Outline of Druidist Thought and History
Excerpted from the scholar Sheridan Jones's contribution to The Atlas of Later American Peoples, assembled by The Historiography Society at the pleasure of Emperor Baldwin IV's Imperial Library.
What Makes A Druidist?
To say that one is a Druidist is to say that one believes in:
- The worship of the Druidic Gods
- The presence of spirits inhabiting all things
- The Land and its hallowedness
More specifically it is to say that one also believes in:
- A pervading spiritual force called anidhw
- Keeping certain values and social mores associated with the religion
- The potential reincarnation and apotheosis of souls
- The spiritual leadership of the priestly caste known as Druids
These and other concepts are mostly defined in three genre: Law, Life, and Love - all of which serve the purpose of the Land.
What is the Land? The Land is both the living earth and the godhead of Dagda, Lugh, and Cerunnos. Sometimes collectively referred to as DAGLUCER, the three-in-one sacrificed themselves to create the world and living things. The Land is physical as well as metaphorical. The material world was created by the actions of DAGLUCER, and to harm the Land spiritually or physically is to threaten existence itself. All gods and living spirits, as well as most Fey, revere the Land. Men were created to worship gods and tend the Land, but began to reject this purpose and brought about the Fall. The Love, the Law and The Life safeguard the Land.
Mankind serves the Land in three ways:
- The Love: The Love is the service and worship of the gods. They are worthy of honor and praise, even those such as Arawn, whose domain men find frightening, and neglecting their worship is akin to neglecting the Land. Each of the gods performs functions and rules spheres necessary for the maintenance of the Land. Every first entity and anidhw was created by the gods, and the gods continue to intersect with the world. The Love encompasses all passions related to the divines, including that of Holy War. Denying the Love to serve false gods was the beginning step to ruin.
- The Law: The Law is the keeping of proper conduct between fellow men and the spiritual world. Geases and pacts fall under the Law, and have power through anidhw. Anidhw is an inescapable force that flows from all spirits. The anidhw of men flows from their thoughts and hearts, and is given power in their voice, symbols, and signs. As such, poetry is an important part of Druid religion. The most important function of man's anidhw is the keeping of the Land, since he can work it in ways other creatures cannot. Anidhw used righteously is in accordance with the Law, while that which is bent to evil purpose is out of accordance, and harms the Land.
- The Life: The Life is the honor and reverence of the Land and its spiritual and physical inhabitants. Danu created mankind at the behest of the other gods to provide caretakers who would be tied with the Land and so could avoid conflict between the domains of the gods. The Land is full of Living Spirits who inhabit every rock, tree, stream, bird, beast, and other object. Because men are part of the Land and thus have anidhw, their creations also house Living Spirits. To help carry out the Life, man should ensure a balance between the spiritual as well as physical needs of the Land. Thus, while not to the same extent as the gods, Living Spirits receive a degree of worship and reverence. Men must take no more than they require, and return equal measure.
Along with and contained in Life, Law, and Love, there are several other beliefs that help define Druidism:
- Druids: Most important of all is the group of priests who lend their name to the religion. The Druids are the spiritual center of Druidism, and hold as much sway as most secular leaders. From a religious standpoint, the Druids are trained in leading the care of the Land, the telling of history and legend through story and song, serving various patron gods, tending to shrines and groves, proselytizing, and casting magic by way of anidhw. More broadly, they also often end up serving worldly purposes as healers, war leaders, officiates, mediators, witnesses, and messengers. The training of druids begins with young men and women in whom is seen promise for otherworldly matters. They are sent to a variety of schools and temples for study if they are locally available, with most ending up in the holy land of Avalon. What regimen they undergo is mostly secret, but it is rumored to involve intense focus on the spoken and runic word, the direct invocation of gods, and growing of rare, sacred plants and trees, along with training in physical and magical harm. Druids are not allowed to marry or engage in sexual activity until after they have completed their studies. Some druids enter into the service of lords as viziers, and a lord without the aid of a druid is considered half-blind and vulnerable to spells of evil anidhw.
