600 Posts and 14 Years at the Druid’s Garden

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

Beautiful finished compost--a resource!
Beautiful finished compost–a resource!

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.

Zones and Sectors on my Michigan homestead
Zones and Sectors on my Michigan Homestead

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.

The Druid's Garden Homestead
The Current Druid’s Garden Homestead
Our oak that recently passed
Scenes from the Land
Friends taking a swim!
Goose friends taking a swim!

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.

Simple altar on retreat
Simple altar on retreat

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

Handpainted bookmarks!
Handpainted bookmarks!

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!

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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37 Comments

  1. I am so grateful for you and your writing. I have all of your books, decks, etc and am eagerly awaiting the land healing book. I look forward to your writing arriving in my inbox every Sunday morning as it is a force of grounding, inspiration, and hope. In moving forward, I want to take your writing and bring it more into my life, especially with so much uncertainty in our world. The annotation and writing you talk about for this year sounds great as it will allow us to go deeper with the work. Thank you. Many blessings.

    1. Hi Jennifer G, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so glad to know that my posts are inspirational to you–and blessings on your path. Would love to hear more about how you are building a rich spiritual practice and connecting with nature in spite of so much uncertainty in the world. It is always so good to keep sharing all of our experiences and perspectives.

  2. I am so grateful I found you, too! I participated in the Bardic course at Green Mtn Druid Order this year, and your writing was a perfect complement, and showed how a person can live a beautiful life on and with nature. I just love your approach! As for what I’m excited to read more about: I SUPER LOVED your Oct. 28th post this year: Herbal Releasing Ritual for Samhain. Your guidance helped me do a similar ritual, your knowledge of the plants and the energies at that time of the year helped me immerse in the ritual and connect. I would love more of this!

    1. Hi Claudia, I’m so glad to hear both that you are enjoying Green Mountain Druidry and that the Herbal Releasing Ritual for Samhain was useful. I do plan on doing a lot more herbal content in the coming year! I will certainly include more herbal-based ceremonies as part of that :). Blessings to you! (And I’ll be in touch with you about your bookmark :))

  3. Dear Dana,
    I would like to see you explore how to structure water for optimum plant health. I don’t think many people understand how helpful this is.

    1. Hi Zita, thank you! I don’t actually have experience with structured water, but I do have experience with working with healing waters and offering them to plants, so I’ll work on something along those lines later in the year. Do you have suggestions for learning more about structured water?

  4. I am interested in hearing more about Awen and its historical roots. I have a small garden and small piece of land which I try to steward and I use your first book to help guide me. This year I decided to follow the lunar cycle to try to get back to being closer to the land and its cycles. Thank you for the generosity with which you share information and intention!

    1. Hi Loralee,
      Sure! I do have some posts already on Awen, but my current big writing project is on sacred creativity, so much more on the Awen will be flowing forth!

      Here are some previous posts:
      https://thedruidsgarden.com/2019/11/03/awen-bardic-arts-and-the-ancestors/
      https://thedruidsgarden.com/2018/06/08/2018-mount-haemus-award-article-channeling-the-awen-within-an-exploration-of-learning-the-bardic-arts-in-the-modern-druid-tradition/
      https://thedruidsgarden.com/2017/06/11/cultivating-the-flow-of-awen-in-our-lives/
      https://thedruidsgarden.com/2012/07/05/awen-and-the-spark-of-creativity-the-value-of-creative-people/

      And THIS right here is why I need to do the posts and pages on organizing this blog, lol! Thank you for the suggestion :).

  5. Hello Dana!!
    I absolutely love your posts!! I do have a question/suggestion: Being a fellow Pennsylvanian (I’m between Allentown & Philly) what local herbs would you suggest growing for a “medicine kit” Something for help with colds, flu etc…
    I’m planning on overhauling my garden and I’m a wee bit overwhelmed by choices offered, maybe a few pointers??
    Looking forward to the new book!!
    Blessings!
    Kathy Atkinson

    1. Hello Kathy,
      Yes! One of my big projects this year is co-founding the Pennsylvania School of Herbalism (more on that in another month or so, we are building the foundations right now) and I will be writing a lot more on herbal choices, herb gardening, selecting herbs to start with, and more. So stay tuned! (And if you are out that way, I will be offering two workshops and be vending at the Pennsylvania Herb and Garden Fair in York, PA!)

      Blessings,
      Dana

  6. Get into herbal remedies more.

    1. Hi Alice,

      Sure! Do you have any specific remedies you’d like to see? As I just mentioned to Kathy, one of my big projects this year is co-founding the Pennsylvania School of Herbalism (more on that in another month or so, we are building the foundations right now) and I will be writing a lot more on herbalism this coming year.

