September blog 2014 Druids Working for Peace as the Summer Light Wanes

OUR GRIEF IS NOT A CRY FOR WAR

I wrote this in 2002 but it is still relevant for today.

As the light of summer wanes the tides of war are licking at our feet; bombing raids are in full force again in the Middle East. Here in the US the effects of war have been felt in an ever more militarized police force. With the recent beheading of an American by the dreaded ISIL, it feels like we are in a new “Hundred Year’s War”. Will it end in my lifetime?

Meanwhile, the memory of September 11 looms, the event that set so much destruction in motion. Here is an editorial I wrote in 2002 that bears re-posting;

Remembering September 11, 2001
by Ellen Evert Hopman

OUR GRIEF IS NOT A CRY FOR WAR

Most religions agree on one basic principle; that creation comes from one eternal SOURCE. Some call it Goddess, some call it God and some call it The Mother of Ten Thousand Things. Whatever its ultimate nature, we are all a part of it. When dealing with a tragedy like September 11 we are faced with an aspect of ourselves that we may have a hard time looking upon and living with. Yet it, too, is a part of sacred creation.

Over the next week the media and the government will be doing their utmost to revive the feelings of shock and despair that we first experienced a year ago. Whether it is being done to increase ratings, to sell papers, or to build the propaganda effort for a war against Iraq, we will find ourselves awash in sentiments that were first born on that terrible day a year ago.

As human beings we have a choice in how we handle the emotions that will arise in us and in our fellows. In the words of Gregg Braden (author of Walking Between the Worlds);

“What if one person chooses to see beyond hate for those who oppress, while still living among those who oppress? This does not mean that they condone, agree with, or would ever choose to have oppression in their lives. It simply means that one person has chosen to become more than the circumstances they find themselves immersed within, breaking the cycle of response that has been, becoming the higher choice”.

As we experience the renewed drum beats for war and remembrance, we would do well to remember that every actor in the drama; perpetrator, victim, and witness, is an aspect of the sacred, a part of the divine whole. As Gregg has described in his book, we should use this anniversary of grief to witness our own responses and as a tool for growth.

The most primitive response to the memory of 9/11 is to react with rage, demanding vengeance. For many this will be the most immediate and lasting response.

Another understandable, but no less primitive, response will be denial. There are those who refuse to watch television, or read newspapers, or listen to the news, preferring to “stay happy” and focus “only on the positive”, in a kind of New Age never never land. Growth cannot occur in this walled off state, nor will this numbness spur us to take the necessary compassionate action.

Pain and suffering are evident all around us, as they have been continually in the last year. The bombing of civilians in Afghanistan, the deaths of children in Iraq, brought on by sanction driven deprivation, the tit for tat violence in Palestine and Israel, are all aspects of our common crisis.

It is only by facing these events directly, and by allowing the full horror to penetrate, that we can finally respond with compassion and begin the steps to change our present circumstances.

“I am in all beings. All beings are in me. This is the whole truth.”
-Ashtavakra Gita 6:3-4

All beings are aspects of one creative SOURCE, constantly evolving and seeking to know itself. As we gaze, clear eyed, at the suffering around us, let us bless the actions of those who have taken life, for seeking to know themselves in the taking of life. Let us bless the victims who have given their lives, for seeking to know themselves in the giving of life. And let us bless the witnesses who seek to know themselves in the witnessing.

In the words of the Midewewin (open heart) teachings of the (Native American) Anishnabe;

“All life is sacred and every act is a ritual”

Let us conduct ourselves well this week of the anniversary of 9/11 by wishing health and happiness on all beings, of every race, religion and color, in every corner of our small planet. And let us gaze upon sorrow with compassion and without a furthering of violence.

copyright Ellen Evert Hopman

Permission is granted to forward this as long as nothing is removed or altered including this permission statement.

