The Druid's Garden

Spiritual Journeys in Tending the Land, Permaculture, Wildcrafting, and Regenerative Living

About the Druid February 3, 2012

I enjoy frolicking in forests, playing my flutes for the flowers, and listening to the voices of the trees. I spend copious amounts of time seeking edible and medicinal treats from the wild lands of Western Pennsylvania and wherever else I happen to visit. I love sustainable living and practice permaculture design. I am frequently covered with dirt, paint, or both.

When people ask about me, they usually want to know about my druid stuff, art stuff, nature stuff, or something else.  Its important to understand that these different aspects of me intersect and align, even though I present them separately here. So here’s a bit of a snapshot of me in my various roles:

Me with a lovely dryad saddle, mushroom ally and friend

Me with a lovely dryad saddle, mushroom ally and friend

Druidry and Nature Spirituality

I enjoy learning and consider myself a lifelong student of nature spirituality. I’ve been practicing druidry for over ten years–Revival Druidry is my home and path. I am a Druid Adept and the Archdruid of Water in the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA) and a Druid-grade graduate of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD). I am Chief Editor of the AODA’s annual journal, Trilithon: The Journal of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (which is now in its 3rd year of publication). I am also a Bishop in the Gnostic Celtic Church (affiliated with AODA) and study the Celtic Golden Dawn system of magic. For a story of how I came to druidry, please see my post “The Mystery of the Stumps and the Spiral Path: How I came to Druidry.

Me in my Michigan grove with my panflute

In my Michigan grove with panflute

Permaculture Design, Herbalism, and Plants

I am a Certified Permaculture Designer, having completed my PDC through Sowing Solutions at the Sirius Ecovillage in 2015. As part of the work of my AODA Druid Adept project, I spent three years intensively studying permaculture design principles and applying them to nature-based spiritual practice and my homestead in Michigan.  I am a founding member of the Oakland County Permaculture Meetup, a large group in South-Eastern Michigan that has been going strong (with 500+ members) for the last four years. The meetup focuses on educating the community about sustainable practices using permaculture design principles. I also am a graduate of Jim McDonald’s Four Season Herbal Intensive and am currently studying with Rosemary Gladstar; I have been practicing herbalism for a number of years. I’ve also taken various college-level organic farming classes, apprenticed with local farmers, vended at a local farmer’s market, and spent five years homesteading on my 3 acre property in Michigan. Along the way I’ve also learned about natural building, sustainable crafting, foraging and mushroom hunting, mushroom cultivation, and so much more!

You can never have too many pictures of yourself with mushrooms

You can never have too many pictures of yourself with mushrooms

 

Artwork and Expression

In addition to my druidic pursuits, I create many kinds of art (watercolors, jewelry, ceramics) and wildcrafted functional crafts (handmade papers, inks).  I also play the panflute and enjoy sneaking off into the forest to play haunting melodies for unknowing passerby! In 2009, I self-published a tarot deck, called the Tarot of Trees–you can learn more about it on the Tarot of Trees website.  Its currently in its 3rd edition.  I don’t share much of my art on this blog, but I do create it in honor of the trees and of the natural world as often as possible.  I’m actually working on two new artistic/divination/nature spirituality projects at the moment, but I’m not quite ready to share those yet!

Druid's prayer for peace painting

Druid’s prayer for peace painting

Teaching and Learning

By day I’m a university professor, where I teach classes in various forms of writing and in research methods.  I study how people learn and how they take knowledge with them.  I also have a keen interest in linguistics, so you’ll see a bit of that on this blog.  I also do freelance editorial work, primarily for projects of interest to me (herbalism, nature-spirituality, some fiction, etc).

In the circle...

In the circle…

About this Blog

I began this blog in 2010 to document the work of my druid adept project for the AODA, and it has evolved and grown quite a bit since this time! In 2010, I purchased a home with three acres and a pond.  This home and land, which required much clean up, healing, tending. Using permaculture design principles, reskilling, herbalism, systems thinking, and a lot of hard work, I transformed the land from a consumptive space to a productive one and to a sanctuary for all life.  In 2015, I was called back to the land of my birth in Western PA and am now working on work with the land here in many ways.

