Druids: The Ancient Priesthood of the Celts
Registration Deadline: December 05, 2011
Shrouded in mystery, the ancient religion of the druids continues to fascinate people today as much as it did the Romans and Greeks. The druids, respected soothsayers, healers and political advisors, were the most enlightened and civilized influence in northern Europe until the advent of Christianity.
The Celts believed the natural features of the earth were inhabited by gods and goddesses. They venerated oak groves, but also performed rituals on hilltops, and by streams and lakes. Fire was associated with several divinities, and each of the four seasons began with a fire ritual: Imbolg (spring), Bealltainn (summer), Lughnasadh (autumn) and Samhainn (winter). Because Ireland and the north of Scotland were not conquered by the Romans, the druid order survived the introduction of Christianity in the late Roman empire by several hundred years. Christians and pagans lived side by side until the 9th or 10th centuries. Archaeologists believe that only the writings of Classical writers about the druids should be considered in describing this priestly cast, but of equal or greater value are the Gaelic manuscripts in reconstructing the lives and activities of the druids.
Neo-druidism was a creation of 18th-19th centuries. There are small groups who have recreated the religion of the druids as best they knew how; one well-known group worships at Stonehenge each year at the summer solstice.
Make of the information what you will! But I believe that we should treat the beliefs of others with respect. The course is based on academic books, but good websites will be listed.
Format: Course is conducted via Yahoo Groups email with lessons and Q&A
For additional information, contact the Campus Coordinator.
Sharron Gunn lives in British Columbia and teaches Irish and Scottish history at the University of Victoria part-time. Of Scottish, French and Irish origin, she was born on the east coast of Canada–some knowledge of the Gaelic and French languages and cultures was inevitable. While living over eight years in Europe, she studied the languages and history of Great Britain and France. She has a diplôme from the Université de Nancy, France, a B.A. in French and a Masters degree (2nd first degree) in Scottish History and Celtic Studies from the University of Glasgow. She is hard at work on a paranormal set in World War II.
Bibliography & webology included; questions and discussion welcomed.