Celebrating 200 Posts and Five Years on the Druid’s Garden Blog!

Some awesome gardens on my homestead
200 posts! Here's the screenshot! :)
200 posts! Here’s the screenshot! 🙂

In permaculture design, we talk about the edges and the margins being the most abundant, diverse, and critical places in any ecosystem.  This is where we find the epic brambles and berries, with their thorns that snag and catch, yet bear fruit.  This is where we find the rose, which produces amazing medicine and will grab and tangle. Jewelweed, stinging nettle, wild yam, sweet violet, so many of the best medicinal plants can be found on the edges. Most plants on the edges and margins are thick, lush, and hard to get through.

In our own lives, the edges and margins often create discomfort and confusion, but also abundance. I’m certainly on the margin myself at the moment–I’ve recently left Michigan, sold my homestead to a most capable and incredible herbalist who will carry on my work on the land and do much more of her own (that’s how magic works, folks!), and I now find myself exploring a new town in the region where I was born. This week, I’m leaving for a two-week intensive permaculture design class, starting or continuing a few other major projects, and just really looking forward to my new life here in Western PA.

So perhaps its fitting, in the midst of all this change, that this post marks nearly five years with the Druid’s Garden blog and is my 200th post!  I’m so honored that you, dear readers, have continued to follow this blog and learn and share. In some ways, this blog has evolved quite a bit. But in some ways, this blog continues to accomplish exactly what I hoped it would from the very beginning, that is, to engage in conversations about druidry, permaculture, sustainable living, and all of the things in between. So I thought I’d step back from my regular posting and think about what this blog has accomplished–and where its going next!

Me in my Michigan grove with my panflute
Me in my Michigan grove with my panflute

The history of this blog….

Five years ago, I started this blog to help track my progress on my advanced druid studies, where I had self-designed a 3rd degree project focusing on sustainability and druidry for the Ancient Order of Druids in America. I finished that work in 2013, but decided to keep blogging. First, while I am writing professor by profession (meaning I teach writing, research writing, read others’ writing, publish articles, assess writing, and so on all day), I wasn’t spending any time on my own personal writing, and the blog was a wonderful way for me to do some writing on a subject that I’m knowledgeable and passionate about. Second, this blog sought to address what I perceived to be a large gap in discussions within the druid and earth-centered spiritual communities and druid community about real earth-centered and sustainable practices. I had hoped to engage in discussions about how to develop sustainable, spiritual practices to address the predicament we face as a species.  So I drew on permaculture design, traditional western herbalism, wild food foraging, the reskilling movement, natural building, organic farming, and more to try to do this. I’ve been so excited to see how far this blog has gone, how many people are reading and sharing, and I’m honored that all of you visit my little corner of the web.

Some of my favorite posts…

I wanted to direct your attention to some of my posts that aren’t as visited as my more popular posts, but are some of my favorites:

Trio of Sacred Manure Balls with an Oak Leaf
Trio of Sacred Manure Balls with an Oak Leaf from “Holy Shit” – Sometimes I crack myself up!

Holy shit. This was my very first post on the blog, where I spent time reminiscing on the importance of compost and my experiences in spreading it over my new garden.  Ah, the good old days!

Mystery of the Stumps, Revisited: One of the most important lessons I ever learned was described in this post–the incredible healing power of the forest. This is also, consequently, when I really got into mushroom hunting.  The forest has always been my best teacher.

Ode to the Dandelion. I just love the dandelions, and I think they hold some of the keys to rekindling our relationship with nature.  After posting this on Facebook and sharing it with some friends, it was amazing to see people’s reactions. I have some exciting news about the dandelion coming up soon, in fact!

Sacred Sites in the Americas (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6): I did a whole series of posts on sacred sites in the Americas, which I feel was critically important work. Part of this was because in the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (of which I am a druid grade member), sacred sites comprise some of the curriculum–and we just don’t have them in the USA like in the UK.  And when we do have them, there are serious ethical issues of cultural appropriation and such. So this series of posts represented my own solution to a very “American” druid problem. I had originally three posts, but then I felt the need to keep writing, so now there are essentially six parts in this series.

