May Blog 2017 – Beltaine and the Beginning of Summer!

In previous blogs I have mentioned the family of crows and the black squirrel that I fed all winter. Recently they were joined by a small flock of wild turkeys. Initially there were three, a large tom and two hens, now it’s down to just one hen. It may be that the other hen is nesting. It may also be that some hunter killed the tom. There have been a lot of gunshots around the house recently, which makes me very sad.

A hunter told me that wild turkeys don’t taste that good and are a real pain to pluck. So why do hunters take pleasure in killing them for sport? It baffles me.

In celebration of May and the traditional Celtic beginning of summer I offer some activities you can do at this blessed time of year;

Collecting May Dew on a Beltaine morning is an old custom…

Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) wrote several diary entries that mention his wife’s repeated nighttime excursions with either her friends or maid to collect May and June dew.

 

28 May 1667—After dinner, my wife away down with Jane and W. Hewer to Woolwich in order to a little ayre, and to lie there tonight and so gather May dew tomorrow morning, which Mrs. Turner hath taught her as the only thing in the world to wash her face with, and I am contended with it.

 

10 May 1669—Troubled about three in the morning, with my wife’s calling her maid up, and rising herself, to go with her coach abroad to gather May-dew—which she did; and I troubled for it, for fear of any hurt, going abroad so betimes, happening to her. But I to sleep again, and she came home about six and to bed again, all is well.

In his Natural History of Ireland (1652), Dr. Gerard Boate gives instructions on how to best collect and preserve dew:

The English women, and gentlewomen in Ireland, as in England, did use in the beginning of the Summer to gather good store of Dew, to keep it by them all the year after for several good uses both of physick and otherwise, wherein by experience they have learnt it to be very available. Their manner of collecting, and keeping it was this. In the month of May especially, and also in part of the month of June, they would go forth betimes in the morning, and before Sun-rising, into a green field, and there either with their hands strike off the Dew from the tops of the herbs into a dish, or else throwing clean linnen cloaths upon the ground, take off the Dew from the herbs into them, and afterwards wring it out into dishes; and thus they continue their work untill they have got a sufficient quantity of Dew according to their intentions. That which is gotten from the grass will serve, but they chuse rather to have it from the green corn, especially Wheat, if they can have the conveniency to do so, as being perswaded that this Dew hath more vertues, and is better for all purposes than that which hath been collected from the grass or other herbs. The Dew thus gathered they put into a glass bottle, and so set it in a place where it may have the warm Sun-shine all day long, keeping it there all the Summer; after some days rest some dregs and dirt will settle to the bottom; the which when they perceive, they pour off all the clear Dew into another vessel, and fling away those settings. This they doe often, because the Dew doth not purge it self perfectly in a few dayes, but by degrees, so as new dregs (severed from the purer parts by the working of the Dew, helped on by the Sun-Beams) do settle again; of the which as often as those good women see any notable quantity, they still powre off the clear Dew from them: doing thus all Summer long, untill it be clear to the bottom.

 

The dew thus thoroughly purified looketh whitish, and keepeth good for a year or two after.

Violet, Rose or Dandelion Jelly

Fill a glass jar with either Dandelion flowers (Taraxacum officinale) (remove the stems and green sepals from the Dandelion flowers or they will be bitter) or fragrant old fashioned Tea style rose petals (Rosa spp.) (Please do not use the genetically engineered scentless varieties), or Blue Violets (Viola odorata). Pour enough boiling hot water over the flowers until the jar is filled. Allow the jar to sit overnight.

 

Strain out the flowers and reserve the liquid. For every two cups of liquid add the juice of one lemon and a package of powdered pectin*. Place the liquid in a non-aluminum pot and bring to a boil. Add a tiny piece of butter (to prevent froth) and four cups of organic cane sugar and bring to a boil again. Boil hard for one minute; pour into clean jars and seal.

 

*Some people feel that the liquid pectin works better these days.

