Honoring Sara Greer

Hi Everyone,

I’m very sorry to share that Sara Greer, Archdruid of Water Emeritus, has passed. Sara served as our Archdruid of Water from when the order was brought back from near extinction in 2003 until 2015, and for over a decade, she was one of the foundations upon which AODA grew and flourished.

I want to take some time to share about Sara Greer. See, many of you (almost 2000 of you) joined after Sara and John Michael stepped out of being active Archdruids and moved into their Emeritus roles. But for those of us who have been around longer, Sara was the person you interacted with–she was the backbone of the order and handled everything from finances to email questions to membership processing to mentoring people in GCC. Most of us who were part of AODA anytime before 2015 had frequent communication with her about any number of things. When I stepped into the Archdruid of Air role in 2015, she passed her duties onto me–and her folder contained not one, but six sets of different instructions, showing just how much she did for AODA.

It is sufficient to say that the AODA would not exist today without her.

Not only because of everything that she did for all of us, but also because many of us who are currently in AODA leadership were mentored and supported by her. I certainly count myself among this group.

Sara was a very dear friend and mentor to me for many years. She was both kind and generous but also tough as nails, and always saw through any bullshit. She was one of the best spirit workers and priestesses I have ever known. Her knowledge of druidry, herbalism, the occult, music, the arts, spinning, fiber arts, needlework, literature, soapmaking, food and nutrition, history and many other things was vast, and it was always fascinating to talk with her. Especially when they still lived in Cumberland, I used to visit Sara and JMG a few times a year, and we would talk about any range of subjects late into the night.

One of my favorite things she ever gave me was an Apothecary Rose (Rosa gallica). I will share a story about this rose, because I think it illustrates a lot about Sara. Apothecary rose is an extremely magical and medicinal rose with a rich history. Rosa Gallica is one of the first cultivated rose species–used extensively by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, and later, considered to be the finest medicinal rose in the world. Sara’s Apothecary Rose took up a full third of the back wall of the Greer’s garden: with wicked thorns and simple pink flowers, and many the rose canes spread out further every year I visited. When she was getting ready to move to Rhode Island, she gave me part of that rose plant for our garden. Apothecary Rose is wonderfully fragrant and yet very straightforward–no ornate or showy spirals, just two rows of pink petals. And yet, this rose makes the best rose water, the best rose oil, and the best rose tea. Sara’s rose plant took root in the herb garden, and now that rose takes up a full third of a large bed. As Apothecary Rose has quickly spread, I have shared this rose plant with other friends and herbalists–now Sara’s rose is growing in many gardens.

Sara was a lot like that rose. Tough and uncompromising and yet incredibly nurturing, supportive, and kind. Sara’s teachings and influence spread a lot like the rose plant–now growing many people’s gardens, continuing to share good medicine.

You can read JMG’s beautiful words about Sara here: A Life Remembered – Ecosophia

Edited to add: I’ve also written more detail about Sara on my blog, which you can read here: https://thedruidsgarden.com/2024/02/25/honoring-a-mentor-and-friend/

Here is one of my favorite photos of Sara:


Those were some of the most amazing and inspiring words I have ever heard. I wish I had joined AODA sooner.


Dana, thank you for posting about Sara. I had very little interaction with her back when she was Archdruid of Water. Honestly, over the years I had forgotten how much administrative and mentoring work she was doing. Your stories are lovely, and I’m sure she would be (is!) glad you’ve nurtured and spread her apothecary rose. She made that shawl she’s wearing in the photo, didn’t she? It’s fabulous.


I too wish i had joined AODA earlier. We still had the honor to be part of the Order she preserved.


Hi Karen, yes, she did make that–she had me take a photo of it to send to a friend of hers when I was visiting around the holidays one year.

I don’t think any of us in the early days of the order had any idea how much administration and mentoring she was doing–she was always so quiet about it, just getting everything done, and the wheels of the order continued to turn. And then when she stepped down and I stepped in, I was like, holy cow, this is enough work for 4 people. And soon enough, we had 4 people doing that work.

The early days of AODA’s revitalization were very different than what we have now–we have grown so much. Back then, there were so few of us, we all knew each other and everyone was in the Yahoo group at the time. I joined in 2006, and I think there were maybe 150 people at the time. And we will be breaking 3000 maybe later this year or sometime early next year. Which seems so hard to believe!


