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 – Spring is coming! Don’t forget to vote on March 1!

Encounters with Bernie

A few days ago I went to my second Bernie Sanders rally at the University of Massachusetts. I found myself standing in line a full five hours before the speech, on a freezing cold, clear day. By chance I was in the midst of a cheerful and enthusiastic bunch of students, band members as it happens, who were mostly Poly Sci majors (and one Forester). One of the students said he wants to run for Congress someday (he was dressed in a jacket and tie and I could see that he was ideally suited for that job). The students were happy, excited, and joyful with anticipation.

There were reporters there who clearly had an agenda. The current media meme is that Bernie’s supporters are mostly “young people”. Several reporters came over to our group and asked the students why they liked Bernie. All the students were amazingly articulate and well informed. There were even reporters from Canada. One of them asked a student why he admired Bernie so much. After she finished recording the student’s opinions I chimed in with “Bernie is cute but Trudeau is hot!” and the reporter loved that. She ran over to the crew to tell them what I had just said.

We were handed blue and white signs by someone that read “Students for Bernie”. Never mind that I was a baby boomer in their midst, I also had a sign. I don’t know if it was because I was with the marching band, but we soon developed a well-oiled routine. When a press photographer would point their camera our way I would yell “signage!” and everyone would veer in the photographers direction at once, holding up their sign for the camera.

The sense I had from the students was they felt real affection for Bernie. “We love him” one of them told me. When I was their age the mantra was “Don’t trust anyone over thirty”, the idea of feeling affection for a seventy four year old politician would have been unthinkable.  I recall that a few years ago a younger co-worker of mine explained that it was Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead who had made it “cool to be old”. Here was a vivid example.

The reporters ignored the older folks in the line, probably because we didn’t fit into their current narrative about who is supporting Bernie. There were a wealth of wonderful local characters that could have provided human interest stories; my poet friend Penny, in her seventies, who was dashing about urging the students to cheer, My professional story teller friend Rona who appears to be in her late fifties or early sixties, who insisted on standing for hours in the pit before the stage, rather than take a seat. There was even a group of middle aged Buddhist nuns in their saffron robes. And then there was me.

Last time I heard Bernie I was worried because his speech was outside, to over a thousand people from the overflow crowd and there was no security. This time was very different. We were finally let in to the stadium and had to walk through metal detectors, empty our pockets and bags, and be wanded. I was forced to throw out the apple and energy bar I had secreted away in my pockets.

The sports arena slowly filled over the next few hours, in the end there were over nine thousands of us. When Bernie finally came out Jane was with him and looked very happy and ready to be First Lady. Bernie gave his familiar stump speech to an audience that was on its feet cheering as Jane smiled and beamed. At the end Bernie came down and shook hands with the students on the floor.

It is my fervent hope that the students who came to see their idol, Bernie, will actually show up to vote on March 1, which is election day in Massachusetts. Bernie is the real deal, a true FDR Democrat. EVERYONE, GET OUT AND VOTE! Feeling the Bern!

Watch a video of the event here.

Meanwhile, Bernie is still the only candidate who even mentions global warming. Here is an update on where we are at, as the species that is causing the sixth mass extinction.

SUPER TUESDAY IS MARCH 1 AND MANY STATES ARE VOTING;

Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia will hold primaries for both parties. Alaska will hold its Republican caucus while American Samoa will caucus for Democrats. Colorado will caucus for both parties though only the Democrats are choosing a candidate.

 PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE!!! YOUR FUTURE IS AT STAKE!!!

BOOK NEWS

A WORKSHOP IN NEW HAMPSHIRE AND MASSACHUSETTS

  • Tree Magic and Medicine class with Ellen Evert Hopman
    July 23,24 2016
    Misty Meadows Herbal Center
    183 Wednesday Hill Road
    Lee, NH 03861
  • 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

FAIRY NEWS

NEWS YOU CAN USE

POLITICS AND ETHICS

Happy Spring Equinox to all who read this and may your gardens bloom!