A Druid’s Web Log – Lughnasad/Lammas is upon us as heat grips the nation

It’s been a rough month. I nearly cried watching Bernie Sander’s capitulate to Hillary Clinton. So many of us Democrats feel betrayed – we wanted a new FDR and instead were manipulated into backing yet another bank and corporate bought leader. As a woman I feel no elation in the choice I was handed.

At least Debbie Wasserman Schultz was finally fired. Thousands of us signed petitions to oust her months ago, due to the abysmal way she scheduled debates. She understood that Clinton had vast name recognition and Bernie had none so she made sure he would get as little exposure as possible. The few debates that were held were at unlikely and inconvenient times. Thanks to WikiLeaks we now know that she also tried to smear him as an “Atheist” when he has never claimed that title.

To make things even more depressing the garden is frying in drought-like hot sun, way up here in New England. We are in the midst of a seven day heat wave, thanks to the climate change brought on by the very corporate interests that Bernie tried to challenge and that Hillary apparently backs. I have been out in the garden daily, hauling jugs of water to the plants, just to keep them alive.

It appears that the Revolution will take a bit more time…

We are now in the time of Lughnasad (Gaelic) or Lammas (Anglo-Saxon, from “Loaf Mass”), the festival of first fruits. It is important to make offerings to the Land Spirits at this time, to ensure a safe and fruitful harvest. Here are my suggestions;

Lughnasad, Lammas, Lunasa, Lá Lúnasa, Calen Awst

(End of July to second week of August)

  • Make offerings to a sacred fire; dry herbs, whiskey, butter, ghee
  • Pour milk offerings on stones
  • Climb a high mountain and leave offerings of quartz, flowers, fruits and grain
  • Offer butter to lakes
  • Flowers, fruits and coins to water
  • Float a wreath down a river
  • Float a small wooden boat with candles and flowers down a river
  • Decorate standing stones with wreaths or garlands of wheat
  • Offer a loaf of the new grain
  • Make offerings of the first harvest; vegetables, basil, herbs
  • Pour stout, honey, cider or milk in the fields and on the stones
  • Make grain dollies, feast of breads, cheese, baked goods, and leave a dish for the land spirits
  • Make offerings to water of fruits and flowers
  • Leave blessings for the trees.

May your harvests be fruitful!

BOOK NEWS

*Reminder – you can purchase my books from all the usual places or order a signed copy from this website! With a personal note!*

  • Secret Medicines from Your Garden: Plants for Healing, Spirituality and Magic
    SecretMedicinesofGardenWritten by Laura PerryI’ve been practicing herbalism for more than 20 years and I’m pretty picky about herbalism books. For me, this one stands out in a very positive way. It’s both deeper and wider than the usual encyclopaedia-style herbal. Hopman leads the reader through the process of getting to know the herbs personally, almost intimately, and includes information I haven’t seen elsewhere. Sometimes when I’m reading a book for review it feels like work, even if it’s a good book, but this one was just a delight the whole way through. It’s crammed full of information and I could really feel the author’s love for the Green People coming through on every page. This book feels less like an instruction manual and more like someone introducing me to all her friends.The book is divided into four parts. Part One: A Wild crafting Primer takes the reader through wild crafting by season rather than via the usual alphabetical listing. I’m really pleased with this. A seasonal arrangement is the smartest way to organize herbs that will be foraged or picked in the yard and garden. This section includes not just seasonal plant information but also some great information about the Doctrine of Signatures, which is a way to help understand an herb’s uses based on its physical characteristics.Part Two: Exploring Invisible Dimensions of the Plant World explores some of the more spiritual aspects of herbalism. Hopman provides a separate chapter for Dracaena and Mullein, two plants that are obviously special to her. Dracaena is the endangered tree whose resin is the ever-popular Dragon’s Blood. One very nifty bit from this section is the author’s instructions for how to make a working torch from the bloom stalk of the mullein plant. I’ve always called the bloom stalks ‘mullein torches’ but now I know how to make a mullein torch that will actually burn and provide light!Part Two also includes chapters on animal spirit medicines, herbal astrology and how to work with the plant spirits. Hopman’s animal spirit practices are based on Native American concepts, largely from the region in the north eastern U.S. where she lives. This is a fascinating set of information that groups plants with particular animals spirits (bear, elk, badger, and so on) based on the plants’ overall energy and purpose. This provides a deeper meaning for these herbs, a different point of view about the medicine they can offer us. Just a note: Many of the plants in this section are native to North America and can’t be found elsewhere. But most of the herbs in the rest of the book are common throughout the northern temperate zone.The chapter on herbal astrology and plant alchemy associates plants with the planets and zodiac signs, which is a really interesting practice that goes back centuries. I especially enjoyed the chapter on plant spirits. I think it’s important to have a relationship with the plants and not just use them as if they were bottles of pills on a shelf. Hopman offers some lovely ways to show your appreciation to the plant spirits, including singing and offering them prayers and blessings.Part Three: Enjoying Nature’s Bounty once again serves up plenty of useful information, including some things you won’t find in most herbals. There’s a whole chapter on Bee Medicine, which is so important now that the bees are in danger from human practices such as certain pesticides. This chapter includes the history of magical and practical uses of bees, honey and beeswax as well as all kinds of interesting bee lore and both medicinal and culinary recipes.Part Three also includes a chapter on kitchen medicine: helpful uses for the herbs and spices you can find at your local supermarket. This part also includes some subjects I’ve rarely seen in herbals: instructions for how to plant and grow a hedgerow as well as all sorts of information about both deciduous and coniferous trees. I was fascinated by the chapters about the trees, especially all the recipes for food, medicine, and incense from the leaves, bark, resin, and other ‘tree parts.’The final section is Part Four: Formula Making, and just this section alone is worth the price of the book. In addition to all the usual instructions for how to make herbal teas, tinctures, poultice, and so on, Hopman includes a large compendium of information based on her teacher William LeSassier’s method of constitutional prescribing. This technique arranges herbs by hot/cold/wet/dry characteristics and applies them based on this system to many common health conditions. Many years ago, I learned the hot/cold/wet/dry correspondences (which go back at least as far as the Middle Ages) when using herbs for magical purposes, but I’ve never seen the system organized so thoroughly and with such detail for medicinal and health uses.

    The book finishes with several helpful appendices. There’s an excellent section on herbal contraindications, which is very important because so many people seem to think that natural automatically means safe. The Sources and Resources section is extensive and is organized by chapter. The book finishes with three indexes: plants by common name, plants by scientific name and a list of common health concerns.

    The whole tone of Secret Medicines is friendly and informative, obviously written by someone who cares deeply about the plants and about making sure the knowledge of how to use and respect them is not lost. This one is already one of my favourite herbal references, and I’m sure it will continue to maintain a place of honour on my shelves.

    ~review by Laura Perry

    Author: Ellen Evert Hopman
    Healing Arts Press, 2016
    pp. 337, $19.95

  • A new review of A LEGACY OF DRUIDS
    Legacy of Druids

    Legacy of Druids

    Thank you, Ms. Hopman, for writing this book! I enjoyed the ethnographic interview style as it allowed me to easily imagine myself as the fly on the wall. The interviews captured the heartfelt thoughts and aspirations of genuinely interesting people who, I think, would not be afraid of being considered outliers. Some were wonderfully eccentric and yet all were intellectually challenging, thoughtful and imaginative. The all shared the will and curiosity not just to question and to explore ideas, but also to manifest them. Their propensity to stick a finger in the eye of modernity was refreshing. The format of the book makes it an easy read in so far as the writing style was neither dense nor academic. The ideas expressed by the Druid Leaders were thoughtful, non-dogmatic and I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that they obviously disagreed amongst themselves, too. Each interview stands alone from the others. As such, one could read each interview independently to gain unique insights. Taken together, the interviews weave a compelling tapestry of memory, courage, curiosity and intent from wonderfully curious minds. This is not stale history; this is living history.

