December blog 2014

It is Thanksgiving Day as I write this and I am very thankful that I don’t have to go to work today. My thoughts and sympathies are with the many folks who are being forced to work just so Americans can shop on what is supposed to be a family holiday, a fact that I find shameful.

Last night we had a big snow storm and heavy wet snow is frosting the trees. An old Birch tree has fallen softly onto the roof, this is the second time I have had a tree do this in recent years, each time they fall very gently as if the Tree Spirits are taking care not to disturb the house.

The gang of wild turkeys that came to the bird feeder every day last winter hasn’t shown up yet – maybe it’s because I have been seeing large grey coy-wolves about at night. The huge possum that was methodically tearing up the yard looking for grubs seems to have disappeared as well.

The news is full of yet another murder of an un-armed black teenager, sentenced to death by a policeman for stealing cigarettes. Apparently the jurors investigating the case for the grand jury were handed an old Missouri law that was declared unconstitutional many years ago for guidance. The law stated that a policeman had the right to pursue a suspect and kill them, making the officer judge and jury.

The jurors must have been heavily influenced by this law as they declared the officer completely innocent of all charges. I can only hope that this travesty of justice will make the police officers exoneration invalid or at least get the lawyer who did this disbarred (see this link for the details)

All this makes me wonder what is being exposed here, about the American psyche. The murder of an unarmed black man by a gun wielding white man is nothing new in this society. George Zimmerman was a thuggish lout who chose to stalk Treyvon Martin, even when the police dispatcher asked him not to, shot Martin to death, and then a jury declared Zimmerman the innocent victim. Treyvon who was walking home armed with nothing but Skittles and iced tea was deemed the perpetrator.

More recently, officer Wilson explained that Michael Brown was a “Demon” as large as Hulk Hogan (Wilson is six foot four and Brown was six foot six) and so far, after chasing the unarmed Brown down and then shooting him multiple times until he killed him, has been deemed innocent.

Why are these white men with guns so frightened of blacks that they have to shoot and kill them even when they are unarmed? I am starting to think there is a suppressed memory of the racial injustice emerging that this country has been denying for centuries. I believe that these white men with their guns are afraid that people of color will rise up and seek justice. That projected fear makes the black man appear larger than life to these puny frightened little men with guns.

We obviously need to de-militarize the police, somehow get guns off the streets and out of our homes, and train the police to disable a person (especially when they are unarmed) rather than shoot them to death. Until America does this we are still stuck in the primitive, violent lawlessness of the Wild West.

Tomorrow I will be joining a Black Friday protest at the local Wal-Mart. That’s how I will spend my extra day off.

The owners of Wal-Mart are the richest family in America, yet they insist on keeping wages and benefits at abysmal levels, dragging the rest of the country down (they are the largest retailer in the world), and counting on tax payers to provide food stamps and health care for their workers, just so to survive.

Peace out

Ellen

UPCOMING EVENT!

  • Sirius Community Health Fair
    December 7, 2014 @ 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
    Sirius Community
    72 Baker Road
    Shutesbury, MA 01072
    (near Amherst, MA)
    I will be doing a Tree slide show and talk at about 3 pm.

NEWS FROM IRELAND

  • Tara is threatened once again and needs everyone’s help.
    Tara Preservation. Help Save Our Heritage!

    We need your help!After the destruction wrought by the M3 Motorway through the Tara Skryne Valley County Meath Ireland, a unique and archaeologically sensitive landscape at the foot of the world famous Hill of Tara,  new threats are beginning to emerge which could destroy what’s left!Our crowd funding aim is to raise money to support public awareness raising initiatives, to launch objections to inappropriate planning applications, and to fund the inevitable legal challenges which we foresee necessary in order to protect the Tara Skryne Valley from developers.

*Reminder – you can order signed books from this website!*

Below is the last Moonth’s archeology, nature, herbal, religion and ethics news. Enjoy!

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

LANGUAGE NEWS

NATURE NEWS

HERBAL NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

 

A Druid’s Web Log – Still waiting for the light of Spring

Winter just isn’t letting go in these parts (Western New England) and we still have several inches of snow on the ground. Last night they even had snow in Maryland! What a strange year. I haven’t seen my small troop of five male turkeys in a few weeks. There is still a pile of cracked corn waiting under the bird feeders. I suspect they have gone a courtin’ in the nearby forest. Meanwhile, I am visualizing the herbs and flowers that will soon be blooming in the garden, and making plans for the summer festival season.

This Moonth has been a time of heartbreak for so many. The ongoing holocaust in Syria, the mysterious loss of a Malaysian jet liner (still not found as I type this) and a fatal mud slide in Washington have added to the grimness of the season.

You can help some of the victims of the mud slide by following the links in this account of the tragedy;

Robin Youngblood is a Native American grandmother and world-traveling spiritual teacher. She was caught in the landslide near Seattle on Saturday.

She and a friend rode out the massive wall of mud as it turned her house to sticks.  As rescuers still search for missing neighbors she has started a fund for the families affected.

