September blog – Enjoying the dregs of the summer

The big news here on this New England mountain is the drought. My elderberry bush is strangely lop sided this year; one half dried up and dying and the other half bending low with berries. The rowan (Mountain Ash) trees are suffering the most, with crinkled up leaves they appear to be at deaths’ door. I take heart from a story my brother once told me. He lives in Texas where there was a severe drought for three years. It was so bad that the oaks lost their leaves for the entire period. But once the rains returned, so did the leaves.

A few weeks ago I had a strange encounter with a hummingbird on the back patio where I have never had hummingbird feeders. In past years at this time my garden has been filled with roses and pink phlox. Now, due to the drought I have half as many flowers. One day I went out and a hummingbird started dive bombing my face. It was clearly trying to tell me something because it hovered for a minute or so at my eye level, chirping all the while. I got the message. I immediately got into the car and went out and bought a Hummingbird feeder.

Hummingbirds are powerful little animals. In Inca tradition they are the intermediaries with the angelic realms and help one to achieve the impossible.

This house is on a well and last week the well actually went dry and I had to wait a day before the pressure was high enough to turn on the faucets. I am getting used to a new routine; watering plants by hand from empty milk jugs, channeling grey water from the kitchen sink directly into the garden, squeezing out my laundry before I put it on the line to dry and saving the water to pour on the roses, only watering in the early morning and in the evening to prevent evaporation.

(Speaking of drought,  here is an article about a farmer who is succeeding with very little water )

The other big project around here is gathering acorns. I went down to a local lake and found a hollowed out stone and another stone that fits neatly into my hand, to use as a mortar and pestle/acorn smasher. My plan is to crack the acorns, leach them, dry the leached nuts, and grind them into flour. So many people I know have oak trees, it’s a wonder that we aren’t all making use of this amazing food source that was once a staple food of our ancestors.

Here is a little recipe from my newest herbal “Secret Medicines >From Your Garden”;

Acorn Cake

  •  1 cup olive or coconut oil
  • 1 cup acorn flour
  • 1 cup other organic flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground Cardamom
  • ½ tsp. ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground Allspice
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • ½ cup Applesauce
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • Some powdered sugar to dust on top
  • Butter to grease the pan

 Method:

  • Grease and flour a Bundt pan
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix the dry ingredients and spices in a bowl
  • Beat the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl
  • Combine the wet and dry mixtures and pour into the Bundt pan
  • Bake 30-40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Take out of the oven, allow to cool for 15 minutes, and then turn out on a rack.
  • Once the cake is completely cooled dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar.

How to process acorns
How to make acorn flour

FALL EQUINOX

The Equinox falls on September 22 this year. Here are some suggestions for how to honor the Devas and Land Spirits who have labored long and hard to create the bounty of our forests, fields and gardens;

Fall Equinox, Meán Fomhair, Alban Elfed (September 22)

  • Make offerings to a sacred fire; dry herbs, whiskey, butter, ghee
  • Pour milk offerings on stones
  • Offer ale and oatmeal gruel to the sea
  • Pour ale, honey, cider or milk on the Earth
  • Make a scarecrow from the new grain and place it in the exact center of your fields. Do not give it clothes. The Spirit of the Grain will inhabit the scarecrow and look out for the welfare of the crops.

ACTION ALERT

“A suspected Native American burial ground is slated for destruction during the high holy days of the Algonquian people who live here.  This is our time to memorialize the deceased and to celebrate life. All Tribal representatives were banned from inspecting this site, contrary to Federal policy (Bureau of the Interior, Section 106 and Bulletin 38) and in violation of MGL 114, Massachusetts burial protection law.  The law is designed to prevent “alienation of a burial ground for any other purpose,” but is being loop holed in this case.”

Please read and consider signing this petition to allow Native American tribal officers to inspect a suspected burial ground before it’s destroyed:

Please share to all your friends on various social networks.  This petition is being sent to the Hopi, Dineh, Oglala Lakotah, and several other First Nations offices.  A copy of this petition has been sent to President Obama, who is vacationing through the Algonquian holy days in the backyard of the Aquinnah Wampanoag, ironically.

Nahuhnushagk,

Rolf Cahat

Akwesasne Mohawk Tribal Member, Nipmuc descendant, science editor and researcher of Native American culture and religion, resident of Shutesbury

ANOTHER ACTION ALERT

We the people ask the federal government to call on Congress to act on an issue:

Stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline which endangers the water supply to Native American reservations.

Created by C.S. on August 15, 2016

“The Dakota Access pipeline is set to be constructed near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, crossing under the Missouri River which is the only source of water to the reservation. The pipeline is planned to transport approximately 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The potential of oil leaks would contaminate the only source of water for the reservation. While Dakota Access claims oil leaks are unlikely, an oil leak from a separate pipeline in North Dakota was discovered (8/15/16) to have leaked over 500 barrels of oil since the leak began on July 19, 2016. You can read the article here. A leak like this from the Dakota Access pipeline would leave the Standing Rock Sioux without any clean water”.

BIG BOOK NEWS

OK, this really is  BIG. The International Herb Association has chosen “Secret Medicines from your Garden” for their Thomas DeBaggio Annual Book Award – announced at their annual conference, held this year in Columbia, MD, August 18-21.

As I said to them; “Please tell the participants that I am very honored to be chosen. I am the kind of person who goes to a dinner party and points out the poison ivy growing by the front door to the hostess and also the edible tips of the hemlock trees growing in the yard. I see clippings from river birch trees lying in a pile at the edge of the garden and I tell anyone within earshot that they would make a great tea. These kinds of sentiments are not always understood (or appreciated) by a busy hostess at a dinner party! But I am sure plant people will understand. (smile).”

You can purchase a signed copy of the book from me via this website or find it in the usual places! The amazing thing is the book contains magical as well as medicinal uses of herbs. Apparently herb magic is no longer threatening to the general public (or at least to Herbalists!)

Article  about SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN, the award the book just received and some local classes….

And an author interview here

WORKSHOPS AND CLASSES

  • THE HERBAL AND SPIRITUAL PROPERTIES OF TREES
    A slideshow and talk
    September 3rd , Pelham, MA
    Taught by Ellen Evert Hopman, Herbalist and Author.
    Ellen Evert Hopman is the author of  A DRUID’S HERBAL OF SACRED TREE MEDICINE, SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN and other herbals. She  will be discussing the herbal and folklore traditions surrounding common North American trees and harvesting and preparation methods. Trees covered include; Larch, Oak, Hawthorn, Walnut, Pine, Redwood, Eucalyptus, Maple, Birch and many more…
    After the class  she will have some of her books on hand for signing. Her books and salves are also available for purchase in the shop.
    COST – Sliding scale $10 to $15 (Registration fee of $5 included in total cost)
    DATES – Saturday, September 3rd
    TIMES – 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
    LOCATION – The Bower Studio: 378 Daniel Shays Hwy, Pelham, MA 01002
    * If the class minimum is not met, all registration fees will be refunded and you will be notified.
    You may also pre-register by visiting the shop during business hours.
    ** Payment for classes will be due in full (minus pre-registration cost) at the start of class. Class fees must be cash or check, made out to the class instructor. Cancellations must contact us 48 hours prior to class so we can offer canceled spaces to others. Pre-registration fees are non-refundable. Read our FAQ for more info.**
  • Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore
    With Ellen Evert Hopman
    Sunday, October 2nd
    11:30 am – 5:30 pm
    $94 prepaid by September 25th
    $104 thereafter
    Crystal Wellness Center Upstairs at Crystal Essence 39 Railroad St., Great Barrington, MA
    To register please call: 413.528.2595
  • HERBAL TRAINING IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS
    October 15, 2016 – April, 2017Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    The yearly six month herbal intensive in the Amherst area starts October 15, 2016
    Cost: $1000 plus a $100.00 nonrefundable Xeroxing fee
    Ellen Evert Hopman is the author of; “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” and other volumes
    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.