Violet Flower Syrup

The flowers of Viola odorata and Viola canina are made into a syrup that is laxative and lowers a fever. It is also taken for epilepsy, insomnia, jaundice, sore throat and headache. To make the syrup;

 

Pour freshly boiled water over an equal volume of flowers

 

Steep 10 hours and then strain out the flowers

 

Reheat the liquid adding an equal portion of fresh flowers

 

Let stand for 10 hours

 

Do this several more times then bring to a simmer, cool slightly, and add honey until a syrup consistency is reached.

Excerpts from  SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN (order via this website or find it in the usual places!)

May Day is also a traditional time for political marches and protests. Here are a few useful links;

BOOK NEWS

“An excellent book, detailing the story of a healer thrust into the political games played between the Druids and the Christian priests with the throne of the kingdom as its playing surface. Hopman writes an excellent tale that weaves around the intricacies and beauty of what the life of a Druid may have been like during the initial “invasion” of the Christian beliefs into the islands of Britain. The detail placed into the various ritualized aspects of the cycles of Life is a superb basis upon which the entire tale is painted. Character development is extremely strong, and the pacing of the story is quite good through most of the book. The final two chapters of the book are absolutely staggering in the depth of insight through the characters’ eyes”

The next two books in this trilogy are “The Druid Isle” and “Priestess of the Fire Temple – A Druid’s Tale”, available on Amazon or get  signed copies of all three books from me via this website!

Below you will find the usual collection of archeology, climate, nature, herb, health, religion, Celtic, Druid, and ethics news. Enjoy!

*Reminder – you can order books from this site and get a copy signed by the author and a personal note!*

ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

CLIMATE AND NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

 

March Blog 2017 – Record warmth in the middle of winter

It has been oddly warm up here on the mountain. Last Saturday there was a confirmed tornado less than an hour away from me, a never before seen event in February here in Massachusetts. This week we are supposed to careen between record warmth and cold (but not cold enough to snow or have a hard freeze). It hardly feels like New England any more.

As many of you know there was recently a call to do a magical working to stop Trump.   As I saw it, this was a spell to protect the people and the Earth from the ravages of his climate change denying and pro-billionaire (not the common folk) administration.

I am not a Biblical scholar. But the night before I kept getting the message to look at Revelation 20. I didn’t know where that came from and I had no idea what it was about so I looked it up. It was eerily appropriate;

“The Thousand Years 

20 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.”

The spell as it was written called on “demons” but I didn’t call any “demons” because I don’t know what those are, really, and I have no relationship with them whatsoever. And when I called on the ancestors Jefferson, Adams, and Washington showed up which was a surprise. They were, after all, the ones who penned freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly into the Constitution, rights which are currently under threat. When it was done I sent the cleared, clean energy to every corner of the USA, adding in a Sanskrit mantra of peace for good measure.

This past Yule a Druid friend sent me a painting he did of the Morrígan, the ancient Celtic “Great Queen” and battle Goddess. She is depicted in a flowing red dress, holding two spears, and accompanied by three crows (or ravens). The odd thing is I had a dead crow in my driveway this winter, a large beautiful, impossibly black bird over a foot in length from beak to tail. I buried it with reverence near my front door.  Ever since I have been privileged to host three huge black crows (or ravens?) at my bird feeder every day.

Is this a coincidence? Or am I being “chosen” by the Morrígan in my later years? I have been a devotee of Brighid, the Patroness of Druids and Bards and Goddess of Poetry, Smithcraft and Healing, for the past thirty years. I admit that I spend a lot of time every day worrying about Trump and thinking of ways to get the word out, to protect the nation, the Earth and her creatures. Perhaps I am destined for a rather feisty old age.

Below you will find the usual collection of archeology, herb, climate and nature news, and of course politics and ethics. And a few announcements about my books and workshops. Please enjoy the read!

*And remember that you can order signed copies of my books from this website!*

BOOK NEWS

  • Inner Traditions has submitted Secret Medicines from Your Garden for a COVR award.

    Please share the below entry and voting link with your friends, family, and followers!

    SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN –  vote here -> Health and Healing Books

    Votes from the general public will count 40 percent toward the total score. Votes from COVR members will count 60 percent.Voting opened Feb 20 and will end March 5, Winners and Finalists will be announced on March 20.For more details visit the COVR website.

NEWS YOU CAN USE

CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS

MORE BOOK NEWS

ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

CLIMATE AND NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS