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I am listening to the audiobooks of a wonderfully insightful and entertaining series of 8 novels by Kevin Hearne about the last surviving Druid in the 21st century. It’s called “The Iron Druid“. Although this immortal Druid inhabits a sexy 21 year old male body, he travels between realms of reality with his faithful Irish Wolfhound (Oberon), between whom telepathic communication is their common language.
I have never read anything previously about Druids (‘oak-seer”), or the races of red-haired Celts, or the The Tuath(a) Dé Danann, a supernatural race in Irish mythology who serve a characters in these novels, along with a pantheon of gods from several planes of existence including vampires, witches, demons, fairies, ghouls, werewolves and many more manifestations of spirit in the magical “supernatural world” of wizardry and ancient wisdom.
Here is a short article from http://www.timelessmyths.com/celtic/
“Most of what is know, about the ancient Celtic people in history, come from observances of classical Greek and Roman writers, as well as from archaeological evidences such as from the possessions of dead in burial sites and from shrines found throughout central and western Europe, as well as from the British Isles.
To Julius Caesar, the druids were secretive but learned group, who enjoyed special privileges among the Celtic population. They did not have to fight in wars and they were exempted from paying taxes. They acted as judges in disputes and they presided over those who commit act of crime, as well as setting penalties. They could travel any where without hindrance from any tribes.
Though, there are many benefits of becoming a druid, it is still not an easy life. It may take over 20 years to learn the philosophy, divination, poetry, healing, religious rites and magic. And all this without committing anything to writing. The druids, or any Gaul for that matter, were fully aware of writing down their knowledge, but chose not to do so, because they preferred to rely on memories. For the druids, their pupils were required to exercise their mind.
The Gauls and the druids were not illiterate. Because of the trades between the Gauls and the Greek city of Massilia (modern Marseille) in southern France, the Gauls had earlier used Greek letters, mainly for trade purposes. The druids had never used the Greek writing to record their knowledge and customs. After Roman conquest of Gaul and Britain, later the Celts had adopted Roman letters for mainly commercial purposes. There are some inscriptions found in sacred sites, such as in shrines and sanctuaries.
Caesar observed that the Gauls were very religious, and they always wait for the druids to perform the necessary rituals or sacrifices. The Celts didn’t build any temples to their gods. The druids practiced their worship in the open air, such as at sacred groves or near sacred lakes.
According to Caesar and other classical writers, the Gauls believed in the souls being immortal, where it passed on to another body after death. In another words, they believed in reincarnation or eschatology.”