Dana O’Driscoll spent most of her childhood in the wooded hills of the Laurel Highlands region of Pennsylvania, making mud pies, building brush cabins, and eating berries. Thankfully, little has changed, and she can still be found searching out tasty mushrooms, gathering herbs, and playing her panflute for the trees. Dana enjoys various kinds of wildcrafting, earth skills, and natural arts and is often covered with paint, dirt, or both. She is a certified permaculture designer and is working towards a more resilient, self-sufficient lifestyle through beekeeping, perennial agriculture, animal husbandry, food preservation, herbalism, and natural building. She also serves as a community organizer to promote ethical wild food foraging, food security, and community empowerment using permaculture methods.
Dana has published Sacred Actions: Living the Wheel of the Year through Earth-Centered Sustainable Practices with Red Feather 2021, as well as the Tarot of Trees, Plant Spirit Oracle, and TreeLore Oracle. She is an Ollave Adept and currently serves as the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America. Through AODA, she has served as an editor for Trilithon: The Journal of the Ancient Order of Druids in America and the Druid’s Book of Songs, Ceremonies, and Prayers book series.
Druid Path: Druidry and Nature Spirituality
Dana lives in an area that has many ecological challenges, and where humans continue to place serious demands of extraction upon the land, which results in deforestation, acid mine drainage, fracking, strip mining, and mountaintop removal. As a druid and animist at the center of this extraction zone, she dedicates much of her spiritual energy to serving as a caretaker for the land and her spirits, engaging in both physical land healing (permaculture, regeneration, wild tending) as well as metaphysical land healing (ritual, energy work). She considers her primary purpose in life as being in service to the living earth, working to create a better vision for the future, and living in a way that allows her to be a good ancestor.
Dana is a lifelong student of nature spirituality and druidry and has been practicing for over 17 years. In addition to serving as the Grand Archdruid in the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA) and she is a Druid-grade member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD). In 2018, she was made the OBOD’s Mount Haemus Scholar for her research on cultivating the bardic arts. For a story of how she came to druidry, please see the post “The Mystery of the Stumps and the Spiral Path: How I came to Druidry.”
Ovate Path: Permaculture Design, Herbalism, and Plants
Dana is a Certified Permaculture Designer, having completed my PDC through Sowing Solutions (Kay Cafasso and Keith Zaltsberg) at the Sirius Ecovillage in 2015. Dana is also a certified Permaculture Teacher, having completed my teaching certificate at Omega in 2017 (with Pandora Thomas and Lisa DiPiano). As part of the work of her AODA Druid Adept project, she spent three years intensively studying permaculture design principles and applying them to nature-based spiritual practice and in her first homestead in Michigan.
She is committed to wild plants, plant crafts, mushrooms, and herbalism. For almost 10 years in Western Pennsylvania, she has offered regular plant walks focusing on the edible, herbal, and craft uses of plants. She is a graduate of Jim McDonald’s Lindera: Four Season Herbal Intensive and is currently studying with the Northwest School for Aromatic Medicine and the School for Evolutionary Herbalism. She is a member of the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club and the North American Mycological Association. She’s been homesteading for about 10 years, currently at a 5-acre homestead in Western PA with my partner Rob, 28 birds, 3 cats, and a tortoise. Along the way, she’s also learned and practiced natural building, sustainable crafting, foraging and mushroom hunting, market gardening, mushroom cultivation, and so much more!
Bardic Path: Artwork and Expression
In addition to my druidic pursuits, she is very committed to the bardic arts and to creative expression working in conjunction with the living earth. One expression is her writings here on the Druid’s Garden blog.
Her second major expression of the bardic arts in the realm of the visual arts. She currently creates many kinds of art (watercolors, jewelry, ceramics, leatherworking, handmade paints) and wildcrafted functional crafts (handmade papers, inks, handmade watercolors). I am a generational artist, having been first trained by my parents, Mark and Bonnie, who both had careers as artists. Since 2019, she has been pursuing her certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration through Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. You can find her work on Instagram (@druidsgardenart) or at www.druidsgardenart.com.
She works in three primary media: watercolors, leatherwork, and natural arts (including pyrography, gourd art, etc). She has produced three divination projects: the Tarot of Trees (2009), the Plant Spirit Oracle (2017) and the TreeLore Oracle (2021).
About the Druid’s Garden Blog
Dana began this blog in 2010 to document the work of her druid adept project for the AODA, and it has evolved and grown quite a bit since this time! She began blogging at druidgarden.wordpress.com and finally moved my blog to its own domain 12 years later in 2022!
One story expressed on this blog is Dana’s deep 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. She believes that we need to create a better, stronger, and more hopeful vision of the future–and that work starts today. 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. This involves the nitty gritty of land healing, regeneration, and undoing the damage that others have caused. 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.
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!