Druidism began as a part of Celtic societies. These societies were based in Britain and Ireland and other parts of Europe during ancient times. Roman rulers believed the groups were harmful and took extreme measures to stop them from practicing, even destroying written records that mentioned the druids. Records show that these groups were practicing as early as the third century.
According to historical records, the early druids were males. Any females that were mentioned during the early years were considered druidesses and were supposedly descendents of the original practicing members. Caesar documented the Druid lifestyle and practices and claimed that the priests were considered more important than the lower class, which basically was responsible for recording judgments, laws, and other events in their history. They typically used oral histories, but occasionally used their own form of the written word.
Later descriptions of the druids claimed that they relied heavily on secret practices that took place in special areas located outdoors. They had certain areas inside forests that they believed were sacred. When the Romans rose to power, they destroyed those areas. There are also rumors that the druids practiced human sacrifice, though there’s no evidence to support that claim. There are further stories that claim the druids used prophets in their rituals, with the prophets having the ability to predict future events.
Modern druids are known as neo-druids and came about as part of the neo-druidism movement. During the 1700s people became more interested in these people and sought out more information, even drawing a connection between the followers and Stonehenge. By the following century, the druids began appearing in books as fictional characters. Modern druids are believed to have been the result of this renewed interest in the druids.
Modern or neo-druids practice worship that respects nature and focuses on spirituality. These individuals began by practicing rites and rituals that were attributed to the group during the 17th and 18th centuries. However some of those ideas have now been proven false, leading some to claim that there’s no real connection between the two groups. They believe that all elements of nature have a spiritual connection or soul and that they should respect all their ancestors as well as other druids.