James "Seamus" Dillard and Michael J. Dangler launched the Magical Druid store in Clintonville six years ago, but it was only last month that the duo decided their retail location could use some professionally made shelving.

"There's certainly a finality to renting a space," Dangler noted last week, looking back to the days when their joint effort to make money and help people on their own spiritual journeys -- whether they involved neo-pagan Druidry or not -- operated as a website out of Dillard's garage.

 

Now located at 3165 N. High St., the Magical Druid offers items designed to "develop your personal spirituality, enhance your magical practice, and build your own personal work," according to its website.

Those items range from candles and ornaments, to prayer cards, altars and runes, and even toys and tote bags.

Dillard and Dangler design many of the shop's products, and also have brought in local artists to create unique items.

"To us, the Magical Druid isn't just a storefront on a corner, an online shopping site, or even a business, really," the friends say on the website. "Instead, it's a way of 'being.' We live our lives as magical Druids, seeking the sacred in nature, deepening our work, and building relationships with others, both human and spirit."

Dillard and Dangler, who have known each other for more than 15 years, concocted the idea for what would become the Magical Druid while driving back from a pagan festival in Maryland. They noticed how all the vendors at the gathering had similar products, ones that could be found at other neo-pagan events -- or the Dublin Irish Festival, for that matter.

"I think I just said, 'We should start a business, then,' " Dillard recalled.

The partners put together a business plan, developed a mission statement and began to research potential retail locations -- but first, they had to decide if their concept was viable or crazy.

The answer was "both," they decided, and the Magical Druid was born in a tiny storefront off West Pacemont Road.

The store moved two years ago from the original 400-square-foot location to the current North High Street space with 1,200 square feet.

The decision came last month to upgrade the shop's interior.

"It looked like two kids playing house with grandma's furniture out of the attic," Dillard joked.

The Druids were an ancient Celtic class of intellectuals -- priests, doctors and herbalists, Dangler said. In the modern context, Druidry is a "connector and relationship with not only nature but the spirits that are part of nature and that drive the way the world and the cosmos operate," he added.

Every culture before the development of modern religions, Dillard said, had a "basic spirituality."

"We get a wide variety of customers," Dangler said, from the deeply Catholic to devoted Druids.

"I'm quite surprised at the fact of how many people who don't identify as pagans still come in here for help," Dillard said.

The business partners believe they made the right choice of a neighborhood for their store.

"Clintonville is a great place," Dangler said.

"Clintonville's been very supportive," Dillard added.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1