Author Archives: Nimue Brown

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things.

Over the hills and far away


There’s a unique pleasure in coming to the top of a hill with no idea what you’ll see. It’s a giddy joy that I’d almost forgotten feeling, it having been years since I last walked anywhere unfamiliar. I’ve grown used to walking a very limited number of short routes, where I know who and what to be looking for in terms of wildlife. It’s been exciting heading out with no idea of what I might encounter.

There were beach trees with wonderful, twisty roots. Mossy secretive places where water ran. A river sparkling over rocks, dappled with tree shade. My first foxglove of the season. A copper filed maple (I think). I’ve not seen one of those before. Yellow poppies at the woodland’s edge. I don’t have a camera at the moment, I could not bring these wonders back to share.

I am finding that as I rebuild my strength, my confidence is coming back. I haven’t walked alone much since my early twenties, and the last few years had left me a nervous, cautious sort of walker. But, being out in the world alone, and determined to rely on myself I’ve found something of my own former strength. Alongside it I’ve rediscovered my love of adventure. I’ve been thinking a lot about the younger, more daring me who walked alone, and remembering what that person wanted and imagined.

I’ve found a lot of lost parts of myself of late. The person who can perch, pixie-ish and crossed legged just about anywhere. It’s curious how not being able to sit like myself, or get up from the floor had been a loss of self. I’m stronger now than I’ve been in years, and standing up from sitting on the floor is no longer prohibitively difficult.

Out in an unfamiliar landscape, I’ve re-found my capacity to daydream and speculate. There’s room in my head now for ideas and reflections, and that too feels more like a person I know and recognise. I wonder about the lives and stories suggested by the landscape.

After a week of wandering about here, I do know some landmarks. I stopped repeatedly on this most recent walk to see how it connected with other places I’ve been. Picking out lanes, starting to make sense of how roads, hills and waterways connect. Building a sense in myself of the shape of the land. It’s not a deep knowing, those take years to build, but there is delight in piecing together what I do know.

Today I dabbled in the luxury of being a little lost. I’d had a good look at the map before I headed out, but I didn’t carry a map. This is something I used to relish. I was hardly off the beaten track, there were footpath signs and it was easy enough to find my way. However, having reached the place I’d sought, I took a different route back, trusting what I knew of the land to find a way by guessing. I was rewarded with success, with views, and with a close encounter with a hare.

Acceptance and Challenge

Acceptance of another person can be a very powerful gift to give. Being fine with how someone is can be affirming. For the person who has experienced being unacceptable, it can be a restorative thing simply to have someone not find you a problem. This has obvious applications around how we collectively treat people from minorities, and people who are disadvantaged or simply different.

However, acceptance doesn’t work in all circumstances. It can mean leaving a person stuck. If all a person knows comes from trauma, limited opportunity or bad examples, then accepting them may deny them the scope for change. When we don’t challenge each other, we can deny each other opportunities for growth, for healing and for better understanding.

Challenges like this are essential for overcoming traumatic experiences. People take most damage from trauma when the trauma becomes normal to them and informs their expectations. When that’s happening, the suggestion that you might actually be safe right now can be challenging. Being told that the thing you fear most isn’t happening, when you are triggered, can help a lot with healing, but isn’t easy having your reality challenged that way. For the person unpicking the effects of being gaslit, hearing things that don’t fit with your distorted and damaged sense of reality can be painful, but it is the only way of recovering.

It can be good to be challenged to be a better person. That’s not always easy. There’s real discomfort in having to look hard at your own behaviour and admit that you could do better. It’s also hard when not being able to do better wasn’t lack of effort, but lack of opportunity – that can be a painful place to find yourself. The challenge of not accepting what’s been normal for you can mean breaking with family norms, your background, your culture in order to strike out and do better.

Sometimes acceptance itself can be challenging. “Bring it” is a powerful invitation, when you can tell someone you aren’t just tolerating them but actively welcoming who and how they are. If there hasn’t been space for you as a person, then feeling welcome and learning how to show up as yourself can be challenging. These are good challenges to have and to offer but that doesn’t make them easy.