- Geas: The Druidists have a system of personal taboos called "geases". While geases have rarely been lain upon groups of people, they are almost almost always a personal experience. Geases can be received by the pronouncements of Druids, dreams or visions, be taken as part of a pact with a patron deity, or used as the vouchsafe of an oath. Those who take a geas have an obligation that they must fulfill or risk the wrath of the oath's anidhw and the disapproval of their fellow Druidists. These obligations can be something simple, such as praying to Kitpu at sunset or never eating from a tray of beechwood, to something more demanding such as only sailing during a storm or never sheathing a weapon until it has killed. The Great Geas was made in the Dawn Time between mankind and the gods Dagda and Morrigan. Man promised never to eat the flesh of man, and in turn the Fomorian Feyfolk were buried beneath the sea and the earth. In order to keep a single person from breaking the geas for all, the penalty for transgression is to transform the spirit of the cannibal into a monstrous fey called a wendigo. Nevertheless the final act that brought about the Fall was the desecration of the Land through breaking the Great Geas in a way that subverted the safeguard of the pact. This unleashed the Fomorians and their king, Balor-Who-Is-Hunger, which Man used to scour the Land, bringing about his destruction. To this day there is no higher crime amongst the Druids than cannibalism, even under duress of starvation.
- Fey: The Fey are non-Living spirits of various origin. Most are the results of attempts by the gods to make mankind - the Fomorians especially - but some serve the gods. The spirits of the dead can also become Fey if they are not buried properly, stay on earth too long, or do not submit themselves to Arawn. Fey have their own set of values, and oftentimes come across as capricious creatures to humans. Their realm is situated in the Land beyond the kingdom of Arawn, and is a mirror image of the mortal world. The main division of the Fey are between the Sealed and Unsealed, based on whether or not they are bound by the Great Geas. The Sealed were those of greatest power, who could most harm humanity and the Land and they have limited abilities to move about on Earth. The Unsealed roam freely, and can still be dangerous despite being less powerful. Fomorians are the most feared of the sealed Fey, and the release of their master, Balor-Who-Is-Hunger, through an unknown means of breaking the Great Geas brought about the Fall in Druidic belief.
- Cyclical time: Druidists believe that time comes in cycles, and that the eventual "end of the world" will be indistinguishable from its birth. What was comes again, and the sea returns to the river from which it flows. Long ago in the Green Islands, the gods whetted the the Wheel of the World in the Cauldron of the Veil, and spun it to generate the first anidhw. In time the gods will tire, and join the Land, and the spirits of the Ancestors will rise up and become the Gods, spinning the wheel again.
- Death and Rebirth: Death is important in balancing part the Wheel of the World, the metaphysical embodiment of time and cycles. Death is the domain of Arawn, the god of the grave. Prayers concerning the Life usually end with an invocation for him to take in due time. When spirits die they enter into his kingdom, beyond which is the realm of the Fey. After a time they may be reborn into the Life, if in accordance with the Law and the Love. Druids whisper that before the Fall, man discovered perversions that let him deny natural death, weakening the boundary between the Sealed Fey and the Land.
- Ancestors: Men also enter Arawn's kingdom when they die. While there they can aid and lend anidhw to their relations still on earth, and the worship of ancestors strengthens the bonds of Man and the Land across ages come and yet to pass. After a time, the dead can reincarnate into powerful Living Spirits or - if the gods allow - be reborn as humans under special circumstances. Druidists also maintain the potential apotheosis of the ancestors; in time they may ascend to godhood and begin the cycle of creation over again.
The Gods Of Druidism
Lugh: Lugh is the god of light, poetry, and The Love. Lugh is almost always depicted with some intense expression, whether it be joy, sadness, hate, or another. Lugh is said to have incarnated as the man Long-Hand before the Fall and been a great soldier and druid. He is the one who slew Balor-Who-Is-Hunger with his six headed spear West-Son, thus saving mankind from final destruction. In the final battle he was weakened, and near death, so he had himself chained to a rock that he might not fall over while he aimed his spear. Upon his death, Long-Hand returned to his godhood as Lugh, and the Land was preserved. He is also supposed to be the father of the semi-mythical chief Xulaine.
Dagda: Dagda is the god of sovereignty, doom, and The Law. Dagda is the greatest patron of man, and made the most important pacts between spirits, mortals, and gods. Dagda is represented as a pitch-black man whose robe or skin is speckled with starlight, and whose eyes are bound to the sun and moon. Dagda is the enemy and lover of Morrigan, who's fate can subvert his Law. Because Dagda gave much of his anidhw (and thus, Cerrunos's and Lugh's) to the Living Spirits and mankind, they must return it to him by worship and the keeping of oaths.
Cerrunos: Cerrunos, or the Horned God, is the god of nature, kinship, and The Life. He is the god most associated with the physical Land and the living world. Depicted as a man with either a stag's head or antler's, Cerrunos is often presented as a somewhat nebulous, but ultimately good god whose concern is the greater well being of the Earth. Indeed, Cerrunos is the god who first conceived of a race of caretakers and worshipers, though Danu in fact created men (after the other gods tried and failed). Those who die in the wild are protected by Cerrunos from having their bodies animated by a wicked application of anidhw. Cerrunos is also responsible for the apotheosis of ancestors and maintaining reincarnation for those in Arawn's realm. When other gods wish to treat with him, they go in the form of animals, as he shows these the most favor. The Occultists associate Cerrunos with the being called Man-Of-The-Willows.
Kitpu: Kitpu is the god of the sky and storms. His form is usually of that of a great eagle with lightning in his wings, or else a man with brown skin and shining white hair, who wears a cloak of feathers. Kitpu stretches over the Land, and watches its goings on. Like Cerrunos, he loves man but is usually more focused on the long term view of the Land's wellbeing. When mankind was young, they asked him three times to stop the wind and storms that came to the Land. Twice he denied them, but on the third he assented. At first man was happy, until the rivers dried up with no rain, foul miasma would not blow away, and the seeds of the earth refused to spread. At their pleading once again, Kitpu returned the storms and the wind, having increased mortals in their wisdom. Druids devoted to Kitpu have their remains offered up in sky burial after death.
Morrigan: Morrigan is both enemy and lover of the DAGLUCER, Dagda in particular. She invented war, seduction, and fate. The Morrigan's fate and prophecies can even overrule the Law, and cause one to suffer death before their time. The Druids say that Morrigan walks in two worlds, as man does, and causes things to increase and better themselves through struggle. It was Morrigan who proposed the four part-plan of the seasons during the Dawn Time, since it would demand change and adaptation in nature. Corvids are her messengers and servants. Her prowess in battle is so great, that when Balor-Who-Is-Hunger looked her in the eyes with his evil gaze, she laughed in his face and cast him down.
Mannan mac Lir:
Development of Early Druidism
The early history of Druidism is most widely recorded in poetic cycles that are often exaggerated and subject to later revisionism. Examples of particular note are the Antonian, Radiant, and Quercic cycles. Along with these are a small number of second-hand accounts of occurrences in Newfoundland in the centuries following the Fall. These are themselves often very biased against the early Druidic movement, in some cases are handed down from those whose main contact was in the form of bloodshed and conflict.
The two oldest cycles are the Antonian and Radiant literatures. These cycles both developed in Newfoundland early after the Fall, with the Antonian coming from the West (being named for the province of St. Anthony) and the Radiant being focused almost entirely on the Avalon Peninsula until the very latest additions, where the focus shifts to the Maritimes. Taken together, they present a story of two traditions with both vast similarities and differences, which intermingled and produced most of the major elements of modern Druidism. First we will consider the beginnings of "Fenianism" in Newfoundland proper. What follows is the general account gleamed from surviving records directly after the Fall, the events recorded in the Antonian Sagas, and the works of later scholars.
After the End of the Old World, many rural places saw the ire of the people turn towards those elements and institutions they considered responsible for or otherwise exacerbating their suffering. In the Newfoundland provinces of Anguille, St. Anthony, and Bonavista, one of these reactionary movement took hold. Cut off from much of the mainland and feeling betrayed by their world, surviving citizens of Celtic descent - already often fiercely proud of their heritage - began to adopt more and more elements of their historical ancestors. Beginning as a way to psychologically and culturally cut themselves off from a society and culture they had come to despise, the movement began to be seen as a better, noble antecedent to decadent modernity. In this way it attracted increasing numbers of devotees that themselves did not have any Celtic history, but who sought an alternative way of life. Parts of this movement involved the use of traditional Gaelic and Briton words and terms, styles of dress, and assemblies. Most importantly, it also included recounting the tales of the Celts. Starting with the most fervent "nationalists" who wanted the literature of their ancestors preserved after the Fall, these stories of adversity, struggle, and the triumph against mysterious forces struck a chord amongst many provincials. Later druids say that in recounting these stories, the speakers awakened the long dormant anidhw of the Old Gods. Seeing the hearts of their flocks begin to wane, the isolated Christian forces tried to crack down on the secular movement through subtle means, and more brazenly on the increasing attention to Old World Celtic myth. Persecution only proved to increase the attraction many had to the group now-branded "Fenians," a word that seems to have had some connection to the pre-Fall world. Now underground and unmoderated by public restrictions, many of the Fenians began to actually worship what they knew of their ancestral gods. They grew slowly and secretly at first, but the rapidly deteriorating conditions on the island and elsewhere sent many Newfoundlanders searching for a new source of outside power to believe in. The gods of the Celts seemed mysterious but prevalent, powerful but beseechable, and the dark forces of the Fomorians and other Fey gave focus and name to the worshipers' hardships.
The war to purify Newfoundland is the main subject of the "Original." Antonian cycle of Druidic poetry, and so much of the actual events can be pieced together (albeit in exaggerated form.) Eventually, most of the local communities had more people gathered at the well-kept backwoods shrined to the Horned God than attending service in crumbling old cathedrals. When they realized this a wave of open rebellion started. Opening inland where the worship was the most public, Fenians declared themselves and killed, converted, or exiled non-believers. They swept toward the coasts, aided by the secret cults undermining resistance and by the extended hand of already-converted towns. The Fenians cleared most of the western island and chased the fleeing survivors along the Great Northern Peninsula. Christian forces (and supposedly the last Governor of Newfoundland) staged a valiant last-stand at Flower's Cove, but were overwhelmed and their boats set afire, with few escaping over to Labrador. The date for this is, when given, marked as either 2112 or 2115. The The reason for this discrepancy is uncertain, but it may reflect a continuing campaign against crypto-Christians or a second battle of Flower's Cove.
After this records grow sparse and less certain. Most of the knowledge above could at least be corroborated by those who fled to Labrador and survived the journey down to the headless Catholics in Ontario. There they gave their own testimonies which survived in oral tradition. Sadly, these were not written down for an indeterminate period, and so are second-hand at best. In Newfoundland it seems that there was a time of general quiet, but also a loss of religious cohesion as well. Fenianism did spread outwards to other parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence after this. It may have encountered other, independent traditions of the Gaelo-Canadians, which is covered below. The larger, first half of the accepted Antonian cycle ends here.
To note regarding the original Antonian Cycle, is the lack of several central Druidic elements. Anidhw goes entirely unmentioned, and the spiritual focus is almost totally on the five gods Cerunnos, Morrigan, Dagda, Mannan, and Lugh, as well as a complicated relationship with the Fey. There is mention of tended groves, but the connection of developed Druidism with the Land is nonexistent. Even the name Druidism is hard to apply, as the Fenains seemed void of a discernible priestly class beyond locally recognized holy men and women more akin to hedge witches. The supernatural elements of the Antonian Cycle are limited - for the most part - to personal interactions gods and individuals, fanciful depictions of combat, and the struggle of hostile Unsealed Fey to hamper the efforts of Fenians through accident and disaster. Elements of later Druidism that are present and should be noted include: geases, votive offerings, blood sacrifice, psychoactive substances, and the application of writing and words in magic.
There are still other oral histories by the Fenians, (and a handful of written records made in a variety of sometimes unrecognizable scripts) which were produced during this time frame, and paint a picture of religious decline. The initial fervor had been as much a result of reactive thought as it had proactive, and now apathy started to seep into parts of Newfoundland. The Cycles say that the people still did not know how to serve their gods but by slaughter, and there was conflict between the Fenians.
This where the Radiant Cycle, which is much less historically reliable enters the picture. While the Radiant Cycle of poetry is a much longer and more varied collection of works, it is also subject to more later revisionism than the Antonian. It is divided into three books, of which Books I - II are chronologically set first, while Book III is considered to actually predate both. Like the Antonian, the Radiant Cycle is a conglomeration of several authors, and is not always internally consistent. The main subject of the Radiant Cycle is the "first" druid of the new priesthood, Taliesin, who is the sole composer for most of Book III. Books I - II recount his life beginning as an orphan in the ruins of early 22nd Century St. John, his visions of the gods, and his labors, both mundane and fantastical, to restore the bond between the various populations of Atlantic Canada and the Land. It was Taliesin who established the order of the Druids and began its spread. While Taliesin was a real person, and he may have traveled widely around the Gulf of St. Lawrence, non-Druidic scholars cast doubt on his supposed voyages to other parts of Canada, and especially doubt his easterly voyages to the fantastical Brazil Island. Books I and II were most certainly composed after his death, and contain later elements not found in the older Book III.
Book III is a book of poetry, songs, and spells, most of which are traditionally (and probably accuratley) ascribed to Taliesin's own hand. These consist of the oldest untouched examples of the Newfoundland religion shaping into modern Drudism. Taliesin's poems include an expanded pantheon of deities, the Wheel of the World, increased nature reverence (the Land), obligations of worship, and the suggestion of a pervading spiritual power (not yet described as anidhw). Also, perhaps most importantly, is that the story of his early ministry includes "monasteries" of religious followers who kept the "Life" (the obligation to care for the land) but not the "Love" (the worship of the Druidic deities). This points to a preexistent line of Avalonian religious thought which entered Druidism, perhaps woven together in the very person of Taliesin. Still missing is anidhw by name and as an integral part of Druidic thought, a full recognition of the spirit possession of all nature, and due reverence of the ancestors (neither is mention made of the apotheosis of souls).
The last major poetic cycle is the Quercic. Its content are mostly myths and legends about the world from the Dawn Age to the Fall. Many of these connect with content elsewhere in the Radiant and Original Antonian cycles, as well as other developments in Druidism which left scant evidence elsewhere. Unlike the other two, the Quercic is a a very active cycle still being added to. Its foundation is believed to have begun in the wake of Taliesin's establishment of the first order of Druids in the early 23rd century, and a large portion comes from sources outside Newfoundland. These sources are referred to as the Laurentian Tales, and point to Druidic and pre-Druidic traditions outside of Newfoundland as the source of the last major elements of Druidism. Even beside Newfie colonization and intermingling, it is known that the Maritimes hosted their own beliefs linking back to the islands beyond the Atlantic as well as the religions of the Native Peoples. These Laurentians also settled in some colonies of their own on the west of Newfoundland during the 22 - 23rd centuries, offering a second method of influence.
The Laurentian provide the final missing pieces of Druidism. Anidhw, developed animism, and the deification of ancestors are most clearly expounded in Laurentian related texts. While the Laurentian doctrines were once considered an outside religious belief being absorbed, further investigation shows that there already existed a proto-Druidic undercurrent in the Gulf. Shrines dedicated to the Horned God and the Raven Mother predate the planting of Taliesin's holy groves. Votive gifts recovered from Pitupaq often contain types of items whose offerings in Fenianism were dying out by the time of the first druids. Even in Anacosti there are runes from no later than the 22nd century asking for protection from the "manthu" of the Fey. Altogether this points to a system of ideological exchanges throughout the Gulf region much more complex than just a proselytization of Taliesin's admittedly important reforms.
The wood walks: the beginning of Druidic expansion
Taken from Rise and Fall of the Druidism, by Jeremy Welson, scholar of The Historical Society of New Jersey.
After Taliesin created the first order of druids, the druidic faithful shared a bound stronger than any of the other neighbouring peoples and religions. Most of the people living in Labrador followed some version of the druidic faith, usually influenced by the native beliefs of the Innu and Innuit peoples which were becoming the dominant group in the area. In the Maritimes there were several communities which openly worshipped the Gods, specially along the coast. It was around this time that the Great Nementos at Chisedec, Charleur and Pitupok were built, as the importance of the order grew outside of Newfoundland during the end of the 22nd century and the middle of the 23th.
As the influence of the priesthood grew, and with it the spiritual and moral justification for their rule, the petty kings and chieftains in Newfoundland, Labrador and Maritimes found easier to fund and raise armies than their neighbours. To the west there were a handful of Native communities which mostly rejected Druidic teaching and the Christian communities which laid beyond were in turmoil as the Ursuline and Angeline orders clashed to achieve dominance, while the other Christhian sects tried to not be eliminated by those two growing forces. To the south laid New England, which had suffered complete social collapse. Sensing an opportunity, and enjoying a population boom due to their stability, these rulers started launching raids and invasions against their neighbours.
In several waves, the Druidic warriors advanced through the forests of New England, subdueing the native peoples and raising the first of the local megaliths, now mostly repurposed for the worship of the many Satanic and Old Ones' cults that are popular in the area. Several of the New England conquerors called Druids of Taliesin's Order to help them to convert the Yankees to their faith and make easier to rule the conquered population.
Other invasions happened along the Saint Lawrence river, with the Newfies and Mikmaq's seafaring habilities making them almost invincible against the disorganized peoples at the mouth and lower Saint Lawrence. The river also provided then a route to make raid distant lands, as it is recorded by Rostmann, Dellsman and Chicagoan sources. Thanks to the Machine Cultists attempts to preserve and recreate the Old World's libraries and its catalogue systems, some of these records found their way to Christian lands. In Samwell Rodd's "History of Michigan", written in 2376, we can find passages such as this:
"During the summer [of 2364], great numbers of men wearing deer-heads and warpaints crossed Lake Huron in longboats which reminded us from the vikings of the west and leather kayaks, and devastated the eastern Michigan shore. They were led by one called Ryan 'Briarheart' Welson. All the times warriors were sent against him, we would find their bodies decapitated. Soon only the Astartes were willing to give battle to him, and even they were forced to give up after losing many battle-brothers and their suits of relic armor."
