odern Druidism is one of the Neo-pagan families of religion, which include Wicca, Asatru, Shamanism, and recreations of other various Pagan religions such as Egyptian, Greek, Norse, and Roman. Today€™s Druidism is a reconstruction of the beliefs and practices of the ancient Celtic priesthood. The ancient Druids, were first known to exist in approximately 4,000 BCE and is believed to date far beyond written history. The ancient Druids are most widely connected with the British Isles; however, history shows evidence that the British Isles were only the last strong hold of the Druids. Most commonly referenced are the islands of Iona and Mona, (Anglesey as it is called today). The Ancients built sacred sites out of stone and these stone formations and monuments have been found all over the world. The ancient Druids were also abundant in areas of Brittany and France, where their monuments are still scattered across acres of land in geometric formations.

The ancient Druids were the most learned of men in their time and are known to perform the functions of modern day priests, teachers, legislators, astronomers, chemists, musicians, poets, theologians, philosophers, and judges. They were also specialists in healing, herbalism and divination. They were revered by all to the point that kings and social hierarchy would send their children to them to be schooled. In matters of religion, law, and scholastics, their authority was absolute. The Druids main focus was, "The Belief in Supreme Power of the Universe, and the Belief of Immortality of the Soul." The Druids underwent a lengthy three phase scholastic, artisan, and spiritual training, which is mentioned in Romantic text to have been as long as 20 years. Druids led all public rituals, which were normally held within sacred groves of trees. Due to the intellect of the Druids, the Romans feared them. It was the common folks reverence towards the Druids that interfered with Caesars€™ attempt to overcome the Britons in 55 BCE, where Druidism was the prevailing philosophy in Briton at the time. Caesar found the Druids to be a threat to his authority and he ordered their demise. He nearly accomplished completely exterminating the Druids at the Isle of Mona, now Anglesey. After the invasions by Rome, the few Druids that were left converted to Christianity through persuasion or genocide.

The Christian Church adsorbed much of the Celtic religion. Pagan Gods and Goddesses became Christian saints, sacred springs and wells were preserved and associated with saints and used for baptism. Many sites of spiritual antiquity became the location of cathedrals. There are those who believe that the Christian Monks erased those things of religious conflict during the early Celtic Christian Era. By the 7th Century CE, Druidism was destroyed throughout most of the former Celtic lands or was hidden deeply underground for fear of persecution. Druidism reemerged in the 17th century in London England as the Mount Haemus Grove. In 1858, the California Grove No.1 was instituted in what is now known as Placerville. There has been found some evidence that traditional Paganism did survive into the 20th Century among isolated areas of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.



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An Introduction to Celtic History

The lands occupied by Celtic peoples, whose existence can be traced over more than 25 centuries, were vast. Celts occupied land in modern day Eastern Europe, Greece, Spain, Northern Italy, Western Europe, England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The Celtic people have mystified anthropologists and historians for generations. They were a non literate culture whose history and literature was preserved through oral tradition. The only written records of their civilization are the texts left by classical authors, the first of which appear circa 500 BCE. These accounts, inaccurate as they may be, are important in that they demonstrate that the Celts came into cultural contact, and sometimes competition, with the Greeks as well as the Romans.

In recent years, modern archeology has been successful in reconstructing an echo of the "voice" of the ancient Celts. Facets of Celtic society, economy, and religion completely ignored by Classical texts have been brought to light. The classical image of Celtic life describes barbaric men and women dressed in uncured animal skins in primitive villages, people who worshipped strange deities and whose lives were consumed in blood feuds. Because of the authority of the classical authors, these ancient misconceptions were pervasive. They are visible, for example, hundreds of years later in some of the Shakespearean characters that people Cymbelline and King Lear.

The Celts impressed the Greeks and Romans with their bold dress and powerful appearance. Generally characterized by classical observers as a people of fair hair, of red or gold, and fair complexions, (although the people of the British Isles were described as small and dark-haired) most Celtic women apparently stood taller than the average Roman citizen. Celtic women, upon reaching maturity, adopted a complex braided style for their hair, and wore dyed and embroidered dresses. Plaids, or wrapped woven cloaks, were common for men and women alike, and gold and silver torques and armrills, as well as rings, adorned wealthy Celts. Brooches that held closed the openings of dresses and plaids were another common feature of Celtic dress. Gallic men commonly spiked their hair and bleached it to an almost white color with chalky water, and wore their beards long, while the Bretons and Picts tattooed their arms and faces with blue. Many Danish and English bogs have yielded archeological evidence of cloth and dress, and Roman historians such as Tacitus also document some of the customs of everyday Celtic life.

Some features of Celtic life were not as closely chronicled in classical sources. The quality of Celtic metal-work was technically and artistically advanced. Most Celtic people lived in well-populated farming villages, with larger towns linking smaller settlements and acting as meeting sites for economic and cultural activity. Fortified cities and shrines were erected along well-travelled roadways. This evidence of a more complex society in pre-Roman Europe has led some scholars to rethink conclusions drawn from classical texts by such authors as Caesar, Polybius, and Strabo. Celtic societies, once considered "barbaric" as seen through the lens of classical observers, are now looked upon as advanced cultures networked through the bond of a common linguistic heritage.

Piecing together the culture and lives of the ancient Celts, in the absence of clear archeological or textual record, is not an easy task. No one is even sure where the term "Celtic" comes from. With a great deal of inconsistency, classical sources provide tantalizing but incomplete information about the peoples called Keltoi and Galatatae by the Greeks, and Celtae or Galli by the Romans. Two thousand years ago, the term Celt was used specifically for peoples inhabiting continental Europe; the denizens of England and Ireland were not to be called "Celts" until seventeenth and eighteenth-century linguistic scholarship began to identify the inhabitants of the pre-Roman British Isles as Celtic peoples.

Who were the Celts? The issue is further obscured by the eighteenth and nineteenth-century Romantics. Clumping all of the Celtic peoples into one homogeneous family with a single ethnic identity, the Romantics exalted the idea of the "noble savage." The notion of the "romantic highlander" and the modern conception of the druids are based on these romanticized images of Celtic history and culture. Modern nationalist writers such as William Butler Yeats in Ireland and Sir Walter Scott in Scotland used such idealized portraits as the basis of a new pan-Celtic movement that offered resistance to the modernization and imperialism of Victorian Britain.

http://www.watson.org/~leigh/celts.html

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.