In previous blogs I have mentioned the family of crows and the black squirrel that I fed all winter. Recently they were joined by a small flock of wild turkeys. Initially there were three, a large tom and two hens, now it’s down to just one hen. It may be that the other hen is nesting. It may also be that some hunter killed the tom. There have been a lot of gunshots around the house recently, which makes me very sad.
A hunter told me that wild turkeys don’t taste that good and are a real pain to pluck. So why do hunters take pleasure in killing them for sport? It baffles me.
In celebration of May and the traditional Celtic beginning of summer I offer some activities you can do at this blessed time of year;
Collecting May Dew on a Beltaine morning is an old custom…
Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) wrote several diary entries that mention his wife’s repeated nighttime excursions with either her friends or maid to collect May and June dew.
28 May 1667—After dinner, my wife away down with Jane and W. Hewer to Woolwich in order to a little ayre, and to lie there tonight and so gather May dew tomorrow morning, which Mrs. Turner hath taught her as the only thing in the world to wash her face with, and I am contended with it.
10 May 1669—Troubled about three in the morning, with my wife’s calling her maid up, and rising herself, to go with her coach abroad to gather May-dew—which she did; and I troubled for it, for fear of any hurt, going abroad so betimes, happening to her. But I to sleep again, and she came home about six and to bed again, all is well.
In his Natural History of Ireland (1652), Dr. Gerard Boate gives instructions on how to best collect and preserve dew:
The English women, and gentlewomen in Ireland, as in England, did use in the beginning of the Summer to gather good store of Dew, to keep it by them all the year after for several good uses both of physick and otherwise, wherein by experience they have learnt it to be very available. Their manner of collecting, and keeping it was this. In the month of May especially, and also in part of the month of June, they would go forth betimes in the morning, and before Sun-rising, into a green field, and there either with their hands strike off the Dew from the tops of the herbs into a dish, or else throwing clean linnen cloaths upon the ground, take off the Dew from the herbs into them, and afterwards wring it out into dishes; and thus they continue their work untill they have got a sufficient quantity of Dew according to their intentions. That which is gotten from the grass will serve, but they chuse rather to have it from the green corn, especially Wheat, if they can have the conveniency to do so, as being perswaded that this Dew hath more vertues, and is better for all purposes than that which hath been collected from the grass or other herbs. The Dew thus gathered they put into a glass bottle, and so set it in a place where it may have the warm Sun-shine all day long, keeping it there all the Summer; after some days rest some dregs and dirt will settle to the bottom; the which when they perceive, they pour off all the clear Dew into another vessel, and fling away those settings. This they doe often, because the Dew doth not purge it self perfectly in a few dayes, but by degrees, so as new dregs (severed from the purer parts by the working of the Dew, helped on by the Sun-Beams) do settle again; of the which as often as those good women see any notable quantity, they still powre off the clear Dew from them: doing thus all Summer long, untill it be clear to the bottom.
The dew thus thoroughly purified looketh whitish, and keepeth good for a year or two after.
Violet, Rose or Dandelion Jelly
Fill a glass jar with either Dandelion flowers (Taraxacum officinale) (remove the stems and green sepals from the Dandelion flowers or they will be bitter) or fragrant old fashioned Tea style rose petals (Rosa spp.) (Please do not use the genetically engineered scentless varieties), or Blue Violets (Viola odorata). Pour enough boiling hot water over the flowers until the jar is filled. Allow the jar to sit overnight.
Strain out the flowers and reserve the liquid. For every two cups of liquid add the juice of one lemon and a package of powdered pectin*. Place the liquid in a non-aluminum pot and bring to a boil. Add a tiny piece of butter (to prevent froth) and four cups of organic cane sugar and bring to a boil again. Boil hard for one minute; pour into clean jars and seal.
*Some people feel that the liquid pectin works better these days.
Violet Flower Syrup
The flowers of Viola odorata and Viola canina are made into a syrup that is laxative and lowers a fever. It is also taken for epilepsy, insomnia, jaundice, sore throat and headache. To make the syrup;
Pour freshly boiled water over an equal volume of flowers
Steep 10 hours and then strain out the flowers
Reheat the liquid adding an equal portion of fresh flowers
Let stand for 10 hours
Do this several more times then bring to a simmer, cool slightly, and add honey until a syrup consistency is reached.
Excerpts from SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN (order via this website or find it in the usual places!)
May Day is also a traditional time for political marches and protests. Here are a few useful links;
“An excellent book, detailing the story of a healer thrust into the political games played between the Druids and the Christian priests with the throne of the kingdom as its playing surface. Hopman writes an excellent tale that weaves around the intricacies and beauty of what the life of a Druid may have been like during the initial “invasion” of the Christian beliefs into the islands of Britain. The detail placed into the various ritualized aspects of the cycles of Life is a superb basis upon which the entire tale is painted. Character development is extremely strong, and the pacing of the story is quite good through most of the book. The final two chapters of the book are absolutely staggering in the depth of insight through the characters’ eyes”
- An old podcast someone recently re-posted where I talk about writing the Druid novels.
- Another interview where I talk about writing
- My Druid group, in case anyone wants to study with us
Below you will find the usual collection of archeology, climate, nature, herb, health, religion, Celtic, Druid, and ethics news. Enjoy!