One of the challenges we can all take on is to consider the ways in which we accept, or do not accept other people’s suffering. How do we react to suffering that can’t be fixed – long term illness and disability aren’t always curable. Do we accept what people tell us about their conditions, or do we put pressure on them because we want them to be well, and we want a cure? Management of chronic illness tends to be kinder than relentlessly pushing for impossible fixes. Do we accept mental illness in those around us? Do we push them to fix themselves because we want to feel better? Are we prepared to find out what’s causing the problems and to tackle that? Are we willing to accept poverty as a political necessity? Are we prepared to

throw a percentage of people under a bus so that the super-rich can continue taking far more than their fair share? Are we willing to accept hunger, and homelessness as issues for other people?

It’s all too easy to accept things for other people and challenge only in face of your own discomfort, but I think often those are the least helpful responses.

Ancestors in the landscape

I’ve been spending time at Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland and it’s been a great opportunity to encounter ancestors of place. The Romans are very present here – in place names, the wall itself, the roads that follow their routes, and the areas of land they drained. Their presence forms the basis of a long distance walk, with walkers resulting in tourist infrastructure.

Much of the wall isn’t in the wall itself, but has been co-opted to build other walls and buildings. There’s a marker stone in the wall of the farm across the road from where I’m staying. Much of the farm is built from the wall, and apparently you can’t dig far without hitting stone. The Romans are very present in this landscape, and people who live here are very much living with them.

I’ve done a bit of walking along the route of the wall. It’s a dramatic landscape, and must be cold and bleak in the winter. In summer, being stationed here might be quite a pleasant gig, but much less so in cold weather. It must have been a bit of a system shock coming here – enough so that Romans stationed here used to wear socks under their sandals, and might even go so far as to don something resembling trousers.

I’ve had the opportunity to learn something about Roman military life. I’ve been surprised by the degree to which it was actually about building things – the wall and the roads – rather than about fighting. I hadn’t previously been aware of who it was in the Roman empire who did the building, so that’s been a significant thing to learn. I’m not especially drawn to the Romans, but I am always interested in ancestors of land, and right now, they are the dominant ancestors in the landscape I’m visiting.

As a young man, my father walked Hadrian’s wall. It’s interesting being in a place where I know he walked. We’ve done very little walking together since I was a child, so there are all kinds of interesting aspects to this for me.

It’s been a great experience for developing the Pagan Pilgrimage book I’m currently writing. It’s also been exciting having time in a landscape unfamiliar to me – not something I’ve been able to do for some years. It’s rekindled in me the desire for adventure, and to walk in places unfamiliar to me. I’ve been sorely limited over the last three years especially. However, life is opening up at the moment and I think there will be more adventures in unfamiliar places.

Venerating the Land


Picking up David’s wonderful prompt from yesterday… Venerating the land is something I’ve primarily expressed through walking. For most of my life, time spent on foot in the landscape has been a major part of how I do my Paganism, how I connect with the ancestors, with the wild, the elements and the cycle of the seasons. It’s where I find much of my inspiration, think things through, find poetry and philosophy. Walking has been the heart of my Druidry.

Then in 2020 I got really ill – not with covid, but the extra stress the pandemic caused certainly didn’t help. Anaemia contributed to low blood pressure, and in the years that followed there were a lot of days when getting around the flat was as much as I could do. Walking was often unthinkable, and longer walks were impossible. I felt lost and disconnected. With hindsight it’s evident that the misery this caused serve to further mess up my body chemistry, adding to the problems.

Stress and misery aren’t good for a body. Walking was a big part of how I dealt with stress and found things to be happy about. It’s been a tough few years. However, at this point I am definitely healing, which feels like a miracle. I’m still not a very fast walker, and I can only manage a few miles at a time, but my blood pressure is sensible, and I can get out and about without being overwhelmed by dizziness. I haven’t had heart palpitations in quite a while and I’m starting to think I’ve beaten it.

