A Druid’s Web Log – Beltaine (May Day) 2016

After a very warm winter we were suddenly assaulted by below freezing temperatures and even snow earlier this month. As a result the Day Lillies and other early spring plants are looking very crisp around the edges. My garden is usually glorious this time of year. Now the plants are confused and there are very few Spring flowers.

Last weekend I visited the wilderness area down the road with some friends. We walked on a sandy beach and noticed giant wolf-like paw prints (probably Coy-wolves) in the sand and we were treated to the sight of Bald Eagles wheeling overhead, doing their aerial dance. Birch trees were dressed in their new catkins and the skunk cabbages were up on schedule. It’s comforting to know that some things are still happening as they should.

It will be Beltaine (May Day) in a few days, the official start of summer in Celtic areas. Modern celebrants like to observe on May 1 but in ancient times it was the blooming of the Hawthorn trees that heralded the festival. In my area that won’t happen until at least mid-May. Keep an eye on your local Hawthorn trees, or find out when the herds start migrating back up into the hills, for a more accurate assessment of the official start of summer wherever you are.

The US elections are growing nearer. Please consider the Earth and her creatures when you select a candidate. We have very little time left to save fragile wildlife and preserve human health and wellbeing.

Below you will find the usual Moonthly offerings of archeology, nature, herb, health, religion and ethics news. Enjoy!

BOOK NEWS

A REVIEW

  • Ellen Evert Hopman, A Legacy of Druids: Conversations with Druid leaders of Britain, the USA and Canada, past and present“A Legacy Of Druids presents a collection of interviews from some of the most prominent druids in the community, including Philip Carr-Gomm, Mara Freeman, Ceisiwr Serith, Arthur Uther Pendragon and even Ronald Hutton. What perhaps makes them particularly interesting is that these interviews were conducted around 20 years ago, making A Legacy Of Druids a window into the recent past, which is intriguing to compare and contrast with the current landscape of the Druid community today.For me, Druidry has been one of the harder Pagan paths to grasp, as what Druidry actually is always seems to be rather difficult to pin down (even within the context of Paganism, which is itself hard to pin down). This book didn’t really answer the question of what exactly Druidry is – what it did do, however, was give a sense of what Druidry is like. All the Druids selected for interview in this book approach their path from different ways, but after a while you see some patterns emerge that help to distinguish Druidism from other Pagan paths. I noticed that a large percentage of Druids in A Legacy Of Druids had experienced vivid visions and supernatural experiences, and that there’s a particular emphasis on comparing Druidry with Native American traditions – you could sum up Druidry as “Pagan/Celtic Shamanism.”Many of the questions asked in the interviews are the same, which means that there is a little repetition and overlap in answers. But each interview has its own points of interest, and I particularly liked the interviews with Ceisiwr Serith (a lot of surprising truths revealed), Arthur Uther Pendragon (one of Druidry’s most colourful and outspoken individuals), Rollo Maughfling, and Isaac Bonewits (his dealings with Anton La Vey were particularly intriguing). For me, the interview that stood out the most was with Ronald Hutton. I’m a little biased as I’m a big Hutton fan, but it was really fascinating to hear more about his personal life and views. As always, A Legacy Of Druids proves the general rule that a book with Hutton’s name in it usually has something of merit.A Legacy Of Druids is a solid resource for those interested in the history of modern Druidry and more about the lives of those who have made the community what it is today.”
  • An author interview I did with a fellow in India
  • How I became an Herbalist 

RECENT PODCASTS

ANOTHER LEGACY OF DRUIDS REVIEW

  • A Legacy of Druids “Provides a better-rounded picture than the stereotypical television portrayal of Druids as rebellious savage that Roman soldiers felt compelled to slaughter.
    A common belief was Druids did not leave written history because to write something down would cause the memory to go. If this is true or not, I don’t know. The best way to understand Druids is to talk to them, rather than pick up information from self-proclaimed experts on the Internet.Author Ellen Evert Hopman gathers Druids from all walks of life including politicians, spiritual leaders, poets, and musicians. It is a nice collection because no one is alike, which means the interviewees while having a shared faith didn’t always have the same practices, rather like almost any other religion.
    I applaud Hopman for her effort and research. She’s not just a woman in search of an interesting topic, but an archivist of sorts, gathering her own faith history as  Archdruid of the Tribe of Oak.The Legacy of Druids is a much-needed book that demonstrates not all Druids s are bearded old men. Now, there’s nothing wrong with an elder in a ceremonial robe, but it’s also okay sometimes just to be another person standing in line at the water and soil conservation center waiting to get his or her rain barrel. It’s excellent read to expand your horizons.”

*REMINDER – you can order signed copies of my books from this website. You will receive a signed copy with a personal note!*

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS

  • A PLANT TALK IN MASSACHUSETTS
    May 15
    Pelham, MA 1 PM – 3:30 PM
    A lecture on The Doctrine of Signatures, an ancient plant classification system
  • A TREE WORKSHOP IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
    Tree Magic and Medicine class with Ellen Evert Hopman
    July 23,24 2016
    Misty Meadows Herbal Center
    183 Wednesday Hill Road
    Lee, NH 03861
  • AN HERBAL INTENSIVE IN MASSACHUSETTS
    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

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!