The difficulties resulting
from any attempt to reconstruct Celtic religion and mythology are not
based exclusively and not even mainly on the state of the sources.
It is true, documents are
fragmentary without any apparent or reliable connections among them
and they are in no case original or genuine, in every case distorted
by roman or Christian impact.
Hardly anything has been
handed down to us directly from British druids, or from their songs
and tales � this is not explained simply by the early destruction of
the druids' centre at Mona (Anglesey). More important is the fact that
druidical tradition had been worked upon to attain a state where it is
not possibly recognized. Reading however attentively the Mabinogion
or the Welsh Triads (R. Bromwich, 1978)
reveals the existence of druidic texts underneath the tales of
chivalry and of gods. Some of the knights e.g. in King Arthur's
Round Table stories display marvellous abilities or appear as wise
counsellors; in this they remind of the druids. The changes undergone
by Gwydion, Arianrod and others are to be equalled to
similar ones recorded for Irish druids. The names of Arthur
and Math are indicative of a bear cult, etc.
And yet, the greater problem
is not constituted by those mediated traditions,
underneath which we have to look for the Celtic mythology.