This week I’ve been out and about a lot, managing walks that would have been unthinkable a matter of months ago. I’ve felt confident enough to walk on my own – an act of faith in my own body, and in my ability to deal with whatever I find out on unfamiliar paths. I feel so much more like myself. My heart needs landscape and the open sky. Being unable to walk much has been soul destroying.

Walking allows me to love the land, one foot at a time. I can discover places, and know them slowly, reverencing each encounter, each detail. Birds and orchids, trees and streams, I do my veneration through the act of encountering. Moving through a landscape is an animist conversation, one in which I spend more time listening than talking.

I make no sense to myself when feel cut off from the land and the seasons. I am not myself if I’m not out under the sky. I thought I had lost those parts of myself forever, and am experiencing a deep joy around finding that simply isn’t true. I had not dared to hope I could heal, and yet I am healing.

The chemistry in a body that manages blood pressure is something we make when we’re happy. In 2020, I fell into depths of distress that started to compromise my body in serious ways. Stress has taken a terrible toll on me, and for years I wasn’t in a position to do anything about the situation that was making me so very ill. This year, everything shifted, and I have what I need now for my body to heal and be a lot more well. It’s all the things I thought it was all along, but was not previously able to change.

There is utter joy for me, being out under the sky, encountering wild birds, meeting trees and wildflowers, feeling wind and sun on my skin. I feel alive again. In that joy, I repair the damage done, and continue the healing work that I have every reason to believe will keep me able to go wandering and protect me from being so ill.

I commit myself to the love of landscape, to joy, and to doing what it takes to be able to venerate the land in the way that most calls to me.

Land Veneration


I tend not to talk in public about my workings. But I will be happy to talk here of philosophies and suchlike, many instances of suchlike probably, including veneration of the land.

First, I’m drawn to start this second post with an extension of the brief introduction I wrote in my first one.

I’ve practised for thirty-two of my sixty-six years in this body, precisely and uncoincidentally since I went and got myself a bit blown up in the Gulf War. Those three-and-a-bit decades have been a world of chronic pain and illness for me, but they’ve also been incredibly rich in terms of spiritual exploration.

Physically, I’m pretty much a hermit in a small wooded valley in south west Britain. My parallel paths of ecosocialist activism and nature magic eventually revealed themselves to me as one and the same walk, so I’m comfortable with that. Other converging aspects have been animism, witchcraft, hedge druidry, and shamanic journeying, which have now merged in me.

For a long time, I have been led by the feminine divine. Then, two years ago, I entered a lengthy period of quietness, a physical hibernation with intense mental and spiritual activity, helped and protected by two of my spirit guides, Bear and Stone, from which I emerged strong and being drawn to look outward more than before.

My power animal spirits are Lion and Wolf, and with the feminine divine still active in me I am now also being called by the masculine divine. This is new. I’m cautious because my old life prior to getting wounded was very masculine, and naturally I left all that stuff behind when I walked into the forest. But I’m not rejecting the call.

I write books. Novels of science fiction and fantasy, but also during my hibernation with Bear and Stone a non-fiction book that turned out to be a magical nature journal and memoir in which I did some shadow work and helped to heal some recent ancestral trauma. It’s all in the book, which (Eek!) my publisher is getting ready to release soon.

So, land veneration. What does it look like?

For me it was growing up on the salt marsh of my blood ancestors, then escaping modern day humans in the adjoining town by running away to sea as soon as I was old enough, then coming home badly injured twenty years later to a tidal marsh valley three hundred miles from my birthplace and learning that those humans had “reclaimed” both of my wetlands to build roads over them, then lying terribly sick and physically broken in my bed, grieving, thinking my useful life was over in my mid-thirties, and attempting to end it. It was the spirit of this valley filling my bedroom suddenly with their presence and beautiful floral scent, and saving me.

It was that event setting me on a new path of mysticism and nature magic, leading these thirty years later to my quietly joyful life in which I commune with and venerate the land.

A polarisation has occurred through my disgusted disassociation from the corruption of human politics in this country, and my beloved association with the more-than-human life in the land. This polarisation feels purifying.

