European Spiritualty

Witchcraft & Druidry

Our two local inherent spiritual paths of Europe were always the witches path and the druids path, both of these life studies stem from the same branch and follow/celebrate the seasonal cycle of the year. Both witches and druids had a deep passion for there local earthly surrounding environment and both of the paths have existed and been practiced for thousands of years, in many different areas all across Europe.


Witchcraft in general follows the Moon and druidry follows the Sun. Witchcraft connects with nature in much the same way as druidry does and much of the study of witchcraft with all its earthly magic, is also studied by druids within the the ovate grade of their studies. 


lets take a look deeper into the world of the witch.



It's been a hard time for witches over the last five hundred years or so. The horrendous witch hunts and trials not so long ago which rounded up  thousands of spiritual witches who were then sentenced to torture and death was a terrible chapter for the witches and now they are still usually seen as the evil ones in films and books, although saying that the true path of witchcraft was never evil it was simply a path with the upmost respect for nature and healing.


Nowadays witchcraft is usually termed as wicca (old English term for witch). Its an Interesting term and it takes away all the negative stereotypes that society has given the word witchcraft. Wicca is quite similar to Druidry, it also has three levels of training, they are known as; the outer teachings, the inner teachings and the secret teachings.


The outer teachings are the introduction to the seasonal year or wheel of the year, and its eight festivals, the God and Goddess and the Sun and Moon phases throughout the year.


The inner teachings occur when the one has traveled around the ritual year and wants to take things deeper. With the knowledge and wisdom that has been accumulated through the turning year/s its then time to move onto a different journey, a journey that gives rise to deep inner wisdom. 


The secret teachings are not totally secret, they are called that because they are kept quiet, what happens is when the earrth path has been followed for some time,  an inner knowing eventually arises. It's this unspoken world, this deep wisdom that becomes the bedrock of the witches practice. It's the place that supports the being and gives vital energy, it's a place of unspoken magic of the otherworld flowing through us. 


Many of todays useful workshops and spiritual exercises are subjects which both the druids and witches practiced... herb lore, deeper consciousness altering music/chant, astronomy, astrology, ceremony, fasting, dance etc etc.



Druidry has three grades, the first is the bard grade, this is where one can discover their creative potential, be it story telling, learning music, playing an instrument, poetry or dance. It combines creativity with the ancient myths of the Celts, Saxons, Vikings and bronze age period.


The next grade is that of the ovate, on this level attraction and time with the natural world, to balance stabilise and learn about trees, herb/plant lore & advanced earth energy exercises.


The final grade is that of the druid itself, this is after some time, usually many years, when the seeker has accumulated knowledge and through the experience and practical application of that knowledge the inner wisdom then starts to arise.


These three grades are intertwined and forever flowing in and out of each other, some seekers choose to stay as bard, following the music or poetry, others like the crafts of the ovate level  and stay on that grade as healers or herbalists, while others become fully fledged druids


The Ancient Druids

The druids are one of the most mysterious of bygone cultures, discussed in literature and folklore, but they never kept a single written record of their druidic society. They were thought to be descended from the ancient Celts, who had a written language but rarely used it. The story of the druids has been passed on through word of mouth and from literature of Greek and Roman authors, who bumped into them during the expansion of the Roman Empire. 


The first written description of the druids is in Julius Caesar's Commentary de Bello Gallico, published around 40B.C. Caesar noted that druids were one of two respected classes in Celtic society, functioning as judges, philosophers, teachers, healers. He claimed they performed magical rituals including human sacrifice.


This was very inaccurate and was possibly Christianised propaganda for the purpose of casting a dark shadow on druidry. Up until this day there has never been any archeological evidence regarding human sacrifice and druids. Many historians of today believe Caesar's image of the druids may reflect his own desires to justify his conquest wars by creating a barbaric people deserving conquest. Often in Roman literature, the druids are referred to as the "barbaric philosophers".


The root of this hatred may have started many years before the Roman invasions of England, it could well have started with tribes from what is now as Austria and Bavaria, heading south of the Danube river into Italy and plundering Venice and Rome!. Eventually the Roman leaders got fed up with it all and organised a huge army to march out of Rome and convert Europe!


So the ancient druids were revered as holy priests and priestesses able to commune with spirits were very much respected. The life of the ancient druid was not such an easy one. The study often took twenty years as it was passed down word to mouth and bound to memory.


Although druids were often known as priests of the Celts, some historians believe that they operated not as a mediator between man and God (as of todays priest), but as more like shamans guiding and directing ritual and communing with different dieties.


Probably the most important aspect of druidism, is the belief that the soul does not die, but is passed into another form(reincarnation) to a deeper or the next level (the afterlife) and so on until the soul reaches the source. Once the source has been reached the soul was then ready to be reborn into another person. So strong was this belief that those who followed the druidic way would go into battle fearless, knowing that their soul would remain unscathed.


The origin of the title ‘Druid’ is unclear, but it may come from the word ‘doire’, an Irish-Gaelic word for oak tree (often a symbol of knowledge), also meaning ‘wisdom’. Druids were very interested with the natural world and its powers, and considered trees very sacred, particularly the Oak.


So all of us people who are practicing healing, or music, or meditation, or simply gardening and loving the nature, we are all partaking in the useful life enhancing practices of the druid or witch.


Peter C,

December 2023