Hello, wonderful Druids Garden readers! Today’s blog post will be a little different than others. I wanted to take a day to reflect on the fact the Druid’s Garden blog is celebrating 600 posts and 14 years. It seems hard to me to think that so much time has passed, but here we are. So today, I want to step back from my regular posting and talk about this blog, the actual druid’s garden, and my plans for the future–and give an opportunity to hear from all of you about your ideas as well! The last time I wrote a post like this was celebrating 300 posts back in 2017, and I probably won’t do something like this again till I hit 900 or 1000 in the future!
One story of the blog: The Druid’s Garden Blog Beginnings
In 2010, I started this blog to document my “druid gardening” efforts. I became a druid in 2006 (first AODA and in 2008, OBOD) and by 2010, I had finished AODA’s first two degrees and began my Adept degree exploring druid approaches to gardening and permaculture. The final degree in AODA is very self-directed–by the time you get to the 3rd degree, the goal is to explore something new, create a new path, and design a self-designed project. I wanted a place to document the things I was learning and explore the synthesis of nature spirituality with gardening and healing the land (sound familiar? 14 years later I’m still at it–turns out these topics take a lifetime!) And with that, the Druid’s Garden was born. Along the way, I discovered that I really enjoyed writing the blog–putting information out there, hearing from readers, and documenting what I was learning.
I finished my first Adept degree on Druid Gardening with AODA in 2014, but I decided to continue the blog, and here we are today–exploring a range of topics related to nature spirituality, plants, trees, herbalism, permaculture, rewilding, human creative practices, and more. The Druid’s Garden doesn’t always talk about plants, trees, and gardening, but connection with nature is certainly at the core of all of my writing.
It was around the time I finished my Adept studies that I decided to start working on my first book, which eventually turned into Sacred Actions: Living the Wheel of the Year through Earth-Centered Spiritual Practices. My publisher wanted a follow-up, and so Sacred Actions Journal was born! Last year I released my Sacred Journaling Course. Now, my new book on Land Healing: Physical, Metaphysical, and Ritual Approaches to Healing the Earth is coming out at the end of March (North America) and May (International). All of these books have their roots in topics explored here in Druid’s Garden blog. Not to mention, along the way I joined AODA’s Grand Grove in 2014 and later, became an Archdruid of Air in 2015 and Grand Archdruid in 2019. And all the time I’ve been writing on this blog, weekly, with the goal of producing a post 42 of the 52 weeks a year!
In many ways, the blog has expanded and deepened beyond my initial intentions, but in many ways, I feel like I’m still true to those roots: exploring how humans can heal, grow, and connect with the living earth; how to be a force of healing and good; how to explore various aspects of nature spirituality and the druid tradition.
Another Story of the Blog: The Actual Druid’s Gardens
I feel as if this is a reflection post on the Druid’s Garden, I should also reflect on the actual Druid’s Gardens because they really do tell the story of this blog! There have actually been two Druid’s Gardens! The original Druid’s Garden was my 3-acre homestead in Michigan. I wrote pretty extensively about this beautiful homestead–learning how to give back to the land and live sustainably, growing a range of perennials and annuals, exploring herbal medicine making, building a community to support land-human connections, and learning how to try to find a balance of the growing challenges in the world. After six years here, I learned a lot, planted a lot of things, and did a lot of great healing and nurturing of the land.
This original place was so nurturing to me–the land taught me how to interact, heal, and grow in ways I could not imagine. Looking back on it now, I realize that the land was preparing me for a much more serious challenge–returning home to a land that is plagued by extractive activity and actively damaged by humans.
As I was still living in MI, I felt stronger and stronger the call to return home–the land where I was born was in serious need of healing, and I wanted to be back with my family and in my home ecosystem. So in 2015, I sold my homestead to a friend and herbalist who I knew would continue to tend and love the land. I let go. And I came home. It was hard, harder than I ever thought possible. Humans here do not treat the land kindly, and I was faced with so many kinds of damage: fracking and pipelines, mountaintop removal, acid mine drainage in streams, and a general malaise and disconnection from the people who live here. It was overwhelming and so, so much so that I often felt lost in those first few years. I still sometimes do. The problem here, everywhere, is huge. But the difference now is that I realize that so many of us are working in a new paradigm and I’m not alone!
But throwing me in the boiling cauldron, so to speak, really helped me find my life’s purpose–to regenerate and heal the land. Over time, working through ideas in this blog, I began writing about and seriously practicing land healing on a much larger and more intensive scale than what I did in Michigan. I considered land healing from metaphysical and physical angles, from all sorts of angles, and figured out what I could do. And through that, I began what I consider to be my magnum opus–the forthcoming Land Healing: Physical, Metaphysical, and Ritual Approaches to Healing the Earth, which I’m so excited to see out in the world in 2024.
And what about the second Druid’s garden? For two years after I arrived in PA, I lived in my small town for a while where my job was, and explored urban sustainability and what could be done in a rental home. But eventually, I felt the call of the land to once again live on land where I could create big gardens and have more peace and privacy. And very quickly, the new land found me–the land sought me out and called me home! The new homestead is a 5-acre, partially forested piece of land that my partner and I are actively regenerating. This land was not in great shape when we arrived–about 1/3 of it was logged and in serious need of healing.
It has been a wonderful journey over the last six years to establish a healthy soil web, planting many perennial and annual gardens, creating our refugia, connect with the Genus Loci of the land, replanting and healing the forest, and watch the mushrooms breaking down the old and healing the land. And so much more! So much of what I write about stems from my experiences in these two druid gardens! And if you read this blog chronologically, you will see that entire story–along with so many other things I’ve been learning, exploring, and thinking about–unfold across these 600 posts.
The Story not Written …Yet
Stepping back from these 600 posts and 14-year journey, the question is: what is next? I have at present, 600 posts published with this one, and the posts range from about 1000 words to 6000 words. The average word count of my last 20 posts is just over 2700. And so that means I’ve written somewhere around 1,620,000 words. And there is so much here. So much that I feel like I don’t even know what all is on this blog and I can’t even keep all that I’ve written in my head. So what’s a druid to do?
As many of my long-term readers know, every January I take a 10-day spiritual retreat and go dark (meaning I turn off all of my electronics, social media, etc). One of the things I do on the retreat is spend time reading through my journals from the entire year and exploring the major themes. I add to my sacred book, what I call my Oaken Grimorie, of things I need to remember, to do, or to pursue further. I simply take a pause and take stock.
At my retreat this year, my inner teachers suggested that I take some time not only to do this with my private writing and journaling but also with my public writing–this blog. Why not try to spend more time annotating and organizing the various posts into some pages that are useful, cohesive, and easy to navigate? So that’s what I’m going to do throughout this year–every few weeks, I will tackle one of the major themes on the blog (herbalism, permaculture, druidry as a spiritual practice, creativity, and so on) and create a guide based on the posts that are present on the blog. And through that, I’ll build a guide of not only my own writing but also any further reading or information that I might suggest. Through this, I’ll be able to build a much more comprehensive view of this site and better guides to everything that is here. So when new people visit, there are places to begin. Or even people who have been here a while, they can easily find what they are looking for.
The other thing is that I want to continue and deepen the core themes of this blog in the coming year: continuing to explore land healing and earth-honoring practices; sharing on nature spirituality and animism; continuing to explore permauclture, rewilding and land regeneration techniques; deepen my writings on herbalism and magical herbalism; continuing to explore sacred gardening, and continue my new series on sacred creativity and the flow of Awen. Along with other things that arise as the Awen flows.
An Invitation to Readers
This is also an invitation to you, dear reader. What topics would you like to see me cover in more depth? What are you excited to read more about? What have you been struggling with that we can talk through? What questions or ideas do you want me to pursue?
I also want to just say–thank you for reading, listening, and being present in with this blog and with my writings here at the Druid’s Garden. I am so grateful to all of you who are here and support my work!
As a thanks, to the first 8 people who comment with an idea for future blog posts, I will send one of my beautiful handpainted bookmarks :). Just to encourage some conversation and offer some gratitude!