    Cuardaitheoir Eire

  • And another…A Legacy of Druids by Ellen Evert Hopman is a capsule held in time, with interviews by Druids from all over the world that were taken twenty years ago. It is interesting to hear their stories, especially from those people I know now, and whose perceptions have changed with the passage of time.It’s not a book on how to be a Druid, but rather a conversation with an entire room full of them. You get to “work the room” so to speak in this volume, finding so many different personalities, histories and visions for the future. The foreward by Philip Carr-Gomm was perhaps the most interesting for me, and which coincided with my perception of Druidry as it is today. That this should be so is obvious; as a nature-based tradition, Druidry is always evolving, and here was have the proof that this is so.Dynamics, schisms, traits, perspectives of different Druid traditions, with a lot of American vs British is reflected in the interviewees’ words. That these perceptions and their individual predictions for the future have changed over the last twenty years is, I think, a very good thing. With the popularity of the internet, dialogue has opened across vast oceans, with views being shared, references, academia, experiential gnosis and more. The divide between the two has lessened greatly, to the benefit of all.Of course, I did not agree or resonate with the words of every Druid (or Druid friendly person) interviewed. Like being at a party, there are some people you want to hang out with and others that you don’t. But all of it is informative, in its raw, unedited state. You get real flavour of who that person was at that time, and what Druidry meant to them at that particular point in time.A very interesting, and original work. I would love to see a modern version of this done, with as many of the same people in the original work, as well as new voices!Joanna VanderHoeven(I fully agree that someone else should spend thousands of dollars and travel around the USA and UK to gather more contemporary Druid voices. To anyone who takes up the task, best of luck to you!)

UPCOMING CLASSES

  • Register for The Herbal and Spiritual Properties of Trees on September 3rd
    Limited to 10 participants!
    Class minimum* – 4
    Taught by Ellen Evert Hopman, Herbalist and Author.
    Ellen will be discussing the herbal and folklore traditions surrounding common North American trees and harvesting and preparation methods.
    After class, she will have some of her books on hand for signing. Her books and salves are also available for purchase in the shop.
    COST – Sliding scale $10 to $15
    (Registration fee of $5 included in total cost)
    DATES – Saturday, September 3rd
    TIMES – 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
    LOCATION – The Bower Studio: 378 Daniel Shays Hwy, Pelham, MA 01002
    * If the class minimum is not met, all registration fees will be refunded and you will be notified.
    You may also pre-register by visiting the shop during business hours.
    ** Payment for classes will be due in full (minus pre-registration cost) at the start of class. Class fees must be cash or check, made out to the class instructor. Cancellations must contact us 48 hours prior to class so we can offer canceled spaces to others. Pre-registration fees are non-refundable. Read our FAQ for more info.**
  • The Western Massachusetts School of Herbal Studies
    Intro to Herbalism and Self Care
    With Ellen Evert Hopman M.Ed. ~ Registered Herbalist AHG
    author of “Secret Medicines From Your Garden”, “Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore“, “A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year”,”A Druids Herbal – Of Sacred Tree Medicine“, “Secret Medicines of Your Kitchen” and other books and DVDs
    October 15, 2016 – April, 2017
    Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    Call for information: (413) 323 4494
    http://www.elleneverthopman.com (order books from this site and get a signed copy and a personal note from the author!)
    DETAILS: 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, an herb walk outdoors and hands on herbal techniques such as poultices, tinctures, salves. Over 550 pages of handouts are included with the course. A certificate of completion is offered at the end.
    Cost: $1,000.00 (plus a $100.00 non-refundable Xeroxing fee)“My class at the Western Mass School of Herbal Medicine was a wonderful experience. Anyone interested in the history of the uses of herbs and their medicinal uses will appreciate this course. The instructor, Ellen Evert Hopman, is amazing. Her passion for herbalism is portrayed through her knowledge of many years in the field and appreciation of Mother Earth. I thank her for sharing her skills and passing on a true tradition of our natural habitats. And I cannot forget to mention you would be working with an author as well. Just a little added extra!”~ Lealani Maxwell-Mason, B. S. Business/ Psychology”The information she shared with me has helped me in many aspects of my life! I learned the skills to identify, and properly utilize, many herbs as; essences, teas, salves, poultices and tinctures. I found her program to be quite thorough!” ~A. Potter“Studying herbalism with Ellen Hopman provided an opportunity to connect in an intimate learning circle with one of the most learned, experienced and wise woman herbalists of the Pioneer Valley and beyond. I left this course with a strong foundation in herbal practice both in the realm of materia medica and in applying knowledge to clinical situations. The experience in practice and depth of wisdom offered by this teacher is profound and unique. I highly recommend her course.” ~ A. PyecroftMA NURSES CAN GET CEUS BY TAKING THIS COURSE*Reminder – you can purchase my books from all the usual places or order a signed copy from this website! With a personal note!*
  • An old filmed interview done at Pantheacon
    My website is wrong; it should be http://www.elleneverthopman.com and I have had a few more books since this was done!

