Skeptical Druid

Notes from a secular druid.

This was my second month volunteering at the garden, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first (if not more, because it was warmer this go-around). The work was pretty straightforward, but I took lots of photos, so I'll share those here!

We planted onions; lots of them!

Rows of young onion plants.

There was a lot of yarrow growing where it shouldn't be (the asparagus garden), so we weeded that out.

Big bunch of yarrow growing in mulch.

Did you know passion fruit sells for $8/quart? They grow best on a trellis, so that'll go overtop the asparagus garden later this year.

Passion flowers with a sign that labels them.

There were lots of these neat-looking centipedes while I was weeding the asparagus garden.

Black and yellow centipede in mulch.

I took a bunch of the yarrow home with me, so it's now part of my little herb garden. I also planted some basil seeds in the same container, so hopefully they'll take off like they did last year.

Yarrow planted in a rail container.

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#onions #asparagus #yarrow #gardening #farming #druid #druidry #druidism

Back in January, before I even started my OBOD journey, I got a letter from the Arbor Day foundation. Thinking back on it, I think that letter may have spurred my interest in druidry again. I ended up making a donation, and I had mostly forgotten about it.

Then, last week, my complimentary trees arrived (all twelve of them!), and I was talking to my partner about planting them, since he does most of the yard work. He asked if I wanted to plant them in a circle “for witchy shit,” which was already my plan, but I was really happy he asked so I didn't have to be awkward about bringing it up!

Eight mulched trees in a circle. It's too far away to see the trees, since they're so small!

I planted eight in a circle in the back yard, aligned with the cardinal and semi-cardinal directions. I'm hoping I planted them far enough apart, but if we gotta move them a couple years down the road, I'm cool with that, too. The additional four trees got planted in the front yard for a little more privacy there, since it only has one tree.

Small plants update

Four tomato plants in planters with cages.

  • Acquired a snake plant for the office, which was dreadfully void of green.
  • Added creeping rosemary to my herb planter where my garden sage (grown from seeds last year) has been thriving.
  • Planted four tomato seedlings for tasty summer snacking.
  • Might have shocked my poor pothos with too much sunlight, but I'm hoping it'll pull through.
  • Moved the aloe outside to a shady spot (has been living indoors for the winter).

Garden sage and creeping rosemary in a railing planter.

Community garden volunteering is next weekend, and Beltane is coming up in just a few weeks. Time sure does fly!

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#druid #druidry #druidism #OBOD #BardicGrade #gardening #trees #grove #plants

Spotted on my walk tonight.

Five plastic mushroom lights.

#mushrooms

As part of my spring equinox celebration, I spent the morning volunteering at The Well Fed Garden. I didn't know what we'd be doing, but the owner explained that we'd be inoculating logs with shiitake mushrooms. What's that, you ask?

Shiitake mushrooms growing on a log.

First, you need logs. These were sweetgum logs, cut down a few weeks ago. These should be cut down either early spring or late fall. There should be some sap in the tree for the mushrooms to feed off of, but not too much.

With each log, we drilled holes about six inches apart in a diamond pattern. There's a special drill bit that only goes down a little way. The angle grinder was heavy. I definitely need to work on my forearm strength!

Along with the drill bit is a special tool. It looks like a hollow metal rod with a palm plunger on top. So, we stabbed the bag of mushroom inoculate (or as I like to think of it, mushroom babies). The hollow part of the rod fills up, and we used the plunger to inject it into each of the holes.

The next step is waxing. There were two crock pots filled with soy wax (although beeswax is just as acceptable), which we used to cover each of the holes we'd just filled with the inoculate. This is to prevent critters from getting to the inoculate! We also covered the ends (lightly) and any places where branches had been cut off. This is to prevent unwanted fungi from growing there.

Three stacks of inoculated logs.

Once the log is waxed up, it's labeled and stacked in a grid pattern. The mushrooms will fruit twice a year (spring and fall), gradually reducing how much they fruit with each passing harvest.

After we were all done with work, we had soup made from mushrooms grown right on the farm! I'd never had barley before, but it was an awesome soup ingredient.

Bowl of soup with barley, vegetables, and shiitake mushrooms.

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#mushrooms #gardening #farming #druid #druidry #druidism

I wanted to write up a little overview of what I'm doing this weekend to celebrate the spring equinox here in the northern hemisphere.

