Who am I? (Short version)

I am Ellis “El” Arseneau (AKA “Sybok Penderwydd”). I’m 68 years old, and the Father of three boys (Joshua and the twins, Jordan and Jesse). I am the Grandfather of eight children, (Isaiah, Jalen, Mia, Cam, Poppy, Ian, Dorothy and Joy). I also have one Great-grand daughter, Olivia.


I grew up in Kankakee IL, about sixty miles south of Chicago. I lived in Israel, at Kibbutz Nahsholim, for the better part of 1974. I moved to Santa Cruz CA in May 1992; Ashland OR in August 1998; Grants Pass OR in September 2000, and finally landed in Eureka CA in March 2004.


I’ve been married three times. The first time to Lynne (the mother of my three sons) for fourteen years. Catherine (six years) and Ceridwen (twenty + years). Ceridwen and I have been together many, many lifetimes. She is my soul mate; my twin flame. I think we may even have been twins in a past life.


I hold a Bachelors Degree in Journalism from University of California at Santa Cruz. (1995)  I minored in History and Political Science.


I worked for twenty years as a Surgical Housekeeper, for St. Mary’s and Riverside Hospitals in Kankakee.  I worked as a Realtor and Insurance Salesman for a short time. I was assistant manager at Radio Shack in Scotts Valley CA, and then Manager of Take-Out Taxi in Santa Cruz.  I worked for a mortgage firm in Ashland, and then managed The Oak Merchant in Grants Pass.  I last worked at Gottshalks in the Bay Shore Mall in Eureka and retired from there when that corporation went bankrupt in 2009 (they were in business for 102 years).

At Gottshalks I worked in the furniture department. You know those Tempurpedic mattresses? The ones that are SO GOOD for you back?  They are made of memory foam, and outside of the box they come in, they are very heavy and very unstable.  I had to shlep them out to customers vehicles a few times.  I now have degenerative disk disease. They weren’t so great for my back!


My religious background is diverse. Presently, I am Clerk of Cylch Cerrdwyr Rhwng y Bydoedd Grove, the Mother Grove of the Reformed Druids of Gaia, an international spiritual group with over 10,000 members in nineteen countries, including about thirty local Groves and seven Orders. My wife, Ceridwen, is the Senior ArchDruid.  Prior to that (2005) I was mostly just a Pagan, and prior to that (1980) I was a Charismatic Xtian.  I was raised by a Roman Catholic Father and a Jewish Mother, so growing up we went to Temple on Friday nights and Mass on Sunday mornings. These days my Druidism (really a blend of Pantheism, Kabbalah, Buddhism and Hinduism) has led me to a love of Kirtan. Aside from all that, I identify culturally as a Jew.


Politically, I am a lifelong Progressive Democrat/Democratic Socialist.  In the past I have been active with the Democratic Party in Kankakee. As a young adult I campaigned for George McGovern and have worked more recently for Bernie Sanders. I am very much in line, or even farther to the Left than those Congresswomen they call “The Squad.”  EXCEPT, I am very much a Zionist, and feel that the BDS – Palestinian stance is ahistorical nonsense. I believe in the two-state solution, but I believe there is already a Palestinian state – Jordan. Palestinians should live there.

This, as mentioned above, is the short version. A longer autobiography is under construction. Stay tuned.