“The more deeply involved we are with what we do, the more power it has to affect change.”Nimue Brown
Nimue Brown is an author, dreamer, green activist and folk enthusiast, a ponderer, singer of songs, teller of stories and hill walker. She has her own blog as well as patreon. She has published many renowned books on Druidry including ‘Druidry and the Ancestors: Finding our place in our own history‘ and ‘Druidry and Meditation.’
What is your background?
I came to nature spirituality through my family, and became deliberately involved with Paganism in my late teens, moving to Druidry in my early twenties. Alongside this, I had a lot of folk and folklore in my early life, a lot of walking in woodland and being interested in mythology. I read Alan Garner, and The Way of Wyrd and those stories sent me looking for more.
What are your passions in life?
At the moment, I’m interested in cheering people up, inspiring people to keep going in whatever way they can, and enabling people to be creative. I think imagination and compassion are the things most likely to save us as a species, and I’m here to do what I can around that.
When and how did your journey with Druidry begin?
About twenty years ago I had my first real contact with modern Druids – in Birmingham, and I encountered Damh the Bard. It made me realise that all the things I was interested in fitted meaningfully under this one heading. I felt like I’d been moving towards the path my whole life.
Did you have any particular initiation into it?
I took a bardic imitation at Stonehenge, and when I got to OBOD, I did their initiation as well. I’m interested in life initiations, in the idea that experience will bring you to things sometimes and that life is constantly teaching us and obliging us to grow. Ritualising that can be helpful, but it’s not the only way this works.
What were you favorite stories growing up that shaped your love for folklore or old stories?
Tam Lyn loomed large for me as a child. The Owl Service led me to Kevin Crossley Holland’s illustrated version of the Mabinogion, and that was a huge influence on me. My parents met in the folk club my mother and grandmother were running, so I grew up with Steele Span albums, and Johnny Coppin singing about the Gloucestershire landscape. So these things have always been part of me, part of my sense of where I come from and part of my relationship with my locality, as well.
What is your favorite mythological tale or character and why?
Blodeuwedd and her story in Welsh mythology fascinates and attracts me. Her complexity, and all the many ways in which her apparent contradictions can be explored are intriguing. I find that whole story really powerful, and the image of having one foot on a goat and one on a bath, or well has come to symbolise for me the entire role of the druid, making the bridge between apparently opposite things. Animal and inanimate, civilised and wild, and all the rest.
Which concepts or lessons do you find most inspiring that are found in myths or the druid tradition?
What’s been most powerful for me is the idea that inspiration itself is sacred. As someone drawn to the creative side, it’s been a powerful reframing of who I am and what I do. Three drops of inspiration from the cauldron – just a little bit of magic – it’s enough to change everything.
What is your favorite ancient site?
The long barrow near my home. It’s on a hilltop looking over the Severn plain and it used to be in viable walking distance – I’ve had some health problems in the last few years that make getting there harder. It’s a beautiful, windswept spot, and there’s a peacefulness to it. I used to go there a lot to just be under the sky and to adore the river.
Is there any personal experience that was particularly spiritual or life shaping?
I can think of many along the way. Life is full of them, and I think the life shaping bit is about being open to what’s there all the time – the dance of leaves in a tiny whirlwind, the call of owls late at night, the light through leaves – the scope to be moved and and enchanted is always there. These are everyday wonders, and there’s always something to be affected by or inspired by. Sacredness for me isn’t about dramatic events, it’s about finding the wonder in the every day things.
Is there any person that has exceptionally shaped you for the better and why?
There have been many people along the way who have blessed me with their wisdom and experience, their stories, ideas and inspiration. Without a doubt though, the person who has done most to shape me for the better has been my son. Wanting to be the best person I can for him has taken me to all sorts of places. He’s a remarkable person and I continue to learn a great deal from him.
What overall message do you hope to share the most through your writing?
Not to give up. That no matter how strange or difficult things are it is always worth trying, and it is always better to have tried no matter how that works out.
What is one thing you think people would find surprising about you?
Ha! Well, there are parts of me that aren’t immediately obvious, certainly. In most ways I’m an open book, and usually I’ll answer any direct question with as much honesty as I can muster. But I do have secrets that might surprise a lot of people if they knew. And that’s as much answer as I’m prepared to give!