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The Celts

Sacerdotal India--and perhaps also Atlantis--in early times sent

pioneers into the West to spread religious teachings amongst their

energetic inhabitants; those who settled in Gaul and the British Isles

were the Druids. "I am a serpent, a druid," they said. This sentence

proves that they were priests, and also the Atlantaean or Indian origin

of their doctrines; for the serpent was the symbol of initiation in

the sacred
mysteries of India, as also on the continent of Atlantis.

We know little of their teaching, which was entirely oral, though it

covered so much ground that, according to Caesar, not less than thirty

years of study were needed to become a druid. The Roman conquest

dispersed them by degrees; then it was that their disciples, the

bards, committed to writing more or less imperfect and mutilated

fragments of the teachings of their masters. Their "triads"[123] are

undoubtedly akin to Hindu teachings; Evolution results from the

manifestation of the Absolute, it culminates in man, who possesses a

maximum of individualisation, and terminates in the personal,

conscious union of the beings thus created with the ineffable All.

The Absolute is "Ceugant"; manifestation, or the Universe, is "Abred";

the divine state of freed souls is in "Gwynvyd"; these are in the

three circles.[124]

In "Ceugant" there is only the Unknowable, the rootless Root. Souls

are born and develop in "Abred," passing into the different kingdoms;

"Amwn" is the state through which beings pass only once, which means

that the "I," when once gained, continues for ever. "Gwynvyd" is the

world of perfect and liberated souls, eternal Heaven, great Nirvana.

During this long pilgrimage, the Monad--the divine fragment in a state

of incarnation--undergoes an endless number of rebirths, in myriads of


"I have been a viper in the lake," said Taliesin, the bard[125]; "a

spotted adder on the mountain, a star, a priest. This was long, long

ago; since then, I have slept in a hundred worlds, revolved in a

hundred circles."

It was their faith in rebirth that gave the Gauls their indomitable

courage and extraordinary contempt of death:

"One of their principal teachings," said Caesar,[126] "is that the soul

does not die, but passes at death into another body--and this they

regard as very favourable for the encouragement of valour and for

inculcating scorn of death."

Up to a few years ago, belief in the return of the soul to earth was

still prevalent in those parts of Brittany in which civilisation had

not yet exercised its sceptical, materialising influence; there even

existed druids--probably degenerate ones--in Great Britain and France;

in the Saone-et-Loire district, they seem to have been called the

"Adepts of the White Religion"[127]; both in them and in their

ancestors, belief in rebirth remained unshakable.