*Below you will find the past Moonth’s archeology, herbal, religion, Fairy, nature, politics and ethics news. Enjoy!*

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

ANTHROPOLOGY

HERB NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

FAIRY NEWS

DRUID NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

 

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A Druid’s Web Log – Summer arrives! We live in interesting times

At the last Full Moon there was a tribe of coyotes howling outside my kitchen door. I had never quite heard them like that – it was a combination of wolf howls and the gravelly yips one usually hears. They were louder than I had ever heard before – perhaps they were coy-wolves. I knew then that a big change was in the offing. Just a few days later England voted to leave the EU (Scotland and Northern Ireland did not). The stock markets promptly tanked of course and Britain displayed the kind of split that the US will likely see in the upcoming election.

Whenever I hear coyotes that up close and personal I know it means “change”. I suspect that other major surprises are headed our way. We live in interesting times.

My gardens are flourishing I am happy to say, except for a massive invasion of some kind of butterfly or moth caterpillar. They are munching away at the elderberries which I didn’t even think were palatable. I have planted milkweeds for their benefit too, though those seem untouched.

Below you will find the usual gleanings from the archeology, nature, herb and health media and some book and workshop updates. Please enjoy your summer reading!

  • A TREE WORKSHOP IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
    Celtic Tree Medicine and Lore class with Ellen Evert Hopman
    July 23,24 2016
    Misty Meadows Herbal Center
    183 Wednesday Hill Road
    Lee, NH 03861
  • HERBAL TRAINING IN MASSACHUSETTS
    October 15, 2016 – April, 2017
    Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    My usual six month herbal intensive in the Amherst area starts October 15, 2016
    Cost: $1000 plus a $100.00 nonrefundable Xeroxing fee
    My books include; “Secret Medicines From Your Garden” , “Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore“, “A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year”,”A Druids Herbal – Of Sacred Tree Medicine“, “Secret Medicines of Your Kitchen”DETAILS: 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, an herb walk outdoors and hands on herbal techniques such as poultices, tinctures, salves. Over 550 pages of handouts are included with the course. A certificate of completion is offered at the end.

Stay tuned for more workshops and events…

BOOK NEWS

  • Who knew? My books are selling at Walmart! (not sure how I feel about that)
  • SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN a new review
    sgoyk“Weaving together ancient wisdom, mystical folklore, and modern plant research, master herbalist Ellen Evert Hopman explores the many uses of flowers, trees, common weeds, and ornamental plants for food, medicine, spiritual growth, and magical rituals. (Publisher’s description)
    Secret Medicines from Your Garden is confidently written by Ellen Evert Hopman and if you are looking for a herbal with only the depths of soil, Latin names and types of sunshine each herb needs, then this is not the book for you. However, if you are like me and want something more, then read on.As you journey through this unique herbal, via chapters on seasonal herbs, herbal astrology, bee medicine and hedgerows are food, medicine and magic, amongst many others of great interest, you will find it to be a concise, informative read. Written with a friendly narrative, which is laced with recipes, meanings and personal stories of the author, it’s a charming and fascinating book that makes you feel a kinship with Ellen.
    As you can see from my photo, I intend to go back to several areas, to reread the information and make use of it. My tabs are on various items from Nettle Bread to Hag’s Tapers, from making a Caudle as an offering to making Ginger Ale. Also, I tagged creating a hedgerow, with plants that will provide food and medicine and a detailed ‘how-to’ on formula making, such as tinctures and poultices.This book is an interesting read, and, as a primer for anyone new to the subject matter, it gives a solid basic knowledge without actually being a dry read, unlike some books in this field which can be.” Edain DuGuay
  • And another nice review;Secret Medicines from Your Garden: Plants for Healing, Spirituality, and Magic, by Ellen Evert HopmanHealing Arts Press, 9781620555576, 384 pp., 2016In Secret Medicines from Your Garden, master herbalist, Druid priestess, and lore mistress Ellen Evert Hopman shares some of her herbal healing wisdom with her own distinct stamp of individuality, elevating this book above and beyond a simple reference book. What takes shape in these pages is a holistic resource for herbalists comprising herbal lore, recipes, and personal anecdotes, making this an ideal companion for anyone seeking an herbal mentor.Rather than offering an appendix of herb names and functions (many are present, and the reader can skim them in some parts), readers get to experience them with Hopman as she retells parts of her journey with plants. In this way, the teaching in this book is alive. Herbalist and author Matthew Wood notes in the foreword, “we feel the thread of the writer’s experience and life running through the pages, unifying diverse lessons into a flowing and almost living narrative,”1 and the result is pretty empowering. One gets the sense that this is Hopman’s goal here.Like herbal healing itself, Secret Medicines from Your Garden instills the reader with a sense of self sufficiency and being supported by the earth. The author, who’s work is testament to this, is clearly committed to her craft and has paved a courageous path for many aspiring herbalists to see. In the introduction, “Walking the Green Path,” Hopman explains a visit to Rome during grad school where she studied art history but “felt a pull to go to the countryside.”2 Following the instruction of a monk, she went to a hillside Franciscan community where she wandered in the wilderness, partook of community baking and community activities for four days. Here, plants called to her, and their voice was so strong it prompted her to “throw out everything [she] was doing.”3 This is when she began working with plants. Reading about her journey inspired me, and reminded me of times I’ve felt a similar pull to change my own path, many of which have been prompted by experiences in nature.Hopman also shares pieces of advice she received that helped her realize the importance of permission to find one’s own way in a creative healing art like herbalism: “After I studied with the First Nations for five years, one of the elders said to me: ‘It’s great that you are learning the ways and honoring our ancestors. But you need to honor your own.”4 It was then she discovered Druidry, and set out to find other Druids, which adds, of course, a unique depth of value to Hopman’s career as a herbal healer. Plants opened a doorway for Hopman that changed her life and worldview. I don’t doubt that for many who read this book it will open doors to doing the same.Hopman offers everything the reader needs to start tapping into, and strengthening, their own connection with plants: in part one, “A Wildcrafting Primer,” Hopman reveals how to intuit a plant’s properties based on their form, colour, location and more. For instance, plants that thrive in the shade tend to be cooling, plants with hollow stems will help clean out tubes in the human body, and so on. Not just with woodland herbs, but ones common in cities like dandelion, nettle, tulip, wisteria, and others.Dandelions, for example, are usually thought to be weeds in cities and suburban areas, but this book shows how they can be used as healing herbs. As well as supporting kidney and liver functions, a small section called “The Energetics of Color,” explains that yellow flowering plants like dandelions can also enhance a sense of personal power. Hopman shares ways to consume dandelion greens (mixed into a salad after being rinsed, or dusting them with flour, salt and pepper and frying in butter), and make dandelion tea from their roots. She also writes that the flowers can be used to make wine. This usage seems way more interesting than my previous experiences using dandelion, which has been limited to buying dried herbs at a bulk store and steeping in hot water and lemon to make a pretty run-of-the-mill dandelion tea.Will I opt to pick dandelions from my downtown Toronto neighbourhood this spring? Maybe not, but Hopman, who lives in a forest in New England, does share some cautions for urban foragers in this section: “Gather plants at least one thousand feet from a roadway to avoid the pollutants that abound there, such as those from car exhaust and brake lining”5 The next time I find myself in a locale that grows dandelions in abundance one thousand feet from a roadway, I’ll be sure to pick some to try out a fresher tea.In part 2, “Exploring Invisible Dimensions of the Plant World,” Hopman looks at animal spirit medicines and herbal astrology, and ways to communicate with plants, including topical sprays, singing to plants, and more. In Parts 3 and 4, “Enjoying Nature’s Bounty” and “Formula Making,” Hopman shares bee medicine and kitchen medicine recipes, including oils, salves, incense, bath sachets, cookies (pine gingerbread, anyone?), and teas for physical and spiritual healing. The book ends with a comprehensive table of constitutional prescribing (treatment using herbs, based on the whole person) and a glossary of contraindications (any reasons to not use certain herbs for example, during pregnancy, or for those with heartburn, etc.),Hopman provides instructions for the “triangle” formula-making system of her mentor, William LeSassier, to help the reader make custom herbal remedies tailored to a person’s unique strengths and weaknesses. She writes that recording this formula and sharing it was one of her major impetuses for writing the book.6 The 18-part system aims to help herbal practitioners design a balanced approach for long-term prescribing, combining cleansing herbs, building herbs, and tonic herbs in the right proportions.Hopman’s Secret Medicines from Your Garden takes the secrecy out of herbal medicine, and makes it accessible and straightforward for readers of all gardening prowess and healing needs.
  • Philip Carr Gomm writes about A LEGACY OF DRUIDS

    Legacy of Druids

    Legacy of Druids

     

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

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