The beauty of nature, whether it’s an awesome sunset, the color of the fall leaves or the striking beauty of lightning is breathtaking, mysterious and has a power all its own.
To the druid, the sentry of the world, nature was the driving force and was dependent on the precarious balance of air, earth, fire and water. Their beliefs were strong and drawn from the spiritual unity of the natural forces. Druids were not masters but rather servants of nature. In addition, they were the philosophers, judges, mathematicians, and scientists of the day. Druids did not codify their story but rather believed in the oral history. Nothing was written down. The only accounts that do survive are from the early Greeks and Romans who had first-hand knowledge. Druids were the caretakers of the lore and also great healers who were respected and considered the keepers of the ‘Old Faith.
Followers of the ‘Old Faith’ didn’t worship a deity although they did have the concept of a Mother Goddess which symbolized the earth and the fertility of nature.
When the Romans came to Britain the druids, and the deep respect people had for them, was a threat that needed to be eliminated. It began with character assassination and ended with eradication. To justify the slaughter, the Romans went on a smear campaign. But that’s another story.
Why are fantasy writers drawn to druids? I can’t speak for other authors but I can tell you why I was drawn to druids in my story. Their deep beliefs, devotion to the land and people, are the underpinnings of my hero’s personality.
I’ve recently started a contemporary time travel story and find that there is a druid hero lurking in my very modern Jayson. I suppose you can expect to see a bit of druid magic in all my heroes, no matter what era my stories take place!
What kind of hero do you like?