April blog 2015 Spring has Sprung and it is still snowing!

Incredibly it is still snowing on March 30 as I type this. Here in New England we are adjusting to living in the arctic, while in the west, Alaska to California, the lack of snow and rain means a continuing heat wave and drought. It feels as if the Earth has tilted on its axis.

I have stopped putting out suet and bird seed, as I normally do this time of year, to discourage bears. Ravens and crows have been frequenting the pile of seed that has accumulated under the feeders, thrown out by rapacious squirrels. Woodpeckers have been seen scratching the ground for seed too, they must be very hungry due to a lack of insects in the continuing cold. Possum tracks have re-appeared in the snow under my kitchen window where I throw out compost like egg shells, rotting fruit and vegetable parings.

I have reached an age where I have started wondering if I have reached the end of my creative projects. Last year at some point I thought I might be done with writing, but no, the Gods had other plans. Amazingly there are now TWO new books in the offing; THE SECRET MEDICINES OF YOUR GARDEN will be out in Spring 2016 from Inner Traditions Bear & Co., and another book  A LEGACY OF DRUIDS will be out from Moon Books later this year.

I was sitting on a collection of interviews and conversations I had done with Druids in the US, Canada and Britain, some twenty years ago. For some reason I got a sudden inspiration to trot out those old interviews that never got published. Some of the persons I interviewed have since crossed the veil; Isaac Bonewits, Olivia Robertson, Tim Sebastian, and possibly others. In any case, I hope this book will be a contribution to Druid history. Philip Carr Gomm is writing the foreword for which I am deeply honored.

Some places where I will be teaching, in Pennsylvania, California and Massachusetts:

    May 29, 2015 at 3:30pm to May 31, 2015 at 4:00pm
    119 Cherry Ct Matamoras PA 18336
    Weekend Workshop Hosted by Ellen Evert Hopman
    A Friday night slide show of some common North American trees illustrating their medicinal and magical properties. 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 will 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.Weekend Fee $125 which includes class, lunches, and supplies.Please send fee to Marjorie Forbes Spadoni 119 Cherry Ct Matamoras PA 18336
    If you need to stay over locally we have a Best Western 5 minutes away. Call 484-347-7489 for more info
    September 5-6, 2015
    119 Cherry Ct, Matamoras PA 18336
    Advanced case taking and formula making class with Ellen Evert Hopman, Herbalist AHG . Learn Basic Five Element Theory; seasons, flavors, taste, voice tone, emotions. Learn the basics of Facial Diagnosis; lines, colors, moles, blemishes and learn an advanced formula making technique to design individually crafted remedies for individuals. In-between we will walk outside and meet some of the plants and trees in the garden and make some remedies to take home. Weekend Fee $125 which includes class, lunches, and supplies.Please send fee to Marjorie Forbes Spadoni 119 Cherry Ct, Matamoras PA 18336. If you need to stay over locally we have a Best Western 5 away. Call 484-347-7489 for more info.
    September 25-26-27, Philo, California (near Mendocino)
    Advanced case taking and formula making class with Ellen Evert Hopman, Herbalist AHG. A Friday night lecture on the Doctrine of Signatures. On Saturday and Sunday you will learn basic Chinese Five Element Theory; seasons, flavors, taste, voice tone, emotions and the fundamentals of Facial Diagnosis; lines, colors, moles, blemishes. You will also learn an advanced formula making technique to design individually crafted remedies for individuals. In-between we will walk outside and meet some of the plants and trees in the garden.The Philo School of Herbal Energetics website has information on directions & lodging. $150 for the weekend; register here. Lodging: They do not offer lodging. Please go to the Anderson Valley Chamber of Commerce page for available lodging.
    October 17, 2015 – April, 2016
    Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    The Western Massachusetts School of Herbal Studies
    Intro to Herbalism and Self Care With Ellen Evert Hopman M.Ed. ~ Registered Herbalist AHG author of “Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore“, “A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year”, “A Druids Herbal – Of Sacred Tree Medicine” and other books and DVDs. 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)

More news:
I had a few small articles in the new issue of Aontacht/ Druidic Dawn

Here is a wonderful volunteer opportunity for college students or others who would like to help build housing on a Sioux reservation this summer;

Below you will find the usual assortment of gleanings from the media and *you can order my books from this website and from the other usual places*  Enjoy!







  • You need to be careful when baking bannocks because the fairy folk may come into your house if you do not put a hole in the last cake, or break a piece off of it, of put a live coal on its top. If you don’t do these things, the fairy folk will sing the following:
    Little cake
    Without gap or fissure,
    Rise and let us in!
    …and they will be in!
    (Ronald Black (ed.), The Gaelic Otherworld, 2005, p. 10)


Remembering September 11, 2001 – 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 faced 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 annivesary 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 spurr 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 futhering of violence.