Imbolc blog – A warm January in New England as Brighid walks the land

This Moonth has been rather warm here on the mountain. We started January with a brief spate of snow and cold but soon settled into a pattern of weather that is at least ten degrees warmer than “average” every day. Instead of the expected New England snow we are getting rain. I have started imagining a summer with temperatures that are ten degrees above normal and it is unnerving.

There have been no animals around, no coyotes barking their husky calls at dusk, no deer, bears or moose in the yard. No wild turkeys at the feeders or possums at the compost pile. I am thinking it’s because a local lumber company has been cutting for months, just down the road. My hope is that once they are done and the undergrowth comes back, it will provide food, shelter and an increase in wildlife. The only animals that still seem to be in abundance are the beavers. The pond down the road is expertly blocked up by a mound of silt and chewed branches and is over spilling its banks. States with water issues would do well to think of beavers, they create wetlands wherever they go.

As a good American citizen I have been dutifully trying to keep up with the presidential debates. Last night I tried once again to watch the Republicans. While the Democrats are enthusiastically putting forward new ideas and solutions to improve ordinary citizen’s lives, the Republicans seem fearful. “Americans are terrified” said one of them, going on to declare that ISIL is about to get us and therefore we should be contemplating another invasion of the Middle East. Oddly these are the same people who want everyone to walk around with a gun, despite the fact that thirty three thousand Americans kill themselves and each other every year with guns and the evidence shows that having a gun in the home makes it far more likely that someone in that home will die by accident, homicide or suicide. We sure live in a topsy turvy world.

Besides, how do you wage endless wars and also cut taxes? The sainted Ronald Reagan was mentioned in last night’s debate. But there was not a word about how he grew the military and TRIPLED the national debt. “Voodoo economics” was what we called it at the time.

I was unable to listen to the Republican’s for more than a few minutes. I opted instead to watch the new season of the X-Files on Fox. I can see why Fox wanted that show. If you analyze the plot, besides the usual (and well done) search for extra-terrestrials, the new series is fixated on the idea that the BIG EVIL GOVERNMENT is behind all of the planet’s woes. A perfect propaganda platform for Fox. Watch with a discerning eye and see what I mean.

As I type this it is still January. February 1-2 marks the time of Imbolc, the all-important Fire Festival of the Goddess Brighid, who has been my Patroness for thirty years. On the eve of Imbolc I will put out my clooties (strips of cloth to be used for healing work), a bowl of milk and honey and a dish of oatmeal and butter for Brighid as She passes. I will place a candle in the snow (if we have any!) to burn all night, and make a new “Bride doll” out of straw. Below are some facts about this important Celtic festival, followed by the usual book news and a roundup of the past Moonth’s archeology, religion, herb, nature, political and ethics news. Enjoy!

IMBOLC CUSTOMS

  • Make a Brighid’s cross with your kids
    More…
  • How to lay out a Brighid’s “brat” or cloak
    “A ribbon or piece of cloth exposed on St. Briget’s Eve became endowed with curative powers. It was believed that no work which involved the turning of a wheel should take place on the saint’s day. The placing of a periwinkle in each corner of the kitchen likewise hints at a remote pre-agricultural origin for the festival, but it came to be associated with the pastoral promise of spring, of warmth, new grass, lambs and milk. It is said that the saint placed her foot in water on her feast day so that on that day it begins to warm up each year.”
  • Biddy Boys
  • How to make Bairin-Breac / Barmbrack, a traditional Imbolc bread
  • Song for Brighid (video)
  • Gabhaim Molta Bríghde – Ein traditionelles Lied zu Ehren Brigids. / A traditional song honoring Brigid.Original text Irisch-Gälisch:Gabhaim molta Bríde…
    Ionmhain í le hÉirinn
    Ionmhain le gach tír í
    Molaimis go léir íLóchrann geal na Laighneach
    A’ soilsiú feadh na tíre
    Cean ar óghaibh Éireann
    Ceann na mban ar míneTig an geimhreadh dian dubh
    A’ gearradh lena ghéire
    Ach ar Lá ‘le Bríde
    Gar dúinn earrach Éireann
    English translation:I am praising Bridget
    Who is daughter of Ireland
    She is a daughter of all countries
    We all praise herThe bright light of Leinster
    Bringing light to the country
    The leader of the youth of Ireland
    Our leader of gentlewomenHere comes the dark, hard winter
    Cutting with its sharpness
    But on St. Bridget’s Day
    Ireland’s spring is close by
    Deutsche Version:Ich preise dich, Brigid
    geliebt in ganz Irland
    geliebt von allen
    preisen wir dich.Flamme von Leinster
    erfülle das Land mit Licht
    Jede Frau Irlands liebt dich
    jede gute FrauDer Winter kommt dunkel und kalt
    schneidend und frostig daher
    Aber am Tag Brigids
    Kommt der Frühling zu uns.
  • Virtual Shrine of Brighid  (stop by and leave a prayer)

