SUMMER IS HERE – Happy Beltaine all!

This year for the first time since I arrived in 1986, the hawthorns actually bloomed on schedule. We were able to celebrate Beltaine, the Celtic start of summer, on the afternoon of April 30. For those who don’t know what the fuss is about, Beltaine (or May Day) is the festival that begins the light half of the year for us Celtoids. Samhain (or Halloween) is the ancient Celtic festival of the beginning of the dark half of the year, or winter.

I did a sweat lodge ceremony recently with Grandmother Three Crow who works with indigenous elders here on Turtle Island. She travels to South America regularly to meet with elders there. I asked her what message they had that I could share and she said they ask that we visit the sacred sites of America and elsewhere, to keep the energies flowing and alive. She said its important to approach the sites with a good heart, not to bring anger or sadness to the sites, because they are placed on important energy grids for the planet and any emotions we bring to them get sent around the Earth.

I hope that everyone will take this on as a sacred mission, to prepare themselves emotionally and spiritually before approaching the sites. She said that even if a sacred site has been desecrated, covered with a road or otherwise disturbed, we should find one thing, a tree, a rock, some point of focus, and continue to offer prayers and good wishes to the energies of the site.

It is important that we find the sacred sites in our own areas and begin to caretake them with a good heart. I know of people in California and Ireland who are re-opening clogged sacred springs and holy wells. These sites need to be woken up with reverence and prayer. Some sites are well known such as the Great Serpent Mound, Chichenitza, the pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge, Newgrange, the Ring of brodgar in Scotland, etc.
Others are less known but equally valuable.

REVIEWS OF THE NEWEST BOOKS

Article 4 Priestess of the Fire Temple A new novel by Ellen Evert Hopman Reviewed by Christopher Blackwell

This is the third book of Trilogy of novels, that are “Bardic teaching tales” by Ellen Hopman, about Ireland and the change from the power of the Druids to the power of the Christians from the second to fifth century. I have read and reviewed the first novel Priestess of the Forest on page 7 of our Imbolc 2008 issue of ACTION and her second novel The Druid Isle on page 8 of our Litha issue of our 2010 issue of ACTION.
In this latest novel we follow Aislinn the wild red haired daughter of the High King of the central Kingdom who still respects of the old ways. She is not loved by her Christian step mother, for the girl seems to refuse to be a proper princess aware of her high social position. She is more interested in learning from her Druid teachers about herbs and song. From her search for herbs, Aislinn often comes home disheveled and clothes dirty, embarrassing her socially proper stepmother and queen.
The queen is only interesting in making a suitable marriage for her own son and perhaps the future high king. At fourteen it comes time for her to be married for the good of the kingdom, to a young prince who is as uninterested in her. But she sets out to do her duty. She sets out to become a proper representative of her father and kingdom for the good of the kingdom, both that she loves and respects. Once again nothing goes as expected for she will be thrust out of the life she was sent to live, facing dangers and suspense on a mysterious journey to an unknown destination and a life she could not have imagined for herself, to help protect the knowledge of the Druids so that it might not disappear under the Christians.
Again we have a chance to learn of the Druid way of life with a bibliography of books covering the ideas explained and a glossary of Celtic names and ideas. The story is full of twists and turns that keep the reader interested and takes full advantage of Ms. Hopman’s years of practice as a Druid and herbalist.
Each book is a complete story itself, but do yourself a favor and read all three if you can.This book can be bought as either in paperback or as a kindle edition. You can buy this book direct from Ellen Hopman as a signed copy a personal note from the author at http://www.elleneverthopman.com/, from her online store, or online at Amazon.com, or from your local bookstore.Priestess of the Fire Temple ISBN-10: 0738729256 ISBN-13: 978-0738729251

A nice review of Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore came out in Sagewoman Magazine recently;

Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore
Are you interested in herbs, fairy lore, Scottish deities, or learning Gaelic? If so, this book will surely interest you. The author, Ellen Evert Hopman is not only a Master Herbalist but also a Druid Priestess, and Ellen proves her mettle in this fascinating book.
The book begins with a brief and informative review of Scottish history “Caledonia: A Thumbnail Ancient History,” which offers insight into the major groups of ancient Scotland such as the Picts, Britons, and Celts just to name a few. Reading about these different tribes and their history, one can picture how they lived. She also gives a solid grounding in what we know (and don’t) about the Druids.
The next chapter, “The Old Gods,” is very informative, especially to those with an interest in a Druidic path or Scots gods. But I’m leaving the best for last: Hopman’s extensive (one is tempted to say, exhaustive) chapter on herbs, with descriptions of well over one hundred plants, their uses (both medicinal and otherwise) and a variety of instructions — on making a poultice, tinctures and herbal salves for example — invaluable for the novice. For each entry, the plant’s common, Gaelic, and Latin names are listed along with which parts can be used and for which ailment. Many recipes are supplied, as well as cautions when they should be avoided (such as herbs to be avoided for pregnant women). This part of the book is my favorite, by far.
But the author isn’t finished yet; there are also chapters that discuss the sacred birds and animals, magical practices (including prayers, rituals and incantations. Plus a discussion of the distinction between Druids and Witches and descriptions of Scottish Quarter Days and Fire Festivals.