Thank you for this lovely and caring tribute. If John Michael Greer’s writings were the early flowers attracting others to the revitalizing AODA, it sounds like Sara’s works were the soil. From both a beautiful garden of peoples and practices has grown.

Thinking of all the work being done to find shreds of info about Dr. Ashley, I appreciate your remembrance too as part of the documentation that will allow us and future generations to honor their ancestors of tradition.

May she be blessed on her journey, and may all those who grieve her be blessed on theirs.


I joined in late 2012, when both Sara and John Michael Greer were archdruids. Since I wasn’t on the Grand Grove until much later I didn’t know how much work Sara did for the Order, but I was part of the old Yahoo group and interacted with her and other group members while it lasted. The forum and Discord channels carry on the spirit of the old Yahoo group as places for making friends and asking questions about our practice.

Sara’s most lasting impressions on me were made through the Three Rowans Grove, which she and Lexie Devine began in August 2014 for Apprentices to receive guidance on the Second Degree curriculum. I was a few months in my Apprentice study at the time, so I joined. The Grove only lasted for about a year until Sara’s and Lexie’s lives had changed enough that they could no longer continue running it, but I found it an excellent source of support while it was ongoing. AODA’s Mentoring Program and the Apprentice Zoom calls, as well as my own mentoring of Apprentices, were inspired by the Three Rowans Grove.


I forgot to mention an article Sara wrote for the first issue of Trilithon that I found helpful and I think some of you would as well: Devotional Practice. It’s on page 52. If you don’t already have that issue, you can find it here.


I was listening to Adam Carbary’s Embrace and Expand podcast from 2023, that hosted John Michael Greer. In between other subjects, he talked about his home life. Although he only mentioned Sara for a brief moment, you could hear in his voice the absolute love and reverence he had for her.

Realistically, there’s nothing I could say that would do justice to the grief that the loss of a lifelong partner procures. I can only offer my sympathies, condolences, and grandest hopes that his mourning isn’t any harder than it has to be.

I never had the chance to study under her as Archdruid, which I regret. Signs of her work are scattered bountifully throughout the AODA. There will be a candle on my altar for her tonight.


This is such a tragedy. My heart and love goes out to anyone who is feeling this loss. Like so many others have said, it would have been nice to have been a part of the AODA when she was more active. As they say, one day we’ll meet again.


I should also have mentioned that Sara’s Druid Adept project was her book, written under the pseudonym “Claire Vaughn”, Pagan Prayer Beads: Magic and Meditation with Pagan Rosaries* Here’s a link to her book: Pagan Prayer Beads Book by John Michael Greer, Clare Vaughn | Red Wheel/Weiser


What a lovely tribute. I wish I had the opportunity to know her. :green_heart:


I’ll add that although his name is listed first, JMG has made it clear that it’s almost entirely her work. The publisher insisted on listing him first because he was already published and successful. Names sell books. He’s said that if he ever gets it reprinted, she will be the sole author.


@fisherkm : Yeah, that’s why I said it was her book and Adept project–because it was. That’s how we have it in the order’s records and how we refer to it.


I joined AODA about 2007, or before, when JMG and Sara were Archdruids. At that time, Sara’s Druid name was Oakmouse. That seems like a hundred years ago. I was part of the Yahoo group and got “Oakmoused” (my mental term for reprimanded) more than once. Sara Greer kept us on our toes. She answered so many of my questions and patiently guided me along the path of Druidry and my studies.

In 2008, I met Sara and JMG at a Druid Call weekend in the mountains of northern Georgia. John Gilbert was one of the speakers.

I’m grateful to have known Sara and to have benefited from her teachings.


Sara was also the first preceptor of the Gnostic Celtic Church.


Something else from Trilithon: Sara Greer has a nice interview in Volume 3-- the interview starts on page 19 (of the journal, not the PDF):


Sorry, but I am getting you, Dana, interviewing Gordon Cooper. I’m going to feel silly probably like I am missing something, but I just had to ask about this.


@HeatherMac keep going down further into the issue - to the page labeled 19 on the page rather than the 19th page of the PDF. Dana interviews Gordon Cooper, JMG, and then Sara Greer - all interesting reads. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thank you, Amy. I think in my haste I just didn’t read far enough down. I appreciate you letting me know. :smiley: