6. The Order of Druids

The Oath of the Druids

The Oath of the Druids was prescribed by Eilonwy the Everwise, based upon the oath of an ancient healing order. She gave this oath as the basis for the Oaths of the Bards and Engineers also, but her version was truest to the original. The text of the Oath is preserved for reference in the library of Caer Feddwyn.

I swear by Earth and Sun and Burning Fire, by the craft of my hand and mind and heart, and call upon all powers and authorities mortal and immortal to witness my Oath, that I may keep it in deed and intent to the best of my ability and judgement.


I will pay the same respect to my master in the Craft as to my parents, share my life with him and pay my debts to him. His kin shall be as kin to me, in all matters and respects. I will pass on precepts, lectures and other learning to my own pupils, duly apprenticed and sworn, and to no others, and I shall take no pupil until my Master has deemed me worthy.


I will use my art to help the sick and to aid the people and the land of Cymru to the best of my ability and judgement; I will abstain from harming or wronging any man by it.


I will not give a fatal draught to anyone if I am asked, nor will I suggest such a thing. Neither will I give a woman means to procure an abortion.


I will be humble in my practice, and modest in my living.


I will seek not to traffic in the arts of an Engineer or a Druid, nor of a Warrior.


I shall swear no Oath of loyalty to any man, but shall perform my arts without fear or favour wherever they are needed.


I will charge no fee for the performance of my craft beyond that prescribed by the Order as right and fitting for the reward of my services and the keeping of my person, neither in money nor in kind. I will accept no gift or favour in exchange for my services, nor will I abuse my position to extract such gifts or favours.


Whatever I see or hear, professionally or privately, which ought not to be divulged, I will keep secret and tell no one.


If, therefore, I observe this Oath and do not violate it, may I prosper both in my life and in my Order, earning good repute among all men for all time. I f I transgress and foreswear this Oath, may my lot be otherwise.


Interpretation of the Oath

  1. This is the standard formula for the commencement of any perpetual oath.
  2. The Druids maintain a familial structure to their hierarchy. A Druid’s readiness to take a student is determined by the Druid’s Master.
  3. The Oath of the Druids contains the same requirement to aid the people of Cymru as those of the other two Orders, but additionally a Druid is required to help the sick of any nation, and to aid the land of Cymru.
  4. Whether the recipient would call it harm or not, Druids are prohibited from assisting suicide – a prohibition strictly upheld. The prohibition against abortion is kept even more strictly, but the Council have ruled that it is the resultant responsibility of a Druid to see to the care of unwanted or abandoned children.
  5. Druids are expected to shun finery and luxury, and to live as simply as they can. Many even refuse to dwell within the walls of houses or strongholds, preferring to sleep beneath the stars among the trees.
  6. As with the Engineers and Bards, the Druids are reasonably flexible in this area. While the crafts of the other Orders are considered off limits, a Druid is not expected to be defenceless. Druids prefer the use of the staff in combat as being less intrinsically lethal than an edged or pointed weapon.
  7. A Druid is a servant of the people and the land, and no oath should come between him and his charges. If any man has need of a Druid’s services, he should be able to procure them without difficulty, and without the Druid having to request permission of a liege lord.
  8. The fees charged by Druids are almost non-existent, as they draw their living from the land rather than from its people. A Druid will usually charge in the form of simple items which can easily be afforded: A cup or bowl from a potter, a cloak or tunic from a weaver, new boots from a cobbler, a song or a tale from a Bard. Sometimes they will simply ask a favour, to be held on account until needed.
  9. Druids tend the sick and the dying, and counsel the frightened and the confused. Many people trust their local Druid above all others, and the Order is keen to see that it stays that way. All confidences are to be scrupulously maintained, and no information gained in the course of a Druid’s duty is ever to be divulged without the express permission of the one from whom it was heard and those whom it concerns.
  10. This is the standard formula for the conclusion of a perpetual oath.


The fledgling Order of Druids grew rapidly in its infancy, as Everwise Eilonwy and her students sought out and recruited all those who kept any lore of healing or of caring for the land alive. The village healers and cunning women, midwives and herbalists were for the most part eager to share their knowledge and experience, and even those who were at first reluctant to surrender their lore soon realised that they stood to gain far more than they gave away.

After Hawise the Graceful granted the fair city of Caer Achren to the Order, the woodland halls became the centre of their art. Like her brother, Eilonwy desired to shape the stronghold of her order into something more than it was, and so Llassar the Architect was sent by Don the Evercrafty to aid her. At Caer Achren, Llassar built a great hall of stone and wood, that was the great hospice of the Druids. Here, Eilonwy declared that any who were sick and who had no other aid to seek could come to find rest and – hopefully – healing.

As much as their aim was to bring the healing arts to Cymru, the Druid’s sought to heal the land’s spiritual strife, and to this end their missionaries brought the word of the Druid faith to the lords of the cantrevs. Moreover, Eilonwy and her Druids tamed the woodland which surrounded Caer Achren, and made at its heart a grove, open to the sun and surrounded by great stones, which she named the Cauldron. The Cauldron became the focus of the Druid’s faith, and Pryderi the Swift and Hawise the Graceful came there to have their union blessed by Eilonwy.

