Druids' Roles in Celtic Society

The Druids were held in high regard by the Celts. They held a position in society just below that of Kings/Queens. However, there is considerable discord over the role of the Druids in Celtic society. Some argue they served primarily religious purposes but others suggest their roles involved broader intellectual pursuits.

Unfortunately, the Druids did not detail their role in written form until well after the Christianity had become the religious doctrine of the Celts. Thus, what is said about the Druids in those texts is colored by the adoption of Christian values and beliefs. It can be safely claimed that the Druids played an important role in Celtic life. They most certainly led the religious aspects of the culture and were used to arbitrate disputes....beyond that it is difficult to determine how far their influence went.

The meaning of the term "Druid" supports the view that they were intellectual leaders as well as religious leaders. Dru is related to "oak" and uid related to "knowledge" (i.e., oak knowledge). A more general interpretation would be "one whose knowledge is great".

It can be said that the current Druid movements are not based on surviving Druid texts because none exist (the Druids passed on the belief structure orally and maintained a proscription against putting their beliefs into written form to safeguard them from outsiders).

Druids' Roles in Celtic Society