 

One story expressed on this blog is my growing concern about the disconnection between human beings and the land and how issues of sustainability and permaculture need a stronger voice if our species is to find our balance within the greater world.  I blog on ways to make that happen.  This involves taking better care of ourselves rather than letting corporations do that work for us–making our own medicines, growing our own food, and finding better ways of living in harmony. Finally, this blog also covers intersections of sustainability, permaculture, deep ecology, and druidry–how we as druids and other spiritually-minded individuals can help lead the way to a greener tomorrow.  It covers issues of importance to how local communities can make the transition (like building community and transitioning our community).  It also covers issues intersecting our lands here, like oil pipelines, fracking, and legal issues.

 

Another story expressed on this blog is the important work of healing and wildtending our lands–learning how once again to be positive and nurturing influences on the world around us.

 

The goal of this blog is to present approaches for thinking about the relationships between what we believe and what we do, how spiritual practice can be sacred action in our everyday living, and how we can address the growing predicament of this age. Thank you for joining me on this journey!

 

47 Responses to “About the Druid”

  1. Laird Will Says:

    Hi Dana ~ Good to get to know you!

  2. […] if you’ve used olive oil), you can trim the seams and decorate it. This one got one of WillowCrow‘s necklaces to spruce it up a […]

  3. Hello fellow walker of the old paths,

    I was hoping you might be so kind as to share a link to a fundraiser my Grove is hosting with your readers, friends, members, anyone and everyone.

    We are raising funds through fundraise.com to purchase a very special woodland area that is in danger of falling victim to “development.” We hope to be able to raise enough funds to purchase the property and allow for the creation therein of a Nemeton open to any and all who would come in peace.

    This is the shortlink

    http://fndr.se/k4bM

    Thank you so very much for your consideration and help,
    Mhórdhúshlán Fhear Leighis aka Thomas Carter
    Head Druid

  4. Doug Peebles Says:

    a trend I see in blogs and posts of those who are following a druids path, or trying to live simply and reduce there footprint on the earth, is promoting a vegetarian diet and avoiding beef. All industrial factory scale agriculture has an unsustainable footprint. Baby spinach leaves, oranges or field ripened tomatoes in Ontario, Canada in March are not reducing our footprint. The beef we raise and sell is local, 100% grass fed, on land which receives no chemical fertilizers, no pesticides, on GMO’s, no grains, corn, soybeans, no irrigation and has not been plowed or cultivated for 20 years. Our cattle do not compete with us for our food, unless we want to eat a bale of hay for supper. I realize that changing to locally grown food, or growing our own is a long way in the future for many, particularly urban people, but there are many of us small, local, environmentally responsible farmers, who are trying to supply nutritious, healthy, chemical free food to our neighbors. I do not consider the No Beef Mantra a threat to our farm, but its really Industrial agriculture that’s the problem.

    Be at peace,
    Doug

    • Willowcrow Says:

      Hi Doug,

      Thanks for your comment! Actually, I don’t promote going vegetarian….like you, I think all industrial agriculture is bad agriculture, and destroys our lands and lives. Wendell Berry wrote it best, and that was before the time even of GMOs, etc!

      I wrote a post a while ago promoting the purchase of food from local organic farmers, here:

      https://druidgarden.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/ethical-eating-and-avoiding-false-binaries-going-localvore/

      I work hard to support farmers , like you, who are going the organic and non-GMO route! I think that supporting ethical practices is the most important thing, and that simply can’t be done with factory farmed anything. Keep up the good work 🙂

      In the peace of the maple grove,
      Dana

      • Rebeka Says:

        Hi Dana and Doug, I agree in part with both of you. My husband and I have been small organic dairy farmers in France for 15 years and also live off our land or from other local farmers and have had countless young volunteers coming to stay with us to learn about our way of life. Over the years we have come to realize that our lifestyle is impossible for the masses and gives false hope that to eat the way we do is achievable for anyone. We have also come to believe that indeed it is important tha people strive to eat a mostly vegetarian diet as it is getting more and more difficult to find “ethically” raised animals. It is no longer possible to trust labels. In order to really trust the food we eat, one must know your farmer personally (this means visiting their farm) or raise it yourself. Sadly, that, in some places is just no longer a reality. I agree that one must also truly know where and how their vegetables are being raised as well. Although I think all life on Mother Earth should be treated with as much care and respect as we would want to treat a loved one, it is difficult for most to compare the treatment of one creature’s life to the treatment of a plot of earth. Hopefully we will get there one day. With all my Heart, Rebeka

  5. geeners Says:

    I am new to all of this, but I’m doing a lot of reading and just wanted to say that I am reading your blog and find what you’re writing very interesting! Thank you! Are there any books on herbs that you find particularly helpful?

