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United Ancient Order of Druids

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History of Druidism

Courtesy of Phoenixmasonry


It was not until the 17th century that the teachings of the Druids were adopted to modern usage when a ritual based upon their moral and fraternal philosophy resulted in a Grove (Lodge) being organized in London, England, in 1717. Since that time modern Druidism has had continued existence all over the world. In 1786, a gentleman named Henry Hurle at a meeting in London, England, seeing the necessity of a harmonious Brotherhood of man, announced: "It appears to be that society lacks good fellowship, hilarity and brotherly love." He also spoke of the Druids and said "they were of old men who undertook to enlighten the people of their day and who introduced among the ancient Britons the useful and polite arts, and these were the Druids. My proposition is that we form a society for social feeling and we assume the title of those learned men (The Druids), and that we will adopt the endearing name of brothers, universally amongst us." The wish and the intention of those men was to enlighten the mind, promote harmony, encourage, temperance, energy, and virtue. Thus modern Druidism was born.

Druidism in the United States

The first Grove of Druids was instituted in the City of New York in 1830. Gradually the Order branched out in different parts of the States. In 1858, California Grove No. 1 was instituted at old Hangtown (now known as Placerville) under the leadership of the founder of California Druidism. P.N.G.A. [Past National Grand Arch] Frederick Sieg California Grove [No. 1] of Druids is active today and a Druidic monument honoring P.N.G.A. Frederick Sieg adorns the main street of Placerville.

The Druids of today confine themselves to the moral, fraternal, patriotic and benevolent philosophy exemplified by the Druids of old. Their teachings and principles are derived from ancient Druidism, founded on reason and sound morality. The greatest of all Druidic teachers was Merlin, and his Seven Precepts are considered as a moral way of life, the finest oral virtues ever laid down for the guidance of man. These Seven Precepts of Merlin have been observed down through the ages by all Druids.

The Seven Precepts Of Merlin

First: Labor diligently to acquire knowledge, for it is power.

Second: When in authority, decide reasonably, for thine authority may cease.

Third: Bear with fortitude the ills of life, remembering that no mortal sorrow is perpetual.

Fourth: Love virtue-for it bringeth peace.

Fifth: Abhor vice-for it bringeth evil upon all.

Sixth: Obey those in authority in all just things, that virtue may be exalted.

Seventh: Cultivate the social virtues, so shalt thou be beloved by all men.

Branches of the Order

In California and Nevada the Druidic family is composed of three separate bodies: Groves, being the Brotherhood, Circles, known as the Sisterhood, and the Chapters. known as the Sir Knights and the Fun Branch. A member of the brotherhood branch can in due time join the sisterhood. However, a member of the sisterhood cannot join the brotherhood branch. Both members of the brotherhood and the sisterhood are eligible to join the Chapter branch, however membership in the Chapter branch is limited to brothers and sisters who are Officers of the Grove or Circle or Past Officers. All three branches of the Druidic Fraternity are rooted in antiquity and each branch has its own moral precepts.

The guiding virtues of the Circle Branch are:

The Seven Star Points:

Honor

Truth

Justice

Faith

Hope

Love

Benevolence

The principles of virtue of the Chapter Branch are:

Equity

Integrity

Obedience

The Druidic Units, brotherhoods, are called Groves (Lodges in honor and memory of the custom of the Ancient Brethren who lit their altar fires in the forest groves). In these grove edifices, the tops were never covered and the Ancient Druids used the sky or heaven as their roof. The Druids belonged to all humanity, non-sectarian.

The motto of the Druids the world over is "United To Assist." The aim of the Druids is Unity, Peace and Concord.

Ancient Druidism

However, the Order of Druids is ageless, having existence in the dim mists of antiquity. The Druidic Order is perhaps the oldest fraternal organization in the world. The first traces of Druidism dates 6000 years before the birth of Christ or the Christian Era and far beyond the scope of written history. There seems to be no time era when evidences of their ancient existence cannot be found.

Students of antiquity find in the ancient ruins evidence in stone of that which we today call Druidism. That which marks them as Druidic is the pattern in which these stones are laid which show that their builders used certain stars and the sun as points of reference. Such monuments are found in Europe, Asia, South America and the United States. Everyone connects the ancient Druids with the British Isles. However, history reveals that the British Isles were only the last great stronghold of the brotherhood, particularly in Ireland and Wales. They also were numerous in Brittany and Normandy in France, where their monuments are still to be seen covering acres of land in geometric formation.

