The Druid Order Organization in Caledonia | World Anvil
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The Druid Order


In the age before iron and bronze the folk of Britain were guided by a council of wise sages. Folk of the forests and wilds spent their time wandering the land immersed in nature and all things concerned with the workings of the world. Some dwelt in the great forests of oak, others in the birch hills of the North and but a few spent their time amongst the ancient yew trees. Those who dwelt in the dark shade of the yew became corrupted by it's noxious odours and the spirit of that tree that the odour held. The folk of the Yew came to the conclusion that the dark Yew spirit was master of the forest and all that dwelt within. The yew is the oldest and longest living of all life, and it's pernicious secretion can take life and give healing when used in the correct manner. They went forth from the dark forest taking with them cuttings of their sacred yews and began planting groves of yew in the forests of oak and birch. In this way the war of the trees was set in motion, many men of the forest were corrupted by the insidious yew spirit and went over to that side. The men of the venerable oak resisted the advance of the yew, thinking that nature has no master, only the soul is indestructible. The fighting went on for generations, many groves were cut down until the men of the oak had pushed the yews to the furthest recesses of the darkest glens. In this way the order of the Druids was spread all over the islands. The order took it's name from the oak dru-wid meaning oak knower.   The seat of the druid order was settled at opposite ends of the country. One in the Northern islands of Orcades and the other in the south. Here they erected great circular temples of stone, curious devices used to calculate the movements of the heavens and the cyclical passing of time so that the druids held the knowledge of when to plant crops, when to harvest and when to hold the sacred rites and festivals. The druids would spend their lives on constant pilgrimage between these places so that they moved through the land carrying their knowledge and exchanging what they had learned each year at the annual festivals. Through these wanderings many of these stone circles were set up all about the land. A great accumulation of knowledge of all things was exchanged. From the uses of plants for remedies and extending life, divination of the future in many ways to the measuring of all things of the earth and of the heavens, but above all else the immortal nature of the soul. For it is the belief of the druids that all life is sacred and connected like the branches of a great tree. That the soul of a man is immortal and lives on to inhabit many living bodies. When a life is extinguished it is reborn into another body, be it a man, animal or insect and the soul never truly dies but is in a constant state of renewal and evolution. Essentially we are all the same spark kept alight by living inside mortal flesh. This belief gives them courage and faith like no other people, living in stoic bliss and fearing nothing that might threaten their individual mortality. They treat all things with great concern knowing that to do wrong to others is really just affecting their life in another body.


The order accepts men and women alike, and attracts a great number of young attendants sent by their families at a young age to be taught the druid rites. It takes as little as twenty years training to be ordained as a druid, and a great portion of these youngsters never complete the training, mostly due to the hardships of living off the land, always wandering barefoot and without warmth or shelter. The teachings are passed down orally, in songs and verses. A great many give up the training as they are unable to recount the verses of the teachings. The druids are sworn by oath never to put to letter any of the sacred rites. They are not illiterate, instead it is thought it better to be able to recite a thing rather than study it from letters and in this way a proper understanding of things is brought about. Those who do not complete the training are not viewed shamefully, quite the opposite is true. They are respected for having tried and always leave with a great wealth of knowledge on many things. They become an asset to their tribe with the knowledge and philosophy they bring back. After the training is complete the pupils are sent to the temple, here they must recite the verses word for word in the presence of the arch druid. Taking many days to recount in full. Afterwards they are ordained by taking part in rituals and giving solemn oaths, and finally they are locked away in a dark pit for three days without food or water in complete darkness. In the darkness they say they are reborn, the great mystery is revealed to them, for it is here that the great vision comes to pass, they see life as it really is and emerge reborn. They are then given a new name, different from that given at birth for they are no longer that same person after the great mystery has been revealed.   At last they have become a druid but in truth their journey has only just begun. For there are several specialists of Druids and only once a novice has completed their training may they commit to such a path.


The Bardoi concern themselves with the history of all that has occured, becoming the collective memory of a chiefdom and recounting all that has happened there since the order began. Sometimes in song or dance and other times in epic verses recited at times for entertainment and often at councils to forewarn of what has gone before. Folk are doomed to repeat history if they are not made aware of it.
O'vateis are seers and diviners that foretell the future of things to come. This is carried out in a number of ways. To some it is naturally a congenital gift and they require no other means to bestow an oracle. Others use augary, some from the flight of birds, others from the rustling sound of aspen leaves blowing in the wind. For the most part the sacrifice of sacred animals and the study of their entrails will suffice but for important matters human blood is demanded. More often than not some criminal or village idiot is offered up to be sacrificed. At times they are cut about the neck with a bronze S shaped sickle and the flowing and dripping of warm blood is studied as the augary. For concerning matters a virgin child of noble birth is offered up. They undergo the triple death, first being drowned and then burned before being hung or choked and finally in the last moments of their life their throat is cut with an explosion of blood. At this time the augary is read by observing the way his limbs convulse as he falls and the gushing of his blood on the earth. That much so with regards to the o'vateis.     Bandruí study the effects of plants and the natural world. It is their business to know all the plants and their properties found across the land. They spend a great deal of time collecting specimens for their apothecary and can heal many ailments. They know of all the poisons and the antidotes, often consuming these poisons themselves before administering the antidotes. This works by fortifying their bodies and in some cases allowing them to commune with the spirits. For it is said that they consult the spirits of the plant world through the ingestion of these plant concoctions, entering a trance state whereby they leave their mortal bodies and commune with the spirits of the ether. At certain times they gather together in groups and dance around fires, taking on the mannerisms and movements of animals like the cat, the wild wolf and the eagle howling into the night. They are respected throughout the lands for their knowledge of healing and the curing of ailments. Some are known to become advanced in age beyond what is usual by consumption of a sacred black fungus found only on birch. A great many women druids go on to become Bandruí. They are the only ones who can undergo the yew trance as the men fear the corruption that caused the war of the trees. Only The Bandruí inhabit the sacred isle of the yew, where they take virgin girls to become oracles for the yew spirit. Men are forbidden from visiting the island. They take up post at a cove on the mainland, lighting a signal fire and awaiting the women to sail from the island to carry their question to the oracle, sometimes waiting days for their answer on return.