    • Willowcrow Says:

      Hi Geeners! Are you looking for books on druidry or sustainability, or both? Those are different recommendations 🙂

      • geeners Says:

        Druidry right now. I’m a little overwhelmed with all the info available. 🙂

        • Willowcrow Says:

          John Michael Greer’s Druidry Handbook is a great place to start. You might also find Phillip Carr Gomm’s What do Druids Believe quite helpful! Those are great introductions 🙂

          • geeners Says:

            Thanks – just got Druidry Handbook on my Kindle app. Can I ask why you decided to go with AODA’s degree program over OBOD or ADF? Or is that in a blog post I just haven’t gotten to yet? 🙂

            • Willowcrow Says:

              I am a Druid-Grade member of OBOD and a Druid Adept in the AODA (this means I completed the full three-tier curriculum in both Orders). I found the two orders very complimentary. I joined AODA because I liked JMG’s books, I liked the way that they didn’t prescribe my beliefs, I found the practices fit my way of seeing the world, and I really liked the emphasis on action in the world. I was able to craft the AODA practice to my emphasis on sustainability and so forth, and that really appealed to me. I joined OBOD because I liked its emphasis on self healing and the elements, and there is a good OBOD community in the USA.

              I did join ADF briefly and looked at their dedicant program, but I found that their methods were not complimentary to my beliefs (they tell you more what to believe, how to practice, and emphasize worship of deity over work in the world….it doesn’t fit my emphasis on sustainability). ADF works very well for some people, but not for me.

              I think investigating all of the different orders is a wise idea and see which one resonates the most with you. You might find a home in more than one order as well, and that’s not a bad thing :).

  6. Gina Says:

    Hi, me again. 🙂 Not sure how else to contact you. Would you consider doing a post on how you published your tarot deck?

    • Willowcrow Says:

      Gina,
      How I created it? How I managed to self publish it? All of the above? I have an article I wrote for Touchstone (the OBOD journal) a while back about the process of creating it, but I didn’t talk about self publishing. Let me know more of what you are thinking and yes, I can write a post 🙂
      Dana

      • Gina Says:

        How you managed to self publish it! :). But would also be great to read about why you did it, how long it took, etc 🙂

  7. litebeing Says:

    Hi again Dana,
    Wow I love the energy from your pictures! I am so happy we are both following each other now. The big oak practically on my back terrace has an awesome face I just noticed because I read your blog. Thank you for opening my eyes wider to Gaia in this new way.
    Excited to read more and more here…

    peace,
    Linda

  8. Hello and thank you for following New Earth Paradigm. I came to you through Litebeing Chronicles — Linda is a favorite bloggette of mine. Each time I think I’m not going to “follow” anyone else’s blog — so much in my Reader — I stumble upon another site that I just can’t resist. Yours is such and the small amounts I have read here are not only informative — they are truly enchanting. I am currently visiting a friend in the Ozarks in Arkansas — lots of woods here, so I may be joining you in the dirt (also love to paint (houses) — and exploring your information more thoroughly, as needed. Meanwhile I’ll get the updates. Thank you so much for carrying the grand tradition of Druidry forward into the NOW. Many blessings, Alia

    • Willowcrow Says:

      Alia,
      Many thanks for your kind words. I bet the Ozarks are just beautiful this time of year! In fact, its warming up here and I had my hands in the dirt for a few hours today. It was bliss :). Thank you for following the blog–I look forward to hearing from you more in the future!

