Regarding Female Druids:

There really shouldn't be a need for an apologist-style screed for the existence of female druids, or Bandrui. Enough information can be readily gleaned from classical Roman sources and Irish legends that, once one takes a look, female Druids are obviously there, waving you a hearty hello (or throwing curses, if you're a Roman). However, modern Druidry carries a lot of baggage from the old Druid revivals of the 1700s and 1800s-- these were men's groups, akin to America's Elks Club or Lions Club, that called themselves "Druid" out of a sense of national British pride, but that had no relationship at all to the historical Druids. A lot of good things came out of the Druid Revivals of those years, but the dogma that "Druids Must Be Men" is one that should be tossed aside as an attitude both unhistorical, sexist, and, more importantly, useless to modern Druids.

Considering what little information we have about Druids in general, any reference at all to one single female Druid should be enough to end any arguments about female Druids.

Here are eleven references:

Conchobar Mac Nessa is named after his mother Nessa, who is described as a Bandrui.

Finn was raised by Scathach. In English translations, she's frequently called a witch, but in Gaelic she's a flaith, or "prophetess" and a Druid.

The Scriptores Histories Augustae, (4th century CE) records that Roman emperors consulted female Druids.

Roman writer Aelius Lampridius, in Alexander Severus, about the Roman emperor who reigned from 222-235CE, writes: "Furthermore, as he went to war, a Druid prophetess cried out in the Gallic tongue, 'Go, but do not hope for victory, and put no trust in your soldiers.' "

Flavius Vopiscus in the 4th century CE, in Numerianus, talks about a Druidess prophesying to Diocletian, and in Aurelianus about female Druids counseling the emperor Claudius.

Fingin Mac Luchta of Munster visits a Druidess every Samhain who would fortell the events of the coming year.

The story of the fight between the Tuatha de Danaan and the Fomori, The Second Battle of Moytura, mentions two Druidesses.

In The Cattle Raid of Cooley, Mebd, the Queen of Connacht, consults a Druidess named Fidelma.

Dio Cassius mentions a Druidess named Ganna who went on an embassy to Rome and was received by Domitian, younger son of the Emperor Vespasian.

There's a story of Romans encountering a female Druid in Gaul long after the Gaulish Druids were supposedly wiped out. (I'm still looking for the reference -ed.)

Pomponius Mela relates in De Chorographica that nine virgin "priestesses" who lived on the island of Sena, in Brittany, "knew the future."

Remember, the Celts didn't have the same gender divisions that were part of Greek and Roman culture. Celtic women fought alongside their men. They could own property, they could divorce, they were the leaders of tribes. They were poets and scholars and seers. It would be very odd if they were not Druids as well. It's possible that when describing Druids, people like Caesar, looking through Roman eyes, simply didn't see female Druids because it just didn't occur to him that those women standing next to those men could have the same status.

Also look for women who have been labeled "witches" in the old Irish and Welsh stories. If she walks like a Druid and talks like a Druid, then she's probably a Druid. Remember that the old Irish and Welsh stories were compiled by Christian monks who would not readily consider a powerful magician a Druid if she was female.

(This list compiled by Ed Chapman; information gleaned from Peter Beresford Ellis's works, from Kenneth R. White at There's more. Go online and type in "Druid, female, classical" and see what you come up with!)