The aim of The Golden Sickle, is to present the history of Druidism, from the ancient Roman and Greek testimonies on the Druids, to the revival of the Druidic myth in English literature and 19th-century British paramasonic Druidic orders, to the core issue of the book – presenting a panorama of modern Druidic movements, and answering the question of who modern Druids are and what do they believe?
In the ancient sources, Druids are presented both as philosophers and sages who “likewise discuss and impart to the youth many things respecting the stars and their motion, respecting the extent of the world and of our earth, respecting the nature of things, respecting the power and the majesty of the immortal gods.” (Caesar, De bel. Gal., VI, 14), and on the other hand, as blood sacrifcers of a religion in which „to murder a man was to do an act of the greatest devoutness, and to eat his flesh was to secure the highest blessings of health.” (Plinius Secundus, Nat. Hist., XXX, 4). Throughout its history, the Druid myth has undergone many transformations; the information on the alleged blood sacrifices passed by the ancients authors with time became forgotten, and the image of a Druid as a philosopher and expert on nature and its secrets stepped to the foreground.
The aim of “The Golden Sickle",is to present the history of Druidism, from the ancient Roman and Greek testimonies on the Druids, to the revival of the Druidic myth in English literature and 19th-century British paramasonic Druidic orders, to the core issue of the book – presenting a panorama of modern Druidic movements, and, therefore, answering the question of “who modern Druids are and what do they believe”. Religious studies experts place contemporary Druidry among Neo-Pagan movements, as well as in the broader category of new religious movements. Modern Druidic organizations were established between 1960 and 1980 in the UK and the US (the largest include the British Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids and American Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, however, one must remember that these two organizations are international and embrace members basically from every continent). Modern Druidry may take the form of a pan-religious spirituality (OBOD), open to everyone regardless of their creed, or the form of a new religion, a rebirth of the “Pagan spirit" based on the Celtic, but also Indo-European, heritage (ADF). Modern followers and sympathizers of Druidism view the natural world in terms of the sacred; they perform rituals during solstices and equinoxes in its honor; many of them believe in a spiritual or mystical side of reality and oppose fundamentalism in any form. They are a permanent part of the European cultural landscape, as evidenced by, among others, recognizing Druidism by the British Charity Commission (2010) as a fully-fledged religion, meeting the criteria for registration as a charity organization, as well as including elements of a Druidic ritual into the London 2012 Paralympic Games closing ceremony.
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