The shop owner hosts monthly “Conjure and Folk Magic Meetups”

Growing up, Seamus Dillard was exposed to three forms of spiritual study. The first happened at church on Sunday with his grandmother. “I would hear ‘The Old Rugged Cross' and ‘Onward Christian Soldiers' and all the stories of Noah and Jacob,” he said.

But his experience with his grandfather, whose mother was Native American, was much different.

“[He] would take me up into the woods, and he would teach me about the value of horehound and what this root might do, or what this tree would do,” Dillard said.

Then, in high school, the tragic death of a classmate spurred Dillard to do more exhaustive research into the Bible, other world religions and mythology. “It gave me a different worldview on what religion is and how that fits in society, and that every major religion and spirituality has a moral code that's similar,” he said. “And that it's kind of like a compass and a map for us to get through this world.”

Today, Dillard is a druid, in the tradition of the shamans of ancient Celtic cultures. Much like his grandfather, his spiritual practice is nature-based, and he helps organize public “Conjure and Folk Magic Meetups” to fellowship with others. The monthly events take place at his Clintonville shop, the Magical Druid, and the next gathering is Sunday, Feb. 18.

Dillard and his business partner, Michael Dangler, opened the store in 2011 to provide people with a wider array of spiritual tools. Currently, their inventory includes everything from incense and candles to books and handmade rune stones for fortune telling.

“But we're not doing it for [money],” Dillard said. “We're doing it to create a community and to create a space that people of like mind, or people who have questions, can feel safe enough to come in … and not be judged,” he said. “That's what the meetups really are [for].”

Typically, 15 to 20 people gather to discuss their own traditional cultural magic. And, sometimes, the group will practice rituals together.

“We have people that have been practicing their whole lives, and then we have people who might've just seen a YouTube [video] or read a book or an article,” he said. “And they're all welcome.”

“We don't care what your path is,” he continued. “We want anybody who's searching for a home spiritually to come here, and if we can't provide that home for you, maybe we can provide a direction.”