April Blog 2017 Storms are brewing as Spring arrives

We are experiencing yet another round of snow storms on the last day of March as I type. Hungry crows were searching below the bird feeder this morning so I put out some popping corn for them. I have stopped putting out suet and sunflower seeds because I know from experience that this will only attract bears as they emerge from hibernation. My neighbor has a license and a gun and is just waiting to shoot a bear, I don’t want to abet that effort in any way. Last night as I came home there was a large raccoon in the driveway and the owls were talking. Despite the weather the crocuses are up and spring is definitely in the air.

I went to my first town hall recently, here in Massachusetts. I am pleased to say that our representatives were very quiet and polite and actually came to listen, not to tell us what they thought or to demand we shut up or sit down (as representatives in red states have done recently). I learned a few things, for example there are still seventy or so communities here with no broadband access which makes school work and job hunting very difficult.

There were impassioned pleas from farmers who said they depend on immigrants for farm labor. Local towns asked to remain “sanctuary cities” to protect immigrants. Quite a few people said they want single payer Medicare for all.

Here were my own talking points;

  1. Do not cut down our Massachusetts forests to produce energy. In a time of serious climate change we need old trees to sequester carbon. In fact more trees should be planted. DO NOT approve the cutting of trees for wood bio-mass. Farmers should be harvesting methane from cow manure in New England and solar panels should only be put up over parking lots, in vacant fields and already paved vacant lots in cities. Leave the trees standing! I also support turning the Quabbin into a national park where logging is prohibited.
  2. I FULLY SUPPORT SINGLE-PAYER MEDICARE FOR ALL which is the best, most rational and cost-effective option. Employees of existing insurance companies can be re-trained to manage Medicare for all and keep their jobs. I don’t care a fig about the CEOs who are skimming hundreds of millions of dollars a year from the national healthcare budget. Healthcare is a human right, not just a luxury for the rich.

I did not see any of the bitterness and rancor that have characterized other town halls across America. Maybe it’s because we are a Progressive state and Progressives tend to be more compassionate and thoughtful. Who knows.

Save the date: People’s climate march April 29, Washington DC (and hopefully in your own area)

Below you will find the usual roundup of the last Moonth’s archaeology, nature, religion, Celtic, Fairy and book news. Enjoy!

BOOK NEWS

*Reminder – you can buy signed books from this website!*

  • “Hunt The Gowk – April 1
    A “gowk” is a fool, from the Old Norse; “gaukr”. This is a day to play tricks, tell lies, and send people on foolish errands, but the jokes must stop by noon.
  • Tailie Day or Preen-Tail Day – April 2
    The day after Hunt the Gowk, paper tails are attached to a person’s backside as a joke. In past times butchers would save pig’s tails for the boys. Pierced with hooked pins, the tails were attached without anyone noticing.
  • Borrowing Day – April 3
    Anything borrowed on this day becomes the possession of the holder.
  • Whitsunday – Seventh Sunday after Easter
    Another Scottish legal quarter day when rents were once due.

From: SCOTTISH HERBS AND FAIRY LORE (Pendraig Publishing)

  • Last year my book SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN won the annual Thomas DiBaggio award from the International Herb Association. That was my first award from a mainstream group and I felt highly honored.
  • Last Moonth I asked my readers to please vote for my book SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN for a possible Council of Visionary Arts award. Many thanks to everyone who heeded the call! The book won!“COVR is pleased to announce the winners and finalists of the 2017 Visionary Book Awards.The top honor, 2017 Book of the Year, goes to G.W. Wilkins for Apollo the Misguided Missile, submitted by Satiama, LLC.Other winners are:
    • Autobiographical and Biographical Books: Gerardo Ruben Sandoval Isaac, The God Molecule
    • Children’s and Teen’s Books: G.W. Wilkins, Apollo the Misguided Missile
    • Coloring Books: Donna DeNomme, Turtle Wisdom Playbook: A Motivational Coloring Adventure
    • Contemporary Spirituality Books: Klaire D. Roy, The Circle of Initiates – Past and Present
    • Divination Books: Toney Brooks & Holly Sierra, Chrysalis Tarot
    • *Health and Healing Books: Ellen Evert Hopman, Secret Medicines from Your Garden*
    • Iconic Books: Richard Singer, Eastern Wisdom Western Soul
    • Personal Growth and Self-Help Books: Barry Goldstein, The Secret Language of the Heart
    • Reincarnation, Death, and Dying Books: Jeffrey Long, M.D. with Paul Perry, God in the Afterlife: The Groundbreaking New Evidence for God and Near-Death Experience
    • Shamanism and Wicca Books: Christopher Penczak, The Casting of Spells
    • Visionary Fiction Books: Joan Pillen, Fork in the Road: Heroes, Healers and Happy Campers, Adventure Seekers Saga Series, Book Three
  • You can download a complete list of winners and finalists from the COVR website
  • And Druid Magazine just penned a review. On page 87 is a review of A DRUID’S HERBAL FOR THE SACRED EARTH YEAR. It’s kind of weird to see a review of such a classic old book!On page 28 is an excerpt from A LEGACY OF DRUIDS – CONVERSATIONS WITH DRUID LEADERS FROM BRITAIN, THE USA AND CANADA (Moon Books)

CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

CLIMATE AND NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

 

A Druid’s Web Log – Summer arrives! We live in interesting times

At the last Full Moon there was a tribe of coyotes howling outside my kitchen door. I had never quite heard them like that – it was a combination of wolf howls and the gravelly yips one usually hears. They were louder than I had ever heard before – perhaps they were coy-wolves. I knew then that a big change was in the offing. Just a few days later England voted to leave the EU (Scotland and Northern Ireland did not). The stock markets promptly tanked of course and Britain displayed the kind of split that the US will likely see in the upcoming election.

Whenever I hear coyotes that up close and personal I know it means “change”. I suspect that other major surprises are headed our way. We live in interesting times.

My gardens are flourishing I am happy to say, except for a massive invasion of some kind of butterfly or moth caterpillar. They are munching away at the elderberries which I didn’t even think were palatable. I have planted milkweeds for their benefit too, though those seem untouched.

Below you will find the usual gleanings from the archeology, nature, herb and health media and some book and workshop updates. Please enjoy your summer reading!

  • A TREE WORKSHOP IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
    Celtic Tree Medicine and Lore class with Ellen Evert Hopman
    July 23,24 2016
    Misty Meadows Herbal Center
    183 Wednesday Hill Road
    Lee, NH 03861
  • HERBAL TRAINING IN MASSACHUSETTS
    October 15, 2016 – April, 2017
    Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    My usual six month herbal intensive in the Amherst area starts October 15, 2016
    Cost: $1000 plus a $100.00 nonrefundable Xeroxing fee
    My books include; “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”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.

