By John Michael Greer
The original Druids, the priestly caste of ancient Celtic peoples in Britain, Ireland, and Gaul, went extinct more than a millennium ago. Very little information about them survived the centuries: a few scrappy second- and third-hand references in Greek and Roman texts, a few stories in Irish legends written down centuries after the coming of Christianity, and the ambiguous testimony of archaeology. Despite generations of hard work by scholars and archaeologists, the honest answer to most questions about the ancient Druids is still “we don’t know.”
For 300 years, though, the meager heritage of the ancient Druids has inspired people to follow a Druid path themselves. The historical setting of the Druid Revival makes it easy to understand why: the time of modern Druidry’s emergence also saw the Industrial Revolution, and the triumph of an ideology that sees nature purely as a source of raw materials and a place to dump waste.