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

     

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

ANTHROPOLOGY AND FOLKLORE NEWS

HERB NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

FAIRY NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

A Druid’s Web Log – Beltaine (May Day) 2016

After a very warm winter we were suddenly assaulted by below freezing temperatures and even snow earlier this month. As a result the Day Lillies and other early spring plants are looking very crisp around the edges. My garden is usually glorious this time of year. Now the plants are confused and there are very few Spring flowers.

Last weekend I visited the wilderness area down the road with some friends. We walked on a sandy beach and noticed giant wolf-like paw prints (probably Coy-wolves) in the sand and we were treated to the sight of Bald Eagles wheeling overhead, doing their aerial dance. Birch trees were dressed in their new catkins and the skunk cabbages were up on schedule. It’s comforting to know that some things are still happening as they should.

It will be Beltaine (May Day) in a few days, the official start of summer in Celtic areas. Modern celebrants like to observe on May 1 but in ancient times it was the blooming of the Hawthorn trees that heralded the festival. In my area that won’t happen until at least mid-May. Keep an eye on your local Hawthorn trees, or find out when the herds start migrating back up into the hills, for a more accurate assessment of the official start of summer wherever you are.

The US elections are growing nearer. Please consider the Earth and her creatures when you select a candidate. We have very little time left to save fragile wildlife and preserve human health and wellbeing.

Below you will find the usual Moonthly offerings of archeology, nature, herb, health, religion and ethics news. Enjoy!

BOOK NEWS

A REVIEW

  • Ellen Evert Hopman, A Legacy of Druids: Conversations with Druid leaders of Britain, the USA and Canada, past and present“A Legacy Of Druids presents a collection of interviews from some of the most prominent druids in the community, including Philip Carr-Gomm, Mara Freeman, Ceisiwr Serith, Arthur Uther Pendragon and even Ronald Hutton. What perhaps makes them particularly interesting is that these interviews were conducted around 20 years ago, making A Legacy Of Druids a window into the recent past, which is intriguing to compare and contrast with the current landscape of the Druid community today.For me, Druidry has been one of the harder Pagan paths to grasp, as what Druidry actually is always seems to be rather difficult to pin down (even within the context of Paganism, which is itself hard to pin down). This book didn’t really answer the question of what exactly Druidry is – what it did do, however, was give a sense of what Druidry is like. All the Druids selected for interview in this book approach their path from different ways, but after a while you see some patterns emerge that help to distinguish Druidism from other Pagan paths. I noticed that a large percentage of Druids in A Legacy Of Druids had experienced vivid visions and supernatural experiences, and that there’s a particular emphasis on comparing Druidry with Native American traditions – you could sum up Druidry as “Pagan/Celtic Shamanism.”Many of the questions asked in the interviews are the same, which means that there is a little repetition and overlap in answers. But each interview has its own points of interest, and I particularly liked the interviews with Ceisiwr Serith (a lot of surprising truths revealed), Arthur Uther Pendragon (one of Druidry’s most colourful and outspoken individuals), Rollo Maughfling, and Isaac Bonewits (his dealings with Anton La Vey were particularly intriguing). For me, the interview that stood out the most was with Ronald Hutton. I’m a little biased as I’m a big Hutton fan, but it was really fascinating to hear more about his personal life and views. As always, A Legacy Of Druids proves the general rule that a book with Hutton’s name in it usually has something of merit.A Legacy Of Druids is a solid resource for those interested in the history of modern Druidry and more about the lives of those who have made the community what it is today.”
  • An author interview I did with a fellow in India
  • How I became an Herbalist 

RECENT PODCASTS

ANOTHER LEGACY OF DRUIDS REVIEW

  • A Legacy of Druids “Provides a better-rounded picture than the stereotypical television portrayal of Druids as rebellious savage that Roman soldiers felt compelled to slaughter.
    A common belief was Druids did not leave written history because to write something down would cause the memory to go. If this is true or not, I don’t know. The best way to understand Druids is to talk to them, rather than pick up information from self-proclaimed experts on the Internet.Author Ellen Evert Hopman gathers Druids from all walks of life including politicians, spiritual leaders, poets, and musicians. It is a nice collection because no one is alike, which means the interviewees while having a shared faith didn’t always have the same practices, rather like almost any other religion.
    I applaud Hopman for her effort and research. She’s not just a woman in search of an interesting topic, but an archivist of sorts, gathering her own faith history as  Archdruid of the Tribe of Oak.The Legacy of Druids is a much-needed book that demonstrates not all Druids s are bearded old men. Now, there’s nothing wrong with an elder in a ceremonial robe, but it’s also okay sometimes just to be another person standing in line at the water and soil conservation center waiting to get his or her rain barrel. It’s excellent read to expand your horizons.”

*REMINDER – you can order signed copies of my books from this website. You will receive a signed copy with a personal note!*

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS

  • A PLANT TALK IN MASSACHUSETTS
    May 15
    Pelham, MA 1 PM – 3:30 PM
    A lecture on The Doctrine of Signatures, an ancient plant classification system
  • A TREE WORKSHOP IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
    Tree Magic and Medicine class with Ellen Evert Hopman
    July 23,24 2016
    Misty Meadows Herbal Center
    183 Wednesday Hill Road
    Lee, NH 03861
  • AN HERBAL INTENSIVE IN MASSACHUSETTS
    My usual six month herbal intensive in the Amherst area starts October 15, 2016
    Cost: $1000 plus a $100.00 nonrefundable Xeroxing fee
    Please contact me for more details.

Stay tuned for more workshops and events…

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

 NATURE NEWS

 RELIGION NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS