May Blog 2017 – Beltaine and the Beginning of Summer!

In previous blogs I have mentioned the family of crows and the black squirrel that I fed all winter. Recently they were joined by a small flock of wild turkeys. Initially there were three, a large tom and two hens, now it’s down to just one hen. It may be that the other hen is nesting. It may also be that some hunter killed the tom. There have been a lot of gunshots around the house recently, which makes me very sad.

A hunter told me that wild turkeys don’t taste that good and are a real pain to pluck. So why do hunters take pleasure in killing them for sport? It baffles me.

In celebration of May and the traditional Celtic beginning of summer I offer some activities you can do at this blessed time of year;

Collecting May Dew on a Beltaine morning is an old custom…

Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) wrote several diary entries that mention his wife’s repeated nighttime excursions with either her friends or maid to collect May and June dew.

 

28 May 1667—After dinner, my wife away down with Jane and W. Hewer to Woolwich in order to a little ayre, and to lie there tonight and so gather May dew tomorrow morning, which Mrs. Turner hath taught her as the only thing in the world to wash her face with, and I am contended with it.

 

10 May 1669—Troubled about three in the morning, with my wife’s calling her maid up, and rising herself, to go with her coach abroad to gather May-dew—which she did; and I troubled for it, for fear of any hurt, going abroad so betimes, happening to her. But I to sleep again, and she came home about six and to bed again, all is well.

In his Natural History of Ireland (1652), Dr. Gerard Boate gives instructions on how to best collect and preserve dew:

The English women, and gentlewomen in Ireland, as in England, did use in the beginning of the Summer to gather good store of Dew, to keep it by them all the year after for several good uses both of physick and otherwise, wherein by experience they have learnt it to be very available. Their manner of collecting, and keeping it was this. In the month of May especially, and also in part of the month of June, they would go forth betimes in the morning, and before Sun-rising, into a green field, and there either with their hands strike off the Dew from the tops of the herbs into a dish, or else throwing clean linnen cloaths upon the ground, take off the Dew from the herbs into them, and afterwards wring it out into dishes; and thus they continue their work untill they have got a sufficient quantity of Dew according to their intentions. That which is gotten from the grass will serve, but they chuse rather to have it from the green corn, especially Wheat, if they can have the conveniency to do so, as being perswaded that this Dew hath more vertues, and is better for all purposes than that which hath been collected from the grass or other herbs. The Dew thus gathered they put into a glass bottle, and so set it in a place where it may have the warm Sun-shine all day long, keeping it there all the Summer; after some days rest some dregs and dirt will settle to the bottom; the which when they perceive, they pour off all the clear Dew into another vessel, and fling away those settings. This they doe often, because the Dew doth not purge it self perfectly in a few dayes, but by degrees, so as new dregs (severed from the purer parts by the working of the Dew, helped on by the Sun-Beams) do settle again; of the which as often as those good women see any notable quantity, they still powre off the clear Dew from them: doing thus all Summer long, untill it be clear to the bottom.

 

The dew thus thoroughly purified looketh whitish, and keepeth good for a year or two after.

Violet, Rose or Dandelion Jelly

Fill a glass jar with either Dandelion flowers (Taraxacum officinale) (remove the stems and green sepals from the Dandelion flowers or they will be bitter) or fragrant old fashioned Tea style rose petals (Rosa spp.) (Please do not use the genetically engineered scentless varieties), or Blue Violets (Viola odorata). Pour enough boiling hot water over the flowers until the jar is filled. Allow the jar to sit overnight.

 

Strain out the flowers and reserve the liquid. For every two cups of liquid add the juice of one lemon and a package of powdered pectin*. Place the liquid in a non-aluminum pot and bring to a boil. Add a tiny piece of butter (to prevent froth) and four cups of organic cane sugar and bring to a boil again. Boil hard for one minute; pour into clean jars and seal.

 

*Some people feel that the liquid pectin works better these days.

Violet Flower Syrup

The flowers of Viola odorata and Viola canina are made into a syrup that is laxative and lowers a fever. It is also taken for epilepsy, insomnia, jaundice, sore throat and headache. To make the syrup;

 

Pour freshly boiled water over an equal volume of flowers

 

Steep 10 hours and then strain out the flowers

 

Reheat the liquid adding an equal portion of fresh flowers

 

Let stand for 10 hours

 

Do this several more times then bring to a simmer, cool slightly, and add honey until a syrup consistency is reached.

Excerpts from  SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN (order via this website or find it in the usual places!)

May Day is also a traditional time for political marches and protests. Here are a few useful links;

BOOK NEWS

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The next two books in this trilogy are “The Druid Isle” and “Priestess of the Fire Temple – A Druid’s Tale”, available on Amazon or get  signed copies of all three books from me via this website!

Below you will find the usual collection of archeology, climate, nature, herb, health, religion, Celtic, Druid, and ethics news. Enjoy!

*Reminder – you can order books from this site and get a copy signed by the author and a personal note!*

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A Druid’s Web Log – May Day 2015 – volcanoes, earthquakes and a new British princess

May is named after Maia, “the great one”, the Italic goddess of spring, and the wife of Vulcan. This May is off to an explosive start, with volcanoes erupting and earthquakes in Nepal and the English got a new princess, the first one who is eligible to reign from birth and will not be passed over by a male sibling. She managed to be born at the Full Moon on Beltaine (May Day) which in some religious traditions is considered the most powerful Full Moon of the year. The Buddha was born on the May Full Moon and also achieved enlightenment on the May Full Moon. He did that latter by sitting under a Bodhi Tree, of course. May is the time when the sap is rising and most powerfully in the days leading up to the Full Moon. Maybe that rising tide helped to raise his kundalini. That’s my thought.

Here on the mountain the oak leaves are “the size of a mouse’s ear” which means it is time to plant corn. I set out just three mounds of the traditional corn, squash and beans. Living in an oak forest it is hard to find enough sunlight, except very close to the house. I also left offerings of milk and homemade corn bread on the Fairy Altar on Beltaine (May Day). Judging by the wreckage around the Altar it looks like the Fairies had quite a celebration. According to tradition they always “move house” on the cross quarters (Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasad and Samhain) so the careful householder will be sure to leave out refreshment for them at those times.

Last winter I had a tribe of male turkeys who came to the bird feeders every day. They did not appear this winter, sadly, but a few weeks ago a solitary female turkey began showing up, accompanied by a huge brown and yellow butterfly that stuck around for days. Those feel like good omens.

In ancient Ireland the time of Beltaine was calculated by the blooming of the Hawthorn Tree so every Druid had to keep watch. Once the Hawthorn bloomed it was safe to send the herds up to the hills. In these parts the trees haven’t even put out leaves yet, but the daffodils are making a carpet of yellow, announcing the return of the summer sun.

Below you will find the usual archeological fare, plus nature, religion and herb news. I have included a few actions you can take to help Nepal and the planet.

Blessings of the summer on all who read this!

*Remember – you can purchase signed books from this website!*

  • The Patrick McCollum Foundation (a Pagan charity) is collecting donations for the earthquake victims in Nepal. We have direct connections in both Katmandu and in the mountain regions that have been affected. Please make a notation on the form provided on the website that the donation is for the Nepal earthquake victims. Donations can be made online at: www.patrickmccollum.orgUpdates on Nepal will be posted as new information comes in.
    Peace & Blessings,
    Rev. Patrick McCollum
  • Nepal Aid Update:
    Hi All,
    I wanted to update you on the Patrick McCollum Foundation’s earthquake aid to the victims in Nepal.  We have forwarded all donations made so far to our team members in the area and relief is in progress as I write.  All monies are being used to purchase tents, blankets, medical supplies and food.  The process of delivering these to the remote mountain villages is difficult, but we have people in place that are able to do so.  The first delivery is in process as I write.The Patrick McCollum Foundation will continue to accept donations and make successive deliveries as the funds are collected.I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to those who have donated so far both from the Patrick McCollum Foundation and from the people of Helambu Nepal.  Your generosity for some means the difference between life and death, and for others serves as a ray of hope among an otherwise horrendous situation.Please share our campaign widely.  We need more donations.  The death toll is still rising and many are at risk.Remember, this region is the origin of Namaste which translates into “My heart sees your heart”.  Let’s show them that we see them and we care!We are one of a few small NGOs who are responding to the area hardest hit and your support really does make a difference.  100% of all donations go directly to the people affected.
    Blessings,
    Rev. Patrick McCollum
    Donations can be made online at: www.patrickmccollum.org
  • Prayers for Nepal
  • A powerful video about the Earth and human consciousness (video)
  • A prominent defender of Tara has passed to the Otherworld
  • Muirean ni Bhrolchain speaks at “Harpers For Tara” (video)
  • Muireann RIP
    by “Charles Burgess”
    Thought that somehow someday
    we would surely meet again…
    Dissolve from mist amidst the green
    and dissolve back again.
    Swore we’d walk these circles
    tracing time across the sky,
    Waking life and mystery
    walking side by side…
    Felt the firelight flicker,
    felt the sweet repeat of rhyme,
    Heard the ancient stories traded
    yours for mine, yours for mine.
    Sure that song would wrap us ’round
    our faces flush with wine,
    Talking of beloved Tara,
    Smiling with a sigh….
    Soon the sun will rise upon
    the Vale of Tara-Skryne
    The gifts you gave the waking world
    in golden light will gleam,
    And we will treasure memories,
    in written words and reveries,
    of our Ard Ollamh, Seanachí,
    Who fought for future history,
    Who spoke like Tara’s Queen.
    A Muireanne, rest blessed, in peace.
  • ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT HOMEOPATHY
    Dear Friends:
    The Food & Drug Administration recently began hearings on the regulation of homeopathy.  When the FDA was established in the late 1930s, homeopathics were specifically exempted from the usual drug approval process,  because they had been successfully regulated since the late 1800s by the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the U.S. (HPUS).
    If the FDA succeeds in applying to homeopathy the same yardstick theoretically applied to pharmaceuticals — viz., proof of safety and efficacy through clinical trials costing billions – homeopathy will be dead in America.  No manufacturer of homeopathic remedies could afford clinical trials on the hundreds of remedies that have been used safely and successfully for over two hundred years.
    You may be saying to yourself that this is ridiculous – and I would agree.  But I’ve attached an article I wrote setting forth what I think is happening here.  I urge you to read it.
    If you’ve benefited from homeopathy, I also urge you to write the FDA.  Public comments on their proposed course of action (which remains vague) are accepted up to June 22.
    In writing, here are some points to consider.Take what you need and leave the rest:The FDA is not interested in any anecdotes about how much homeopathy has helped you or your family.  It might be more useful to write about how conventional medicine failed you, if that was your experience.

    Homeopathy has been used successfully for over two hundred years.  How many conventional medical treatments have lasted that long?  Homeopathy persists because it works, not because those who use it are loonies.

    This is merely the latest in a long history of attempts by orthodox medicine to kill homeopathy, starting with the establishment of the American Medical Association.  If you want the full story, read Harris Coulter’s Divided Legacy.Nowhere in the FDA hearing announcement is there a definition of what is meant by “homeopathic.”  The announcement refers to “human drug and biological products labeled as homeopathic” without definition or examples.  The FDA continually confounds “drugs” and homeopathic remedies.  The two are totally different.

    According to the FDA announcement, “Negative health effects from drug products labeled as homeopathic have been reported through the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System and the National Poison Data System (NPDS), which is maintained by the American Association of Poison Control Centers and tracks human poison exposure cases. Data in the NPDS pertaining to homeopathic drug products is tracked under the category ‘Homeopathic Agents.’”  Nowhere are these “negative health effects” explained or elaborated.  No data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System is cited, and as the attached shows, Poison Control data doesn’t reliably distinguish between homeopathics, herbal products, and dietary supplements.

    The FDA does not understand homeopathy and how useful it has proven, particularly in epidemics.  The FDA falsely claims that homeopathic remedies “can cause side effects, drug interactions, and allergic or other adverse reactions.”  Drugs, which work biochemically, can indeed do all these things; homeopathic remedies, which work energetically, do not.Homeopathic remedies are non-toxic, unlike the pharmaceuticals and GMOs the FDA promotes.  Why does the FDA feel compelled to attack a safe, proven system of healing like homeopathy when the agency is not doing a decent job of making sure people don’t die from OTC and prescription drugs?  (For more on this, see the new documentary “Bought” by Jeff Hays.)

    This is not about our health and safety but about achieving a monopoly for the pharmaceutical industry.  If safety were the true motivating factor, the FDA would be holding hearings on acetaminophen, laxatives, cosmetics, and proton pump inhibitors, all of which are sold over-the-counter and all of which had more “poison exposure cases” than homeopathic remedies.

    At risk is our right to choose what goes into our bodies or the bodies of our children.  It is no accident that the FDA hearings coincide with a move in California to make vaccinations mandatory and in Australia to withdraw welfare from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.

    We live in difficult times.  It is frightening that we have to fight for our rights to a safe environment, healthy food, and the kind of healthcare we want.

  • ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
    Ask Bill Gates to divest from fossil fuels in his investment portfolio

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