To find reliable information on early Western Spirituality is difficult and the sources and commentaries require an effort to seek out. Early British writers had some more ancient sources and tried to preserve the information - while the Roman sources are often at best propaganda. Archeology seems to bear out the early British writings.
There were many regional 'pagan' (meaning of the countryside) followings that had developed over the eons. Druidism became the center and source from which eventually radiated the whole system of organized. Druidic councils were formed to categorize knowledge as fact or faith.
Druid means 'Truth Embracer' or 'Dedicated to Truth'. As seekers of ultimate truths which meant looking to creation: the earth, nature and the universe - the maxim was developed 'To examine and put to the test all matters without prejudice'.
As any concepts that related to medicine, healing, agriculture, architecture, construction, crafts, and practices were discovered and devised and even matters of belief that were developed - the Druids put these to council and debate and logic and testing. As commerce between many lands and cultures increased - so to they studied and embraced what proved valid and useful so philosophy, art and science advanced with their presence and so those of the Druid class were held in very high esteem.
Today the archetype positions of a male 'Arch-Druid' (A Merlin) and of a female 'Lady of the Lake' (Queen of Avalon) comes down to us through the Arthurian Legends.
Other historic iconic images used today have been either plagiarized over time or totally corrupted. Most of the images used at holidays are ancient... and modern people would be shocked they their particular following didn't invent them. Even the idea of the dragon had little to do with what it has become - rather it stood for the energies of the Earth - which are neither good or bad.
Even after the Christian influence infiltrated and thereafter sought domination along with suppression, the Kuldees continued amongst them - at times holding themselves apart at gatherings, and continued to survive openly even into the Renaissance. Over the next hundred years the practices were often handed down, privately embraced and today further rekindled. Often some will describe SOME Kuldees as Judeo-Christian Druids.
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