A Druid’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, Part II: Nature Wisdom

The Druid's Garden

One of my favorite mushrooms- the Chicken of the Woods One of my favorite mushrooms- the Chicken of the Woods

As any mushroom hunter knows, mushrooms are tricksy little buggers.  What one looks like in one setting may not necessarily be what one looks like in another, depending on soil conditions, moisture, sun, size of the mushroom, insect damage, and/or regional variation. Mushroom species can vary a lot, even from one small region to another, and that variation can spell trouble for someone who hasn’t yet gained the wisdom to understand such variation.  Mushroom books offer perhaps 1-2 photos of mushrooms, and a good book will also offer a mushroom hunter the « keys » (features that distinguish one mushroom from another, like attached gills, color, etc).  However, only lived and true experience can help you not make a dangerous mistake when it comes to the mycelium kingdom.  The difference here, I think, epitomizes two key things: the different aspects of nature…

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Living the Wheel of the Year: Spiritual and Sustainable Practices for the Summer Solstice

The Druid's Garden

The Summer Solstice, what we call « Alban Hefin » in the Druid Revival tradition, marks the beginning of high summer in my part of the world, and many activities of this time period focus on harvesting and honoring the power of the sun and thinking about the energy present in our lives.  This is the time of light, laughter, growth, and movement!  This is the time when people are outside, doing things, enjoying the warmth that the sun provides.  The summer solstice gives us many opportunities to deepen our awareness and connection with the land and understand the relationship between earth and sky. (For my blog readers living in the southern hemisphere, see my post on the Winter Solstice for more appropriate activities for your Solstice!) Here are some activities that allow us to live in both a spiritual and sustainable manner:

Gathered herbs for drying! Gathered herbs for drying!

1) Solstice herb gathering and…

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The Sacred Site in America: Understanding, Working With, and Developing Sacred Sites

The Druid's Garden

One of the challenges that North American druids face is understanding, visiting, and working with sacred sites.  In my druid training, one order in particular really emphasizes the sacred site–the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD).  And I think if one is living on the British Isles, it makes perfect sense to do so as those sites are part of the heritage and tradition of druidry.  The real question becomes–what is a sacred site here in the USA? What, if anything, should we do with them?    I’d like to take some time today to explore « sacred sites » as they relate specifically to druidry in the USA.

Simple stack of stones Simple stack of stones

Defining « Sacred »

The term « sacred » itself implies a connection to the divine, a concentrated or holy space, a space set aside for spiritual contemplation or religious observance in some way. When most think about what a classic definition of…

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A Druid’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, Part I: A Framework

The Druid's Garden

A lot of people find druidry because they want to « connect » with nature.  They want to attune to nature, feel part of it, gain knowledge and wisdom about it. But what does « connecting » to nature look like in practice?  Going out in the woods and feeling good?  Knowing the name of trees?  Walking with sacred intent in a natural place?  Spending time in nature?  All above the above? And so, over the next few posts, I want to spend more time with the concept of « connecting to nature » and share some strategies for what people can do to connect with nature in a multitude of ways.

As I’ve written about earlier, part of what I see as the core of druidry as a spiritual tradition is the work of « connection. » In that post, I talked about connecting to nature, connecting to the spirit, and connecting to the creative practices as…

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Wild Food Profile: Milkweed + Fried Milkweed Pod Recipe

The Druid's Garden

Monarch catepillar enjoying a milkweed feast--they know the good stuff when they see it! Monarch caterpillar enjoying a milkweed feast–they know the good stuff when they see it!

I love the summer months for foraging wild foods.  One of my very favorite wild foods is Common Milkweed (asclepias syriaca).  Around here, the pods are just beginning to form–and its a great time to explore this delightful wild food.  They have a light vegetable taste, maybe something like a sugar snap pea–very tasty and delicious.  In fact, this is one of the best wild foods, allowing you to have four different harvests from the plant at four different times during the spring, summer, and early fall.

Ethical Harvesting and Nurturing Practice

With the excitement of harvesting from common milkweed, however, comes a serious responsibility.  New farming techniques over the last 20 years have eliminated many of the hedges that used to be full of milkweed.  Because of this issue, the monarchs have been in serious…

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Thick-legged Flower Beetle

Ahwww beautiful 🙂

rambling ratz

This beetle must have one of the best names in the animal kingdom – the thick-legged flower beetle, Oedemera nobilis.photo of flower beetle

It is quite apparent why it has been given this moniker, just look at those thighs! It is only the males that have these swollen looking thighs.flower beetle

The females are rather more mundane.beetle on orange flower

The larvae grow in hollow plant stems emerging as adults to feed on open structured flowers. In my garden they seem to particularly enjoy the rock roses.flower beetle

They do seem to prefer hot sunny days, perhaps to show off their iridescent green metallic jackets.flower beetle

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Walking Meditation Garden with Hugelkultur Beds

The Druid's Garden

As a practitioner of permaculture and as a druid, I am always looking for ways to work with the land to create sacred and ecologically healthy spaces.  That is, to create self-sustaining ecosystems that produce a varitey of yields: create habitat, offer nectar and pollen, systems that retain water and nutrients, offer medicine and food, create beauty and magic.  But conventional gardens, even sheet mulched gardens, can falter in water scarce conditions.  So building gardens long-term for resiliency and with a variety of climate challenges in mind is key.  At the same time, I am also looking to create sacred gardens, that is, not just places to grow food (which is simple enough) but to develop sacred relationships and deepen my connection with the living earth. Given all of this, I developed a design for a butterfly-shaped garden that would use hugelkultur raised beds and allow for a space…

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