Another account told by an Chicagoan skald says:
"...but then the Northmen came during winter. As if they were the grandsons of the Spartan Ghost mocking the Asagods, they mocked us by wearing helmets with horns and sailing in drakkars. They feel upon Jarl Bernard's fortress during a moonless night and destroyed it. They carried off all the women and the treasures that the Hammondlings had earned in their adventures, and burned Bernard's wooden hall. The Jarl and his shield-brothers died in that fire, except for those fortunate few that were pierced by the Northmen's spears and arrows. So died Bernard Golden Head, with his crown fusing with his bleached skull."
By the end of the 24rd century, Druidism was widely praticed in American Northwest, and merchants that travelled along the Saint Lawrence and beyond the Hudson river would say that a traveler would never be half a day away from a sacred grove, a standing stone or a holy fountain. The leadership of the Order of Druids of that time left their ancestral seat at Avalon towards the Crimson Library of Boston, were large archives of lore secular and mystical lore were stored along with knowledge Old World that wasn't deemed heretical. The transference to the Crimson Library and this destruction of knowledge would have deep effects in the future.
Futher Druidic conquests to the south would be stopped by the better-equipped armies of Hudsonia and Deitschrei, supported by the forces of the lords of the Virginia Marches, New York, and even some of the nobles of the northern border of the Confederacy. To the west, they were stopped by temporary alliances between Vikings, Rust Cultists and Quebecois Ursuline militias. A result of this clash of forces in the Great Lakes was development of trade in the area, in which the Vikings selling their harvests to the Quebecois in exchange of lumber, pelts, maple and other Canadian products while the Rustmen use the few Old World forges they restored and their superior engineering and metalurgic skills to sell high-quality weapons and armor.
The stars align: the Yankee uprising
It was in the middle of the 25th century that Druidic grasp over the American Northwest started to collapse. As often is the case, that the status quo would be destroyed was unthinkable: adventurers and lords of the Virginia Marches tried to drive the Druids to the north, but all attempts were foiled, as was a Batenburg uprising in Deitschrei that tried to carve a kingdom in Druidic territory. There was active trade between the petty Druidic kingdoms, and with the adoption of native customs by the northern conquerors, there was internal cohesion. Druids of Taliesin Order could travel from the Hudson river to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and would find food and lodging in all villages. But during the decade of 2440, came an unusually hot summer, and large stretches of New England were consumed by forest fires. That, according to the Yankees, was the first sign. Two years later came a plague, which some of records say that was Measles and others say that was Rubel. Finally came hunger after a bad harvest. As it is natural in time of turmoil, people sought answers in religion.
Despite its antagonism against Christianity due to its perceived the lack of connection with the land and the covenants with the Druidic Pantheon, Druidism has elements that harken to the Old World's Christian dominance in its beliefs: the Daglucer (Dagda-Lugh-Cernunnos) and the Three Queens (Macha-Mabdh-Morrigan) trinities are frenquently compared to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost and to Mary, Martha and Mary Magdalena, for example. Taliesin's Order of Druids also tolerated some fringe cults based on worshipping memoirs of great men of Pre-Event New England.
Details are confusing, but eventually human sacrifices to the gods became common in several areas of New England that were hit harder by the disasters. As many know, the priests usually associate the Devil with the Druidic god Cernunnos. This kind of association was also made by the Yankees during the 25th century. At some point, a new religion started to spread, with some druids being part of the movement's vanguard. According to its preachers, who claimed to have discovered the truth by perusing Old World tomes in several libraries, including the Crimson Library, talking with remmants of New England's Christians, and by being contacted by otherworldly forces during their meditations in caves and during sacrifices, some of the ancient mankind had worshipped the Devil and struck a bargain with him to save them from Event. While divided on how to do so, all these preachers agreeded that the Devil had to be appeased. Popular uprisings begun to pop through New England, and some chieftains and kings also started calling for satanic priests for advice.
While the Druidic Order marshalled a response and sought to calm the population, another omen happened. For the first time in centuries, a total solar eclipse happened. Some of those fringe cults of New Foundland started based on the writings of "prophets" such as "The King of Bangor", "The Lovecraft" and many others started to preach that supernatural entities labelled collectively as the Old Ones were stirring in their sleep and would soon plunge the world into chaos should men not act against their agents and search for lore about how to combat them. Many of these cults agains associated the Druidic gods with the Old Ones (for example, Mannanan Mac Lir would be an ill-remembered Dagon or Cthulhu, and Cernunnos is the Shub-Niggurath the Black Goat). These cults started stablishing fortresses and rampaging through New England in their quest to combat the Old Ones' servants, including the druids.
And then came the final blow. As it was said before, the Order of Druids had taken the Crimson Library as its new seat and destroyed several Old World books during and after the takeover. And there were those that resented it. During a night a force of attackers, supposedely assembled from through New England and beyond, invaded the Crimson Library through secret passages and killed many of the senior druids, including Archdruid Manfred, and destroyed large parts of the druids' archives, throwing the religion into chaos. The next days the attackers identified themselves as the Masons, a group that had protect humanity and its achievements from the shadows through history, only to fail their job due those who lacked the vision, such as the druids. They solemny swore to not allow another Event to happen, and to take a more active participation in the affairs of the world from now on. The Masons quickly achieved control of Boston's surrounding areas, and several chieftains used the opportunity to reveal their alliegance to the Manson cause, causing much paranoia amongst the people.
During the next ten years, which were marked by great bloodshed, druidic influence collapsed, with most believers and priests fleeing to the Maritimes and beyond. In time the yankee cults, now called Occultists for the studies of forbidden or occult lore that they all shared, found a way to cohexists, even if it was turbulent. This also marked the rise of the house of Mahonic, which would eventually unite New England. A suggested reading about the Occultists is Prophet Gamerr Man Zandre-lax's "Occultist Lore: The Old Ones, the Diabolical Pact, and the Masons", who was famous for his friendships with southerns and wrote that book to explain his people beliefs to them.
Conversion of the Saint Lawrence and the Maritimes
At the same time New England was falling into anarchy, sutble changes were happening along the Saint Lawrence river.
Due to the proximity to that important river, Druidic Quebec was less affected by the forest fires and the famine after bad harvests. Also, the plage which devastated New England was mostly restricted to the southern side of the river, so except for the disruption of trade with New England, the Saint Lawrence area was in peace. However, in the nobility and the commoners was growing anxious that the troubles in the south could go in their way, and worse, that the Great Geas was coming to its end and that the Formorians would plunge the world into chaos.
It must be said that the Druidic conquests had not destroyed Christianity in the north. It only had been pushed away from the river, except around some places such as La Citadelle and Montreal. However, the invasion weakened many of the warring Christian sects, allowing the Ursuline See and Anglicans to become a major powers in the area. Also, several lords of the area who provided help in the Druidic-Laker Wars managed to consolidate their power, creating realms such as the Dukedoms of Montreal and the Kingdom of Ontario. As the traders that would go downstream to trade started to tell about the unease that plaged the druidic lands, the northern Christians increased their missionary efforts. In the beginnig, the missionaries kept being as unwelcome as they used to, but the news of the Mason massacre of the Druidic Order's upper echelons brought fear which opened the hearts of the Quebecois druidists to the preachers message of the Lord's salvation. The movement of displaced Occultist Yankees towards the north also benefit the conversion process, as the Ursuline See would rally mitilias and knights to defend converted areas threatned by the Occultist. With conversion would come marriage proposals with Ursuline nobles, who would trade and offer military help to their relatives along the Saint Lawrence.
Thirty years after the Crimson Library Massacre, the last druidic holdings along the Saint Lawrence were converted or conquested. An attempt of these last druidic rulers to stem the tide was clashed in a famous battle know by many names in what is now the Convent of Estrie. It was the last time the Lakers peoples would come together against the Druids.
The supreme command of the Cristian members of the coalition was given to king Bernard Laurier of Ontario, an able diplomat capable of appeasing the many factions. Meanwhile, the fleet was commanded by the Northlander Jarl Victor Firehand. The Primarch Lionel "Iron Hand" Johnson lead the Adeptus and other Rostmann and Dellsman forces. Last but not the least, the Ursuline See's armies were commanded by the Abbess-General [...] herself. The druidic forces were led by chieftains of Labrador, Marimitch, and Gasperie.
The Vikings' drakkars fought a vicious battle in the river, while king Bernard commanded the northern reach forces and the Abbess General [...], who had most of the cavalary under her, led the southern flank, with support of Primarch Lionel's heavy infantry. The chieftains of Labrador were the first to break. After several hours of intense combat, the southern flank crumbled, but not before primarch Lionel was beheaded by the axe of a Prince Edward Island's champion called Nuad. Seeing their allies on the shore falling back, the Druidic fleet withdrew.
After the battle, the Vikings grabbed as many of their fallen they could and placed then into captured ships before setting then on fire, the reason the battle is sometimes called the Battle of the Burning Ships. The allied forces threw the imprisioned druids and holy warriors in the river, so it is also called the Drowining of Mannanan. In the following days, the Laker peoples returned home with dozens of prisioners for their factories and villages, while the Abbess General and king Bernard divided the lands all the way to the mouth of Saint Lawrence between the Christians supporters of the alliance. The Abbess General also claimed the lands of Esterie as property of the Church as a way to create a barrier between the Christians and Occultists.
Feeling that the lands along the Lawrence had no place for them in the wake of the Ursuline's sucesses, Anglican missionaries whent deeper into Druidic territory. They had limited sucess in the Labrador, but the inhabitants of the old Maritime provinces, already beset by Occultist raiders, were afraid of being the target of a similar crusade. Many had also began to lose faith. Becoming Christians would save them from the Ursuline's wrath, and the power displayed by the servants of the Lord persuaded many that they were wrong the whole time. By the beginning of the 26th century, most of the Maritimes were converted, its druids fleeing across the Gulf towards Newfoundland and Labrador. The Beaton family, an important family of the area and earlier converts despite generations defending the Pitupok Nemento, used the influence and support of the Archbishop to plant the seeds of the Kingdom of Maritimes. Nuad, the champion that killed Primarch Lionel, ousted his liege and baptized, taking as his new name Mathew, and whent on to found House de Avalonea, which still holds Prince Edward Island.
The Brethen Conquest.
Reeling from the loss of its most prosperous lands, and now facing Christian raids in their core domains, the Druidic chiefs and kings started to contract foreing warriors to help to defenced their lands. It was at this time that the so called Brethen of the Sea or Pirate Brethen arrived in Saint Lawrence's Gulf. Accounts of it diffear. Some say the Brethen were invited, others say they came fleeing from the wars that preceded the Caribbean Unification under Portia Bustamonte, to have been repeating the path of the First Lord of Brethen Court, or even looking for the mythical Northern Passage to World's End. Whatever the reason, soon waves of sailormen were figthing under Labrador and Newfie chieftains, having some sucesses such as repealling the Christians from Madeline Islands, Anticosti Island and some other places.
It is undeniable that the Druids lost most of their continental lands and the people there converted to the Caribbean religion, but how it came to be is unclear. The most common version among the remaining druids says that at some point relations soured between the Brethen and their descendants and their Druidic overlords, and in a great conclave that aimed to settle the differences the Brethen run amok the gathered Druids and Druidic rulers, killing them all except for the lord that claimed to be their master, now reduced to a broken man. The Brethen version says that the petty kings tried to take away their sacred freedoms, and "they rose up against tyranny, opening the eyes of their Druidic neighbours and friends for the chains that the men of the wood had placed around their throaths". A third version clains that the change was gradual, with the Labradorians adopting more and more Caribbean beliefs until they were the majority and eventaully defeating the last druids. Whatever the reason, the change of power was quick enough that no Christian ruler was able to take much land from the northern peoples.
In present day, Druidc belief exists only in Newfoundland Island, were at least three kings rule. Supposedly there is a Druidic kingdom in northern Labrador peninsula, but histories about it are wildly contradictory, such as it exists in eternal summer by the grace of the sun god Belenus or that it holds a giant wall of ice that prevents the inhuman, daemonic Warriors of Ice to come south. And of course, there are accounts that say of sailors from Ireland and Hy Brazil beyond the seas. Look at Eudmond Good's Northern Heathen Myths for some of these accounts.
Note by James Holloway, librarian of New Jersey's historical society
In the last decade a Northlander adventurer-merchant named George Headheath visited Boston, New Jersey and New York on his way to the Holy Columbian Confederay. According to Headheath, the last section of Weldon's book is incorrect, and Druidic beliefs still are the main religion in Labrador, although Brethen is the second most popular. Explorers sent north and merchants that do the New York-Saint Lawrence route confirmed that indeed Druidism persists in Labrador.
However, this only feds a bigger mystery. All sources quoted by Weldon are trustworthy and support each other. Dominant theory is that when Weldon was writing his book he took for granted that Brethen were going to be dominant and "fast-fowarded" his depiction of Labrador. Headheath's own opinion was that "Loki Kratosson found that Druids needed more chances so he 'chimed' Druidism back into existence."