DRUIDS WORKING FOR PEACE

Given all the mayhem happening in the world at this time, Druids around the world will be performing a peace ritual each month on the night of the Full Moon. If anyone feels inclined to join in, please do (the next one is September 9, 2014).

It is claimed in the classical writings that the Druids held the power to stop armies engaging in combat and that may have been because one of their priorities was peace. Today’s Druids wield nether the power or influence of the classical Druids but our priorities remain the same. The achievement of peace is a central aim within today’s Druidic communities. It is with this in mind that The Druid Network has, at this time, now engaged in spiritual work to help bring about peace, not just on the local scale like the classical Druids, but on a worldwide scale enabled by the technology of today.

We therefore invite anyone and everyone to engage with us in our aims, through the use of our International Full Moon Peace Intention Ritual.  This ritual, which will be held on the full moon of each month, is suitable for use on its own or in conjunction with any other type of ritual. It can be done on an individual basis or through a community based ritual.

Travel is unnecessary, just putting aside a place and time is all that is required. Ideally, the aim is for people to engage with the ritual at the time of the full moon. However, life does not normally allow for such specific timing, therefore we would request that you aim to do the ritual within the 12 hour period either prior to or just after the full moon if you cannot do the ritual at the specific timing of the full moon.

We have worded this ritual to have no specific political or religious favor, it is a ritual for peace without taking sides.

The Ritual

First we would suggest that everyone starts with the calls for peace in each direction.

“May there be peace in the east,
may there be peace in the south,
may there be peace in the west,
may there be peace in the north,
may there be peace in the whole world.”

After that we suggest each individual or group proceed with whatever ritual opening they usually use and when that is complete use the following:

We honor the fallen,
Those who chose to fight,
And those who had no choice,
Those whose fate it was to die in conflict.
We honor and remember them.

(pause to honor and remember those known and unknown who have died in conflict.)

We stand in the web of life, each of us connected to each other.
Our thoughts and deeds ripple outwards across that web.

(pause to reach out and feel our connections to each other and the web of life)

Today we stand for peace, today we act for peace.
Let each of us be a channel for peace.
Peace in our hearts.
Peace in our lives.
Peace in the world.

(pause and focus on being a channel for peace and radiating that peace out across the world)

After that we suggest closing your ritual in whatever is your normal fashion.

(Meanwhile, if anyone is interested in the serious study of Druidism there is a local Grove near Amherst… Tribe of the Oak)

One of my Grove members reported this about the last Full Moon peace ritual;

” I got the words, got a candle and instinctively went outside to perform the rite. As back story, I and my brother his wife and children are all living with my folks in one dwelling. It is wonderful, it is chaotic, it is… family! My brother, whom I have had words with and felt regret for them all day was out. He is a veteran and served in the US Air force. My intuition leading the way I told him in brief about the ritual, he knows I am a Druid and is mildly curious himself on the lore and studies. I asked him to light the candle for those who have fallen by him, with him and around him. We spoke of peace and of the reasons for it. He had a proverb to speak and we were at peace. Amazing.

Then my dad came and he, a veteran as well was asked by me to remember to fallen and to connect with the web of life.

We went to Chatham Light and gazed at the moon, talked, laughed and were again at peace.

Such is the way of powerful rituals in small packages.

Peace in my heart.
Peace in my life, my family.
Peace in the world.”

This was my own little ritual, here in Western MA;

“I myself had a beautiful little solitary rite by a lake down the road. It was just me and the still lake, beavers and pines as a giant orange Full Moon rose. I sent peace to the directions and then visualized the whole Earth covered with the cloak of Brighid. I visualized all the trouble spots I could think of; Palestine, Israel, Syria, Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. and gathered the peace of the scene before me and sent it to the hearts of all who are suffering.”

In honor of my grandfather, Lt. Paul Evert, aviator WWI

THINKING OF BEES

On the nature front I have been thinking a lot about bees. Their plight world-wide due to poisoning by nicotine-based pesticides has gotten me to look at the world through bee eyes. Take a look around your garden and lawn and see if there are blooming flowers or blooming trees. If your lawn is neatly trimmed and sprayed with weed killer and your bushes and trees are neatly cropped, chances are you live in a wasteland, as far as the bees are concerned.

