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.

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)