Modern Druid sparks magic in Nyack

For Modern Druid owner Morgana Brennan, inspiration can strike from the most unlikely of places—even essential oils.

Brennan, a healthcare worker who immigrated to New York from Dublin in 1992, founded the nearly three-year-old magic business after taking an Irish Pagan School course in Ogham—an early medieval alphabet whose 20 symbols correspond to specific trees and plants.

After creating 20 corresponding aromatherapy blends with her newfound knowledge, Brennan initially decided to open Modern Druid so people could work with the oils intentionally, applying their healing properties to enrich their own lives. Since then, the Nyack store has evolved into a community hub for magic and spirituality lovers of all kinds.

“It felt like Nyack was ready for a store like this,” said Brennan. “This property came up and I thought, this is perfect. We have the view of the river and the energies coming up from it, and South Broadway is a wonderful little neighborhood…It just felt like a magical space.”

In Modern Druid, customers will find a host of items ranging from the gothic to the whimsical. While the shop is centered around Brennan’s Ogham-inspired oils, other goods include ritual candles, tarot card decks, apothecary teas, medicinal substances, taxidermy, herbal cigarettes, crystal castings, altar pieces, and much more. These items are made by a wide variety of artists—often as many as 20—from the Greater Hudson Valley area and beyond.

Brennan’s identity as a pagan influences the types of pieces she displays in her shop—particularly the ones that use animal teeth and bones.

“Pagans tend to be people that really honor the land,” Brennan explained. “Our spirituality is based on a healthy respect for the land and for the elements, as opposed to prescribed religions where you’re taught doctrine that is developed by land. Paganism is much more about, ‘What is our natural world? What does it mean to communicate with the spirit of the world?’”

Brennan has also placed a focus on making Modern Druid the host site for a number of magic-inspired events and services. Customers will regularly find mediums, psychic readers, tarot readers, and astrologers offering their expertise in the shop, as well as a lending library and a machine that can assess their personal aura. Brennan also makes it a point to host community gatherings, including art shows, spirituality-based classes, and even drag variety hours.

Brennan understands people who are skeptical of the kind of work she does, but invites them to dig deeper into their curiosity.

“Sometimes we have people who walk in and are like, ‘I’m very skeptical about this, but tell me about it,” said Brennan. “And I’m like, ‘Well then you’re not so skeptical, are you? Because you’re curious. And it’s okay to have curiosity about things…It’s about getting quiet enough that you can actually hear what’s going on inside you, and these are all just tools to help you get there.”

Ogham-inspired oils and their meanings; photo credit Morgana Brennan

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