The spirit of this valley doesn’t come in person to me often, but they have introduced me to many others. To spirits of creatures, trees, plants, and inanimate beings. To magical spirits in this world and the otherworld. To my ancestors of blood, of place, and of tradition. Most recently, to myself.

The greatest offering I can imagine making to the land is of myself. That, then is my offering. In every way I can.

I don’t talk in public about my workings, but I will say that I’ll never forget the spirit’s powerful presence and scent. Ever.

Land veneration. What does it look like to you?

Passing Place – a review


Passing Place, by Mark Hayes is a beautiful, bonkers sort of a book. This is speculative fiction, with a story that isn’t easily explained at all without spoilers. What I can say with some confidence is that if you like the kind of bonkers and speculative fiction I write then the odds are you’re going to also enjoy what Mark does. I feel that we may have been cut from the same cloth. (I think it was a pair of intergalactic trousers, with a print design it might be safest not to examine too closely.)

I’m not claiming objectivity here. Mark is a friend, I know him through steampunk events. To all intents and purposes, Mark is on of the Gloucestershire steampunks, despite the small technical detail of his currently living a rather long way from Gloucestershire. He’s a fine chap, has piled in to help me with book layouts, keeps buying my stuff and has been incredibly supportive and encouraging of me as a person, so, I have biases. But it’s also fair to say that a big part of why I like him is because he’s funny, and kind and interesting and all of that shows up in his writing.

There’s a lot of humour in Passing Place. A surprising amount for a book whose story centres on a suicide. Trigger warnings here for anyone who has been suicidal or lost someone to suicide or otherwise been too far into that terrain for comfort. There were a lot of very familiar thoughts and feelings in the story. There’s a lot of pathos, and insight, compassion and philosophy all woven together to make something extraordinary. I cried several times.

I found a surprising amount of myself in these pages. Mark wrote it long before we met, so it isn’t that he’s knowingly taken scenes from my life. It was disconcerting to read the things that were close to the bone for me, but also deeply cathartic. There’s a lot that’s restorative about this book. It’s a story of wounding and loss and heartbreak and what you do afterwards. Too many stories focus on the drama, and not what happens to your life when the drama stops but you don’t. It’s good territory to explore, and I think a lot of people will find parts of themselves in the characters, and the stories.

If you’re the sort of lost little monster who is looking for Midian, The Passing Place is well worth a visit. There’s a forest in the cellar, the kitchen depends on non-linear systems of cause and effect, and the front door could open to just about anywhere. Or anywhen. A haven for the lost, it might be exactly the place you need to spend some time. It certainly was for me.

Taking time off


I’m in the rather wonderful position of having something of a holiday at the moment. I can’t remember when I last took more than a day or two off, while going away somewhere just for fun hasn’t happened in years. Having a change of scenery without working at an event is being very lovely.

I don’t have a lot of internet access, which has greatly reduced the temptation to try and do any work. I had a ghost writing project to finish up, and I have review books to get my teeth into, but otherwise I’ve been taking a much needed opportunity to rest and regroup. Walking and contemplating are featuring heavily. Peaceful time outside, and a great deal of time on my own are helping a lot too. I’m in the process of a major life-reboot, and there’s a lot I need to think about.

Having time on my own with no particular responsibilities is opening up space to think about what I am, and also to rethink who I am. Years of depression have been underpinned for me by feelings of uselessness, worthlessness and lack of direction. Since last autumn I’ve been prompted to seriously rethink that. There’s been something of a project to change how I see myself, which was very deliberately organised. It’s been startling to have someone so determined to change how my life is. Other people who were drawn into that project have been gently active for months, too, bringing me different ways of seeing things, and different ways of understanding myself.

I’ve learned a lot about the ways in which I can get things right, and be effective. It’s made a lot of odds to me, and lifted me out of a headspace where I could only see what I get wrong, and where I’ve not felt good enough. I’m taking time at the moment to consolidate all of this, and build a sense of self that includes ideas about being effective. I’m calmer as a consequence, not having to constantly push myself in a desperate bid to do better. I can be enough, and I can be enough without having to break myself.