In ancient Scottish tradition there was always a “Goodman’s croft” in the garden or field. This was a corner left wild for the exclusive use of the fairies (read more about this in my book SCOTTISH HERBS AND FAIRY LORE). The wildflowers there would have also been very attractive to bees, butterflies and other winged creatures. I have decided to make a bee garden just for the bees, behind my patch of comfrey, roses and angelica. I am sowing milkweed, yarrow, and queen Anne’s Lace, all flowers with compact clusters of blooms, just for the bees (I am sure the Fae will appreciate the plot too).

UPCOMING ELECTIONS IN MASSACHUSETTS

Turning to politics, there is a primary coming up in a few days, here in MA. I have been paying close attention and have finally settled on a candidate to support for governor. Here’s why I am supporting BERWICK for governor of MA;

“After careful consideration and review of the currently available data, I oppose the construction of the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline. We should not commit to new natural gas infrastructure until we know for certain that it is necessary to meet our energy needs. To date, I am not convinced that that case has been made.

“I aim to set Massachusetts on the path towards becoming the first carbon neutral state. To achieve this ambitious goal, we must double down on aggressive efforts for additional conservation and efficiency, solar, off-shore wind, and hydro-electric power to replace existing fossil fuel sources.

“While we need a ‘bridge’ fuel in the *short* term until we can power our grid and mobile sources with a minimum of fossil fuels, I am very concerned about the legitimate dangers of making any more long-term investments in natural gas infrastructure. New pipelines, including the Kinder Morgan pipeline, create infrastructure that locks us into the use of fossil fuels for far longer than necessary.

“Instead, we should focus on plugging dangerous leaks from the existing natural gas infrastructure, which waste energy and release greenhouse gases even more harmful than carbon dioxide. Let’s also support innovative technologies that help smooth demand during peak times. And let’s understand the important role that faster and better development of Massachusetts’ off-shore wind power resource can play in breaking the stranglehold of fossil fuels.

“We need a comprehensive statewide energy plan that moves us towards a safe, reliable, and cost-effective future with a minimum of greenhouse gas emissions, and I will see to it that we have one. Until we do, it is a mistake to make long-term investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure.”

Dave Marsh
Policy Director
Don Berwick for Governor

Below you will find the usual collection of archeology, nature, religion and ethics news. * You can order books from this website and receive a signed copy with a personal note*

SOME UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Save The Date Saturday 9/13/14 1-3 PM @ All Things Local in Amherst, MA
    $15 or $30 w/ the $20 book included
    THE SECRET MEDICINES OF YOUR KITCHEN
    Join local herbalist and author Ellen Evert Hopman in a discussion of home remedies that you can make from the foods and spices already in your kitchen. Get ready for winter with a recipe for Fire Cider (and have a taste!), learn which herbs can be used to make herbal salves, learn new uses for the spices on your kitchen shelf, and many other topics. Ellen teaches a six month herbal intensive near Amherst every year, October to April. Visit her online here.
    Ellen will have copies of her books on hand for sale and signing.
    For more information call 413- 253-2667
  • Western MA Pagan Pride Day
    Florence, MA
    September 27, 11 AM to 6 PM
    Ellen will speak on Scottish Fairy Lore and have herbal salves, tinctures and books for sale and signing
  • Tree Medicine Tree Magic: October 4th & 5th at the Philo School of Herbal Energetics – California
    A Weekend Workshop With Druid Ellen Evert Hopman
    On Saturday morning we learn about the Irish “Tree alphabet” and then go outside to perform a traditional Druid tree meditation and learn to listen to the trees. Saturday afternoon we learn more about the “Tree Alphabet” and then gather tree medicines such as leaves, pine needles, flowers, barks, etc. Sunday we prepare medicines from the ingredients we have gathered. Each student can leave with a hand-made set of Ogham divination cards, based on the ancient Irish Ogham “Tree Alphabet”. Please bring a notebook and pen, and wear comfortable shoes and outdoor clothes as you will be outside part of the weekend. Ellen will also have books with her to sell and sign.
    The Philo School of Herbal Energetics website has information on directions & lodging. $150 for the weekend; register here.
    Lodging: We do not offer lodging. Please go to the Anderson Valley Chamber of Commerce page for available lodging.
  • Herbal Healing Intensive
    October 18, 2014 – April, 2015
    Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    A six month intensive. Covers Western herbal Materia Medica, formula making, case taking, Chinese Five Element Theory, Homeopathic First Aid, Flower Essence Counseling, plant identification, ethno botany, and hands on herbal techniques such as poultices, tinctures, salves etc. An herb walk outdoors, slide shows of plants and hands on preparations are included.
    Over 400 pages of handouts are included with the course. A certificate of completion is offered at the end.
  • Changing Times Changing Worlds
    Nov. 7-9, Crowne Plaza in Cromwell, Connecticut
    Ellen will teach a three part Druid Intensive
    Including the Druidic wheel of the Year, the Ogham alphabet
    And meditating with trees.