The members of the Ancient Brotherhood of Druids were the most learned men of their time. They were the physicians, astronomers, mathematicians, musicians, poets, philosophers, legislators and judges of the people as well as their educators in the matter of religion and learning. They were held in such esteem that the Kings sent their sons to be educated by them. In the matters of learning and government their authority was absolute.

Because of their intellect the Druids were feared by the Romans. Julius Caesar found the Druids in the way when he attempted to subdue the Britons. He nearly exterminated them, and wrote concerning them. Augustus Caesar followed and succeeded in driving their remnants to a little island called Mona, now called Aglesey.

The Ancient Druids were marvels of intellectual grasp, profound thought and clear expression. The ancient records, as handed down, throw an illuminating light on the character and customs of our forefathers. When Caesar invaded Britain, 55 B.C., Druidism was the prevailing philosophy. Its cardinal points were "Belief in Supreme Power of the Universe," and "Belief in the Immortality of the Soul." In the Ancient Druidic state the Druid was teacher of truth and the dispenser of justice. As teachers they taught that the light of intelligence destroys the darkness of superstition and ignorance, hence the first precept of Merlin, the great Druidic teacher, "Labor diligently to acquire knowledge for it is power."

The Druidic Order is firmly established in all countries and it is the only fraternal order that has an International Grand Lodge which meets with an International Password.

The torch atop the Frederick Sieg Memorial Monument represents Knowledge as light dispelling the darkness of ignorance and superstition. It also represents Liberty and signifies good works. The Torch calls for the love and the practice of Truth, Justice and Righteousness. A like aspiration on the part of the individuals and nations would bring a lasting brotherhood, the Druids were ministers of Peace.

As Druids, we acclaim and support all attempts by every society to teach and inculcate, principles of friendship and brotherly love.

Again it is repeated Druidism believes and teaches good citizenship. The Druids are nonsectarian and non-political. The Druids permit no questions of a religious or political nature to be brought into the Grove. No discussion of individuals or families are tolerated. We feel very strongly that the United States is our nation and that our nation needs the help of every citizen and that it might be preserved in strength and principal. The Druids are conscious that in America, of all places, freedom truly exists. The Druids oppose all subversive influence and evil in every form and subscribe to the American principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. to the end that our form of government will never perish from the earth.

The lessons and the teachings contained in our ritual and philosophy must continually be taught and instilled into the mind and heart of each Druid, our community and mankind as a whole if Unity, Peace and Concord is to prevail.

Druidism is a "Way of Life," a system of morality -- a purely Non-Sectarian, Social, Moral, Beneficial, Non-Political, Fraternal organization. As stated before, Druidism professes and asserts Faith in the Supreme Power Of The Universe, the Brotherhood Of Man, and the Immortality of the Soul. It grants unto every brother, sister and sir knight Freedom of Thought -- expression of the Dignity of the individual man and woman. Druidism by nature is Educational and the lessons of Druidism teaches that the Light of Intelligence will destroy the darkness of superstition and ignorance [which] continues to blind the human race and cause great misery to all mankind.

Although Druidism is neither a religious or political organization, the Druids do partake in a measure of the nature of both. Druidism is not a religion, but the Druids profess a religious Faith, as manifested in their belief of the Almighty God, and the Immortality of the Soul. They are, also, somewhat political because they believe in the respect and the dignity of man and woman, and the Druids do partake in politics in an effort to establish better schools, a better community in which to live and the Druids openly oppose every "ism" which is subversive in nature and contrary to the principles of our government and contrary to the freedom [of] thought and the human spirit.

Druidism justifies its existence by rendering a service to our fellow man and mankind. Service to humanity is an important factor in the life and character of a Druid. Repeating, Druidism emphasizes that the only justification for its existence is the Services which its members render unto its brethren and the world at large, to make the world a better place in which to live. Service to others is one of the first lessons of Druidism, and by example, the Druids exemplify true brotherhood assisted by the highest perceptual moral virtues of Merlin. These moral virtues are the greatest ever laid down for the guidance of man or woman. The spirit of brotherhood which is so ever evident and the brothers and sisters give a tangible meaning to the lessons taught by Druidism in making it a philosophy, a way of life.


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