‘ Druids: a Holy Female Sisterhood
August 27, 2010
Female Druids also known as dryads (Greek) or oak nymphs were oracular priestesses, each with her own personal tree spirit. Dryads were also known as priestesses of Artemis, whose souls dwelt in trees. Dryads could also assume the shapes of serpents and were called Hamadryads or Amadryades. Dryadism and druidism (Scottish) were two phases of the same religion, restricted to a female priesthood in the earlier, matriarchal stage, but later open to male priests as well. Irish churches were originally known by the old druidic name of dairtech, or “oak-house,” a sacred grove. The Christian church attacked the Druids for their paganism, and also for their tendency to include sacred women in their ranks.
The “colleges” of druidesses, dryads, and high holy sisterhoods were later assimilated into Christian nuns. One of the three classes of druidesses consisted of secluded sisterhoods, such as the priestesses of Brigit, who lived in convent-like sanctuaries while tending perpetually burning sacred fires. Another less secluded class of druidess consisted of married women who lived at the temple and went home occasionally to visit their husbands. A third class was composed of temple servants who lived with their families.
There is no break between the ancient semi-magical formulae chanted by the Druids and later incantations of the wizard and “wise woman.” ‘