Imbolc blog – A warm January in New England as Brighid walks the land

This Moonth has been rather warm here on the mountain. We started January with a brief spate of snow and cold but soon settled into a pattern of weather that is at least ten degrees warmer than “average” every day. Instead of the expected New England snow we are getting rain. I have started imagining a summer with temperatures that are ten degrees above normal and it is unnerving.

There have been no animals around, no coyotes barking their husky calls at dusk, no deer, bears or moose in the yard. No wild turkeys at the feeders or possums at the compost pile. I am thinking it’s because a local lumber company has been cutting for months, just down the road. My hope is that once they are done and the undergrowth comes back, it will provide food, shelter and an increase in wildlife. The only animals that still seem to be in abundance are the beavers. The pond down the road is expertly blocked up by a mound of silt and chewed branches and is over spilling its banks. States with water issues would do well to think of beavers, they create wetlands wherever they go.

As a good American citizen I have been dutifully trying to keep up with the presidential debates. Last night I tried once again to watch the Republicans. While the Democrats are enthusiastically putting forward new ideas and solutions to improve ordinary citizen’s lives, the Republicans seem fearful. “Americans are terrified” said one of them, going on to declare that ISIL is about to get us and therefore we should be contemplating another invasion of the Middle East. Oddly these are the same people who want everyone to walk around with a gun, despite the fact that thirty three thousand Americans kill themselves and each other every year with guns and the evidence shows that having a gun in the home makes it far more likely that someone in that home will die by accident, homicide or suicide. We sure live in a topsy turvy world.

Besides, how do you wage endless wars and also cut taxes? The sainted Ronald Reagan was mentioned in last night’s debate. But there was not a word about how he grew the military and TRIPLED the national debt. “Voodoo economics” was what we called it at the time.

I was unable to listen to the Republican’s for more than a few minutes. I opted instead to watch the new season of the X-Files on Fox. I can see why Fox wanted that show. If you analyze the plot, besides the usual (and well done) search for extra-terrestrials, the new series is fixated on the idea that the BIG EVIL GOVERNMENT is behind all of the planet’s woes. A perfect propaganda platform for Fox. Watch with a discerning eye and see what I mean.

As I type this it is still January. February 1-2 marks the time of Imbolc, the all-important Fire Festival of the Goddess Brighid, who has been my Patroness for thirty years. On the eve of Imbolc I will put out my clooties (strips of cloth to be used for healing work), a bowl of milk and honey and a dish of oatmeal and butter for Brighid as She passes. I will place a candle in the snow (if we have any!) to burn all night, and make a new “Bride doll” out of straw. Below are some facts about this important Celtic festival, followed by the usual book news and a roundup of the past Moonth’s archeology, religion, herb, nature, political and ethics news. Enjoy!

IMBOLC CUSTOMS

  • Make a Brighid’s cross with your kids
    More…
  • How to lay out a Brighid’s “brat” or cloak
    “A ribbon or piece of cloth exposed on St. Briget’s Eve became endowed with curative powers. It was believed that no work which involved the turning of a wheel should take place on the saint’s day. The placing of a periwinkle in each corner of the kitchen likewise hints at a remote pre-agricultural origin for the festival, but it came to be associated with the pastoral promise of spring, of warmth, new grass, lambs and milk. It is said that the saint placed her foot in water on her feast day so that on that day it begins to warm up each year.”
  • Biddy Boys
  • How to make Bairin-Breac / Barmbrack, a traditional Imbolc bread
  • Song for Brighid (video)
  • Gabhaim Molta Bríghde – Ein traditionelles Lied zu Ehren Brigids. / A traditional song honoring Brigid.Original text Irisch-Gälisch:Gabhaim molta Bríde…
    Ionmhain í le hÉirinn
    Ionmhain le gach tír í
    Molaimis go léir íLóchrann geal na Laighneach
    A’ soilsiú feadh na tíre
    Cean ar óghaibh Éireann
    Ceann na mban ar míneTig an geimhreadh dian dubh
    A’ gearradh lena ghéire
    Ach ar Lá ‘le Bríde
    Gar dúinn earrach Éireann
    English translation:I am praising Bridget
    Who is daughter of Ireland
    She is a daughter of all countries
    We all praise herThe bright light of Leinster
    Bringing light to the country
    The leader of the youth of Ireland
    Our leader of gentlewomenHere comes the dark, hard winter
    Cutting with its sharpness
    But on St. Bridget’s Day
    Ireland’s spring is close by
    Deutsche Version:Ich preise dich, Brigid
    geliebt in ganz Irland
    geliebt von allen
    preisen wir dich.Flamme von Leinster
    erfülle das Land mit Licht
    Jede Frau Irlands liebt dich
    jede gute FrauDer Winter kommt dunkel und kalt
    schneidend und frostig daher
    Aber am Tag Brigids
    Kommt der Frühling zu uns.
  • Virtual Shrine of Brighid  (stop by and leave a prayer)

BOOK NEWS

The book has its own Facebook page and can be pre-ordered now on Amazon.com US or Amazon.com UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The second book is SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN which is also available for pre-order!SecretMedicinesofGarden
    Secret Medicines from Your Garden
    Plants for Healing, Spirituality, and Magic
    Ellen Evert Hopman
    Coming Spring 2016A guided exploration of herbal lore and healing plants found in yards, forests, meadows, and hedgerows
    • Draws on traditional knowledge and remedies from around the world, including Native American, Celtic, and Egyptian traditions
    • Provides simple recipes to safely make herbal remedies from local plants and honey for first aid, immune support, and treatment of common ailments
    • Reveals the “triangle” formula-making system of William LeSassier
    • Explains how to work with plant spirits, herbal astrology, and Animal Spirit Medicine

    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. She reveals the herbal lore surrounding each plant, drawing on traditional knowledge and remedies from around the world, including Native American, Celtic, and Egyptian traditions. She includes recipes throughout so you can make medicines from wild and domesticated plants easily found in yards, forests, meadows, and hedgerows, and she discusses what to plant to ensure you have leaves, berries, and flowers all year.The author reveals how to quickly intuit an unknown plant’s properties using the signatures of plants—universal indications and contraindications based on the form, color, and location of a plant. She includes an in-depth section on honey and Bee Medicine, allowing you to appreciate the labors of these plant-dependent insects. Exploring the magical role of herbs in ancient ritual, Hopman provides recipes for Egyptian temple incense and their sacred medicine known as “Kyphi” or “Kaphet,” used to purify the body, banish insomnia, and promote vivid dreaming. She explores shamanic Plant Spirit and Animal Spirit Medicine as well as herbal astrology. She also explains the “triangle” formula-making system of her herbal mentor William LeSassier to help you develop custom herbal remedies tailored to a person’s unique strengths and weaknesses.Showing how to easily incorporate wild plants into your life to receive their healing benefits throughout the seasons, Hopman reveals the power of the bounty that Mother Nature has provided right at our doorstep.Ellen Evert Hopman has been a teacher of herbalism since 1983 and is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. A Druidic initiate since 1984, she is a founding member of The Order of the White Oak, an Arch Druidess of the Druid Clan of Dana, and a member of the Grey Council of Mages and Sages. The author of several books, including A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, she lives in Massachusetts.

    Healing Arts Press

    ISBN 978-1-62055-557-6

    Spring 2016

Below you will find the usual last Moonth’s gleanings from the media.

*Reminder* you can always purchase signed books from this website and get a *personal note* from the author! (me)

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

NATURE NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

NEWS YOU CAN USE

POLITICS AND ETHICS

 

 

September Blog 2015 – Summer heat continues as the calendar slides into fall

This path Moonth the effects of global warming have been intensely felt – record heat, drought and fires in the western US, and here in New England at the very end of August it still feels like July. By now the weather should be clear, dry and cool but next week the humidity and summer-like temperatures will be bouncing back yet again.