All druids are expert philosophers, devoting much time to such questions as the nature of life and the workings of the world. For this reason they are called upon by the chiefdoms for council, performing as judges and arbitrators in local feuds and disputes. They often measured out the land to resolve local disputes over ownership. All folk respected their judgement and never called their findings into question. Such is the respect afforded to their judgements. For the Druids preside over the sacred festivals and sacrifices annually, no man or women would dare to be excluded from the sacred rituals hence falling from the favour of the gods.   The Druids worship countless gods. Gods over the rivers, the mountains, the ocean, the forest, the skies and the beasts of the earth. So many gods and local deities that they are innumerable. In truth the Druids only believe in the mortal soul existing in all living things, but use the deities as an allegory for the science of natural wonders that the common folk haven't the wit to comprehend. Hence the personification of natural law into the power of gods and deities. The long training meant that they can learn and understand the escoteric teaching of such tales, bound by the sacred oaths never to reveal the truth of these matters to the uninitiated upon punishment of harrowing endless torture and imprisonment until death.


There was once an occasion where the arch Druid resolved to reveal the truth of the escoteric teachings to the common folk. For in the age of bronze the Druid order was at the height of its power. Many chiefs had pledged their second sons and daughters to the Druid order. When the first sons had died of some calamity or illness or other, the leadership of those cheifdoms fell on the second sons who had become Druids. In this way vast tracts of land had fallen under the power of the Druids. Some Druid priestesses had married and joined houses with Druid chiefs until over time their power encompassed all the lands. When the Druids power had grown to such extent the high council of the Druid order demanded that the chiefdoms be amalgamated into a single tribe and that their sovereignty be passed to the arch druid Táin Bó Cúailnge, ordaining him Druid King of the isles. The council protested that it was dangerous that so much power be bestowed on a single individual and that it would be difficult to govern such a far reaching land effectively. They resolved to appoint three Druid kings. One in the South on the sacred Isle of Mona, one in Orcades and the other on the island of Hibernia. Every ten years these Druid kings would swap kingdoms so that their power was temporary and their rule never stagnated. The chiefdoms reluctantly set aside their differences and obeyed to being amalgamated into three kingdoms. None were willing to resist the power of the Druid order or risk being excommunicated from the sacred rites.   It was during this time that the high Druid King Táin Bó Cúailnge, from his seat in Orcades, resolved to reveal the truth of the escoteric teachings to all the common folk throughout the lands. In order that they would cease to worship the countless local deities and honour only the immortal soul of all things. The Bunduri priestesses of the sacred yew rebuked this idea, claiming that the common folk had not the wit or will to understand the natural forces of the world. They foretold that it would lead to the fall of the high Druid kings and harken the beginning of an age of famine and great change to the lands. This schism formed between the sacred Yew priesthood and the high kings of the Druid order. Nevertheless the Druid order set in motion their plans, sending out the Druids to tear down graven idols of worship and make clear the natural forces of the world. Though as they did the oracle of the sacred yews began to be fulfilled. The climate grew a chill, becoming wetter and harder to sow crops in the uplands, bogs formed where forests once grew and the shorelines changed so that where there was once land turned to open water. Gradually this forced the common folk to forsake their homes in the uplands and contest the settlements of arable ground. A great strife swept over the lands, with chaos and bloodshed in every corner. Plagues consumed the masses neither the Druids nor the Bandruí healers could abate. Finally a great cataclysm visited the earth like never seen before where the sky turned black, the heavens shrouded from view, summers never came causing the crops to fail and the rains poured down with ash. The winters grew longer and were bitterly cold. All these events caused the high Druid kings to fall from their seats, losing their grip on power as the land was steeped in chaos and strife. The common folk blamed the Druids for bringing down the graven idols of divinity and heaped curses upon them. It took many generations for the land to recover, the people reverted back to warring chiefdoms and tribal groups struggling against one another. The common folk rekindled their superstitions spurred on by the tales of the wrath of the gods and their punishment for neglectful and impious practices.   Even though these things came to pass the druid order survive throughout the land, although they are a shadow of their former power they are still held in high regard by the chiefdoms. There is not a clan who does not consult a druid for council, still entrusting them to carry their messages between the tribes and to be arbitrators in times of conflict.   The Romans have arrived from the continent and overun the south, outlawing the druid order. Some have fled north to escape persecution, others to Hibernia seeking refuge across the sea. All of them carry the news that Rome is a great power and in order to resist their advance the remaining free people must unite as one to face them in battle. The druid order fear the idea of assuming absolute power again, recounting the fate of the fallen druid kings. Only they have the power and prestige to unite the warring tribes and organize a resistance. Time is running out.
Druidic Circle
Controlled Territories

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