January 2014

Druid blessings on the Secular New Year

This past year has been a bear for me. My beloved soul cat died in January, my mother passed in April, my cousin’s ex-husband and my high school boyfriend in November, and my aunt Jackie passed on the Winter Solstice. I have never had a year like this one. On Christmas Eve I actually slept for 12 hours and had a vivid dream that a man with a Kalashnikov rifle was sleeping next to me, to protect me. Let’s hope that 2014 is a kinder and mellower year.

Earlier this month I had a very nice experience at the largest hospital locally. I was invited to be part of a four person panel with a Jewish Rabbi, a Muslim, and a Catholic Priest. We talked about the season and our respective holy days. There was another Catholic Priest in the audience. I started my talk with the Bible quote; “In my Father’s house are many mansions”. I also mentioned that physicists now opine that there are
multiple universes, let alone galaxies. Then I launched into the Druidic Wheel of the Year. We were all very well received, so much so that we have already been invited to speak at another hospital. Interesting that hospitals are places of such glowing hope.

Shortly after that I was on the phone with tech support for computer issues and the person I was speaking with told me he was a Hindu, from India. As we waited for changes to load on my computer I mentioned the Solstice and he Googled it. Then I talked about Stonehenge and its Solstice orientation. He had never heard of that either so he Googled again. We kept talking and I explained that the Celtic religion is the Western fringe of the Vedic, Indo-European tradition that eventually morphed into Hinduism (he was flabbergasted that I knew how to pronounce Sanskrit words like “Atma”). Finally I urged him to read my article on these subjects. It has been a pleasant season for inter-faith work, so far.

As I type there is a flock of five very sleek looking wild turkeys eating the fallen seeds from my bird feeder. The sun is out but we are expecting a classic ‘Noreaster by tomorrow. May the new year be peaceful, happy and prosperous for us all!

BOOK AND BLOG NEWS

  • My Moonthly herbal blog post
  • Check out this site where you can hear excerpts from my novels read in gorgeous British accents!
  • Stumbled upon this old interview today – I had no idea my web person put it on my site!
  • Upcoming workshop in PA
    Tree Medicine Tree Magic
    September 5-7 2014
    Weekend Workshop Hosted by Ellen Evert Hopman (in Pennsylvania)
    A Friday night slide show of some common North American trees illustrating their medicinal and magical properties. On Saturday morning we learn about the Irish “Tree alphabet” and then go outside to perform a traditional Druid tree meditation and learn to listen to the trees. Saturday afternoon we learn more about the “Tree Alphabet” and then gather tree medicines such as leaves, pine needles, flowers, barks, etc. Sunday we prepare medicines from the ingredients we have gathered. Each student  will leave with a hand-made set of Ogham divination cards, based on the ancient Irish Ogham “Tree Alphabet”. Please bring a notebook and pen, and wear comfortable shoes and outdoor clothes as you will be outside part of the weekend.
    Ellen will also have books with her to sell and sign if you are interested.
    $225 covers workshop, all supplies, lodging and meals.

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

 HERB NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

PAGAN NEWS

NATURE NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

 

Summer Solstice 2012

Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who present, past, and future sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walked among the ancient trees.
~ William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience

A lot of folks have been thinking about the tornado we had last year – on June 1. The trees in the yard that lost limbs have started putting out fresh shoots, all along the broken off branches. By next year there will be fresh new twigs along every branch and, I hope, clusters of flowers. Sadly, this year there were no bees at all on my hawthorn tree by the house. In former years it was always covered with bees. (See the Nature News section below for updates on bee colony collapse).

The barn swallows finally gave up nesting in the entranceway. They had rebuilt their nest as usual but the presence of two cats plus one human coming and going proved too much for them. The woods are filled with bird song, however, and I have seen many snakes and toads. Life continues to flourish at a distance from the house.

My long haired, black cat almost died this past month and we still have no idea why. “Fever of unknown origin” was the vet’s diagnosis. I spent a few anguished days forcing water and tuna can liquid into his mouth with a syringe because he wouldn’t eat or drink. I can barely imagine what it must be like for a parent of a sick human child. Happily the cat is his old self again.

BIG BOOK NEWS!

HOW WRITERS CAN HELP EACH OTHER.

  • Publishing is evolving so quickly that it can feel overwhelming. Something that hasn’t changed is the generosity of writers helping each other. Here are some old and new ways for writers to help each other when a new book comes out.

The older, tried and true ways:

  • Support the author by buying the book or e-book.
  • Mention the book to your local library. Librarians often write reviews and are generally very cool people.
  • Urge your local bookstore to carry the book.
  • Write a review on Amazon (you can do this without making a purchase), Goodreads, or any other site that you frequent. The reviews can be as short as one sentence and don’t need to be longer than a paragraph.
  • Suggest the book to your book group. Authors are often happy to make an appearance (if local), Skype, or email with the members. Don’t hesitate to ask.
  • If you are part of an organization that books speakers for conferences, consider inviting the author.

The slightly newer, still in transition ways:

  • If you have a blog, invite the author to do a guest blog. Share it on Facebook.
  • Which brings up the big world of Facebook. There are three main ways to respond to FB and they each carry a different weight.
    Like: this is easy to do and appreciate
    Comment: this is more valuable and lots more interesting. The majority of people don’t get this far. You can do it on your page in a status update or on the author’s page as a comment.
    Share: This is the heavy weight contender and carries the biggest bang. For ex: Share the book’s website link on your page or go to the author’s blog, make a comment, and then share it with FB. Kapow!
  • House parties: With the closure of so many independent book stores, there are fewer venues for authors. And it has always been hard for author to get booked at the remaining bookstores where they don’t have an established base. Here’s what you can do: host a house party for the author. Invite a gang of readers to meet the author, do a potluck or snacks, and have fun. The author can meet with your friends in a relaxed atmosphere.

The Gold Standard

  • Word of Mouth. If publishing houses could buy this, they would. If you like a book, tell your friends and family. Buy it as a gift for those you think might like it.
    borrowed from
    pll@writingretreats.org
    www.writingretreats.org

Remember ~ you can order my books and DVDs from this website and get a signed copy and a personal note! ~
Here are the usual gleanings from this Month’s media…

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

TRADITIONAL RECIPE FOR HEATHER ALE
Ingredients: Heather, hops, *barm, syrup, ginger and water.
Crop the heather when it is in full bloom, enough to fill a large pot.
Cover the croppings with water and set to boil for one hour
Then strain into a clean tub.
Measure the liquid and for every dozen bottles add one ounce of ground ginger,
half an ounce of hops and one pound of golden syrup or honey.
Bring to the boil again and simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain into a clean cask.
Let it stand until milk-warm and then add a teacupful of good barm.
Cover with a coarse cloth and let it stand till next day
Skim carefully and pour the liquid gently into a clean tub so that the barm is left at the bottom of the cask.
Bottle and cork tightly
The ale will be ready for use in as little 2 or 3 days
* BARM The yeasty foam that rises to the surface of fermenting malt liquors

NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

DRUID NEWS

PAGAN NEWS

ARTS

NEWS WE CAN USE

HEALTH NEWS

POLITICS/ETHICS

May your summer be bright and your gardens fruitful. All blessings of the warm season!