Are you a dog being wagged by its tail? Most are.
There were generally two schools in Druid thought. The summer court focused on harmony and peace, and the majority of Druids embraced a wisdom that reflected this. This is why Druids came to be known predominantly as peace keepers. The lesser known and less adhered to was the winter court, those who tried to get a handle on the cycle of blood and by extension death in the land. It’s the second that we will at least touch on in the subject of Dark Druids.
So it is not that the dark Druids were less peaceful? Exactly. It is also why they couldn’t be singled out from the rest of their kin.
They just balanced the life with the death. Yes. A Druid came to claim not their clan but the Druids as their kin, referring to others of their path as brothers and sisters. It was both a brotherhood and a sisterhood. There was no split, but the path of blood had its adherents as well in India where it was more open and well accounted for. The summer court could be called the “right hand path” as far as Druids went. The path of blood would be a left hand path.
Anyone familiar with tantric Hinduism or tantric Buddhism? Where the right hand path and harmonious schools focused on limiting and cleansing karma, those of the tantric schools instead focused on accumulating it (both good and bad karma) believing that this was a reliable way of understanding Brahma. Brahma being “the all-encompassing”, the universal spirit. While most Druids (those of the summer court) provided guidance that depended on faith in the resilience of life and the earth mother, that life and hope spring eternal, the winter court had a different paradigm.
Perhaps a side note, the term court originally referred to the meeting of leaders in the home of their liege or king. The chiefs came together to talk with each other and coordinate with the most powerful chief of their region, that being what the king was. Druids were a part of this and those organized themselves informally in a similar way. While the summer court, or court of abundance, adhered to a view that the earth would provide, and that peace best served the long term well-being of the land and the people, the winter court instead sought to actively engage the tensions that naturally arose between the clans and tribes, and eventually the kingdoms. Merlin would have been of the winter court view. Thus seeking to guide Arthur’s rise to power in a time when the balance of the land was in upheaval, and helping Arthur to do things that might seem morally questionable, and his father Uther before him.
Is this where the “dark” aspect comes in? Yes. Some of the stranger stories were bad press from foreign powers that sought to undermine old loyalties held by those they sought to convert, Christian priests. Now this did show up in their judgements even before the stress exerted by encroaching empire. The Druid might order the execution of an individual, not because it was “fair” but because it would have an impact on the balance of conflict between the clans.
Balance of dark and light? Yes. A weak but foolishly aggressive clan might be given no mercy, at least from one point of view. A strong and equally aggressive clan might see any prisoners of war instead spared, even married into the clan that took them prisoner, all at the guidance of the Druids.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.