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*Enjoy the dregs of summer, the heady wine of autumn is on its way! Happy Equinox on September Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:21 AM EDT*

 

 

 

 

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A Druid’s Web Log – May Day 2015 – volcanoes, earthquakes and a new British princess

May is named after Maia, “the great one”, the Italic goddess of spring, and the wife of Vulcan. This May is off to an explosive start, with volcanoes erupting and earthquakes in Nepal and the English got a new princess, the first one who is eligible to reign from birth and will not be passed over by a male sibling. She managed to be born at the Full Moon on Beltaine (May Day) which in some religious traditions is considered the most powerful Full Moon of the year. The Buddha was born on the May Full Moon and also achieved enlightenment on the May Full Moon. He did that latter by sitting under a Bodhi Tree, of course. May is the time when the sap is rising and most powerfully in the days leading up to the Full Moon. Maybe that rising tide helped to raise his kundalini. That’s my thought.

Here on the mountain the oak leaves are “the size of a mouse’s ear” which means it is time to plant corn. I set out just three mounds of the traditional corn, squash and beans. Living in an oak forest it is hard to find enough sunlight, except very close to the house. I also left offerings of milk and homemade corn bread on the Fairy Altar on Beltaine (May Day). Judging by the wreckage around the Altar it looks like the Fairies had quite a celebration. According to tradition they always “move house” on the cross quarters (Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasad and Samhain) so the careful householder will be sure to leave out refreshment for them at those times.

Last winter I had a tribe of male turkeys who came to the bird feeders every day. They did not appear this winter, sadly, but a few weeks ago a solitary female turkey began showing up, accompanied by a huge brown and yellow butterfly that stuck around for days. Those feel like good omens.

In ancient Ireland the time of Beltaine was calculated by the blooming of the Hawthorn Tree so every Druid had to keep watch. Once the Hawthorn bloomed it was safe to send the herds up to the hills. In these parts the trees haven’t even put out leaves yet, but the daffodils are making a carpet of yellow, announcing the return of the summer sun.

Below you will find the usual archeological fare, plus nature, religion and herb news. I have included a few actions you can take to help Nepal and the planet.

Blessings of the summer on all who read this!

*Remember – you can purchase signed books from this website!*

  • The Patrick McCollum Foundation (a Pagan charity) is collecting donations for the earthquake victims in Nepal. We have direct connections in both Katmandu and in the mountain regions that have been affected. Please make a notation on the form provided on the website that the donation is for the Nepal earthquake victims. Donations can be made online at: www.patrickmccollum.orgUpdates on Nepal will be posted as new information comes in.
    Peace & Blessings,
    Rev. Patrick McCollum
  • Nepal Aid Update:
    Hi All,
    I wanted to update you on the Patrick McCollum Foundation’s earthquake aid to the victims in Nepal.  We have forwarded all donations made so far to our team members in the area and relief is in progress as I write.  All monies are being used to purchase tents, blankets, medical supplies and food.  The process of delivering these to the remote mountain villages is difficult, but we have people in place that are able to do so.  The first delivery is in process as I write.The Patrick McCollum Foundation will continue to accept donations and make successive deliveries as the funds are collected.I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to those who have donated so far both from the Patrick McCollum Foundation and from the people of Helambu Nepal.  Your generosity for some means the difference between life and death, and for others serves as a ray of hope among an otherwise horrendous situation.Please share our campaign widely.  We need more donations.  The death toll is still rising and many are at risk.Remember, this region is the origin of Namaste which translates into “My heart sees your heart”.  Let’s show them that we see them and we care!We are one of a few small NGOs who are responding to the area hardest hit and your support really does make a difference.  100% of all donations go directly to the people affected.
    Blessings,
    Rev. Patrick McCollum
    Donations can be made online at: www.patrickmccollum.org
  • Prayers for Nepal
  • A powerful video about the Earth and human consciousness (video)
  • A prominent defender of Tara has passed to the Otherworld
  • Muirean ni Bhrolchain speaks at “Harpers For Tara” (video)
  • Muireann RIP
    by “Charles Burgess”
    Thought that somehow someday
    we would surely meet again…
    Dissolve from mist amidst the green
    and dissolve back again.
    Swore we’d walk these circles
    tracing time across the sky,
    Waking life and mystery
    walking side by side…
    Felt the firelight flicker,
    felt the sweet repeat of rhyme,
    Heard the ancient stories traded
    yours for mine, yours for mine.
    Sure that song would wrap us ’round
    our faces flush with wine,
    Talking of beloved Tara,
    Smiling with a sigh….
    Soon the sun will rise upon
    the Vale of Tara-Skryne
    The gifts you gave the waking world
    in golden light will gleam,
    And we will treasure memories,
    in written words and reveries,
    of our Ard Ollamh, Seanachí,
    Who fought for future history,
    Who spoke like Tara’s Queen.
    A Muireanne, rest blessed, in peace.
  • ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT HOMEOPATHY
    Dear Friends:
    The Food & Drug Administration recently began hearings on the regulation of homeopathy.  When the FDA was established in the late 1930s, homeopathics were specifically exempted from the usual drug approval process,  because they had been successfully regulated since the late 1800s by the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the U.S. (HPUS).
    If the FDA succeeds in applying to homeopathy the same yardstick theoretically applied to pharmaceuticals — viz., proof of safety and efficacy through clinical trials costing billions – homeopathy will be dead in America.  No manufacturer of homeopathic remedies could afford clinical trials on the hundreds of remedies that have been used safely and successfully for over two hundred years.
    You may be saying to yourself that this is ridiculous – and I would agree.  But I’ve attached an article I wrote setting forth what I think is happening here.  I urge you to read it.
    If you’ve benefited from homeopathy, I also urge you to write the FDA.  Public comments on their proposed course of action (which remains vague) are accepted up to June 22.
    In writing, here are some points to consider.Take what you need and leave the rest:The FDA is not interested in any anecdotes about how much homeopathy has helped you or your family.  It might be more useful to write about how conventional medicine failed you, if that was your experience.