Druid Tree Workings (part 1, part 2, and part 3): Another recent series of posts I really love is the Druid Tree Workings series.  These posts came from my very long work with the land and the trees.

Sound of Silence: Mass Extinction and the Music of the World: This was one of my more recent posts and definitely one of my favorites. I think a lot of us following druid or other earth-based paths really struggle to effectively accept and respond to everything that is occurring, especially to events beyond our control.

Druid’s Crane Bag:  This is another older post examining the druid’s crane bag, and what is in this druid’s bag :).

Where do we go from here?

Even though I’m still very much in the discovery mode of what this new life will be–and eventually, what kind of land I’ll end up on (urban farm, intentional community, another small homestead? who knows?), I’ll still have plenty to cover in the upcoming year on this blog:

  • Continuing my work on Sacred trees in the Americas (these posts come slowly, because each post takes about 20 hours of research and meditation to complete).  Some examples are maple, hemlock, and eastern white cedar and my most recent post on American beech.  Next on the list include black birch, white pine, chestnut, ash, elder, and hawthorn! 🙂
  • Continuing to present recipes, harvesting information, and medicinal information on wild plants, mushrooms, and herbs, similar to these posts: candied violets, chicken of the woods mushrooms, and jewelweed salve.
  • A longer series on Permaculture Design and its connection to earth-centered practices like druidry. I’m doing my Permaculture Design Certificate at Sirius Ecovillage in Massachusetts–I’ll be posting about their village and some of the material that I learn.
  • A series of posts on urban gardening and other sustainable solutions for those renting and those living in a town or city (both of which conditions I find myself in for the next year or two till I’m ready to buy again).  This will include visiting a few urban garden sites, urban composting, container gardening, solar ovens, and more!
  • Spiritual insights and suggestions to handle energy-based disruptions to our land. In Michigan, it was oil pipelines and more oil pipelines.  In Pennsylvania, it is fracking.  So many earth-based, awake, and alive people I know are dealing with these all over the world–so I’ll be sharing some of my experiences in energy-based work here.

Ultimately, this blog is a joint project–I consider my readers just as critical to the success of this blog as I am.  So what would you like to see? What would you like to see more of?  I’m all ears!

Joyful tree in Spring (by Artist Dana Driscoll)
Joyful tree in Spring (by Artist Dana Driscoll)

Dana O'Driscoll

Dana O’Driscoll has been an animist druid for almost 20 years, and currently serves as Grand Archdruid in the Ancient Order of Druids in America. She is a druid-grade member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids and is the OBOD’s 2018 Mount Haemus Scholar. She is the author of Sacred Actions: Living the Wheel of the Year through Earth-Centered Spiritual Practice (REDFeather, 2021), the Sacred Actions Journal (REDFeather, 2022), and Land Healing: Physical, Metaphysical, and Ritual Approaches for Healing the Earth (REDFeather, 2024). She is also the author/illustrator of the Tarot of Trees, Plant Spirit Oracle, and Treelore Oracle. Dana is an herbalist, certified permaculture designer, and permaculture teacher who teaches about reconnection, regeneration, and land healing through herbalism, wild food foraging, and sustainable living. Dana lives at a 5-acre homestead in rural western Pennsylvania with her partner and a host of feathered and furred friends. She writes at the Druids Garden blog and is on Instagram as @druidsgardenart. She also regularly writes for Plant Healer Quarterly and Spirituality and Health magazine.

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  1. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    Being fairly new to your blog, it is hard to say what I would like in future blogs. I have loved everything I have read so far. I started with your bee post, and have gone back to read some things prior. I don’t know, Willowcrow, I just really enjoy everything you write and who you are. I love your Nature metaphors and I love all the informative info on medicinal herbs and sustainable living. Thank you so much for everything you have done so far, and I would just say to write about what you love and feel passionate about. Just please don’t ever stop!