The last third of the book is dedicated to Elves, Spirits, Witches, Monsters and, naturally, the Fairies. Ms. Hopman gives a full listing of many different classes of creature imaginable.
Even the Appendix of this book is wonderful! If you have ever wondered how to pronounce words in Gaelic such as the Goddess * Airmidh, Ms. Hopman is here to help. I have read many books, websites, and articles that dealt with Druids, but no one ever covers this topic! I was able to laugh at myself when I realized the pronunciation of words that I thought was correct was totally off-base. I just bet the Fairies have had a good laugh at me during my lifetime trying to speak Gaelic, but no more. Fantastic work, Ms. Hopman, and thank you! Crystal Luna Rouge.
* (Airmidh – Ar-vey or Ar-vee)

Also see:
BOOK REVIEW IN ELECTRIC SCOTLAND (see page 5)
You can purchase the book from this website and get a signed copy and a personal note!

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A happy summer to all!
PS if you like my website why not contact the web designer? Her address is at the bottom of each page!

Its barely Spring and its still snowing – getting ready for the Beltaine Fires!

Does anyone besides me feel that they have fallen through a looking glass into some kind of weird mirror world? I am thinking about the current Republican effort to take the US backwards to what they imagine were “the good old days”. To the time when white men were in charge of practically everything, when blacks and women were discouraged from or denied the vote, when women were forced into lives of domesticity no matter how intelligent or well educated they might have been, because of a lack of family planning. A time when everyone was straight and probably Christian and if they weren’t they were “odd”.
Why any intelligent woman or person of color would back the Republicans in this absurd effort is beyond me.

The View from the Mountain

After a very warm and dry winter we suddenly had snow this morning on the mountain. I have been warning folks for months that we could still get another blizzard. The weather is so weird now that it seems anything is possible. It’s a strange time with the daffodils in full bloom and leaden skies dropping snow on everything. The cats won’t go out because of the cold and damp.

Canada Geese already have babies paddling around in the pond down the street. Last night I heard something really big like a bear or a moose crunching through the dry leaves behind the house at about midnight. I ran for my flashlight but by the time I got out there all I saw were a set of very yellow eyes glaring back at me. Probably a Coyote or a Coy-wolf.

After three months of severe water shortages the well finally got fracked. (It’s a gentle process, nothing like the fracking involved in gas drilling that is now causing earthquakes in the Midwest). Its glorious to be able to take a bath again and do dishes and laundry and make herbal brews to my hearts content.

By the end of this month I will be making Spring tonics with my herb students from Sassafras root and Birch twigs. You can see a small clip from my instructional video on herbalism here; (you can purchase the full version from this website – just go to my bookstore).

BOOK NEWS

UPCOMING SPEAKING EVENTS

  •  Book launch – Priestess of the Fire Temple
    Sunday, April 1 from noon – 2 pm.
    Inspirit Common
    219 Main Street, Northampton, MA 01060
    413-585-1169
    I will sign books and answer questions about Druids and Celtic spirituality
    It’s a Sunday so parking is free!
    Monday, April 9, Awentree, Easthampton, MA
    Cost is $10
    102 Cottage St, Easthampton MA 01027, 413-527-3331
    From : 7:00pm To : 8:30pm
    Exploring Paganism and Earth Centered Spirituality at AwenTree
    April’s focus will be Celtic Traditions. I will teach an overview about Druid Traditions and sign books.
    Email : awentree@yahoo.com
    More info
    Thursday April 19, Huntington Library A lecture on Celtic Gods and Goddesses and sign books
    7 East Main Street, Huntington, MA. 01050 5:30 PM
    (413) 667-8847
    June 9, HERBSTALK Herbal Conference, Somerville, MA
    From 11 to 6 pm at Arts at the Armory, located at
    191 Highland Ave. in Somerville, MA.
    I will speak about sacred tree medicine.

NEWS YOU CAN USE

  •  And here are the moonths gleanings from the media for your reading pleasure;

 SCIENCE NEWS

Please go to www.wachters.com  where you can order seaweed tablets that can protect the body from the effects. Please tell them I sent you (my number is 6028)

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POLITICS/ETHICS

CHARITY

HELP A WESTERN MA CHILD WITH CANCER

Friends, family, co-workers and Valley residents are coming together to support four year old Amherst resident Sabir Douglas, his twelve year old sister Sahar, and his single mom, Heather Anderson. In January Sabir was diagnosed at Baystate Medical Center with a cancerous tumor.

Sabir is still in preschool while undergoing chemotherapy at the D’Amour Center for Cancer Care in Springfield. His treatment is expected to take about forty four weeks and he will eventually be moving to Boston with his mom for six weeks to undergo treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital and may later need surgery.

Insurance will cover most of the medical costs but will not cover travel expenses, lodging and food for Sabir and his mom while they stay in Boston. You can help!

The Anderson family is well known in the Valley for their work at Hope Church in Amherst where every member of the family has worked to better our local community for generations. Now we have the chance to help them in their time of need.

  • An account has been established at the UMass Five College Credit Union for donations. Please make checks out to
    Sabir’s Health Recovery Fund and mail to
    P.O.B 1078, Amherst, MA 01004.
    A website has been set up where you can follow Sabir’s progress www.lotsahelpinghands.com and find out about future events and fundraisers
    To request an invitation to the site please write to: saharandsabirsmom@gmail.com

May the fires of Spring shine brightly on all who read this!