Stay tuned for more workshops and events…

BOOK NEWS

  • Who knew? My books are selling at Walmart! (not sure how I feel about that)
  • SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN a new review
    sgoyk“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. (Publisher’s description)
    Secret Medicines from Your Garden is confidently written by Ellen Evert Hopman and if you are looking for a herbal with only the depths of soil, Latin names and types of sunshine each herb needs, then this is not the book for you. However, if you are like me and want something more, then read on.As you journey through this unique herbal, via chapters on seasonal herbs, herbal astrology, bee medicine and hedgerows are food, medicine and magic, amongst many others of great interest, you will find it to be a concise, informative read. Written with a friendly narrative, which is laced with recipes, meanings and personal stories of the author, it’s a charming and fascinating book that makes you feel a kinship with Ellen.
    As you can see from my photo, I intend to go back to several areas, to reread the information and make use of it. My tabs are on various items from Nettle Bread to Hag’s Tapers, from making a Caudle as an offering to making Ginger Ale. Also, I tagged creating a hedgerow, with plants that will provide food and medicine and a detailed ‘how-to’ on formula making, such as tinctures and poultices.This book is an interesting read, and, as a primer for anyone new to the subject matter, it gives a solid basic knowledge without actually being a dry read, unlike some books in this field which can be.” Edain DuGuay
  • And another nice review;Secret Medicines from Your Garden: Plants for Healing, Spirituality, and Magic, by Ellen Evert HopmanHealing Arts Press, 9781620555576, 384 pp., 2016In Secret Medicines from Your Garden, master herbalist, Druid priestess, and lore mistress Ellen Evert Hopman shares some of her herbal healing wisdom with her own distinct stamp of individuality, elevating this book above and beyond a simple reference book. What takes shape in these pages is a holistic resource for herbalists comprising herbal lore, recipes, and personal anecdotes, making this an ideal companion for anyone seeking an herbal mentor.Rather than offering an appendix of herb names and functions (many are present, and the reader can skim them in some parts), readers get to experience them with Hopman as she retells parts of her journey with plants. In this way, the teaching in this book is alive. Herbalist and author Matthew Wood notes in the foreword, “we feel the thread of the writer’s experience and life running through the pages, unifying diverse lessons into a flowing and almost living narrative,”1 and the result is pretty empowering. One gets the sense that this is Hopman’s goal here.Like herbal healing itself, Secret Medicines from Your Garden instills the reader with a sense of self sufficiency and being supported by the earth. The author, who’s work is testament to this, is clearly committed to her craft and has paved a courageous path for many aspiring herbalists to see. In the introduction, “Walking the Green Path,” Hopman explains a visit to Rome during grad school where she studied art history but “felt a pull to go to the countryside.”2 Following the instruction of a monk, she went to a hillside Franciscan community where she wandered in the wilderness, partook of community baking and community activities for four days. Here, plants called to her, and their voice was so strong it prompted her to “throw out everything [she] was doing.”3 This is when she began working with plants. Reading about her journey inspired me, and reminded me of times I’ve felt a similar pull to change my own path, many of which have been prompted by experiences in nature.Hopman also shares pieces of advice she received that helped her realize the importance of permission to find one’s own way in a creative healing art like herbalism: “After I studied with the First Nations for five years, one of the elders said to me: ‘It’s great that you are learning the ways and honoring our ancestors. But you need to honor your own.”4 It was then she discovered Druidry, and set out to find other Druids, which adds, of course, a unique depth of value to Hopman’s career as a herbal healer. Plants opened a doorway for Hopman that changed her life and worldview. I don’t doubt that for many who read this book it will open doors to doing the same.Hopman offers everything the reader needs to start tapping into, and strengthening, their own connection with plants: in part one, “A Wildcrafting Primer,” Hopman reveals how to intuit a plant’s properties based on their form, colour, location and more. For instance, plants that thrive in the shade tend to be cooling, plants with hollow stems will help clean out tubes in the human body, and so on. Not just with woodland herbs, but ones common in cities like dandelion, nettle, tulip, wisteria, and others.Dandelions, for example, are usually thought to be weeds in cities and suburban areas, but this book shows how they can be used as healing herbs. As well as supporting kidney and liver functions, a small section called “The Energetics of Color,” explains that yellow flowering plants like dandelions can also enhance a sense of personal power. Hopman shares ways to consume dandelion greens (mixed into a salad after being rinsed, or dusting them with flour, salt and pepper and frying in butter), and make dandelion tea from their roots. She also writes that the flowers can be used to make wine. This usage seems way more interesting than my previous experiences using dandelion, which has been limited to buying dried herbs at a bulk store and steeping in hot water and lemon to make a pretty run-of-the-mill dandelion tea.Will I opt to pick dandelions from my downtown Toronto neighbourhood this spring? Maybe not, but Hopman, who lives in a forest in New England, does share some cautions for urban foragers in this section: “Gather plants at least one thousand feet from a roadway to avoid the pollutants that abound there, such as those from car exhaust and brake lining”5 The next time I find myself in a locale that grows dandelions in abundance one thousand feet from a roadway, I’ll be sure to pick some to try out a fresher tea.In part 2, “Exploring Invisible Dimensions of the Plant World,” Hopman looks at animal spirit medicines and herbal astrology, and ways to communicate with plants, including topical sprays, singing to plants, and more. In Parts 3 and 4, “Enjoying Nature’s Bounty” and “Formula Making,” Hopman shares bee medicine and kitchen medicine recipes, including oils, salves, incense, bath sachets, cookies (pine gingerbread, anyone?), and teas for physical and spiritual healing. The book ends with a comprehensive table of constitutional prescribing (treatment using herbs, based on the whole person) and a glossary of contraindications (any reasons to not use certain herbs for example, during pregnancy, or for those with heartburn, etc.),Hopman provides instructions for the “triangle” formula-making system of her mentor, William LeSassier, to help the reader make custom herbal remedies tailored to a person’s unique strengths and weaknesses. She writes that recording this formula and sharing it was one of her major impetuses for writing the book.6 The 18-part system aims to help herbal practitioners design a balanced approach for long-term prescribing, combining cleansing herbs, building herbs, and tonic herbs in the right proportions.Hopman’s Secret Medicines from Your Garden takes the secrecy out of herbal medicine, and makes it accessible and straightforward for readers of all gardening prowess and healing needs.
  • Philip Carr Gomm writes about A LEGACY OF DRUIDS

    Legacy of Druids

    Legacy of Druids

     

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