  7. Something that is on my mind is animism and how to keep hope alive in trying to save our non-human community. I may not have the words I want to express the topic clearly. What I face is unfocused sprawl and development. The demand for economic growth as THE measure for success — personal, political, ancestral, social, organized religion, etc. — is not sustainable. How can I turn my fear and anger into advocacy that can help the diverse groups in my community understand and be willing to make the changes needed to value and care for the non-human types of life?

    1. Hi Cathy. YES. Both on animism and hope (and the relationship between them). I will absolutely be writing more on these topics in the coming year–because in many ways, they are the most important topics we can possibly be discussing at present!

  8. Thanks Dana, you so inspire me. In that lies my question, my ask. Ways to take all this wealth of information and put it into a sustainable practice. My inspiration tends to be fleeting as work, family obligations, and the noise of our chaotic world around me, not to mention my ADHD pull me away, and I get lost, sometimes for weeks at a time before I get inspired again.
    Again thanks for all you do. Stephen Scheurich

    1. Hi Stephen,
      Thanks for your comment. That really is the question–how do we build sustainable, meaningful ways of being and interacting in the world? Especially with such a shifting time where things feel so unstable. I have some things to share on that topic, so I’ll add it to my “to write” list and we’ll see when the awen flows in that direction :).

      Blessings,
      Dana

  9. I have your beautiful, artistic, perfect pictures of the animals of the four directions, hawk of the east, stag of the south, salmon of the west, and bear of the north. The are positioned in my sacred room. And I look at them every morning and honor each animal, and breath peace to each direction before I go out for my morning walk. I am a Bard within OBOD. I find your blog so interesting and a perfect companion to my OBOD studies. Your artwork is stunningly beautiful. I am trying to be more mindful with my garden, planting by the moon, what and where to plant. Your blogs have been very helpful. Thank you!
    Blessing,
    Sandy

    1. Hi Sandy,
      I’m so glad the elemental animal paintings have spoken to you and that you are using them to help spread peace into the world. That is such a beautiful image–thank you. It is great to know that the artwork has helped facilitate that work!

      I love to hear about your mindful gardening practices :). Blessings to you and on your OBOD journey!

  10. Hi Dana, I love reading your posts every week! I feel like they give me ideas to focus on, or to metabolize through my own daily embodied experience. I am currently a first year PhD student with a tentative dissertation title “Aesthetic Activism for environmental justice and healing” – For years I was a professional ballet dancer, and following a severe injury I became a wildlife rehabilitator/hospital administrator..now I’m weaving it all together into a study on how we can use dance as a dialogue to reclaim our relationship with nature…and save our environment.
    I completed the Bardic level of study with the OBOD and then decided that since I live in the US (northern Washington State), I wanted to connect with a group here which brought me to you and the AODA.
    I would appreciate any thoughts you share on the embodied experience of your work healing the land you steward. Please forgive this long and meandering post 🙂 I so appreciate all that you are doing! love n’ light, Sionainne

  11. Hi Dana, I love reading your posts every week! I feel like they give me ideas to focus on, or to metabolize through my own daily embodied experience. I am currently a first year PhD student with a tentative dissertation title “Aesthetic Activism for environmental justice and healing” – For years I was a professional ballet dancer, and following a severe injury I became a wildlife rehabilitator/hospital administrator..now I’m weaving it all together into a study on how we can use dance as a dialogue to reclaim our relationship with nature…and as an animist, how do we learn to work better with our non-human kin we share place with-
    I completed the Bardic level of study with the OBOD and then decided that since I live in the US (northern Washington State), I wanted to connect with a group here which brought me to you and the AODA.
    I would appreciate any thoughts you share on the embodied experience of your work healing the land you steward. Please forgive this long and meandering post 🙂 I so appreciate all that you are doing! love n’ light, Sionainne

    1. Hi Sionianne,
      It sounds like you have been on quite a journey–a rich, rewarding journey!. And it sounds like you have a really wonderful doctoral project! I teach in a Ph.D. program and advise dissertations (my field is rhetoric, composition, and applied linguistics). Once in a great while, I get to direct a dissertation on mindfulness or creativity–and those kinds of dissertations are special. Yours sounds like one of those wonderful, special dissertations–a synthesis of who you are from the heart. I love the emphasis on animsim too! Reach out if you want to talk more when you get closer to forming your committee. It can be difficult to weave in something like animism without a legit animist who can help explain to others. I’ve served in that role a few times for doctoral students at other institutions. 🙂

      So glad you found this blog and OBOD and AODA!

      Hmm…I love the idea of the embodied experience of land healing. That post may be pretty raw though–but there’s a strong bodily component to it. Feeling the different ways that my body reacts based on the needs of healing…yes, there’s definitely some good things to write about there. Thank you–I will add this to the list.

      Blessings to you!
      Dana

  12. Congratulations!! What a service you have offered. Rippling out throughout the whole of Gaia.

    1. Echo – thank you so much! I appreciate your kind words. We all can do our part, and one of my particular skills is writing. Glad to have you here.

