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.

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*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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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

     

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