    1. Thanks Mary! If there’s anything you’d like to see, just let me know :). It all comes from the heart!

  2. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    Yes, and yours is soooooo big! <3

  3. Hi . ‘I’ am a gamer of “Nature” property .£. [(Urban)] “mad” Druid Adept 2 at 41 Years Age with joKing undergrad in grid1 magic . I support the Secret Order of Steampunk Druids stopping game VR build light based Cybernetics .¡¡. but ‘I’ am a gamemaster and have an environmental recovery friendly mental health ‘disorder’ . :o) . I am working on feng shui at my apartment .. and thank you for herbology without pop culture .,. interceding . “Nature” Magic turned into uh ignore-yell match of the DemoGraph of a popular game .etcetera . . Welcome Home druidess .. and Yes ‘we’ cannabis though I enjoy tobacco recovery . Happy Netting !! * .and good luck to us all in time of the Blood Moon . gm eberis.wikia.com £eb¤!!¡

  4. You asked about which subjects we would like you to write. I am always interested in anything to do with Nature Spirits since a large part of my own spiritual practices involve working with Nature Spirits. Anything on communicating, working with and offerings for Nature Spirits would be great. I grow herbs and make herbal medicines for those in need , and give free classes now that I am retired. I always try to convey to others that being an herbalist is so much more than working with green bits of plants. I like to think that my work with the Spirits is a sustainable type of spiritual practice that goes along with the sustainable practices I follow in my gardens. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

    1. I can totally do a post (or a few posts) on that–I work with those spirits a lot as well :). Great idea!

  5. Congratulations on your 200th post, and may there be many more!

    1. Thanks Karen! 🙂

  6. I’m relieved to hear you found the right successor for your homestead! It’s too wonderful a place to fall into the hands of someone who won’t understand or honor it.

    I recently moved back to West Michigan and finally have a little land of my own. It’s more urban than yours was, but I hope to work with it and help realize its sacred potential similar to how you did 🙂 Your previous articles that describe your thought process and practices have been and will be helpful.

    Since I’ve moved and started a new job, things have been hectic (I’m sure you understand), and I’ve found your blog to be something that helps me feel anchored to Druidry during the turbulence. Lately I’ve been reading your posts on my phone during my work breaks. Your blog is a welcome respite from the soulless corporate environment.

    To answer your question about future blog posts:

    Sacred space is a topic that is very interesting to me right now–finding it, creating it, understanding it, etc.

    I’m also interested in learning more about the magical and ritual aspects of Druidry and how to integrate them into Nature-centered practices. I’m sure I’ll learn more about this through JMG’s books and the more advanced Degree programs, but I would be interested to read more about it on your blog too, to see the example of a more experienced Druid.

    1. Donovan,
      So good to hear from you! I’m excited to hear more about your new land–and congrats on making the move back home. We both did that, huh?

      Thanks for the feedback on the druid pratices and nature-centered-ness and creating sacred spaces. I can certainly keep covering those topics in the future.

      What’s the new job?

      1. Thanks! The new job’s nothing special. I’m working in billing at an insurance company now, in the Grand Rapids area.

        I think I might start blogging too once I get settled in and start planning what to do with the yard.

        1. I hope you do blog :). Best of luck on the yard, etc! Read “paradise lot” if you haven’t yet–it will inspire you!

          1. Thanks for the suggestion! I have a lot of reading to do for AODA’s 1st Degree program, but I’ll try and squeeze that one in too.

          2. I think you’ll find it compelling. Also, there will be many good strategies to build your soil. If you want, I’m happy to talk with you on the phone or skype sometime about your land and what to do with it :). The PDC I just finished up has given me so many new strategies!

          3. Thanks for the offer! It would be good to talk sometime 🙂

    2. I instictively ritualised the land I lived on with “special” spots, even long before I officially started walking a path of druidry. It is interesting to see your take on this too, certainly because you write so beautifully about your experience. It is like accretion… the more I am with a place, the more these links collect to me. Kind of like burdock seeds with little hooks. I understand how difficult it is to leave a place where your roots have begun to dig into the soil but I also understand how you immediately will begin to send out new roots with each festival or important moment of life. Even those little moments.

      1. So true. And for me, the land I’m returning to is the land of my birth, so I’m even more connected to the broader landscape there–always have been and always will be! 🙂

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