When the Roman Army reached the shores of England in 43AD they encountered a fairly uncultured race of people with few skills, little intellect and virtually no compassion. Such as can be found on the average Friday night out in any suburban town nearly two thousand years later. The Romans swept away Celtic rule, which was largely held by their priests, the Druids, who wielded absolute power as soothsayers, mystics, scholars and ultimately judges. Druids would decide who would be banished for their crimes and when doubting guilt or innocence would subject the accused person to the Ordeals, which included being tied up and thrown into a river to see if he sank or floated. Or making them walk through fire to see if God protected them from burns. It was also the Druids who decided who would be sacrificed to appease the Gods and, as their belief was that the sun would fail to rise in the morning without an offering to the God of Sun, this happened on a regular basis throughout the land. The Romans knew otherwise and put a stop to this practice. Julius Caesar himself wrote of the Celtic rule;
‘All the people of Gaul are completely devoted to religion, and for this reason those who are greatly affected by disease and in the dangers of battle either sacrifice human victims or vow to do so using the Druids as administrators to these sacrifices, since it is judged that unless for a man’s life a man’s life is given back, the will of the immortal gods cannot be placated. In public affairs they have instituted the same kind of sacrifice. Others have effigies of great size interwoven with twigs, the limbs of which are filled up with living people, which are set on fire from below, and the people are deprived of life surrounded by flames. It is judged that the punishment of those who participated in theft or brigandage or other crimes are more pleasing to the immortal gods; but when the supplies of this kind fail, they even go so low as to inflict punishment on the innocent’ (translated – Anne Lea, in Koch and Carey 1995. 22).
The Druids were slaughtered by the Romans, although lived on in spirit alone throughout the Middle Ages. However, The Ancient Order of Druids was re-established in London in 1781 as the new fashion of belonging to secret societies swept through English Society. Their subject for discussion, however, excluded politics and religion, unlike The Freemasons, (luckily they also excluded human sacrifice too) although their interests did include mutual assistance and companionship. Several branches of the new Druid movement sprang up in Britain, Europe and America with many of them emphasising the advancement of social ideas, science and the arts whilst also guaranteeing members’ financial assistance in times of business failure or other trouble. Like all good secret societies they knew when to close ranks.
Given the non-political nature of the modern Druid movement it is therefore a surprise to find one of history’s best-known politicians Sir Winston Churchill, was a fully paid up member of the Albion Lodge of the Ancient Order of Druids. Churchill’s father, Randolph Churchill, was a prominent British Statesman and leading member of the Freemasons and Winston only joined the Masons after his father’s death in 1895 and later rising to become Master Mason in 1902, a position he held until he left the society in 1912.
In the meantime, according to papers held by The Chartwell Trust at Churchill College, Cambridge, he joined the Albion Lodge of the Ancient Order of Druids, known as Lodge 59, at a specially convened meeting held at The Wheatsheaf Hotel, High Street, Oxford on 10th August 1908, the day before he famously proposed to his beloved Clementine in the grounds of nearby Blenheim Palace, his ancestral home. His Druid membership was proposed by A E Turner and seconded by the Duke of Marlborough, costing ten shillings and nine pence, which afforded Churchill the proud status of ‘Number 3095 of 59 Lodge in Albion’. Remarkable, given that his occupation at the time was listed as ‘President of the Board of Trade’.
Churchill’s association with the Ancient Order was as open secret at the time and the young politician is even shown in a photograph in Stuart Piggott’s book, The Druids, standing with a group of men wearing traditional druid robes, although their newest recruit wears only a morning suit.
By this time Churchill had been a Member of Parliament for eight years and only two years later was promoted to the position of Home Secretary, embarking on what would become a journey to the very top including two periods as British Prime Minister, the first famously during the Second World War. As a result, it would appear Churchill had little time for Druid activity and there is no record of him ever attending either the summer Solstice at Stonehenge or winter Solstice at the Rollright Stones in Oxford, dressed in robes or otherwise, there is also no record of him ever leaving the Ancient Order of Druids, but there is evidence of his lasting beliefs.
Firstly, during the Second World War Churchill became famous for his two-fingered V for Victory salute. For some people this is a Druid sign demonstrating the hidden 23 within the Law of Fives – two fingers up and three bent down signalling 23. Two plus three equalling five. But for others this is simply confusing symbolism. (The Law of Fives states simply that: all things happen in fives, or are divisible by or multiples of five, or are somehow directly or indirectly appropriate to five.)
Secondly, Churchill is known to have considered astrology and the occult during the Second World War and had close links to leading occultist Aleister Crowley, once described as ‘the wickedest man in the world’ and even ’the beast’, by his own mother. Crowley is credited with creating Churchill’s V for Victory symbol and popularizing it among Satanists.
And finally comes the ancient belief of the Druids who firmly assumed that all the good and protective spirits in the world lived inside trees. Those in distress or in need of good fortune would always make their way to the spiritual tree to touch and hug it in search of peace and prosperity. It is also recorded that Sir Winston Churchill once remarked that wherever he went in the world he always made sure he was within reaching distance of a piece of wood.
So there you have it, Sir Winston Churchill, our most famous Prime Minister and voted in a national BBC poll as the Greatest Briton of all time, a fully paid up and practising member of the Ancient Order of Druids, albeit long after they ceased human sacrifice.
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