December blog 2016 Keeping the faith in the gathering darkness

We are finally getting some rain here on the mountain. The land has been so parched that my well went dry twice. Each time I had to wait days to use the water, relying on sponge baths and bottled fare. I have never seen conditions like this in New England.
The Canada geese left for the winter about a week ago and the local lake seems barren without them. A few wild ducks are hanging on.

I have a new animal neighbor – a black squirrel has appeared here in the oak forest where I have been for thirty years now. It’s the first time I have seen one in my neck of the woods. For me, black birds such as raven and crows have always heralded deep magic, luck and prosperity. I meditated on the meaning of the black squirrel and what I received was the word “gathering”.

Faced as we are with a very backwards looking new administration (“Let’s make America great again” like it was in the good old days when blacks had few rights and women knew their place) the only way we will overcome the bigotry is by “gathering”. Gathering together in our groups, gathering together to share information and resources, gathering together to oppose the primitive agenda of the great kleptocrat (klep·to·crat ˈkleptəˌkrat/ noun: kleptocrat; plural noun: kleptocrats a ruler who uses political power to steal his or her country’s resources) who says he has no reason to put his massive, international business interests into a blind trust because “the rules don’t apply to him”.

We are already seeing this in the gathering of Native Americans at Standing Rock, water protectors from just about every indigenous nation have come together in a historic effort to preserve the water for millions. We are seeing this in the preparations for a million woman march in DC on inauguration day.

Bill Moyers says it all in a powerful essay on where we are now as a nation. This all could have been avoided if half the eligible voters in America had bothered to make their voices heard. Hillary won the popular vote by two million, but the Great Deceiver managed to win the electoral college – at least as of this writing. Folks are also gathering together to try and oust him before December 19. Stay tuned. We live in fascinating times.

I am working on two books at the moment – a re-release of the old classic “Tree Medicine-Tree Magic” and a book about New England Witches. What with herb classes and a day job, I am keeping myself busy.

Below is the usual collection of book news, nature, climate, archealogy, religion, Celtic and ethics news. Looking forward to Winter Solstice and the return of the Light. May we all receive what we wish for.

A million woman march is being planned for January 21 in Washington DC, but local marches are happening too. Here is one: Boston Women’s March – January 21 12PM-3PM (Alternative to DC) Sat 12 PM · Boston Common

And don’t forget the Standing Rock water protectors as they face the coming winter. You can send cash or checks or donate via PayPal.

Checks or cash may be sent to:
Oceti Sakowin Camp
P.O. Box 298, Cannon Ball, ND 58528

*And please consider buying books for Christmas. If you order from this website you get a signed copy with a personal note! Please specify who you want the books signed to!*

Here’s a thoughtful essay on the financial plight of authors

MORE BOOK NEWS

  • On Thursday, December 29 I will be speaking on the radio at 9 PM – you can tune in here.
  • A new literary journal, “Enheduanna”, is born. I have a piece in there! Published just once a year, they are seeking contributions.
  • Legacy of Druids

    Legacy of Druids

    This book is a fascinating collection of interviews gathered together by Ellen Evert Hopman from some of the most influential people in the pagan/druid world covering the USA, Canada and Britain. It offers a unique view into the modern day world of druidry, what gives it an interesting spin is that the interviews were all carried out in and around 1996 – it is a wonderful time hop to see how druidry was perceived then and what the expectations were and compare them to now.

  • Review in “Green Egg” Samhain 2016 edition A Legacy of Druids By Ellen Evert Hopman, along with a forward by Phillip Carr-Gomm. This book is a compilation of interviews done by Ms. Hopman with prominent Druids over the course of the last twenty years. Interviewees include Phillip Carr-Gomm, Isaac Bonewits, and Arthur Uther Pendragon, along with Practitioners in Spirit such as Olivia Robertson and Susan Henssler ,as well as many scholars such as Ronald Hutton.
    This book shows a unique perspective of the history and development of Modern Druidry. This is indeed a must-read book by anyone following the Druid path, as well as anyone interested in Magickal history. One of my personal favorite quotes from the book is by an Anishinaabe, Elder of the Ojibwa:
    “It is time for the old Earth spirituality of the Europeans to start coming back. We are in real trouble if it doesn’t. People really need to start turning to their own ancestors for help. This is what needs to happen. Some people will be afraid of this. Why else would they burn everyone over there? If you’re following the lead of the Old Ones and people are afraid or critical of you, you know you are doing something right”.
    Once again, I give Legacy of Druids my highest recommendation and certainly hope there is a second edition coming, re-interviewing the same people who are available.

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

CLIMATE AND NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

 

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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