Tracing the history of secret societies is typically easy. We can find a relatively accurate date as well as the name of any founder or founders. When we cannot do that, it is either because the society is a major myth or it is one so old that it pre-dates written records. The United Ancient Order of the Druids is older than most written records.
Many archeologists believe that the Druids can be traced back as far as 6000 B.C. This is based on the various stone structures and sites that have been found to be manmade and set up in alignment with various constellations. Written records of the Druids cannot be found until the Romans invaded Briton and found this new order along with many other strange and unusual cultures.
Supposedly feared by the Romans, the Druids “were the physicians, astronomers, mathematicians, musicians, poets, philosophers, legislators and judges of the people as well as the educators in the matter of religion and learning” of the time.” They helped encourage the Brits to fight against the Romans and were accused of being the instigators of most of the attacks on and around Hadrian’s Wall.
After the Romans left Briton, the Druids continued. Eventually the society spread throughout Europe and beyond. The official establishment of the Druids as the United Ancient Order of the Druids (U.A.O.D.) occurred in the 1700s England. They call became “justice, benevolence and friendship”.
Today, there are many lodges of U.A. O. D. that can be found in North America, Europe, and many other places. They have been accused of many things including being a religious order, a political party, a society bent on taking over the world, and devil worshipers. The U.A.O. D. claim that “any discussion on religion or politics is forbidden within the lodge rooms” though this would not prevent them from being viewed as such.
They follow the teachings of a legendary Druid leader, Merlin. History has yet to prove Merlin’s existence, but the number of times he is mentioned in history gives one to believe that someone of significance lived with the name of Merlin. The Druids of today still follow many of Merlin’s rules and honor him as one of the original members of the order.
What is so secret about them? Part of it is their mysterious past. There are also many things about their beliefs and rituals that are hard to understand and not privy to the public. There are rumors of their being the founding order of the Masons though this conflicts with other reports of Masonic beginnings. Other than that, there is nothing too secretive about them.