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.

A Druid’s Web Log – Boycott Hobby Lobby

Like many women in the USA I am reeling at the latest assault on women from the religious right and the Republican majority (and hardly impartial) Supreme Court. At a time when US women are already being forced to go to Mexico for gynecological care and contraceptives SCOTUS ruled yesterday in the Hobby Lobby case that for-profit corporations don’t have to provide contraceptives to their female employees if it offends their religious values.

The court’s majority (all men) think its fine to discriminate against women when they try to make their own health care choices. The court’s losing side (all the women) were horrified.

Despite the court’s claim that this is a narrow judgment that “only” applies to birth control (and only singles out women as persons to be discriminated against so who cares) the future ramifications are breath taking. Precedent is now set so that any for-profit privately held corporation can deny service to blacks, refuse to hire gays, impose Sharia Law, refuse blood transfusions, or refuse to cover health care altogether (as in the case of Christian Scientists), if their religion so recommends.

Let’s hope this all becomes so odious that this country finally grows up and embraces single payer national health insurance like every other developed nation has. Why should employers be allowed to decide who gets how much coverage and for which conditions? Absurd.

Last week the same court told Massachusetts that it was unconstitutional to have a 35 foot buffer zone around women’s health clinics to protect the women from anti-abortion and anti-birth control goons. Those buffer zones were set up for a reason, because women were being harassed and bullied en route to routine health care. The same court makes sure that they themselves are well protected with a nice buffer zone around their own place of business while protesters are routinely denied access to political rallies, conventions, etc. and kept behind barriers.

I have lost all respect for the Supreme Court as an impartial judicial body. I hope this will be a real wake up call to voters everywhere. The war on women is in progress. Can you tell I am pissed?

OK, so back to more placid matters…due to the heavy rains this spring the elderberries are sporting massive clumps of blooms and I am looking forward to a bumper harvest in a month or so. I like to mix elderberry and Echinacea to make a fantastic flu and cold remedy. You will find plenty of suggestions below on how to use wild plants for food and medicine.

Earlier this Moonth I had an amazing week at the national Dowser’s Convention in VT. I did a workshop on communicating with trees using an ancient Bardic technique and was told “the best Celtic workshop I have ever attended”. I also did a 3 hour Scottish Fairy Lore talk and they said they thought it should be all day (six hours) and could I please come back and do it next year? Also sold quite a few books …

Then it was on to Mutton and Mead in Montague, Massachusetts, a wonderful Ren Fair. The weekend went very well and I sold quite a few books, only thing is I need to make another sign – no one realizes I am the author of my own books, they think I am selling other people’s stuff. Also, of interest, I had four separate cases of strangers coming to me for counseling on various life issues; death, stress, self-esteem issues, etc. It was like the position of the table made it seem like “the doctor was in”. (I have no problem with that, it’s just interesting). The hard part is getting up at 5 AM when I am used to working nights (urk!). Slept about 15 hours afterwards. Also, a lady told me she had heard that the picture on the cover of THE DRUID ISLE (my second Celtic novel) was me. I asked her “How could a 20 something young girl write a trilogy of Iron Age novels with Old Irish glossaries and pronunciation guides in the back?” Stop by my table YE CELTIC BOOKS AND HERBALS next year if you can.

Here are some more upcoming events this year;

  •  Join Mary Pat Palmer and Karin Uphoff Tuesday July 1st at 1pm PST (4 PM EST) on Holistic Health Perspectives as they interview Master Herbalist and Druid, Ellen Evert Hopman about the magic of the green world, fairy lore and tree medicine.  Ellen has written many fiction and non-fiction books about plants and Paganism.  You can listen via www.kzyx.org and earn more about Ellen Hopman at www.elleneverthopman.com
  • September 5-7, 2014
    Tree Medicine Tree magic 
    A weekend intensive in Pennsylvania on making tree medicines and learning Irish tree lore
  • Western MA Pagan pride Day
    Florence, MA
    September 27, 11 AM to 6 PM
  • 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.
  • I will be a featured speaker at Con-Ception in Illinois, April, 2015.

Meanwhile, there is a lot of other news to report. The usual archeology, religion and nature news are featured below, along with some practical ideas on how you can help to make this a better world.

*Remember – you can always order signed books from me via this website!*

THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • No Fracking Way – a film about fracking in Massachusetts (video)ALSO – Please enclose a letter to the CEO of your energy provider each time you mail in your bill and payment. Let them know how you feel about fracking in your community and which safe and clean energy solutions you support; wind, solar, bio-mass, geo-thermal, and conservation.
  • *Urge the Forest Service to end destructive old-growth logging in our largest National Forest.* Take Action
  • *About 75% of flowering plants rely on pollinators like bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
    But sadly, *pollinators are on the decline* worldwide.
    There’s no better time to reward these hard workers for all they do than by turning your yard or garden into a welcoming haven for wildlife.
    *Help bees, butterflies and hummingbirds by certifying your yard, garden or balcony as an official National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat(R) site today.* And, here are a few tips to attract these helpful friends to your garden.
    *Honeybees* pollinate about one-third of all crops in the United States.
    Honeybees and smaller native bees have somewhat shorter tongues than bumblebees, so they’ll appreciate tightly packed clusters of tiny flowers and shallow blossoms like some milkweeds, spirea, goldenrod and phlox.
    *Bats* are hard at work while you’re asleep, so consider night-blooming plants in addition to day-bloomers. Install a bat box on a nearby tree to encourage bats to take up residence in your yard.
    *Hummingbirds* love brightly colored, tubular flowers. Native red trumpet honeysuckle and many types of columbine are a favorite. When blooms are few, supplement flowers with feeders filled with nectar water.
    *Butterflies* move pollen on their bodies, like bees, but aren’t quite as efficient as other pollinators. Attract these beauties with red, yellow, orange, pink and purple blossoms that are flat-topped or clustered and have short flower tubes.

FIRE CIDER UPDATE

  • Check out the newsletter online
    Summer Solstice Update Newsletter:*LEGAL ACTION TAKEN!
    *FIRE CIDER TASTING AND EVENTS AT THE WOMEN’S HERBAL CONFERENCE
    Legal Action Taken!
    It’s time for legal action!! We are filing for a cancellation of the Shire City Herbals trademark on Fire Cider.
    This is an action we can all take together!
    In filing with the United Stated Trademark and Patent Office (USTMPO), we are asking them to remove the trademark Fire Cider from Shire City Herbals.ABOUT THIS PROCESS:
    *Anybody can file a cancellation as an individual, business or herbal group.
    * This process costs $300.
    *Multiple people can file under 1 petition. Have your names ready to add to the petition when you file. Herbal groups and friends can work together to pool the $, or raise the funds together.
    *PLEASE PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU FILE, SO WE CAN KEEP COUNT!!
    send us an email EMAIL US IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SPONSOR AN HERBALIST TO FILE!EMAIL US IF YOU ARE AN HERBALIST THAT NEEDS A SPONSOR!Check our website for step by step instructions (in pictures!) on how to file with the USTMPO.
  • *Fire Cider Tasting and Events at the Women’s Herbal Conference
    Look for the Fire Cider table this summer at the Northeast Women’s Herbal Conference in New Hampshire, August 22-24, 2014.
    *Sign the petition
    *Raffle
    *Write a letter
    *Fire Cider Tasting: Bring your Fire Cider and enter into the tasting contest!
    *Find a group to file for cancellation with!
    http://www.womensherbalconference.com/

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

HERBAL NEWS

NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

 POLITICS AND ETHICS