  13. Hi Dana, I’m so grateful for you for sharing your wisdom and art! have been following your blog for about a year now. I’ve really enjoyed reading about animism and how to connect to plant spirits, genus loci, reciprocal relationships and healing the earth. Also I would love to hear more ideas for solutions to a new paradigm.

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Thank you! I think we all need as many ideas as possible for the new paradigm. I definitely have some more posts in the works. Thanks so much for reading and commenting :).

  14. Congratulations Dana! What a wonderful achievement! I’d like to know how to keep up with/stick to a daily practice whether it be meditation or the SOP. I get disheartened, don’t prioritize, even apathetic, after the initial burst of enthusiasm. I’ve tried habit stacking and other techniques but especially in relation to meditation I struggle. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. oh, yes. Me, too!

    2. Hi Claudia and Annemarie- I have these two posts. If this doesn’t answer your question, let me know and I can add it to my “to write this year” :).

      https://thedruidsgarden.com/2022/03/12/daily-rituals-and-personal-daily-practices/
      https://thedruidsgarden.com/2020/09/27/daily-rituals-and-daily-spiritual-practices/

      They are not specific to the SOP (although I certainly had the SOP in mind when writing them). I can write something specific to the SOP as well!

  15. I’m looking forward to more posts on animism! Thanks for all that you do Dana.

    1. Hi Riley, thank you so much for your comment and reading! 🙂

  16. Claudia Nymphenkuss

    Hi Dana,
    Congratulatins! 600 Posts and 14 years – what a journey!

    When I first found your blog, IT was, because I googled permaculture and earth based spirituality. And that’s still my favourite topic to ready about.

    But I also loved your One year with a tree Challenge. It realley deepend my Connection to some trees in my Garden.

    And I always love your posts about the bardic arts. When I started my druid journey in the OBOD years ago it was the rediscovery of my creativity that matters most to me.

    Bright blessings!
    Claudia Nymphenkuss

  17. Dear Dana — thanks for the invitation, and yes, would you like to explore and comment on what went wrong in the first place, that caused humanity’s sacriligious disregard for our generous earthly-environment, and initiated paradigm imitations of Paradise lost?

    Thank you, and best regards, Peter

  18. A deep thank you, Dana, for this blog, your books, and your spiritual and land work as a gift to all of us, human and more than human. I have been reading the blog for several years now and always find it grounding, inspiring, connecting. I am so looking forward to your new book on Land Healing… my wish would be that you teach a course, or lead a working group, of people who want to/are engaged in land healing, perhaps using the book as a guide. I would be more than happy to pay for such a course. Again, thank you!!

    1. Hi Jenn! Actually, in conjunction with the book, I am going to be starting a working group and community of people exploring land healing in their ecosystems. I’m still brainstorming about the best approach for that–what would work best for you? I’m thinking about a space to share, maybe an opportunity to get together and share, that sort of thing. That’s coming in early March :). I would love your thoughts about what would be most useful to you.

      1. That is fantastic news Dana! I’d hope that it wouldn’t be Facebook based as I don’t use social media. I would really love a deep dive reading/working group to meet at a set time maybe doing the book and its work on a chapter-a-week basis. This may be more structured than you’re feeling up to,.especially during the semester when you have other obligations, so maybe doing something asynchronous/looser to start and then making a deep dive group later in the year would be ideal. I am absolutely ready to do this work and I need some net to belong to, a support to get going. Thank you, thank you!

        1. Yeah! What I’m researching now is a good platform for it. I’d want to keep it free. Maybe a Google group or something like that (also to avoid Facebook). A place to post other events, information, and also regular open calls to talk about healing, different chapters of the book and the like. I’m still sorting out the details, but I hope to share more in the next few weeks once I am finished researching platforms etc. Thank you so much, Jenn, for your interest and support. I think the more we can do to heal the land now and come together in community, the more we will be able to shape a brighter future!

  19. Thank you for everything you do. You’ve been an inspiration. I’ve been following your blog for a long time…ever since I joined OBOD over ten years ago. Druidry has helped me immensely and so has this blog and your writings. I’m much more focused in life (that could be age, too, as I enter my 60s).

    I am very interested in sustainable and spiritual gardening. My own property is a mix of organic and permaculture methods, with a lot of personal connection to the plants themselves. Everyone seems to be interested in herbal remedies and such. Don’t get me wrong, I use herbs myself in food, medicine and magic, etc. But I’m no herbalist, nor a health worker…I’m a grower. I grow and tend the plants. My interest is in the plants themselves, providing a healthy ecosystem on my little plot of land, and the relationship to that and working with the plants in all of the above. You are one of the few who write extensively about the subject, and for that I am grateful.

    If you are starting an herbal school, that may be one of the subjects you may wish to cover. The only other herb school that I know of who covers it as much, is the Chestnut School of Herbalism. I’m sure others may have done so, but that is the one I’m aware of. Anyway, just a suggestion….something to think about.

    Again, my thanks. Take care.

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