Everwise Eilonwy worked tirelessly to teach the healing arts to those who had the will and the heart to learn them and practise them responsibly, and to spread the reverence of the gods of the land. It was in this time that she divined from numerous tomes of lore the nature of the Four Great Ones, the primary deities of Cymru. The truth of the Great Ones she set down in a mighty tome, the lore of which she taught to her students, and the tome itself she sent to be kept in the Library of Caer Feddwyn. The Order of Druids divided once the truth of the Great Ones was made known, each Druid choosing in his heart that Great One to whom he felt the most devotion. Thus the four Circles arose.

In her one-hundred-and-third year, Eilonwy the Everwise went alone to the Cauldron, and was never seen again. Her robes and staff were found upon the earth, but of her body there was no sign. The Masters of the four Circles gathered then, and with them the Master of Caer Achren, and these five formed the first Druid’s Council. To the Master of Caer Achren, Eilonwy had left certain instructions, and in obedience to these the five selected a successor to Eilonwy, a young initiate named Mabon.

As per Eilonwy’s wishes, Mabon was largely untrained, and as yet was a member of no Circle. He became Chief Druid with no bias upon his soul, and was given Eilonwy’s staff as a badge of his office. As Eilonwy had been, Mabon became the spiritual leader of the Order of Druids, but the Council remained as his advisers in temporal matters. The Chief Druid’s role rapidly became clear: to settle the arguments between the Councillors and hold the four Circles together as a single Order.

In the early years of Mabon’s rule the Order made no sweeping changes or great advancements. All was ordered more-or-less as Eilonwy had left it, for Eilonwy’s word was considered irrefutable. The Circles grew in power however, and their Masters’ began pressing the agendas of their own god above those of the other three. Religious schism threatened to engulf the Order, in spite of Mabon’s attempts to calm the situation.

Some years after his investiture however, Mabon went alone into the Cauldron, and he returned a changed man. He had entered the Cauldron a mild boy, but he returned a man of iron determination. Mabon shifted the focus of the Order back towards the healing arts, and did his utmost to separate the faith from politics. He formed the five Schools at Caer Achren, each devoted to a different aspect of the Druidic arts, and the Master of each School he made a member of the Council. In so doing he weakened the power of each of the Masters of the Circles, and strengthened that of the Chief Druid.

From then on Mabon was the true focus of the Order, until at last he went – an old, old man – alone to the Cauldron once more, and never returned. Before he left, Mabon had already named his successor; a young initiate named Llew. Llew had the same qualities which had informed the selection of Mabon – conviction, faith and a lack of bias – and was invested by the Council one month after Mabon’s disappearance. He proved himself resistant to the Council’s manipulation, despite his youth, and impressed many with his reserve and dignity.

Llew has clashed with the Council a number of times in his short rule, in particular over their jealously guarded right to oversee the temporal affairs of the Order, to set fees and to negotiate with outsiders. Although no pawn, Llew has on several occasions found himself needing to bend to the Council’s will. Lately, Llew has shown support for the cause of Owain, and has been once again opposed by the Council. Donn has never been a great supporter of the Druids, and the Order lacks the Bards’ close affiliation with the Engineers for protection. Politically, the Druids’ strongest supporters are the Bards, and this seems increasingly scant protection.

The Council, seeking to protect themselves and the Order, have begun to seek a stronger alliance with the High King, in opposition to Llew’s clear wishes. Recently Enid, Mistress of Caer Achren, has entered into conference with Queen Modron, and rumour in the court of Caer Caled suggests that the Council seeks a match between their Chief and Bloddeuweth, daughter of Modron and High King Donn.


The Druidic hierarchy is twofold. Firstly there are the familial duties owed by each Druid to his Master, and secondly the organisation of Schools and Circles.

The Order is headed by the Chief Druid, although this role is often seen as more spiritual than political. In practise – and in common with the Chief Bard and Chief Engineer – the power of the Chief Druid depends greatly on the strength of the individual. Llew – despite his youth – has shown himself to be a very independent man, although he lacks the strength of personality to truly contest the will of the Council.

The second most important Druid is the Master of Caer Achren, who is the seneschal of the City of the Trees, and controls all access to the Cauldron. As with the Chief, the Master of Caer Achren holds a primarily spiritual role, but control of the Cauldron gives her a great political weapon. Enid the Steadfast, a student of Mabon, has been Master of Caer Achren for more than twenty-five years, and is the de facto head of the Council.

There are five Schools – representing the more scientific side of the Order – and four Circles – representing the faith. Each Circle or School has a Master, and these Masters – together with the Master of Caer Achren – form the Druid’s Council, who advise the Chief and may even overrule him in matters of politics. The Council is also responsible for adjudicating complaints against individual Druids or the Order as a whole, and much of their time ends up being occupied in dealing with those whose loved ones a Druid has failed – through no fault of their own – to save from death.