BOOK NEWS

The book has its own Facebook page and can be pre-ordered now on Amazon.com US or Amazon.com UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The second book is SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN which is also available for pre-order!SecretMedicinesofGarden
    Secret Medicines from Your Garden
    Plants for Healing, Spirituality, and Magic
    Ellen Evert Hopman
    Coming Spring 2016A guided exploration of herbal lore and healing plants found in yards, forests, meadows, and hedgerows
    • Draws on traditional knowledge and remedies from around the world, including Native American, Celtic, and Egyptian traditions
    • Provides simple recipes to safely make herbal remedies from local plants and honey for first aid, immune support, and treatment of common ailments
    • Reveals the “triangle” formula-making system of William LeSassier
    • Explains how to work with plant spirits, herbal astrology, and Animal Spirit Medicine

    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. She reveals the herbal lore surrounding each plant, drawing on traditional knowledge and remedies from around the world, including Native American, Celtic, and Egyptian traditions. She includes recipes throughout so you can make medicines from wild and domesticated plants easily found in yards, forests, meadows, and hedgerows, and she discusses what to plant to ensure you have leaves, berries, and flowers all year.The author reveals how to quickly intuit an unknown plant’s properties using the signatures of plants—universal indications and contraindications based on the form, color, and location of a plant. She includes an in-depth section on honey and Bee Medicine, allowing you to appreciate the labors of these plant-dependent insects. Exploring the magical role of herbs in ancient ritual, Hopman provides recipes for Egyptian temple incense and their sacred medicine known as “Kyphi” or “Kaphet,” used to purify the body, banish insomnia, and promote vivid dreaming. She explores shamanic Plant Spirit and Animal Spirit Medicine as well as herbal astrology. She also explains the “triangle” formula-making system of her herbal mentor William LeSassier to help you develop custom herbal remedies tailored to a person’s unique strengths and weaknesses.Showing how to easily incorporate wild plants into your life to receive their healing benefits throughout the seasons, Hopman reveals the power of the bounty that Mother Nature has provided right at our doorstep.Ellen Evert Hopman has been a teacher of herbalism since 1983 and is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. A Druidic initiate since 1984, she is a founding member of The Order of the White Oak, an Arch Druidess of the Druid Clan of Dana, and a member of the Grey Council of Mages and Sages. The author of several books, including A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, she lives in Massachusetts.

    Healing Arts Press

    ISBN 978-1-62055-557-6

    Spring 2016

Below you will find the usual last Moonth’s gleanings from the media.

*Reminder* you can always purchase signed books from this website and get a *personal note* from the author! (me)

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

NATURE NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

NEWS YOU CAN USE

POLITICS AND ETHICS

 

 

November blog 2015 Honoring the Ancestors and Creeping off to Yet Another War

I just finished celebrating a very quiet three day Halloween here on the mountain. In ancient times Samonios (later called Samhain or Samhuinn) was a three day festival according to the Gallo-Roman Coligny Calendar . There is an entry “TRINOX[tion] SAMO[nii] SINDIV” (three-nights of Samonios today) which implies that Halloween was observed for three days and nights. We moderns have preserved that to some extent with All Saints Day and All Souls Day and of course, our day to celebrate ghoulies and ghosties and trick or treating.

My own observance consisted of placing offerings for the Fairies on the altar in the garden; whole grain toast and honey, milk and honey, and apple crisp, on each of the three nights. I took a few moments with my students on October 31 to share stories of our ancestors and those we had lost in the past year. We munched small offerings of pomegranate seeds and chocolate in their memory.

It is a somber time. It feels like the US is slouching into yet another war, and this time its boots on the ground in Syria. In my own life a company I have worked for, for almost a decade, has decided to move to Texas where they can pay lower wages and offer fewer benefits. A hundred locals are being laid off as a result, which does not seem to factor into anyone’s calculations. We workers are expendable and only profit margins have any real meaning.

But life will go on, as it always does. Below you will find the usual assortment of news from the archaeology front, nature news, herb, news, religion, ethics and politics, and if you are reading this I wish you a very happy and prosperous Celtic New Year. May your fires be bright and your hearth warm!

BOOK NEWS

  • A recent podcast that covers Druids, Herbalism and many other topics;
  • My newest herbal is already available for pre-order;
    Secret Medicines from Your Garden
    Plants for Healing, Spirituality, and Magic
    A guided exploration of herbal lore and healing plants found in yards, forests, meadows, and hedgerows
  • My newest Druid book A Legacy of Druids – Conversations with Druid leaders of Britain, the USA and Canada, past and present (Moon Books) has just completed its final edit and the cover is being designed. It will be out Spring of 2016. Endorsements are already coming in;
    ‘This extraordinary assembly of Druids reveals the paths leading to our native, spiritual heritage, without fear or favour. Deep and true!’ – Caitlín Matthews, author of Celtic Visions, past-presider of OBOD.
  • Nimue Brown of Moon Books writes; “Recently I have learned from the Society of Authors that if you get 50 book reviews on Amazon, then Amazon might start paying more attention to your book. I also learned, that ratings on Goodreads can lead to being listed in the Goodreads Choice Awards. We’re talking in the thousands here, by the looks of it. Not easily done, but worth knowing all the same. In terms of increasing visibility, reviews clearly have a lot of influence.”If anyone here has read my books would you please pen a short review on Goodreads or Amazon? Blessings in advance! (smile)

*Reminder- you can purchase signed books from me via this website and get a signed copy with a personal note from the author. Perfect for Yuletide giving! Please specify who you want the books autographed to if they are gifts.*

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

PAGAN NEWS

HERB NEWS

NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

LANGUAGE NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

NEWS YOU CAN USE