Prophecy: Druidic Organizations

Druidic Circles of the Flanaess

Each geographical area in the Flanaess is overseen by a circle of
druids. The druids in each circle is tied to the area and the land
where they were born, but this does not mean that druids cannot
travel abroad, but they automatically belong to the druidic circle
which oversees the particular geographic area in which the druid
was born. This tie lasts as long as the druid lives, but upon
entering the august ranks of the Hierophants, a druid will no
longer be bound to this place as he no longer has a domain to
oversee. He still feels the need to visit his native lands now and
then though.

The Druidic Circles

The Flanaess is the center of druidic activity on Oerth. Though it
is likely that other people, inhabiting the foreign reaches of the
world may have similar contact with Beory and the forces of nature,
they have no contact with the Druidic Hierarchy of the Flanaess.
Due to the vastness of the Oerth and our sadly lacking knowledge of
the other peoples of our world, as well as of the geography beyond
the Flanaess, The Grand Druid has limited his influence to the
Flanaess and it is this part of our world that is of concern to
Beory’s druids.

As was implied, the druidic circles of the Flanaess are governed
by one supreme overseer, The Grand Druid of the Flanaess (the
current Grand Druid is Immonara, Archdruid of the Adri (detailed in
Ivid the Undying) she is currently looking for a successor), and
these are the subdivisions of her supreme circle. There are 9 main
geographical areas in the Flanaess, and druidical activity in each
of these areas are governed by a Great Druid.

The Thillonrian Peninsula   -  Great Druid Olafr Ragnvaldson, the Icereaver
    Includes        The Griff Mountains

    Subdivisions
        Stonefist/Griffs        -  Arch Druid <name>
            Stonefist           -  The Druid <name>
            Hraak Forest        -  The Druid <name>
            Griff Mountains     -  The Druid <name>
        Western Thillonrian Peninsula       -  Arch Druid <name>
            Frost Barbarians                -  The Druid <name>
            Western Corusks             -  The Druid <name>
            Krakenheim and              -  The Druid <name>
                The Spikey Forest
        East Thillonrian Peninsula      -  Arch Druid <name>
            East Corusks                -  The Druid <name>
            Snow                        -  The Druid <name>
            Ice/Sablewood               -  The Druid <name>
            

Greater Tilvanot        -  Great Druid <name>
    Bordered by     The Thelly River
    Includes        The Lordship of the Isles and the Spindrift Isles

    Subdivisions
        

The Aerdy Lands     -  Great Druid <name>
    Include     The Sea Barons, Almor, Adri Forest and the Bone March

The Heartlands      -  Great Druid <name>
    Bordered by     The Nesser and Artonsamay Rivers, the Bluff Hills and the
                Griff Mountains and Grendep bay
    Include     The Flinty Hills, the Rakers and the Timberway Forest

The Lands of Greyhawk   -  Great Druid <name>
    Bordered by     The Nesser River and the Lortmils
    Include     The Wild Coast, Nyr Dyv, The Suss Forest, Celene and The
                Kron Hills

The Marklands       -  Great Druid <name>
    Bordered by     The Gnarley Forest, The Lortmils, Vesve Forest and The
                Opicm and Artonsamay Rivers.
    Include     Veluna, Furyondy, The Shield Lands, The Horned Society,
                The Bandit Kingdoms and The Rovers of the Barrens

The Wild Lands      -  Great Druid <name>
    Bordered by     The Opicm River and The Yatil Mountains
    Include     The Vesve Forest and The Yatils, Iuz and The Nomads

The Sheldomar Valley    -  Great Druid Laran Hawkseye of the Good Hills
    Includes        The Pomarj and The Sea Princes, The Lortmils, The Barrier
                Peaks and The Jotens
    Subdivisions
        Eastern Sheldomar   -  Arch Druid Noric Treantfriend of the Axewood
            The Pomarj      -  The Druid <name>
            The Uleki lands -  The Druid <name>
            The Lortmils    -  The Druid <name>
        Southern Sheldomar      -  Arch Druid <name>
            The Tors, Sea Princes       -  The Druid <name>
            The Jotens, Yeomanry        -  The Druid <name>
            The Dreadwood and           -  The Druid <name>
                Southern Keoland
        Northern Sheldomar          -  Arch Druid <name>
            Bissel, Barriers, Dim forest        -  The Druid <name>
            Geoff, Sterich              -  The Druid <name>
            Northern Keoland and            -  The Druid <name>
                The Gran March

The Western Lands       -  Great Druid <name>
    Include     Ull, Ket, The Bramblewood and Udgru Forests

The Druidic Hierarchy – A General Overview

The lowest ranks of the druidic organisation is composed of the
young people whose amibition it is to one day achieve greatness.
They first contact the local druid and may, if the teacher finds
the applicant worthy, recieve some basic instruction. If the
applicant seems sincere in his pursuits, the instructor will decide
when the would-be druid is ready to be initiated as an aspirant,
and propose a gauntlet to test the sincerity, faith and
determination. If the gauntlet is passed to the satisfaction of a
gathering of druids of the third circle (the circle to which the
neophyte belongs), the neophyte is initiated as an aspirant during
a ceremony held at night under Luna’s full light.