  9. laurabruno Says:

    Hi Willowcrow, I just reblogged your post about leaving your land. I can’t find a private contact form, but I wondered if you would contact me. I am not finished healing the land where we are in Northern Indiana yet, but I have felt a very strong pull that we may be moving into a new, preferred steward situation to make itself known much sooner than we originally anticipated. I would love to get some details about your land, house, location, etc. so that I can better feel if this is possibly the situation waiting to announce itself. laura at lazyrawfoodist dot com . Thanks, blessings and deep honor for all you do, Laura

  10. Hello there, I live in Kalamazoo, MI and discovered and began learning about druidry in the last year both through Ar nDraiocht Fein and AODA (just joined recently). I have been really enjoying reading your posts and am working on reading each one starting at the earliest. 🙂 I would really like to create a sustainable, “green” life for myself and my family, despite an uninterested spouse. Your information you are sharing gives me so many good ideas and opens my mind to other opportunities and ways to look at things.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Willowcrow Says:

      Lena,
      Thanks for reading and for your comment! I very much understand a disinterested spouse–maybe you can find something that will help him become interested. I wish you the best of luck in your path!

      • Do you have any experience with humanely keeping bugs, ants in particular, out of your woodsy house? We live with lots of forest around and I had to have an exterminator come out to spray our house on Tuesday and I feel really unhappy about it. We were killing carpenter ants by the handful every day inside our house. How do you feel about that and do you have any advice? 🙂

        • Willowcrow Says:

          I don’t have experience with those kinds of bugs. I know that essential oils can work wonders, but I’ve only used them for little sugar ants.

        • In Texas, a buggy place, I sprinkled powdered sulphur around the outside of my housea couple times a year. Discourages insects from coming inside. As the rain washed it into my alkaline soil, it lowered the pH a little and reduced chlorosis. Alkaline soil inhibits uptake and use of iron in plants, especially non native plants. My native plants liked it too! I hope that helps.

          • Dana Says:

            Yes, one of the organic farmers that I now uses sulphur on the fields. Works in the short term, but eventually washes away. I don’t use it myself because I grew up in PA, and I see what happens firsthand when too much sulphur gets into waterways (we call them “sulphur creeks”)…but in small amounts, I bet it would be ok 🙂

            • That is sulphur in the amounts used by monoculture. Everything about monoculture ends destructive. My polycultural garden with compost and mulch got insects under control within about 3 years. A balanced system doesn’t get crazy problems. I use vinegar spray inside the house directly on ants. They look for new locations. Sulphur helped during the transition. Monoculture has created massive problems, and fertilizer is the number one cause of acid rain. News media mentions automobiles… about cause 5.

  11. Ngatina Says:

    I’m so glad to find you! It’s such and inspiration to read your story and I look forward to reading more of it in time to come. I have my own little project in outback Australia and it’s always so helpful to read tales from like minded people.

  12. greta Says:

    where are you in western PA and do you do any classes???

  13. Travis Says:

    Just stumbled upon your site and I love it!! You seem to be a kindred spirit. Please keep up the great work!! Blessings.

  14. CindyW Says:

    I did not want to post this as a comment and disrupt a thread, so post it here – http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/02/corvids-could-save-forests-from-the-effects-of-climate-change/ – crows are doing some of the work we’re talking about, of restoration! love the idea

  15. inesephoto Says:

    Love your blog! My soul is resting when I reed it 🙂

  16. rpatrick Says:

    Just want to thank you for this blog. I have shared it with our grove and am adding it to our Druidrybreading list.

  17. Tasha Bynum Says:

    Finding your posts on land healing immensely helpful. I’m currently working in the Bardic grade with OBOD. My husband (an organic, permaculture-horticulturist) and I came into 35 acres of sustainable land in WI in February. We have 10 acres of woods on the eastern border of the property (heavily farmed on 2 sides) full of wild raspberries and multiflora rose bushes. My immediate intuition was that our woods is heavily guarded. There is a 6 acre area of wetland with Springs that we are yet to discover. I would love to receive email notifications of recent posts as I imagine your blog will be a source of guidance and inspiration. Many thanks in advance ♡

    • Dana Says:

      Tasha,
      Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! I’m glad to hear you are working on the Bardic Grade! It’s a wonderful course–I gained so much from it :).

      I would agree with your assessment–multiflora roses are potent guardians (and awesome medicine). And any of the brambles are as well.

      I think you can sign up for email notifications on the right side of the blog. Look at the top right :).

  18. Wild Child Says:

    I love what you’re sharing with the world, Dana. So glad to find you here. 🙂

  19. Tony Says:

    Hi Dana,

    Many Thanks for following naturestimeline, tis much appreciated.

    Best Wishes

    Tony Powell


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