September blog – Enjoying the dregs of the summer

The big news here on this New England mountain is the drought. My elderberry bush is strangely lop sided this year; one half dried up and dying and the other half bending low with berries. The rowan (Mountain Ash) trees are suffering the most, with crinkled up leaves they appear to be at deaths’ door. I take heart from a story my brother once told me. He lives in Texas where there was a severe drought for three years. It was so bad that the oaks lost their leaves for the entire period. But once the rains returned, so did the leaves.

A few weeks ago I had a strange encounter with a hummingbird on the back patio where I have never had hummingbird feeders. In past years at this time my garden has been filled with roses and pink phlox. Now, due to the drought I have half as many flowers. One day I went out and a hummingbird started dive bombing my face. It was clearly trying to tell me something because it hovered for a minute or so at my eye level, chirping all the while. I got the message. I immediately got into the car and went out and bought a Hummingbird feeder.

Hummingbirds are powerful little animals. In Inca tradition they are the intermediaries with the angelic realms and help one to achieve the impossible.

This house is on a well and last week the well actually went dry and I had to wait a day before the pressure was high enough to turn on the faucets. I am getting used to a new routine; watering plants by hand from empty milk jugs, channeling grey water from the kitchen sink directly into the garden, squeezing out my laundry before I put it on the line to dry and saving the water to pour on the roses, only watering in the early morning and in the evening to prevent evaporation.

(Speaking of drought,  here is an article about a farmer who is succeeding with very little water )

The other big project around here is gathering acorns. I went down to a local lake and found a hollowed out stone and another stone that fits neatly into my hand, to use as a mortar and pestle/acorn smasher. My plan is to crack the acorns, leach them, dry the leached nuts, and grind them into flour. So many people I know have oak trees, it’s a wonder that we aren’t all making use of this amazing food source that was once a staple food of our ancestors.

Here is a little recipe from my newest herbal “Secret Medicines >From Your Garden”;

Acorn Cake

  •  1 cup olive or coconut oil
  • 1 cup acorn flour
  • 1 cup other organic flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground Cardamom
  • ½ tsp. ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground Allspice
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • ½ cup Applesauce
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • Some powdered sugar to dust on top
  • Butter to grease the pan

 Method:

  • Grease and flour a Bundt pan
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix the dry ingredients and spices in a bowl
  • Beat the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl
  • Combine the wet and dry mixtures and pour into the Bundt pan
  • Bake 30-40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Take out of the oven, allow to cool for 15 minutes, and then turn out on a rack.
  • Once the cake is completely cooled dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar.

How to process acorns
How to make acorn flour

FALL EQUINOX

The Equinox falls on September 22 this year. Here are some suggestions for how to honor the Devas and Land Spirits who have labored long and hard to create the bounty of our forests, fields and gardens;

Fall Equinox, Meán Fomhair, Alban Elfed (September 22)

  • Make offerings to a sacred fire; dry herbs, whiskey, butter, ghee
  • Pour milk offerings on stones
  • Offer ale and oatmeal gruel to the sea
  • Pour ale, honey, cider or milk on the Earth
  • Make a scarecrow from the new grain and place it in the exact center of your fields. Do not give it clothes. The Spirit of the Grain will inhabit the scarecrow and look out for the welfare of the crops.

ACTION ALERT

“A suspected Native American burial ground is slated for destruction during the high holy days of the Algonquian people who live here.  This is our time to memorialize the deceased and to celebrate life. All Tribal representatives were banned from inspecting this site, contrary to Federal policy (Bureau of the Interior, Section 106 and Bulletin 38) and in violation of MGL 114, Massachusetts burial protection law.  The law is designed to prevent “alienation of a burial ground for any other purpose,” but is being loop holed in this case.”

Please read and consider signing this petition to allow Native American tribal officers to inspect a suspected burial ground before it’s destroyed:

Please share to all your friends on various social networks.  This petition is being sent to the Hopi, Dineh, Oglala Lakotah, and several other First Nations offices.  A copy of this petition has been sent to President Obama, who is vacationing through the Algonquian holy days in the backyard of the Aquinnah Wampanoag, ironically.

Nahuhnushagk,

Rolf Cahat

Akwesasne Mohawk Tribal Member, Nipmuc descendant, science editor and researcher of Native American culture and religion, resident of Shutesbury

ANOTHER ACTION ALERT

We the people ask the federal government to call on Congress to act on an issue:

Stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline which endangers the water supply to Native American reservations.

