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.

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

LANGUAGE NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

HERB NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

ART NEWS

NATURE AND CLIMATE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

FAIRY NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

*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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Imbolc, Brighid, and the return of the snow

As I write this we are in the midst of a classic winter storm. This year it almost feels as if the weather hereabouts has gotten back to “normal” (whatever that is). I can remember 20 foot snow drifts, higher than a school bus, back when I was a teenager and going to the Putney School in Vermont. I remember wind so cold I had to wear an old nylon stocking over my face, just to keep it from frost bite. Now they call that kind of cold a “Polar Vortex” and everyone acts surprised.

Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal are sheltering in the Rhododendron bush next to the living room window. Other birds are chomping away at the seeds and suet I put out and I have seen fresh Coyote or Coy-Wolf  tracks in the snow every day. The flock of wild turkeys that has adopted me hasn’t been around for a few days. Hopefully they are roosting high up in a conifer somewhere, safe from the snow and predators. When the storm is over I will put out my usual cracked corn for them, at the edge of the driveway.

I love late January and early February because that is the time of year when my Patroness, the Goddess Brighid, is honored. I don’t know what happens in other parts of the world but here in New England we have a yearly event called “The January Thaw” when the air gets warm for about a week and water drips from roof tops and puddles and mud form in driveways. In Celtic traditions it is said that when Brighid walks the countryside, everywhere She steps the ice melts and the Earth turns to green. It is far from green here, but we certainly get hints of Spring at the time of Her festival.

I always know that Brighid is here by the weather, and I put out a candle in the snow, oatmeal or oatmeal cookies for Her and her donkey, and a basket of cloths to be used for healing throughout the year, for Her to bless. That magical time is now over and the snow is dropping on us in buckets, by this evening we will have a foot or more.

Here are some prayers and invocations that I like to use.

INVOCATION OF BRIGHID
(from PRIESTESS OF THE FIRE TEMPLE – A DRUID’S TALE)

by Ellen Evert Hopman
(translation by Alexei Kondratiev)

A Brigit, a ban-de beannachtach
Tair isna huisciu noiba,
A ben inna teora tented trena,
Isin cherdchai,
Isin choiriu,
Ocus isin chiunn,
No-don-cossain,
Cossain inna tuatha.

O Brighid, blessed Goddess
Come into the sacred waters
O woman of the three strong fires,
In the forge,
In the cauldron,
In the head.
Protect us.
Protect the people.

~   ~   ~

Brighid, Patroness of the Druids and Bards
By Ellen Evert Hopman

(From A DRUID’S HERBAL FOR THE SACRED EARTH YEAR, Destiny Books)

Beloved Brighid of the triple flame
Daughter of the Dagda
Guardian of the sacred spring
Whose voice is the soul of the harp
We call on thee.
Teach our hands to heal
and our hearts to sing.
We entrust our life’s progress to your care
and ask that you shape us
bending and turning our hearts
on your bright anvil of flame
till we are made perfect jewels
fit to be set into the eye
of your timeless harp
to play for the soul of the people
in times of sorrow and times of celebration.
We thank you for your gifts to us
of poetry and music
of laughter and tears
and for the healing balm of your wisdom.
May we always remember to meditate
on the gift of your sacred waters
which surround us at our birth
and sail us to our destiny.
Our hearts are open
to receive your blessing.
Midwife of our souls, rain on us.
Shower your inspiration
in curtains of song
from sacred waterfalls
in the realm where you dwell.
Come to us as Virgin
with the soft smell of flowers.
Come to us as Mother
and feed us your fruits.
Come to us as the Wise Woman
in the stark blasts of Winter.
Help us to see your Mystery in all creation
that we may know gratitude
and reverence.
Our hearts sing to you with love.
Teach us to change
like the revolving seasons.
Teach us to grow
like the green corn that feeds the people.
Teach us to fashion beauty
like the stillness of the forest pool
and the roar of the ocean wave.
Teach us to heal
like the soothing gem
which cools the eyes and Restores the limbs.
With humility and bright expectation
We invoke thee this hour!

SOME RECENT ARTICLES

Below you will find the usual collection of the last Moonth’s media. May
these tid bits inspire your path.

*** If you order books or DVDs from this website you will get a signed copy
with a personal note! Be sure to add a request if you want the books signed
to someone else! ***

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

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PAGAN NEWS

NATURE NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

May Brighid bless your fields and your flocks!