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
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
*Write a letter
*Fire Cider Tasting: Bring your Fire Cider and enter into the tasting contest!
*Find a group to file for cancellation with!
- A small Thor’s hammer found with runic inscription; “this is a hammer”
- New evidence for Queen Boudicca’s rebellion
- More comments on Stonehenge – Not sure why Ronald Hutton always feels a need to bash the ancients. Of course things fell down. They had very little equipment and they were learning as they went.
- Silbury Hill
- How the ancient Scots picked landscapes for ritual, living
- The Northern Picts
- A Pictish Broch
- The Pictish kingdom of Fortriu
- Forteviot – details of an archaeological dig
- The origins of Halloween
- Lasers shed light on Scottish archeological sites
- The first depiction of a tartan
- Land and Skyscapes in prehistoric Scotland
- Detailed photos of a dig in a crannog
- A female figure from the Viking age that may depict Freya
- Recreated Neolithic houses at Stonehenge visitor center
- The world’s oldest pants?
- Steel manufacturing in Scotland – 2,500 years ago
- A voyage to the Celtic area (video)
- Galician Celtic music (from Portugal)
- Some old photographs of iconic Irish sites
- Wild Carrots
- Red Clover Vinegar
- Cooking with Yarrow
- Make Mulberry Jam with less sugar
- Cooking with plantain leaves
- How to save seeds
- Wild foods recipe, Italian style
- Fennel, uses for those who like the taste (I do and so do the butterflies!)
- Moringa trees
- Puffin burrow cam live
- Puffin ledge cam live
- Magical tree tunnels
- Here is a lovely music video about bees (video)
- Bonobos – the most altruistic apes (video)
- Northern winters will become gradually longer, summers shorter
- World’s ten oldest living trees
- Plant and animal extinction looming (video)
- Leave fawns alone!
The arrival of spring and summer also means the arrival of newborn deer. Every year, well-intentioned people upset the lives of some fawns that they find by trying to “rescue” them. Does often leave their fawns alone for hours at a time in order to forage for food, and the fawn’s camouflaged coat keeps it inconspicuous. If the fawn is left where it is seen, the mother will usually return later in the day. Hovering or “checking in” on the fawn may, in fact delay the mother’s return. If you are concerned that something may have happened to the mother, note the location of the fawn and check back the next day to see if it is still there. Even if it is, do not take a fawn from the wild and try to care for it. This is not only illegal, it is unwise, and, in the end, usually harmful to the fawn. Instead, call your local MassWildlife office and report your sighting.
For more information visit the MassWildlife website.
- Druids celebrate Solstice in Wales
- 800 dead babies in Irish Catholic home for unwed mothers, orphans
- Ireland elects first openly Pagan politician
- Who were the Druids? (short video)
POLITICS AND ETHICS
- Vermont – first state to require GMO food labelling
- No Fracking Way – a film about fracking in Massachusetts (video)
- US ranking vs other nations in maternal mortality (we have the most expensive health care system in the world and 30 million of us are still uninsured, an international disgrace).
- The war on climate scientists (video)
- The new face of food stamp recipients: working age Americans
- We live in the Walmart Economy (video)
- A profound message from Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg is now on a billboard half a block from the State Department: *”Don’t wait until a new war has started, don’t wait until thousands more have died, before you tell the truth with documents that reveal lies or crimes…”*
The billboard has caused quite a stir. But we’re just getting started.
*Now you can help put that billboard in other key locations, reaching thousands of employees at places like the Pentagon, intelligence agencies, contractors, the Justice Department, Congress and the White House. To do that, click here.*
As Ellsberg says on the billboard, a whistleblower *”might save a war’s worth of lives.”*
One billboard has made a lot of impact. Ten would be ten times better.
- Comparative studies of six African countries found that the abortion rate increased when access to contraceptives, provided by non-governmental organizations, decreased in the countries that most depended on NGOs to subsidize contraception.