Created by C.S. on August 15, 2016

“The Dakota Access pipeline is set to be constructed near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, crossing under the Missouri River which is the only source of water to the reservation. The pipeline is planned to transport approximately 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The potential of oil leaks would contaminate the only source of water for the reservation. While Dakota Access claims oil leaks are unlikely, an oil leak from a separate pipeline in North Dakota was discovered (8/15/16) to have leaked over 500 barrels of oil since the leak began on July 19, 2016. You can read the article here. A leak like this from the Dakota Access pipeline would leave the Standing Rock Sioux without any clean water”.

BIG BOOK NEWS

OK, this really is  BIG. The International Herb Association has chosen “Secret Medicines from your Garden” for their Thomas DeBaggio Annual Book Award – announced at their annual conference, held this year in Columbia, MD, August 18-21.

As I said to them; “Please tell the participants that I am very honored to be chosen. I am the kind of person who goes to a dinner party and points out the poison ivy growing by the front door to the hostess and also the edible tips of the hemlock trees growing in the yard. I see clippings from river birch trees lying in a pile at the edge of the garden and I tell anyone within earshot that they would make a great tea. These kinds of sentiments are not always understood (or appreciated) by a busy hostess at a dinner party! But I am sure plant people will understand. (smile).”

You can purchase a signed copy of the book from me via this website or find it in the usual places! The amazing thing is the book contains magical as well as medicinal uses of herbs. Apparently herb magic is no longer threatening to the general public (or at least to Herbalists!)

Article  about SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN, the award the book just received and some local classes….

And an author interview here

WORKSHOPS AND CLASSES

  • THE HERBAL AND SPIRITUAL PROPERTIES OF TREES
    A slideshow and talk
    September 3rd , Pelham, MA
    Taught by Ellen Evert Hopman, Herbalist and Author.
    Ellen Evert Hopman is the author of  A DRUID’S HERBAL OF SACRED TREE MEDICINE, SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN and other herbals. She  will be discussing the herbal and folklore traditions surrounding common North American trees and harvesting and preparation methods. Trees covered include; Larch, Oak, Hawthorn, Walnut, Pine, Redwood, Eucalyptus, Maple, Birch and many more…
    After the 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.**
  • Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore
    With Ellen Evert Hopman
    Sunday, October 2nd
    11:30 am – 5:30 pm
    $94 prepaid by September 25th
    $104 thereafter
    Crystal Wellness Center Upstairs at Crystal Essence 39 Railroad St., Great Barrington, MA
    To register please call: 413.528.2595
  • HERBAL TRAINING IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS
    October 15, 2016 – April, 2017Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    The yearly six month herbal intensive in the Amherst area starts October 15, 2016
    Cost: $1000 plus a $100.00 nonrefundable Xeroxing fee
    Ellen Evert Hopman is the 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 volumes
    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.

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

LANGUAGE NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

HERB NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

ART NEWS

NATURE AND CLIMATE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

FAIRY NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

*Enjoy the dregs of summer, the heady wine of autumn is on its way! Happy Equinox on September Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:21 AM EDT*

 

 

 

 

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A Druid’s Web Log – Still waiting for the light of Spring

Winter just isn’t letting go in these parts (Western New England) and we still have several inches of snow on the ground. Last night they even had snow in Maryland! What a strange year. I haven’t seen my small troop of five male turkeys in a few weeks. There is still a pile of cracked corn waiting under the bird feeders. I suspect they have gone a courtin’ in the nearby forest. Meanwhile, I am visualizing the herbs and flowers that will soon be blooming in the garden, and making plans for the summer festival season.

This Moonth has been a time of heartbreak for so many. The ongoing holocaust in Syria, the mysterious loss of a Malaysian jet liner (still not found as I type this) and a fatal mud slide in Washington have added to the grimness of the season.

You can help some of the victims of the mud slide by following the links in this account of the tragedy;

Robin Youngblood is a Native American grandmother and world-traveling spiritual teacher. She was caught in the landslide near Seattle on Saturday.

She and a friend rode out the massive wall of mud as it turned her house to sticks.  As rescuers still search for missing neighbors she has started a fund for the families affected.

She says,
“Church of the Earth is setting up a fund for survivors of the Washington Mudslide. If you have anything to spare, all our families lost EVERYTHING!! From toothbrushes to clothes, household goods, and homes. Those of us who are still alive will have to find new homes ~ there’s nothing left to return to. Please send donations through paypal to revrobin@churchoftheearth.org , and we’ll see that the families most in need get your donations. All monies will be equally divided among the families listed with Red Cross, and we will not keep any money for administration costs.”

See more about Church of the Earth

Her story is also featured here.

Another spiritual tragedy of sorts is brewing for Druids in the UK and worldwide. There are plans afoot to build houses for soldiers that will block the Stonehenge sunrise on the Summer Solstice, one of the most important days for Druids and that monument.

