Druid symbols are drawings or carvings of items that Druids would use. These items could be magic tools, symbols, or books. Some examples of Druid symbols include the Triquetra, Celtic Shield Knot, and the Trickle sign, as well as runic letters. The symbols are believed to be magical and help to heal, ward off evil, and attract good fortune.
Druids belong to the ancient Celtic culture. They were high-ranking individuals with social roles like religious heads, political advisors, lore keepers, and healers. Druids define their paths but also share a common element with others in the community. Their presence can be dated back to the 4th century BCE.
They would carry a bag with magic tools, symbols, and books. Druids would use certain symbols for healing, protection, and good luck. Though druids are no longer present, the Celtic symbols continue to be popular.
What Is a Druid Symbol?
Druids were judges, priests and priestesses, teachers, and healers with a vital role in the community. Ancient Celts revered druids and relied on their guidance.
Druid symbols are sigils, runes, or drawings used by them for various purposes. The symbols are magical drawings that help heal, ward off evil, and attract good fortune.
There isn’t a lot of written evidence about druids. According to the legends, druids weren’t allowed to write down their knowledge despite being literate. This is why they used symbols to keep the culture alive and pass it on to the next generations.
The modern-day neo-druid groups are reviving ancient Irish traditions to understand and use the knowledge from the past and revive important pagan symbols. However, the druidism movement belongs to the Iron Age, and the followers need to know if they correctly use ancient principles. Hence, they promote nature worship and being in harmony with the environment.
What Is the Celtic Word for Druid?
The word druid comes from the Indo-European deru meaning true/ truth. Druides was first attested in Latin. It changed to drus in Greek, meaning oak. Drui is a singular form in Medieval Irish Gaelic. The word changed to dryw in ancient Welsh texts. Fili (filid/fatha) were of a higher order than druids, and the bards (bardoi) were lower than them.
The following are some popular ancient symbols used by druids.
The Triquetra is called the Trinity Knot and represents the continuous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. The symbol also symbolizes the earth, sea, and sky. It represented the pagan triple goddess before being appropriated as a Christian symbol. It began to be used for the Holy Trinity – the Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit.
The Awen symbol represents inspiration and creativity. It is also a symbol of harmony, time, and knowledge.
The Celtic Knot meaning depends on the design and artwork, though they all represent the various elements of nature. The Triskele is the Celtic spiral, also called the Triple Spiral Knot, is associated with the sun.
The Celtic Cross is a pagan symbol representing earth, fire, wind, and air. The Celtic Cross also acts as a compass and represents nature’s continuous cycle.
Druids used the Ogham rune alphabet, which contains 20 letters. Each letter was associated with a tree. The runes, alphabets, and associated trees had spiritual significance.
Other Druid Symbols
- Dara Knot
- Shield Knot
- Druid Sigil
- Celtic Bull
- Druid Spiral
- Wheel of Taranis (Solar Cross)
- Double Spiral
- Motherhood Knot
The Five Sacred Trees of Druidism
Druids belonged to ancient times when nature worship and polytheism were common. They considered old trees sacred and attributed a spiritual significance to each tree. This can be seen even today in religions like Hinduism.
Druids viewed trees as symbols. For example, the roots of the oak tree are represented by the Dara Knot.
The oak tree is sacred in many cultures. Druids used acorns for fertility, galls to make magical charms, and burnt oak leaves to purify the surroundings.
It is the most sacred tree in druidism and is prominent during the winter solstice. It is also called golden bough, all heal, and birdlime. The branches are a protective herb, but the berries are poisonous.
The Scot or Irish Broom is used during the spring equinox. People sweep the outdoors with broom leaves to purify the space. Burning the shoots and blooms can calm the wind.
It is one of the seven chieftains and is the sweetest of woods. The pine cones and nuts represented fertility, while the pine needles were used for purification and cleansing.
It is the Celtic tree of life and is used for grounding. The leaves are used to draw energy from the earth. The heads of enemies were preserved in cedar oil.
Who are Female Druids?
Female druids are called bandrui or bandraoi. Despite the misconception that druids were only male, historical records show that female druids were present in large numbers. Many of them had high rankings and were very powerful.
Gaius Julius Caesar wrote about female druids though his Roman counterparts ignored their roles. Tacitus also mentioned Banduri women who defended the island of Mona in Wales from Roman attacks and cursed them. He noted that there wasn’t a distinction between female and male druids in ancient Ireland.
Plutarch talked about how Celtic women were different from the Greeks and Romans. The Banduri were politically active. Ganna was a female druid who went to Rome on an official trip. Domitian received her.
Pomponius Mela said that a virgin priestess predicted the future of those from the island of Sena, Brittany. Fedelma is a banfili from the court of Queen Medb of Connacht in the 10th century AD. Goddess worship was also common in Celtic culture.
What God Did the Druids Worship?
Druids were polytheistic and worshipped many gods. The Celts predate Christianity. The horned god, Cernunnos, is commonly found in Celtic art and is considered the god of druids.
The Dagda, a large and powerful bearded man with a club in his hands, is considered the leader of the Celtic gods. He represents manliness, weather, agriculture, and fertility. Wotan is a horned god, a Germanic version of Odin from Norse mythology. These gods share similarities, though it is hard to confirm which version inspired the other.