She says,
“Church of the Earth is setting up a fund for survivors of the Washington Mudslide. If you have anything to spare, all our families lost EVERYTHING!! From toothbrushes to clothes, household goods, and homes. Those of us who are still alive will have to find new homes ~ there’s nothing left to return to. Please send donations through paypal to revrobin@churchoftheearth.org , and we’ll see that the families most in need get your donations. All monies will be equally divided among the families listed with Red Cross, and we will not keep any money for administration costs.”

See more about Church of the Earth

Her story is also featured here.

Another spiritual tragedy of sorts is brewing for Druids in the UK and worldwide. There are plans afoot to build houses for soldiers that will block the Stonehenge sunrise on the Summer Solstice, one of the most important days for Druids and that monument.

You can help to keep that from happening by signing a petition.

SOME PERSONAL STUFF

The biggest news from me is that I am now collaborating with a script writer and an artist to create a graphic novel based on the book PRIESTESS OF THE FOREST – A DRUID JOURNEY. This is a completely new arena and the ultimate goal is to get more attention for the book and hopefully make it available to a producer or director.

***Remember – You can purchase signed copies of my books from this website! ***

BOOK REVIEW

Druid”  by Michael Conneely

Conneely’s book is a fascinating story that toggles between three threads, a knot work of interweaving tales that are at times Celtic fantasy, Science Fiction, Magical Realism and autobiography. The action begins in 428 CE, a period that is very familiar to me, basically because it’s the time frame and setting of my own Celtic novels, and then it careens into the future, then back to the present day.

The book revolves around the legend of Corra, the ancient Land Goddess who Saint Patrick supposedly banished into a lake at the base of the mountain that now bears his name (Croagh Patrick).

Reading the book is a pleasure if you can forget that the Celts probably never called themselves that (they would have identified with their tribal names) and that there was no “Ireland” in 428 AD. Also that Lugh was never a “Sun God” (that is a Victorian conceit) rather a God of skill. Áine (Ir. “brightness, glow, joy, radiance; splendour, glory, fame”) is a better candidate for an ancient Sun deity.

Wiccan (a modern religion circa 1930’s, invented by Gerald Gardner) elements abound in the book such as calling the quarters in ritual (the ancient Celts thought in terms of Three worlds; Land, Sea and Sky and five directions at least). The ancient Celts were also polytheist and did not think of “The union of the Goddess and the God”. Nor did they celebrate eight festivals (the ancient Fire festivals were Samhain, Imbolc, Beltaine and Lughnasad).

Other problems exist. A self-published work, the book is in real need of editing; sudden tense changes in mid-paragraph, typos, misplaced commas, odd lacunae in the type and anachronisms crop up frequently. For American readers the book needs a glossary; words like bothy, dun, geiss, and lough are not explained.

But if you can follow the story with an uncritical eye you will find within it a paean to the Old Woman of Ireland, the Goddess of the Land.  This is a rough gem of a story, penned by a true Druid, a man who passionately loves the soil and the Spirit of Ireland.

EVENTS AND PUBLIC APPEARANCES

Here is a list of my public appearances for this year (so far) Please come by so we can meet and feel free to share this announcement!

  • June 4-9, 2014
    Ellen will be doing workshops at the 2014 annual Dowsers Convention
    Friday, Listening to Trees
    Monday Scottish Fairy Lore
    in Lyndonville, VT www.dowsers.org
  • June 21 and 22, 2014
    Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival Renaissance Faire, Montague, MA
    10:00am to 6:00pm
    Ellen will be signing her books at YE CELTIC BOOKS AND HERBALS
  • September 5-7, 2014
    Tree Medicine Tree Magic
    A weekend intensive in Pennsylvania on making tree medicines
    And learning Irish tree lore
  • Western MA Pagan pride Day
    A talk on Scottish Fairy lore
    Florence, MA
    September 27, 11 AM to 6 PM
  • Herbal Healing Intensive
    October 18, 2014 – April, 2015
    Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    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, and hands on herbal techniques such as poultices, tinctures, salves etc. An herb walk outdoors, slide shows of plants and hands on preparations are included.
    Over 400 pages of handouts are included with the course. A certificate of completion is offered at the end.
  • Changing Times Changing Worlds
    Nov. 7-9, Crowne Plaza in Cromwell, Connecticut
    Ellen will teach a three part Druid Intensive including the Druidic wheel of the Year, the Ogham alphabet and meditating with trees.

Below you can catch up on the past Moonth’s gleanings from the media. Enjoy!

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

NATURE NEWS

DRUID NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

HERBAL NEWS

  • How to tap Maples
  • Birch syrup
  • Sycamore syrup – Sycamore sap flows on warm winter days – days during the January thaw and days during maple syruping season that are too warm for maple sap to flow (when daytime temperatures are greater than 50 – and even 60 – degrees Fahrenheit).
  • How to eat Nettles
  • Nettle Ravioli in Nettle Pasta
  • Nettle bread recipe
    For the Americans:
    2c + 2.5 tsp organic flour
    ½ c. full fat, organic milk
    ½ c. nettle tips
    1.5 tbs. fresh yeast
    6 organic
    free range eggs
    1/3c white sugar
    2.5tsp Cornish sea salt
    1/2c. soft, unsalted, organic butter
  • Amaranth; “All you have to do is eat the weed” (just make sure its growing on an organic farm)
  • Gardening with Wild Plants
  • A fabulous website about Yew trees
  • Irish trees
  • Plantain
  • For those who have been following the Drama, here is your FIRE CIDER UPDATE
    Facebook StoryLast week, the moderators of the Anti-Trademark Fire Cider page (which had over 3000 likes!) were sent messages saying that there has been a formal complaint made by Amy Huebner (Shire City Owner), that we are violating their trademark and rights. From Facebook: “The Fire Cider Anti-Trademark page has been taken down. Facebook does not moderate between parties, please contact the complaining party, Amy Huebner of Shire City Herbals.”We were not surprised! We felt silenced and angry. We were not violating a trademark, because we are not actually selling anything!Well, we are back! We have a new Facebook page.Please like and share!

    Amy’s actions motivated us to create a new website with much more information on it!

    Even though Amy intended to silence us, she pushed us to get more organized and have a central location for all our movement information! Thanks Amy!

    • New Website
      The website has lots of great information about the movement. You can download letters, signs, recipes. Upload information, pictures and more! Check it out!
    • Promotional Materials
      Download promotional materials from the website!

            • General info flyers
            • Recipes
            • Make your own Fire Cider poster
            • Campaign Updates
            • Boycott

      **Before you write or call a store, check the website for the most up to date list of stores who have supported the boycott Fire Cider!

      ** Make sure you upload the information about stores that have decided to make a concious choice to support our mission in protecting our tradition from SCH Fire Cider, so that they are not still getting letters, and our energy doesn’t get wasted!

      **Check the website for 3 different SAMPLE boycott letters! Remember, these are samples! If you don’t like any of them, use your own words!

      **Keep the pressure on! Have a letter writing get-together!

    • Petition
      *It is so empowering to see us all come together to protect our traditions. We have almost 7,500 signatures!*Help us by circulating the petition to reach 10,000 signatures!
    • Flood the Market*We’d love to see coops and health food stores across the country carrying a large selection of LOCAL Fire Ciders! Live in Alabama? Why should your Coop carry a Fire Cider from Massachusetts? And if you live in MA, your Coop could carry Fire Cider made right in the very same town!

      *More info on how to do this! 

    • Volunteer Information*We are hoping to solidify our volunteer coordinator this week!

      *Submit a volunteer form if you would like to lend a hand!

    • Toast to Tradition*On Sunday, March 9th let’s all celebrate Fire Cider. Make a toast to tradition! Share and post your photos on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc

      *Don’t forget to tag Tradition Not Trademark on Facebook or use ‪#‎freefirecider elsewhere!

  • ANOTHER FIRE CIDER UPDATEHappy Spring*Traditional Healers Alliance*
    New Volunteer Coordinators
    Campaign Updates

    Spring Equinox is here! Hooray!

    During the last few cold weeks of winter, the Anti-trademark Fire Cider group has been busy building an organizing structure. Our goals were to:

    • Broaden the Fire Cider movement
    • Incorporate more volunteers into the organizing group
    • To work more efficiently as an organizing group.

    We have decided to call it….(drum roll)……

    The Traditional Healers Alliance!

    It is now spring, and we are happy to share with you the mission statement!

Traditional Healers Alliance: Mission Statement
The Traditional Healing Alliance’s (THA) mission is to protect traditional herbal terms and practices from potential restrictions while keeping these terms and traditions accessible to the general public. This includes remedies, traditionally practicing herbalists, and whole herbs.
THA works to build and unify the herbal community and empower them to feel that they can continue to celebrate traditional healing practices and produce historical, traditional remedies without restriction.

THA’s goals are:
Revoke the Fire Cider Trademark, and protect other common herbal terms from trademark through legal action, awareness campaigns and direct action (boycott, letter writing, petitions).
THA is working to set a precedent in the herbal marketplace. The herbal community will not sit back and watch while our traditional herbal terms are turned into a corporate commodity.
Through it’s advocacy work, THA is raising awareness about traditional remedies and healing.

    • New Volunteer Coordinators

      Along with the organizing infrastructure, we have found 2 new volunteer coordinators! Amy Richards and Rachael Young will be contacting folks and directing them on how to plug into the Anti- Trademark Fire Cider campaign.

      If you have submitted your name, and not heard anything, it is because we have been busy finding the coordinators and creating the structure for you to plug into!

    • Campaign Updates

      Boycott: Still going strong! We are still encouraging folks to write letters and call stores. We have sample letters here.

      Flood the Market: We have lots of new brands of Fire Cider popping up! Keep sending us pictures of your products!

      Petition: We are still trying to get to 10,000! Keep sharing!

      Thank you for your continued support.

      The Traditional Healers Alliance

HEALTH NEWS

FAIRY NEWS

PAGAN NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS (because they are the same thing)