October blog 2014 Drought in the West, Glorious Fall in the East

Philo Herb class 2014

Philo Herb class 2014

I just got back from a lovely sojourn to the old growth redwoods and the Pacific ocean, in Northern California. I was there to teach a class in Celtic tree lore and Herbalism. Two things were shocking; first the miserable state of air travel at this time, and second the extent of the drought in the West.

Travelling by airplane is now like a long bus ride, smashed in-between passengers, breathing bad air, and with no food for even trips of almost six hours (pretzels and Coke do not count as “food” in my book).

The stewardess was surly when I asked her where we were as we flew over a mountain range. “The pilots are very busy and I am serving drinks” was her answer. Gone are the days of cheerful patter from the crew on Southwest.

Northern California is in a terrible state – apparently if the drought keeps up like this there is only one year of water left. In the town where I was teaching people are experimenting with not washing their hair any more. Showers are once a week affairs, the rest of the time its sponge baths, and when you turn on the tap to let it run until it gets hot or cold you collect the running water in jars until the right temperature is achieved. The jars later go out to the garden to water the flowers.

I saw a number of rivers that were completely dry – the rivers that flow at the base of the giant old growth redwoods. The trees are trying to adjust by shrinking their needles.

Meanwhile southern Californians who are taking their water from the north continue to wash their cars and water lawns and golf courses are exempt from water regulations which is absurd. I am starting to understand the animosity that some northern Californians feel towards their southern neighbors, and why they want to secede.

There is a type of grass that was developed in Japan called Zoysia that grows sideways more that up and is very drought resistant. It’s a mystery to me why this type of grass isn’t required by law in drought prone areas. It is very compact and the only problem with it (from a golf course point of view) is that it turns yellow in summer. But who cares? We need the water for agriculture much more than we need perpetually green golf courses.

It should be illegal to plant regular grass in drought stricken areas. Desert plantings are now required in some townships and that should be the law everywhere in the West (we obviously need more Herbalists and Botanists in congress).

I have been invited to return to the Bay area of California next year to teach. Hopefully there won’t be a drought catastrophe by then!

The holy day of the dead, Samhain (English – Halloween), is fast approaching. Think about ways to honor your ancestors and to give a final thanks to all the beings that gave their lives so that we humans could enjoy a fruitful harvest.

Some places you can find me

  •  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.
  • The Greenfield Annual Word Festival
    Saturday October 25
    Ocean Grill Banquet Room
    30 Federal St., Greenfield, MA 01301
    (413) 376-4677
    2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
    I will be reading from my novels and selling books at the Book Fair
  • Changing Times Changing Worlds
    Nov. 7-9, Crowne Plaza in Cromwell, Connecticut
    I will teach a three part Druid Intensive including the Druidic wheel of the Year, the Ogham alphabet and meditating with trees.

Oil and war

I was not able to attend the big climate march in New York so I wrote to Obama about this. You can do this too.

Dear President Obama: I can’t go to the march today but wanted to make my opinion known on the environment. As a trained Herbalist I always look for the root cause of an illness. We are facing two fatal sicknesses in our time – war and environmental catastrophe. They both have the same root cause – fossil fuels and in particular OIL. We are faced with a new 100 years’ war in the Middle East. The reason we are there (and the reason ISIL and others want to attack us is precisely because we are there)is only for oil. If it were for truly humanitarian reasons we would be at war in the Congo and other places, we only go in when there is oil to be had. Instead of spending our trillions of dollars plus blood and lives lost and maimed, on oil, let’s admit that we are ON A WAR TIME FOOTING and convert the nation to wind, solar bio-mass, geothermal, and radical conservation. LETS STOP THE DEADLY ADDICTION TO OIL!!! Please make this happen.

Below you will find the last Moonth’s collection of articles.

 ***Order a book from me on this website and get a signed copy with a personal note!***

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

HERBAL NEWS

NEWS YOU CAN USE

FAIRY NEWS

NATURE NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

May the blessings of your ancestors follow you always.

 

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.