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

HERBAL NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

FAIRY NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

Wishing peace upon the world, in our homes and lives.

August Blog – A time of War and Harvest

It is the time of Lughnasad, the Celtic festival of the First Fruits and the official start of the harvest season. I managed to find a field of heirloom wheat here in the area and garnered a few stalks just before the field was harvested. I plan to make a “corn dolly” from them, a special doll that will hold the magic of a successful harvest and carry the luck into next year.

For me it isn’t really Lughnasad (the Assembly of the God Lugh, inaugurated in honor of his foster mother Tailtiu) until the blueberries ripen. In traditional areas this festival is still called “Blueberry Sunday” or “Blaeberry Sunday”. Last week the high bush blue berries were finally ready for picking and I knew that it was time to celebrate.

It has been a cold and rainy summer until this week, with fifty degree nights and seventy degree days, most unusual for late July. The raspberries and blackberries have been fabulous and it seems there will be a huge acorn harvest. That means an explosion in the mouse population down the line, followed by an increase in owls, foxes and coyotes, a cycle that ebbs and flows.

As I write this another  truce has been declared in the 2014 Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I haven’t had the heart to turn on the news to see if the peace has held. It has been a gut wrenching few weeks hearing the daily reports of carnage in the asymmetrical war. It reminds me of Vietnam when we used to have to watch the body bags and burned civilians parade across our TV set as we sat down to eat dinner each night. In that war we were on tender hooks for years as the body count soared. I pray to the Gods that this conflict will soon be over.

A few days ago  I called my two senators (Warren and Markie) and the White House. I told them that as an American tax payer I don’t want my country participating in war crimes. Now that Israel has run out of some kinds of weapons what are we doing? Selling them more so they can continue to kill women and children who are trapped like fish in a barrel. I said the US should stop arming either party and the UN should go in, street by street, and find the tunnels. Supposedly this is about tunnels, right? Because right now it’s become mass murder and genocide of civilians. I heard on the news last night that when the Egyptians closed the tunnels on their side of the border they did it by flooding them with water, in other words they managed to do it without inflicting mass carnage on the civilian population. One wonders why the Israelis felt the need to kill so many to accomplish the same thing.

HH Dalai Lama said about the Israel Gaza Violence: …”Of course, war and the large military establishments are the greatest sources of violence in the world. Whether their purpose is defensive or offensive, these vast powerful organizations exist solely to kill human beings. We should think carefully about the reality of war. Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous – an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that war is criminal or that accepting it is criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering”

There are also Israeli citizens who oppose this war;

a petition  by Israeli reservists who refuse to serve in the current Israeli military operation and speak out against the Israeli oppression of women and minorities, “Whenever the Israeli army drafts the reserves — which are made up of ex-soldiers — there are dissenters, resisters, and AWOLers among the troops called to war. Now that Israel has sent troops to Gaza again and reserves are being summoned to service, dozens are refusing to take part. We are more than 50 Israelis who were once soldiers and now declare our refusal to be part of the reserves. We oppose the Israeli Army and the conscription law. Partly, that’s because we revile the current military operation.”

