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 – 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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