Saturday

Sunday

  • Trash cleanup around the neighborhood (especially near the grocery store where we walk frequently).
  • Alban Eilir / Ostara ritual with the local grove.
  • OBOD chat with my friend who's also in the Bardic grade.

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#SpringEquinox #AlbanEilir #Ostara #WheelOfTheYear #druid #druidry #druidism

I have a few bushes I planted last year, and they are looking rough. In an effort to save them, I put some mulch around them to hopefully keep the weed population down. I think I may get rid of the tall grass around this bed and replace it with some flowers that would do well in this region, but I need to do some research on that first. Maybe daffodils!

Three bushes surrounded by mulch.

Gardening is not something I did before last year, but it's been a good way to get outside. My little garden sage plants survived the winter outside, my aloe survived inside, and my golden pothos is still kicking (although all her children died over the winter). I'm hoping I can propagate some more pothos plants and sprinkle them around the house.

Much of being a druid is connecting with nature, and gardening is such an obvious way to do so. Tending to plants is relaxing and meditative.

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#gardening #druid #druidry #druidism

One of the projects I've been working on over the past year has been renaming the full moons, as the traditional names aren't terribly relevant to the climate and wildlife where I live in the southeastern US.

I've been trying to pay close attention to nature during each month, and so this month is the Daffodil Moon. While on my walk last night, I noticed several neighbors' yards had bunches of daffodils, and they were all in full bloom.

Yellow daffodils.

I don't know any of the traditional meanings of daffodils, but yellow is my favorite color (so bright and cheery!), and seeing so many of them around makes it feel like spring.

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#moon #druid #druidry #druidism

Note: I originally identified these incorrectly as lilies! 😅

I've been trying to decide how to write about my path with druidry. I joined The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD) about a month ago, and I've read through the first four gwersi (and the two introductory gwersi). In addition to that, I've attended a few (virtual) meetings with a local grove I joined. I think I'll make this blog a more stream of consciousness sort of thing, as that's how I tend to write best. This is first and foremost for me, but I would like to have a place to share what I'm going through.

How I got here

I grew up on a large, 36-acre farm with plenty of access to nature, animals, and the outdoors. I distinctly remember asking my father about who God was. I don't remember his exact reply, but the gist was that God was what you made of him. We were not a church-going family, and I don't think we even owned a bible. I didn't think too much about religion, except to decline friends' invitations to church service because it all seemed rather boring.

Sometime in middle or high school, I was let loose in a bookstore, and I picked up a copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft with my father's blessing. I don't remember if my mother was aware that I had picked it up, but I don't think she would have been bothered. I consumed the book, and although I liked the ideas presented, there was something about this being the “one truth” that didn't settle with me. I did enjoy the concepts presented, the rituals themselves seemed useful in some way, even if I never got around to actually doing any of them.

Fast-forward to about a year and a half ago, and I found out that book is now available on archive.org for the low price of free! I reread the whole thing, but once again, it didn't quite feel like it was right for me. I spent the next year researching all sorts of witchcraft, and a friend of mine mentioned OBOD. It is not free, so I bookmarked it, thinking I might come back to it when I had some extra funds. Besides, I could always order just the introductory packet, then decide where to go from there.

I had a “no spend January” this year, and when that was up, I took another look at OBOD and signed up for the full course, both online and through the mail. I'm still getting comfortable with the material, but knowing that the coursework was created by a psychiatrist is promising. It is said to be a “create your own” spiritual path, and that is what I'm hoping to get out of it.

Without woo-woo

One thing I don't subscribe to is woo-woo. I don't believe that you can cast a spell and make something happen. I don't think rocks have magical healing abilities. I don't believe in gods of any sort (or fairies, for that matter).

What I do believe is that focusing on certain things can help you achieve certain things, but all the power comes from you and whatever mindset you've put yourself into. I believe nature is important, and learning about the local land is beneficial. I believe in climate change, and I hope there's something we can do to stop it. I believe ritual is a form of moving meditation, and that meditation can benefit mental health. I believe myths and folklore hold valuable lessons, and there is much to be learned from reading, retelling, and mulling them over.

What's next

I'll have access to the next set of gwersi later this week, and I've already committed to attending as many of the grove meetings as I'm able. On top of that, I've scheduled a weekly call with the friend who introduced me to OBOD. Having other folks to chat with about this path seems imperative. I've never been a solo-anything, and something as new to me as this seems like it would be even harder to take on alone.

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#druid #druidry #druidism #OBOD #BardicGrade

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