an interesting part of early Celtic culture.