As is often the case, it’s the veterans, those who have experienced death and destruction and know the consequences, who speak most loudly for peace. And the misery is just beginning for the women and children of Gaza. Water and electricity have been cut and soon cholera, dysentery and other diseases will inevitably set in, due to lack of sanitation. And since their homes have been destroyed, a logical solution would be to hand over all the illegal Israeli settlements to the displaced civilians of Gaza – according to the UN an occupying force is responsible for the lives of the civilians it has control over. Israel has cut off all means of escape and yet continues to bomb and deprives the area of water, thus Israel is guilty of war crimes. Providing shelter for the refugees from this conflict would go a long way towards repairing the inhumanity.

And there is still conflict in Syria which the press barely covers.

My heart is heavy in the  midst of bright summer…

Below you will find the usual collection of archeology, nature, herb and Celtic news. *Reminder – you can order books from me via this website and get a signed copy with a personal note!*

Here are some upcoming events;

  • Tree Medicine Tree Magic
    October 4th & 5th at the Philo School of Herbal Energetics – California
    A Weekend Workshop With Druid Ellen Evert Hopman
    On Saturday morning we learn about the Irish “Tree alphabet” and then go outside to perform a traditional Druid tree meditation and learn to listen to the trees. Saturday afternoon we learn more about the “Tree Alphabet” and then gather tree medicines such as leaves, pine needles, flowers, barks, etc. Sunday we prepare medicines from the ingredients we have gathered. Each student can leave with a hand-made set of Ogham divination cards, based on the ancient Irish Ogham “Tree Alphabet”. Please bring a notebook and pen, and wear comfortable shoes and outdoor clothes as you will be outside part of the weekend. Ellen will also have books with her to sell and sign.The Philo School of Herbal Energetics website has information on directions & lodging. $150 for the weekend; register here.Lodging: We do not offer lodging. Please go to the Anderson Valley Chamber of Commerce page for available lodging.
  • Herbal Healing Intensive
    October 18, 2014 – April, 2015
    Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    A six month intensive. Covers Western herbal Materia Medica, formula making, case taking, Chinese Five Element Theory, Homeopathic First Aid, Flower Essence Counseling, plant identification, ethno botany, and hands on herbal techniques such as poultices, tinctures, salves etc. An herb walk outdoors, slide shows of plants and hands on preparations are included.
    Over 400 pages of handouts are included with the course. A certificate of completion is offered at the end.
  • Changing Times Changing Worlds
    Nov. 7-9, Crowne Plaza in Cromwell, Connecticut
    Ellen will teach a three part Druid Intensive including the Druidic wheel of the Year, the Ogham alphabet and meditating with trees.
  • A recent radio show where you can hear what I have been up to
    Facebook
    July 7 I did another radio show (1400 AM, WHMP, Northampton, MA) where we discussed the upcoming local Scottish Games and my trilogy of Druid novels and the book “Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore”. The two radio guys were wide eyed as I described my experiences with the Good Neighbors. They seemed only slightly shocked and they did invite me back again, so it apparently wasn’t too scary for them.
    After the show I went for a walk by the Connecticut river. At one point I stopped and looked down and saw A FOUR LEAF CLOVER sticking up and practically waving at me. Now I am not one of those people who finds those easily, in fact, it’s my first one. I felt like it was a nice confirmation from the Fair Folk and a thanks.

THINGS WE CAN DO

PAGAN NEWS

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

HERBAL NEWS

NATURE NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

May your harvest be full and your future filled with peace.