    Homeopathy has been used successfully for over two hundred years.  How many conventional medical treatments have lasted that long?  Homeopathy persists because it works, not because those who use it are loonies.

    This is merely the latest in a long history of attempts by orthodox medicine to kill homeopathy, starting with the establishment of the American Medical Association.  If you want the full story, read Harris Coulter’s Divided Legacy.Nowhere in the FDA hearing announcement is there a definition of what is meant by “homeopathic.”  The announcement refers to “human drug and biological products labeled as homeopathic” without definition or examples.  The FDA continually confounds “drugs” and homeopathic remedies.  The two are totally different.

    According to the FDA announcement, “Negative health effects from drug products labeled as homeopathic have been reported through the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System and the National Poison Data System (NPDS), which is maintained by the American Association of Poison Control Centers and tracks human poison exposure cases. Data in the NPDS pertaining to homeopathic drug products is tracked under the category ‘Homeopathic Agents.’”  Nowhere are these “negative health effects” explained or elaborated.  No data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System is cited, and as the attached shows, Poison Control data doesn’t reliably distinguish between homeopathics, herbal products, and dietary supplements.

    The FDA does not understand homeopathy and how useful it has proven, particularly in epidemics.  The FDA falsely claims that homeopathic remedies “can cause side effects, drug interactions, and allergic or other adverse reactions.”  Drugs, which work biochemically, can indeed do all these things; homeopathic remedies, which work energetically, do not.Homeopathic remedies are non-toxic, unlike the pharmaceuticals and GMOs the FDA promotes.  Why does the FDA feel compelled to attack a safe, proven system of healing like homeopathy when the agency is not doing a decent job of making sure people don’t die from OTC and prescription drugs?  (For more on this, see the new documentary “Bought” by Jeff Hays.)

    This is not about our health and safety but about achieving a monopoly for the pharmaceutical industry.  If safety were the true motivating factor, the FDA would be holding hearings on acetaminophen, laxatives, cosmetics, and proton pump inhibitors, all of which are sold over-the-counter and all of which had more “poison exposure cases” than homeopathic remedies.

    At risk is our right to choose what goes into our bodies or the bodies of our children.  It is no accident that the FDA hearings coincide with a move in California to make vaccinations mandatory and in Australia to withdraw welfare from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.

    We live in difficult times.  It is frightening that we have to fight for our rights to a safe environment, healthy food, and the kind of healthcare we want.

  • ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
    Ask Bill Gates to divest from fossil fuels in his investment portfolio

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