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

September blog 2014 Druids Working for Peace as the Summer Light Wanes

OUR GRIEF IS NOT A CRY FOR WAR

I wrote this in 2002 but it is still relevant for today.

As the light of summer wanes the tides of war are licking at our feet; bombing raids are in full force again in the Middle East. Here in the US the effects of war have been felt in an ever more militarized police force. With the recent beheading of an American by the dreaded ISIL, it feels like we are in a new “Hundred Year’s War”. Will it end in my lifetime?

Meanwhile, the memory of September 11 looms, the event that set so much destruction in motion. Here is an editorial I wrote in 2002 that bears re-posting;

Remembering September 11, 2001
by Ellen Evert Hopman

OUR GRIEF IS NOT A CRY FOR WAR

Most religions agree on one basic principle; that creation comes from one eternal SOURCE. Some call it Goddess, some call it God and some call it The Mother of Ten Thousand Things. Whatever its ultimate nature, we are all a part of it. When dealing with a tragedy like September 11 we are faced with an aspect of ourselves that we may have a hard time looking upon and living with. Yet it, too, is a part of sacred creation.

Over the next week the media and the government will be doing their utmost to revive the feelings of shock and despair that we first experienced a year ago. Whether it is being done to increase ratings, to sell papers, or to build the propaganda effort for a war against Iraq, we will find ourselves awash in sentiments that were first born on that terrible day a year ago.

As human beings we have a choice in how we handle the emotions that will arise in us and in our fellows. In the words of Gregg Braden (author of Walking Between the Worlds);

“What if one person chooses to see beyond hate for those who oppress, while still living among those who oppress? This does not mean that they condone, agree with, or would ever choose to have oppression in their lives. It simply means that one person has chosen to become more than the circumstances they find themselves immersed within, breaking the cycle of response that has been, becoming the higher choice”.

As we experience the renewed drum beats for war and remembrance, we would do well to remember that every actor in the drama; perpetrator, victim, and witness, is an aspect of the sacred, a part of the divine whole. As Gregg has described in his book, we should use this anniversary of grief to witness our own responses and as a tool for growth.

The most primitive response to the memory of 9/11 is to react with rage, demanding vengeance. For many this will be the most immediate and lasting response.

Another understandable, but no less primitive, response will be denial. There are those who refuse to watch television, or read newspapers, or listen to the news, preferring to “stay happy” and focus “only on the positive”, in a kind of New Age never never land. Growth cannot occur in this walled off state, nor will this numbness spur us to take the necessary compassionate action.

Pain and suffering are evident all around us, as they have been continually in the last year. The bombing of civilians in Afghanistan, the deaths of children in Iraq, brought on by sanction driven deprivation, the tit for tat violence in Palestine and Israel, are all aspects of our common crisis.

It is only by facing these events directly, and by allowing the full horror to penetrate, that we can finally respond with compassion and begin the steps to change our present circumstances.

“I am in all beings. All beings are in me. This is the whole truth.”
-Ashtavakra Gita 6:3-4

All beings are aspects of one creative SOURCE, constantly evolving and seeking to know itself. As we gaze, clear eyed, at the suffering around us, let us bless the actions of those who have taken life, for seeking to know themselves in the taking of life. Let us bless the victims who have given their lives, for seeking to know themselves in the giving of life. And let us bless the witnesses who seek to know themselves in the witnessing.

In the words of the Midewewin (open heart) teachings of the (Native American) Anishnabe;

“All life is sacred and every act is a ritual”

Let us conduct ourselves well this week of the anniversary of 9/11 by wishing health and happiness on all beings, of every race, religion and color, in every corner of our small planet. And let us gaze upon sorrow with compassion and without a furthering of violence.

copyright Ellen Evert Hopman

Permission is granted to forward this as long as nothing is removed or altered including this permission statement.

DRUIDS WORKING FOR PEACE

Given all the mayhem happening in the world at this time, Druids around the world will be performing a peace ritual each month on the night of the Full Moon. If anyone feels inclined to join in, please do (the next one is September 9, 2014).