You can help to keep that from happening by signing a petition.

SOME PERSONAL STUFF

The biggest news from me is that I am now collaborating with a script writer and an artist to create a graphic novel based on the book PRIESTESS OF THE FOREST – A DRUID JOURNEY. This is a completely new arena and the ultimate goal is to get more attention for the book and hopefully make it available to a producer or director.

***Remember – You can purchase signed copies of my books from this website! ***

BOOK REVIEW

Druid”  by Michael Conneely

Conneely’s book is a fascinating story that toggles between three threads, a knot work of interweaving tales that are at times Celtic fantasy, Science Fiction, Magical Realism and autobiography. The action begins in 428 CE, a period that is very familiar to me, basically because it’s the time frame and setting of my own Celtic novels, and then it careens into the future, then back to the present day.

The book revolves around the legend of Corra, the ancient Land Goddess who Saint Patrick supposedly banished into a lake at the base of the mountain that now bears his name (Croagh Patrick).

Reading the book is a pleasure if you can forget that the Celts probably never called themselves that (they would have identified with their tribal names) and that there was no “Ireland” in 428 AD. Also that Lugh was never a “Sun God” (that is a Victorian conceit) rather a God of skill. Áine (Ir. “brightness, glow, joy, radiance; splendour, glory, fame”) is a better candidate for an ancient Sun deity.

Wiccan (a modern religion circa 1930’s, invented by Gerald Gardner) elements abound in the book such as calling the quarters in ritual (the ancient Celts thought in terms of Three worlds; Land, Sea and Sky and five directions at least). The ancient Celts were also polytheist and did not think of “The union of the Goddess and the God”. Nor did they celebrate eight festivals (the ancient Fire festivals were Samhain, Imbolc, Beltaine and Lughnasad).

Other problems exist. A self-published work, the book is in real need of editing; sudden tense changes in mid-paragraph, typos, misplaced commas, odd lacunae in the type and anachronisms crop up frequently. For American readers the book needs a glossary; words like bothy, dun, geiss, and lough are not explained.

But if you can follow the story with an uncritical eye you will find within it a paean to the Old Woman of Ireland, the Goddess of the Land.  This is a rough gem of a story, penned by a true Druid, a man who passionately loves the soil and the Spirit of Ireland.

EVENTS AND PUBLIC APPEARANCES

Here is a list of my public appearances for this year (so far) Please come by so we can meet and feel free to share this announcement!

  • June 4-9, 2014
    Ellen will be doing workshops at the 2014 annual Dowsers Convention
    Friday, Listening to Trees
    Monday Scottish Fairy Lore
    in Lyndonville, VT www.dowsers.org
  • June 21 and 22, 2014
    Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival Renaissance Faire, Montague, MA
    10:00am to 6:00pm
    Ellen will be signing her books at YE CELTIC BOOKS AND HERBALS
  • September 5-7, 2014
    Tree Medicine Tree Magic
    A weekend intensive in Pennsylvania on making tree medicines
    And learning Irish tree lore
  • Western MA Pagan pride Day
    A talk on Scottish Fairy lore
    Florence, MA
    September 27, 11 AM to 6 PM
  • Herbal Healing Intensive
    October 18, 2014 – April, 2015
    Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    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, and hands on herbal techniques such as poultices, tinctures, salves etc. An herb walk outdoors, slide shows of plants and hands on preparations are included.
    Over 400 pages of handouts are included with the course. A certificate of completion is offered at the end.
  • Changing Times Changing Worlds
    Nov. 7-9, Crowne Plaza in Cromwell, Connecticut
    Ellen will teach a three part Druid Intensive including the Druidic wheel of the Year, the Ogham alphabet and meditating with trees.

Below you can catch up on the past Moonth’s gleanings from the media. Enjoy!

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

NATURE NEWS

DRUID NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

HERBAL NEWS

  • How to tap Maples
  • Birch syrup
  • Sycamore syrup – Sycamore sap flows on warm winter days – days during the January thaw and days during maple syruping season that are too warm for maple sap to flow (when daytime temperatures are greater than 50 – and even 60 – degrees Fahrenheit).
  • How to eat Nettles
  • Nettle Ravioli in Nettle Pasta
  • Nettle bread recipe
    For the Americans:
    2c + 2.5 tsp organic flour
    ½ c. full fat, organic milk
    ½ c. nettle tips
    1.5 tbs. fresh yeast
    6 organic
    free range eggs
    1/3c white sugar
    2.5tsp Cornish sea salt
    1/2c. soft, unsalted, organic butter
  • Amaranth; “All you have to do is eat the weed” (just make sure its growing on an organic farm)
  • Gardening with Wild Plants
  • A fabulous website about Yew trees
  • Irish trees
  • Plantain
  • For those who have been following the Drama, here is your FIRE CIDER UPDATE
    Facebook StoryLast week, the moderators of the Anti-Trademark Fire Cider page (which had over 3000 likes!) were sent messages saying that there has been a formal complaint made by Amy Huebner (Shire City Owner), that we are violating their trademark and rights. From Facebook: “The Fire Cider Anti-Trademark page has been taken down. Facebook does not moderate between parties, please contact the complaining party, Amy Huebner of Shire City Herbals.”We were not surprised! We felt silenced and angry. We were not violating a trademark, because we are not actually selling anything!Well, we are back! We have a new Facebook page.Please like and share!

    Amy’s actions motivated us to create a new website with much more information on it!

    Even though Amy intended to silence us, she pushed us to get more organized and have a central location for all our movement information! Thanks Amy!

    • New Website
      The website has lots of great information about the movement. You can download letters, signs, recipes. Upload information, pictures and more! Check it out!
    • Promotional Materials
      Download promotional materials from the website!

            • General info flyers
            • Recipes
            • Make your own Fire Cider poster
            • Campaign Updates
            • Boycott

      **Before you write or call a store, check the website for the most up to date list of stores who have supported the boycott Fire Cider!

      ** Make sure you upload the information about stores that have decided to make a concious choice to support our mission in protecting our tradition from SCH Fire Cider, so that they are not still getting letters, and our energy doesn’t get wasted!

      **Check the website for 3 different SAMPLE boycott letters! Remember, these are samples! If you don’t like any of them, use your own words!

      **Keep the pressure on! Have a letter writing get-together!

    • Petition
      *It is so empowering to see us all come together to protect our traditions. We have almost 7,500 signatures!*Help us by circulating the petition to reach 10,000 signatures!
    • Flood the Market*We’d love to see coops and health food stores across the country carrying a large selection of LOCAL Fire Ciders! Live in Alabama? Why should your Coop carry a Fire Cider from Massachusetts? And if you live in MA, your Coop could carry Fire Cider made right in the very same town!

      *More info on how to do this! 

    • Volunteer Information*We are hoping to solidify our volunteer coordinator this week!

      *Submit a volunteer form if you would like to lend a hand!

    • Toast to Tradition*On Sunday, March 9th let’s all celebrate Fire Cider. Make a toast to tradition! Share and post your photos on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc

      *Don’t forget to tag Tradition Not Trademark on Facebook or use ‪#‎freefirecider elsewhere!

  • ANOTHER FIRE CIDER UPDATEHappy Spring*Traditional Healers Alliance*
    New Volunteer Coordinators
    Campaign Updates

    Spring Equinox is here! Hooray!

    During the last few cold weeks of winter, the Anti-trademark Fire Cider group has been busy building an organizing structure. Our goals were to:

    • Broaden the Fire Cider movement
    • Incorporate more volunteers into the organizing group
    • To work more efficiently as an organizing group.

    We have decided to call it….(drum roll)……

    The Traditional Healers Alliance!

    It is now spring, and we are happy to share with you the mission statement!

Traditional Healers Alliance: Mission Statement
The Traditional Healing Alliance’s (THA) mission is to protect traditional herbal terms and practices from potential restrictions while keeping these terms and traditions accessible to the general public. This includes remedies, traditionally practicing herbalists, and whole herbs.
THA works to build and unify the herbal community and empower them to feel that they can continue to celebrate traditional healing practices and produce historical, traditional remedies without restriction.

THA’s goals are:
Revoke the Fire Cider Trademark, and protect other common herbal terms from trademark through legal action, awareness campaigns and direct action (boycott, letter writing, petitions).
THA is working to set a precedent in the herbal marketplace. The herbal community will not sit back and watch while our traditional herbal terms are turned into a corporate commodity.
Through it’s advocacy work, THA is raising awareness about traditional remedies and healing.

    • New Volunteer Coordinators

      Along with the organizing infrastructure, we have found 2 new volunteer coordinators! Amy Richards and Rachael Young will be contacting folks and directing them on how to plug into the Anti- Trademark Fire Cider campaign.

      If you have submitted your name, and not heard anything, it is because we have been busy finding the coordinators and creating the structure for you to plug into!

    • Campaign Updates

      Boycott: Still going strong! We are still encouraging folks to write letters and call stores. We have sample letters here.

      Flood the Market: We have lots of new brands of Fire Cider popping up! Keep sending us pictures of your products!

      Petition: We are still trying to get to 10,000! Keep sharing!

      Thank you for your continued support.

      The Traditional Healers Alliance

HEALTH NEWS

FAIRY NEWS

PAGAN NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS (because they are the same thing)