The Schools and Circles are as follows:

All Druids venerate the Earth Goddess, but her Circle are the masters of her theology. Although their philosophy is gentle and pacifistic, the Circle of the Goddess contains many of the most hard-line Druids in the Order. This Circle – which also contains Llew’s strongest supporters – most often clashes with the Engineers over their social engineering plans, and their support of Donn’s reign.

The Circle of the Sun, venerating the Sun God over the other Great Ones, is the diametric opposite of the Goddess. By druidic standards the Circle of the Sun is downright martial, but they strongly oppose the Order’s interference in worldly affairs. The Circle are typically strong in their support of the Master of Caer Achren.

The Circle of Arawn devote themselves to the contemplation of the Lord of the Underworld. Meditative and introspective, they are the least politically active of the Circles. Few members of the Circle of Arawn travel much, preferring a settled, hermitic life. Conversely, the Circle of Manawyddan travel widely and mix with the folk of Cymru. The followers of the Sea God are rarely to be found living permanently in any one place.

The Schools are divided not by theology but by areas of expertise. The Brewers are herb-masters and potion makers, while the Gardeners tend the land more than its people. The Guardians on the other hand concern themselves with both the physical and the emotional well-being of the folk of Cymru. The Keepers are beast-tamers and breeders, and combine their efforts with those of the Engineers to ensure that Cymru’s farmers produce sufficient food for all. The Wayfarers are travellers non pareil; not even the Circle of Manawydan love the wilds as well.


Whatever else they may do, any Druid who has regular contact with the people of Cymru is expected to be watchful for those who show signs that they could be trained as a Druid. People of any age may be approached, and given the opportunity to come for testing. Any person with the potential and the desire is brought to Caer Achren and examined by the Master and the Chief Druid, to determine whether they possess the necessary blend of compassion, responsibility and fortitude of spirit. Successful candidates take the Oath, and become initiates of the Order.

A druid initiate spends his apprenticeship in Caer Achren, learning from members of all Circles and Schools. The Master of Caer Achren is responsible for the training of initiates, and only once she decides that the initiate is ready may they approach a Druid of one of the Circles or Schools and ask to be taken as their student. The Druid may refuse, but they are expected to give their reasons. No Druid may have more than three students.

From the moment he accepts until the moment the student becomes a fully-fledged Druid, the Master takes full responsibility for their student’s behaviour and training. Once the master feels that his student is ready, he brings the student to the Cauldron at one of the Cardinal points of the year (the solstices and equinoxes), where the Council will recognise them as a full Druid.

Once qualified, individual Druids make their living according to their particular talents. Most large settlements have a resident Druid, usually trained with the Circle of the Goddess, the Brewers or the Guardians. Some act as guides to travellers who can not afford to go by Engine, while others lend their services as priest and healer to a lord or warband, farm the land or live in quiet exile in the deep forests.

Unlike the other two Orders, the Druids have no ‘masters’ per se. The only Master Druids are the Councillors, and any Druid may take a student if approached to do so.


The crafts of the Druids fall into two basic groups: the religious and the secular. The religious crafts emphasise faith, patience and ritual; the secular demand skill, intuition and rigour.

Animal Lore

The Druids act not only as healers of humans, but as veterinarians. They are also knowledgeable in the ways of wild beasts, animal training, animal husbandry and breeding.


In the exercise of their healing arts, Druids are required to learn to gauge their patients’ moods and emotions, and to respect their feelings in order that they should not exacerbate illness or injury by causing or allowing anything which might distress them. They are also skilled at calming others, and at easing tensions with reason.


One of the most important aspects of the Druidic arts. Druids train not only to bind wounds and set broken bones, but to diagnose and treat illness, attend women in labour and prevent the spread of disease or the onset of conditions caused by poor diet and poor hygiene. This is a required art for all Druids.

Herb Lore

Druids are taught the properties of various healing plants, and the ways of extracting and combining these properties to produce various salves and potions, including healing draughts, balms and ointments, sleeping potions, poison antidotes and anaesthetics. They also learn which plants are poisonous, and are thus not to be used. This is a required art for Druids of the Schools.

Land Lore

This is the study of cycles; of what were once called ecosystems. Among their lore the Druids have much knowledge of the impact man had upon the world in the time before The Burning, and much of it leads them to believe that humanity brought the fire upon themselves by their neglect of the earth. Although a modern human would call this ecology, this craft is a matter of faith for the Druids.


Druids spend a great deal of time in contemplation of the gods and the land. They practice meditative techniques to increase their awareness of the world, and to focus their thoughts.


The Druids practice many rituals, and perform them at need for the people of Cymru. These rituals include weddings, the blessing of infants, the cleansing of those who have ventured into the Ruin of Anglia, the blessing of the dead and the celebrations of the solstices and equinoxes.


Great travellers and foragers, the Druids know how to survive in the wilderness, allowing them to move easily without recourse to the expense of wagons or Engines. Few people of Cymru would dare the shadows of the forests without the guidance of a Druid. This includes both foraging and navigating.


An understanding of the natures and respective functions of the four Great Ones and the host of attendant lesser deities is vital to the Druidic faith. This is a required art for Druids of the Circles.