Not until this ceremony has been performed is the character
considered a druid. The druid was not assigned any duties or
responsibilities as a neophyte, and neither is he assigned any
during his period as aspirant. He spends his time getting to know
the area over which his circle precides, intimately. He learns
about the rituals used to bless the crops, the ceremonies held
before harvest begins, he learns all the local legends and stories
and the ways of the peoples in the area (which he probably would
know well enough as it is anyway). If he is lucky, he might meet
some members of the faerie courts, but this is not likely to happen
until the faeries have got used to the young druid’s presence and
accepted him as a friend.

When the local circle feels that the young aspirant has aquired
enough knowledge and understanding of the ways of the druids, he is
elevated to the rank of Ovate. This means that the druid is given
some responsibilities during rituals and ceremonies, these duties
may include chanting in concert with other druids or merely
standing at attention or bow at the right places during a ritual.
Nothing really important in other words.

0th Neophyte
1st Aspirant
2nd Ovate

After this period of initiation, the druid is introduced into
the ranks of the circles, the leaders of small areas and the druids
of a village. One of the initiates of the 3rd circle are chosen to
act as the leader of the area around a small village or hamlet, and
he reports to the Priest of that circle. The chosen individual is
elevated to the rank of Adept of his circle upon recieving the
honour of leadership, but this does not mean that druids are barred
from advancing past the initiate rank if they are not chosen for
leadership. A druid may advance through the ranks to become a
Priest of the 1st circle without ever having enjoyed the honour of
leading a circle, though this is rare.

The druids of the circles advance to lead (or become members of)
ever greater circles, and it is not unheard of for a landed noble
to come to the druidic circles to ask for aid and assistance during
times of great need. These occasions may be when a drought plagues
the land, or hordes of insects destroy the crops or any number of
natural fenomena and distasters cause the population to suffer. A
baron, for instance, may ask a Priest of the 1st circle to summon
rainstorms over his barony, to relieve the drought that plagues the
land. A landed noble may ask the local Priest of the 2nd circle to
make the soil within his domain more fertile, and a peasant may ask
an Initiate of the third circle to perform a minor ritual to
increase the yield from his fields.

These priests of the first circle have no political power within
their domain, they serve as protectors of forests and wilderness
within their domain, and hold services on holy days, bless crops
and fields, perform rites of fertility and work pretty much like
pagan priests. Their main function is to pass the teachings and
lore on to the next generation of druids and to the people who
still revere Beory, the Oerthmother, as the source of all life. The
druidic faith is mainly practised in rural communities where people
are dependent upon their crops and herds to feed them, while the
worship of Gods is predominant in cities and other urban areas.
Obviously, people in rural areas who are not farmers (and even some
who are) tend to turn to the Gods rather than Beory, since the
druids aren’t of much use to them.

3rd Initiate of the 3rd circle
4th Adept of the 3rd circle  -  Leader of the immediate
        area around a small village et c.
5th Priest of the 3rd circle  -  Leader of the area around
        a community of villages et c.

6th Initiate of the 2nd circle
7th Adept of the 2nd circle
8th Priest of the 2nd circle  -  Leader of the area around
        a major town and the villages around the town et c.

9th Initiate of the 1st circle
10th    Adept of the 1st circle
11th    Priest of the 1st circle  -  Leader of the druids within
        a certain politically bounded area (a county within a
        kingdom, the Free City of Greyhawk and its lands at c.)

At Druid level, the nature priests become more detached from
temporal society. The druids cease their dealings with humans and
demihumans (except maybe some elves). They move out into the wilds
and settle as wardens of geographical areas. At this time they
start concentrating more on furthering the Balance and
contemplating the multiverse and the role of man. They are taught
about how the men of Oerth may make war on each other, how the
Balance may shift first towards Good, then towards Evil, and how
the Balance will reassert itself eventually. They are also taught
about the outer planes of alignment, and of the Concordant
Opposition which rests undisturbed in the middle of this great
wheel and represents an ideal equilibrium. The times when druids
take action in favour of one faction or other is when extraplanar
powers are introduced to a Prime Material struggle. The druids
strive to keep demons, devils, slaadi, modrons and devas away from
the prime material, and if the situation is particularly grave,
they may even be assisted by the Cabal and the Hierophants.

The Druid in charge of a particular area is the nominal leader
of the circles in his domain. This druids has nothing to do with
the people inhabiting his lands, his main concern is to direct the
druids of the circles. He is the overseer of druidic activity
within his domain, which may include an entire kingdom, though its
boundaries are usually determined by geographical features. These
Druids travel a lot, they seldom stay long within one area, but
they always return to their domain to hear news and to catch up on
the latest happenings.