I’m learning a lot at the moment, about myself, and about how I want things to be. I’ll be unpacking that in the weeks to come. There’s a lot going on for me philosophically and spiritually at the moment, and a definite sense of new ideas to explore. I feel myself stretching, softening, growing and becoming lighter all at the same time. Contentment is featuring a lot, so is optimism. I’m on the right trajectory.

An introduction from David Bridger


From July 2021 to July 2022, I wrote a nature journal. It became a memoir too, and a walk into my hedge druidry and folk magic witchcraft. Its title is In A Hedge Druid’s Grove, and my publisher will release it into the world on the 1st July 2023.

In the meantime, I’ve missed journalling. When my dear friend and writing partner Nimue invited me to make some occasional posts here on this blog, my heart leapt.

These entries of mine, then, will be me picking up that thread and walking with it to see where it takes me in nature and the spirit world.

Welcome to my garden, my grove, my valley, and my mind.

Druidry and shaking things up

I have a number of significant changes going on at the moment, all of which are taking me in exciting new directions. The first thing to announce is that I’m no longer the only contributor to this blog. My writing collaborator, David Bridger, is going to be a frequent contributor henceforth.

I’ve been writing with David for more than a year now. We first met via the Witchlit group on Facebook, traded fictional works and then realised we have a lot in common. At this point we’ve written one novel together and are underway with a second. David is a solitary Druid, exploring folk magic and witchcraft amongst other things, so he’s going to be bringing experiences from his own journey.

I anticipate that at least some of the time we’ll be passing ideas back and forth between us over different blog posts, and that this will be a good way to stretch into new ideas and possibilities. We do well when we’re swapping ideas, and I look forward to seeing how this plays out on the blog.

I don’t always experience summer as a rush of energy and possibility. Outside my window, the nearby hawthorn tree is smothered in blossom. I feel enthused and inspired by what’s going on in my life with this opening out of new possibilities and ways of working. At the moment it is as giddy as midsummer flowers, with that buzzing energy of pollen, bees and high summer, but that may be in part because I’m out of practice when it comes to enthusiasm. The things I’m exploring and developing at the moment all feel sustainable, and my energy levels have improved dramatically in recent weeks such that what I want to do no longer feels ambitious.


Dreaming wildly, rejecting control

Some years ago, I wrote a book about dreaming. I wrote it in no small part because most of the dream material I’ve seen doesn’t work for me. It’s usually too focused on finding meanings, in a way that strikes me as reductive and pointless. I had a lot of things to say about how personal and nuanced symbolism in dreams can be, and that taking meanings from dictionaries is unlikely to give you much.

I’m not a fan of trying to get control of your dreams. I’ve had experiences of lucid dreaming, but those have come unsought and I prefer it that way. 

If you can control what happens in your dreams, then all that will happen in your dreams is what your conscious mind chooses. Dreams are an opportunity to meet your wilder and more unconscious self and to experience yourself in ways that your conscious mind might not allow. Repressed feelings can come to the surface in dreams. Issues you aren’t dealing with, aspects of your shadow self and things you are in denial about can all be there waiting for you when you sleep. Exploring this offers so much, and trying to be in control won’t let these things come to the surface.

There’s wisdom in the unconscious. If you’ve crushed yourself down trying to fit what you think is socially acceptable, your dream life may be where much of your soul has taken refuge. If you don’t seem to dream at all this can be a sign that you aren’t letting yourself look at all kinds of important things. 

We don’t have to tame everything. We need to learn how to make room for the wild things, and there’s a lot to be said for starting with ourselves. Honouring our animal bodies, recognising our connection with nature and seeing how nature manifests within us is critically important for this. Dreams are wild, natural things, arising from our animal bodies, our fundamental needs and our emotional lives. We can also do a lot of processing and making sense of things through dreaming, and there’s a lot to be said for not interfering with that process.

You can find out more about the book over here –