It is claimed in the classical writings that the Druids held the power to stop armies engaging in combat and that may have been because one of their priorities was peace. Today’s Druids wield nether the power or influence of the classical Druids but our priorities remain the same. The achievement of peace is a central aim within today’s Druidic communities. It is with this in mind that The Druid Network has, at this time, now engaged in spiritual work to help bring about peace, not just on the local scale like the classical Druids, but on a worldwide scale enabled by the technology of today.

We therefore invite anyone and everyone to engage with us in our aims, through the use of our International Full Moon Peace Intention Ritual.  This ritual, which will be held on the full moon of each month, is suitable for use on its own or in conjunction with any other type of ritual. It can be done on an individual basis or through a community based ritual.

Travel is unnecessary, just putting aside a place and time is all that is required. Ideally, the aim is for people to engage with the ritual at the time of the full moon. However, life does not normally allow for such specific timing, therefore we would request that you aim to do the ritual within the 12 hour period either prior to or just after the full moon if you cannot do the ritual at the specific timing of the full moon.

We have worded this ritual to have no specific political or religious favor, it is a ritual for peace without taking sides.

The Ritual

First we would suggest that everyone starts with the calls for peace in each direction.

“May there be peace in the east,
may there be peace in the south,
may there be peace in the west,
may there be peace in the north,
may there be peace in the whole world.”

After that we suggest each individual or group proceed with whatever ritual opening they usually use and when that is complete use the following:

We honor the fallen,
Those who chose to fight,
And those who had no choice,
Those whose fate it was to die in conflict.
We honor and remember them.

(pause to honor and remember those known and unknown who have died in conflict.)

We stand in the web of life, each of us connected to each other.
Our thoughts and deeds ripple outwards across that web.

(pause to reach out and feel our connections to each other and the web of life)

Today we stand for peace, today we act for peace.
Let each of us be a channel for peace.
Peace in our hearts.
Peace in our lives.
Peace in the world.

(pause and focus on being a channel for peace and radiating that peace out across the world)

After that we suggest closing your ritual in whatever is your normal fashion.

(Meanwhile, if anyone is interested in the serious study of Druidism there is a local Grove near Amherst… Tribe of the Oak)

One of my Grove members reported this about the last Full Moon peace ritual;

” I got the words, got a candle and instinctively went outside to perform the rite. As back story, I and my brother his wife and children are all living with my folks in one dwelling. It is wonderful, it is chaotic, it is… family! My brother, whom I have had words with and felt regret for them all day was out. He is a veteran and served in the US Air force. My intuition leading the way I told him in brief about the ritual, he knows I am a Druid and is mildly curious himself on the lore and studies. I asked him to light the candle for those who have fallen by him, with him and around him. We spoke of peace and of the reasons for it. He had a proverb to speak and we were at peace. Amazing.

Then my dad came and he, a veteran as well was asked by me to remember to fallen and to connect with the web of life.

We went to Chatham Light and gazed at the moon, talked, laughed and were again at peace.

Such is the way of powerful rituals in small packages.

Peace in my heart.
Peace in my life, my family.
Peace in the world.”

This was my own little ritual, here in Western MA;

“I myself had a beautiful little solitary rite by a lake down the road. It was just me and the still lake, beavers and pines as a giant orange Full Moon rose. I sent peace to the directions and then visualized the whole Earth covered with the cloak of Brighid. I visualized all the trouble spots I could think of; Palestine, Israel, Syria, Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. and gathered the peace of the scene before me and sent it to the hearts of all who are suffering.”

In honor of my grandfather, Lt. Paul Evert, aviator WWI

THINKING OF BEES

On the nature front I have been thinking a lot about bees. Their plight world-wide due to poisoning by nicotine-based pesticides has gotten me to look at the world through bee eyes. Take a look around your garden and lawn and see if there are blooming flowers or blooming trees. If your lawn is neatly trimmed and sprayed with weed killer and your bushes and trees are neatly cropped, chances are you live in a wasteland, as far as the bees are concerned.

In ancient Scottish tradition there was always a “Goodman’s croft” in the garden or field. This was a corner left wild for the exclusive use of the fairies (read more about this in my book SCOTTISH HERBS AND FAIRY LORE). The wildflowers there would have also been very attractive to bees, butterflies and other winged creatures. I have decided to make a bee garden just for the bees, behind my patch of comfrey, roses and angelica. I am sowing milkweed, yarrow, and queen Anne’s Lace, all flowers with compact clusters of blooms, just for the bees (I am sure the Fae will appreciate the plot too).

UPCOMING ELECTIONS IN MASSACHUSETTS

Turning to politics, there is a primary coming up in a few days, here in MA. I have been paying close attention and have finally settled on a candidate to support for governor. Here’s why I am supporting BERWICK for governor of MA;

“After careful consideration and review of the currently available data, I oppose the construction of the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline. We should not commit to new natural gas infrastructure until we know for certain that it is necessary to meet our energy needs. To date, I am not convinced that that case has been made.

“I aim to set Massachusetts on the path towards becoming the first carbon neutral state. To achieve this ambitious goal, we must double down on aggressive efforts for additional conservation and efficiency, solar, off-shore wind, and hydro-electric power to replace existing fossil fuel sources.

“While we need a ‘bridge’ fuel in the *short* term until we can power our grid and mobile sources with a minimum of fossil fuels, I am very concerned about the legitimate dangers of making any more long-term investments in natural gas infrastructure. New pipelines, including the Kinder Morgan pipeline, create infrastructure that locks us into the use of fossil fuels for far longer than necessary.

“Instead, we should focus on plugging dangerous leaks from the existing natural gas infrastructure, which waste energy and release greenhouse gases even more harmful than carbon dioxide. Let’s also support innovative technologies that help smooth demand during peak times. And let’s understand the important role that faster and better development of Massachusetts’ off-shore wind power resource can play in breaking the stranglehold of fossil fuels.

“We need a comprehensive statewide energy plan that moves us towards a safe, reliable, and cost-effective future with a minimum of greenhouse gas emissions, and I will see to it that we have one. Until we do, it is a mistake to make long-term investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure.”

Dave Marsh
Policy Director
Don Berwick for Governor

Below you will find the usual collection of archeology, nature, religion and ethics news. * You can order books from this website and receive a signed copy with a personal note*

SOME UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Save The Date Saturday 9/13/14 1-3 PM @ All Things Local in Amherst, MA
    $15 or $30 w/ the $20 book included
    THE SECRET MEDICINES OF YOUR KITCHEN
    Join local herbalist and author Ellen Evert Hopman in a discussion of home remedies that you can make from the foods and spices already in your kitchen. Get ready for winter with a recipe for Fire Cider (and have a taste!), learn which herbs can be used to make herbal salves, learn new uses for the spices on your kitchen shelf, and many other topics. Ellen teaches a six month herbal intensive near Amherst every year, October to April. Visit her online here.
    Ellen will have copies of her books on hand for sale and signing.
    For more information call 413- 253-2667
  • Western MA Pagan Pride Day
    Florence, MA
    September 27, 11 AM to 6 PM
    Ellen will speak on Scottish Fairy Lore and have herbal salves, tinctures and books for sale and signing
  • Tree Medicine Tree Magic: October 4th & 5th at the Philo School of Herbal Energetics – California
    A Weekend Workshop With Druid Ellen Evert Hopman
    On Saturday morning we learn about the Irish “Tree alphabet” and then go outside to perform a traditional Druid tree meditation and learn to listen to the trees. Saturday afternoon we learn more about the “Tree Alphabet” and then gather tree medicines such as leaves, pine needles, flowers, barks, etc. Sunday we prepare medicines from the ingredients we have gathered. Each student can leave with a hand-made set of Ogham divination cards, based on the ancient Irish Ogham “Tree Alphabet”. Please bring a notebook and pen, and wear comfortable shoes and outdoor clothes as you will be outside part of the weekend. Ellen will also have books with her to sell and sign.
    The Philo School of Herbal Energetics website has information on directions & lodging. $150 for the weekend; register here.
    Lodging: We do not offer lodging. Please go to the Anderson Valley Chamber of Commerce page for available lodging.
  • 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.

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

HERBAL NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

FAIRY NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

Wishing peace upon the world, in our homes and lives.