Above the Druids in the hierarchy are the Arch Druids, these
characters lead a domain which includes the areas governed by three
Druids. The Arch Druid has nothing to do with the druids of the
circles or other people, but acts as a leader for the 12th lvl
Druids in his domain. Most Arch Druids have little interest in the
the lower hierarchies, they tend to wander about their territory
and occasionally ask one of the 12th lvl Druids to perform some
service or task. As such, the Arch druids are pretty free to do
what they want, since the lower ranking druids pretty much take
care of what needs to be done within the domain of the Arch Druid,
but he steps in during the ceremonies of the Equinoxes and the
Midsummer/Midwinter rituals.

The superior to the Arch Druids is the Great Druid of one of the
nine geographical regions of the Flanaess. He oversees three of the
Arch Druids, but like the Arch Druids, he is not too concerned with
the goings-on in his domain. His main concern is to prevent
destruction of the nature of his domain, but only rarely does he
actually take direct action himself, usually he assigns tasks to
the Arch Druids, who again delegates the responsibility to their
inferiors in the hierarchy. When a Great Druid assigns a task, it
is usually on the level of: Please oversee this area for a year
while I’m away. If a Great Druid goes on adventure, it is most
likely because of friendship, or to investigate something of
extreme importance to his domain.

The Grand Druid is a lonely figure, he is the leader of all the
Druids of the Flanaess. His interests are mainly to preserve the
Flanaess from unnatural fenomena and to prevent major incursions of
outer-planar intelligences. He is usually attended by lower ranking
druids as detailed in the PHB.

12th    9 Druids under each Great Druid  -  Overseers of
        minor geographical areas such as a forest, a minor
        mountain range et c.
13th    3 Arch Druids under each Great Druid  -  Overseers
        of major geographical areas such as a huge forest,
        a mountain range et c.
14th    9 Great Druids  -  Overseers of the aforementioned
        geographical regions of the Flanaess.
15th    The Grand Druid  -  Overseer of the Flanaess.

The Hierophants are those worthies who, after serving a long
time in the temporal hierarchies of the druids of Oerth, have
finally transcended the mortal bounds which keep them. They wander
freely on the alien planes of elemental matter, the sources of
material Creation and can, due to their minds having to a certain
extent been freed to join with the primal Conciousness of Creation,
exert a limited control over the elementary substances. When a
Hierophant have finally achieved such insight and communion with
the primal Mind of Creation as is possible for a mortal, he will
know how to enter that most exalted of States, that most prime of
Realities, the Soul and Consiousness of the multiverse, the
Concordant Opposition. There he may dwell in perfect bliss and
finally understand the purpose and function of the multiverse, he
may understand the true nature of the Gods, the rulers and the
other intelligences of the outer planes, and he will see how they
themselves are governed and ruled by the forces which we call
Alignments. In this state, the Hierophant may finally be able to
shed the yoke which defines all the creatures, souls, intelligences
and divinities of all Creation. These are the Hierophants of the
Cabal, the representatives of the druids in that august body.

One Hierophant of each level is appointed (or volunteers) to the
position of Dean of a Bardic College. This position is usually held
for no more than two or three years, though a Hierophant may hold
this position for as long a period as he desires. The Hierophant
will act as both instructor and supervisor, as well as rector of
the college. Most Hierophants take this job as a diversion from
their duties.

16th+   Hierophant druids
23rd    There are currently three Hierophants of the Cabal,
        a fourth is expected to ascend within the next ten
        years.

Note that while The Shalm of Obad-Hai is a lesser god, some
druids see him as the first Hierophant to reach the Concordant
Opposition, and if that interpretation holds any truth, he is a
deified mortal. While these druids do not worship him and a
divinity, they view him as a druidical archetype, the ideal druid,
and they strive to come as close to that picture of perfection as
possible.

There was much consternation within the ranks of the Hierophants
when The Shalm was imprisoned by the mad archmage Zagyg under
Castle Greyhawk, in the year 505 CY. Most of the Hierophants didn’t
know the reason for The Shalm’s absence, but his absence was felt.
Only the Hierophants of the Cabal knew, and the Cabal was very
nearly disbanded due to the resentment arising between the
Hierophants and Zagyg and the factions which arose to support
either Zagyg or the Hierophants. Zagyg was able to force the
Hierophants to yield, due to the power of his faction (the Circle
of Eight and the Shadow Lord supported him, amongst others, in
addition Zagyg was now a demi-god and a servant of Boccob), but
there has been much murmuring between the factions since then, and
this masked dissent has only been slightly alleviated after Lord
Robilar freed The Shalm and the other eight demi-gods in 570
CY.

An accompanying text which relates bards to the druidic
hierarchy can be accessed here.

Sort of malapropos I suppose, but in case anyone is interested
there’s a reallife order of Druids, the International Grand Lodge of
Druidism
. There’s an affiliated order in Norway, Forenede Gamle Druid-Orden. These
organisations have nothing whatsoever to do with my essay, nor vice
versa.




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This page is occasionally updated by Christian K. Kielland.

Most recently 9. desember 1999