The Druidic Craft of the Wise

An Excerpt from Bonewits’s Essential Guide to Druidism

Copyright © 2006 c.e., Isaac Bonewits

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This particular Mesopagan Wicca tradition was founded by a charismatic man called Barney Taylor, also known as "Fr. Eli" and "Grandmaster Eli," back in the 1970s, by mixing Mormonism, Naturopathy, UFOlogy, Wicca, Rosicrucianism, Scientology, and possibly a bit of Mesopagan Druidry (as a reading of his awful Book of Wisdom makes clear). He was fond of discussing the Order of Melchesidek, a phrase taken from the Bible. Both the Catholic Church and the Mormons use this phrase for their priesthoods, implying continuity with the original Jewish priesthood of that name. However, he might have gotten it from [Iolo Morganwyg's] Barddas, which explains a reference in Pliny's writings to Gaulish druids doing a sacrifice that involved bread and wine thusly:

This seems to have come down from Patriarchal times--from Melchizedec, who "brought forth bread and wine," type of the Blessed Eucharist, that "pure offering" which was to take place under the Gospel; and though nothing is positively said of such a rite as existing in the Bardism of the Cymry [Welsh], it is likely enough that it was practiced.

Or maybe Pliny was just referring to a common custom of Mediterranean Paleopagans, that the Gauls might have easily picked up from the Greek colonies on their coastline. As I mentioned, Rev. Williams [iolo] was anxious to prove that the ancient Welsh druids had been patriarchal monotheists.

Taylor has been described by some former students as engaging in extreme exploitation of them. Like Janette Copeland, he was also investigated by local police in connection with the mysterious death of a child belonging to a member. Regardless of his character or lack of it (and he certainly was a character by all accounts), thirty years later his followers are just another Wiccan tradition, probably no better or worse than many others. Their scholarship isn't very good, still being influenced by Fr. Eli's vivid imagination. They are, in any event, unlike any kind of druid that we have seen in this book so far. There is a website for at least some of his followers at, which will provide you more information if you are curious.


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