My neighbor reports that he was standing in his yard a few weeks ago and a huge stag came huffing and racing across the yard, pursued by something that was “larger than a coyote”, followed by a coyote. They came crashing through at breakneck speed and if my neighbor had stood seven or so feet closer he could have been trampled. No one on my street can let cats or small dogs out anymore, though some still do. It’s just a question of “when” not “if” the cats get eaten. I found a small poodle half eaten, right next to my driveway, watched over by some very sinister looking vultures.

Apparently scientists released a pack of coy-wolves into a wilderness area nearby about twenty years ago, to help control the deer. Then they issued hunting permits so humans could go in and shoot the deer. Now the coy-wolves have little to eat except domestic animals; cats, dogs and the occasional old or sick deer. So much for science.

I was privileged to recently spend three hours with a group of indigenous shamans from Columbia. It was a very moving experience. Luckily I speak Spanish so I was able to catch things the translator missed. The shamans (led by a woman) spoke of their struggles with the Colombian government and gave a few details of their sacred practices. One in particular caught my attention. They live around a sacred mountain which they consider to be the navel of the world. They have 54 sacred sites that they visit on a circuit to feed the Land Spirits. They need to offer payment or gifts to keep the land healthy. They give simple things like shells, fluffs of cotton, etc. to sacred trees, rocks, rivers, the ocean, etc. They showed how apartment buildings are being put on top of the sacred rocks and how fences are keeping them away from sacred trees (they climb over the fences now, just to get to the sites). They showed highways and trash dumps on top of some of their sacred sites. It was very sad.

When they “make payment” at sacred sites they do it for their own lands and also for all peoples on the Earth.

They said the damming of rivers and pollution of water, earth, fire and air and the lack of spiritual relationship with the land is causing the weather disasters and sickness they see now. They are very concerned about that.

I asked them what we could do here on Turtle Island (America) and in other places to do the work so the waters and land stay healthy. They said to consult local indigenous tribes to find out where the ancient sacred sites are in your area and if there are no indigenous people left, consult old farmers who might have a memory of such things.

I immediately thought about my own Celtic Druid tradition of course. Most of us are now living in the diaspora and we need to find liminal places in the landscape where we dwell, where the walls between the worlds are thin. I consider that to be one of the most important tasks of a Druid.

Here where I live we have given things like silver coins, fruits, vegetables, grains, milk and flowers to the stones, waters and the soil. If you give to a stream, that water runs into a river and then into the ocean where it laps against all lands, eventually. Even if you just sing to or pray over water it will carry the message.

I wonder if this is one reason we Druids are so scattered now, so we can do this work all over the globe.

You can read more about the indigenous shamans of Columbia (the Mamos) and how to help them here.

When the shamans ended their talks a lot of hugs were shared. They told me and others that we are all one, doing the same work, one heart.

BOOK NEWS

Secret Medicines from Your Garden

Secret Medicines from Your Garden

I have a new herbal SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN coming out in March 2016 (inner Traditions/Healing Arts Press) and we have been putting the finishing touches on the illustrations.

Endorsements are already coming in for my newest Druid book A LEGACY OF DRUIDS, a book of interviews with American, Canadian and British Druids (Moon Books). It should be out late this year or early next year (I haven’t been given a publication date yet).

 

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS

  •  ADVANCED FORMULA MAKING AND CASE TAKING CLASS
    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. $250 for the weekend; register here.
    Lodging: They do not offer lodging. Please go to the Anderson Valley Chamber of Commerce page for available lodging.
  • SIX MONTH HERBAL INTENSIVE IN WESTERN MA (near Amherst)
    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)
    MA NURSES CAN GET CEUS BY TAKING THIS COURSE

“I studied with Ellen Evert Hopman back in the late 90’s. 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

*Below you will find the usual past Moonth’s assortment of links to archaeology, religion, nature and Druid news. Enjoy!*

*And Please Remember!* You can purchase books, DVDs and tree elixirs from this site, and get a signed note from the author.

WAYS YOU CAN HELP THE PLANET

ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

NATURE NEWS

FAIRY NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

NEWS YOU CAN USE

POLITICS AND ETHICS