“Let be be the finale of seem, The only Emperor is the Emperor of Ice Cream.” – Wallace Stevens
Nick O’Connor is a Druid, writer, storyteller and cherished community member. He started the Gylden Fellowship Community which is a magickal and spiritual group near Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex and Berkshire areas in the U.K. They support, promote and organise pagan events to their locale which is a place for all those to gather who feel drawn to nature-based beliefs and for meeting like-minded folk.
Gylden Fellowship is not a traditional pagan group but one that is very inclusive and shares fellowship with anyone interested from a wide range of belief systems which is very refreshing and breathes life into the collective community. As a living pagan library, they share knowledge and experience with others, not only via monthly publications or online files, but also at themed discussions or fayres where we can put aside time to show others what each of us can do or have learned along our specific pathways. Gylden Community works with Guildford Diocese, Woking Action for Peace and other Interfaith bodies to promote spiritual tolerance. They raise funds for charity whenever possible and recently raised donations for Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice and for Step By Step charities.
What is your background?
I’m a performance storyteller, folklorist and pagan writer. I’ve followed a Celtic pathway for over 20 years, which involves Druidry, healing witchcraft and shamanism. Together with a colleague, I founded Gylden Fellowship and Gylden River LRC groups online and in social media, which cover druid and pagan groups in Surrey, Hampshire, W. Sussex and Berkshire. I promote Interfaith and I’ve been a speaker on Druid spirituality at past events. On a personal note, I’m LGBT+ and disabled.
What were your favourite stories growing up that shaped your love for mythology and folklore?
I was always keen on Norse myths, the exploits of Thor and his friends.
What is your favourite mythological tale or character and why?
I think Beowulf is my favourite in respect of Grendel and his mother. I always love to find a new piece of folklore that is a Grendel variation – an example is Jenny Greenteeth.
Which concepts or lessons do you find most inspiring that are found in myths?
Much of the storytelling can be formulaic and whittles down to some archetypes, such as dragons or ghosts. But while these stories are very popular with audiences, they are also a type of stability. The glamours of the fae are constant themes that come out in tales like the Queen of the Pharisees.
Where have you found the most inspiration on the living landscape?
I do love forests and rivers.
What is your favourite ancient Neolithic site(s) and why?
Not Avebury or Stonehenge!!! I like the Rollrights or the Hurlers (photo above).
Is there a personal experience with the Gods or Goddesses you’d like to share?
One day, I’ll share with you my encounter with the Father of Eagles. Apart from that, it’s a great relief to travel to the Otherworld and meet up with my spirit mentor.
Was there a person, moment or experience that really exceptionally shaped you for the better?
Perhaps the moment that I found that I could heal people with a mix of crystals, herbal remedies, counselling and quintessence. I’ve been helping people in this way for over 20 years.
What overall message do you hope to share the most through your writing?
Everyone has a story to tell – let’s share our tales.
What is one thing you think people would find surprising about you?
They find it really easy to talk to me about anything.
What makes you angry or sad that’s happening in the world?
People showing hatred, intolerance, violence or cruelty.
What makes you happy and hopeful that’s happening in the world?
The open-minded sense of wonder of children, particularly for folktales.
Do you have any super-powers?
Actually, there is something that can scare people, but also makes it really easy for me to talk to them. I can see their feelings and emotions in them, in their words, in their written posts or texts and in their photos too. This high-sensitivity is known as clair-sentience and I’ve had it since I was 13yo.