*Reminder – you can order books from this site and get a copy signed by the author and a personal note!*
- Ancient monument records a comet strike 13,000 years ago
- An ancient Turkish mosaic
- Can houses die? Viking longhouse burials
- Climate change and early hominids
- Radiocarbon dating gets a makeover
- Neanderthal, Denisovan DNA found in caves with no human bones
- The history of North America may be re-written after 130,000 possible evidence of humans is found
- The Fortingall Yew, a 5000 year old yew tree, one of the oldest in Europe
- This pine tree is over 1000 years old
- When Anglo-Saxons liked to copy Viking hair styles
- A 15 million dollar copy of the Magna Carta found in a Victorian scrapbook
- A Bronze Age rattle is found in Turkey
- The boar headed carnyx
- Ancient Celtic glass bracelets
- Celtic ankle bracelets
- Artefacts from Syria and Iraq at the Penn museum
- A 5000 year old skeleton found in Malaysia
- The oldest known hominid is….
- 7 inventions of the Neolithic
- The Bastarnae, Balkan Celts
- The highest passage grave in Ireland, Armagh
- Ancient Inca string accounting devices
- Bog bodies yield secrets
- A new Viking settlement found under a church
- A 14,000 year old village found in Canada
- Siberian dragons
- The Antonine Wall in pictures
- A Paleolithic Venus figurine found in Siberia
- Some new Egyptian mummies found
- Reconstruction of a Neanderthal head (video)
- Are you part Neanderthal? (hint: yes you are) (video)
- Good King Henry’s Head reconstructed
- Cambridge museum must return Nigeria’s Benin Bronzes
- Skull of a sabre toothed cat found in Germany
- An ancient grave from Inner Mongolia with Greek artefacts
- Recreating prehistoric Avalon
- A 10th century Norse grave
- Island of Mykonos to undergo monument restoration project
- Listen to a recently discovered 10th century European polyphonic music composition
- Oil workers find a massive dinosaur in Alberta
- An animated history of the British Isles
- Another Bronze Age female burial found in Denmark
- Petroglyphs of Bronze Age Nordic boats found in Georgia, USA
- The first chain mail
- Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ s summer home
- A Siberian mummy
- Mesopotamia was less violent than once thought
- A map of Sheela-na-gigs in Ireland
- Meehambee dolmen, Ireland
- The A1 in Britain was a Roman road, a new settlement is found
- Are the Orkney Neolithic monuments aligned to Orion’s belt?
- A virtual reconstruction of a Roman town (video)
- The German Celts of Hochdorf (video)
- Hochdorf, an ancient Celtic town (video)
- Million year old humanoid footprints found in Britain
- Gallo-Roman mosaics uncovered in southern France
- The Newgrange Triple Spiral (video)
- Cairnbaan Scottish rock art (video)
- A database of Pictish stones
- A Pictish burial on the black isle
- The Uffington Horse petroglyph – a new interpretation
- Cartimandua and a royal sex scandal in Roman era Yorkshire
- Pompeii before the disaster (animation)
- Remains of a 13th century pyramid discovered in Egypt
- The Celtic deity “Taranis” (thunder)
- A “lost” Roman city unearthed in southern France
- History of the Great Wall of China
- New evidence for ancient hominid diet in Iberia
- Ancient Minoan and modern Cretan DNA are being compared
- A ring fort is excavated in Ireland
- A Celtic war chariot found in Bulgaria
- More details about a Celtic chariot found in England
- Is this the tomb of a Ptolemaic prince?
- The last Roman campaign against the Balkan Celts
- A 1,500 year old Welsh sword (I doubt its Excalibur)
- Purple Loosestrife, a valuable “invasive”
- Rare wildflowers are enduring on the sides of roads in Britain
- Cottonwood is for salves, tinctures
- Native American uses for Sweet Grass
- A 1000 year old herbal
- Dandelion-Rosemary shortbread
- Edible flowers
- How to grow potatoes
- Chive blossom oil and vinegar
- Study shows plants know when they are being eaten. And they don’t like it.
- Plant consciousness is different from humans
- A year in the life of a Hawthorn tree (video)
- Dandelion recipes
- Orange and Maple Mead
- Oregon Grape
- Make strawberry rhubarb soda
- Strawberry rhubarb butter
- An Irish charm for urinary problems
“I save myself from this disease of the urine…. save us cunning birds, bird flocks of witches save us”The patient repeated the invocation each time they visited the toilet.
From the Scottish Carmina Gadelica – a charm to stop bloody urine.
TA mis a nis air leirg,
Traogh’ fraoich is feirg,
Deanamh eolas a bhun deirg,
Dh’ an bho bhailg dhuibh.
Air bhliochd, air bhlachd, air bhlath,
Air omhan agus ais,
Air slaman agus slaig,
Air im, air cais, air gruth.
Air aghar agus agh,
Air damhair agus dair,
Air taghar agus tan,
Air rathaich agus ruth.
Naoi tobraiche Mhic-an-Lir,
Cobhair ort a shil,
Casg a chur air t-fhuil,
Ruith a chur air t-fhual,
A bho bhuar, dhubh.
I AM now on the plain,
Reducing wrath and fury,
Making the charm of the red water,
To the beauteous black cow.
For milk, for milk substance, for milk produce,
For whisked whey, for milk riches,
For curdled milk, for milk plenty,
For butter, for cheese, for curds.
For progeny and prosperity,
For rutting time and rutting,
For desire and kine,
For passion and prosperity.
The nine wells of Mac-Lir,
Relief on thee to pour,
Put stop to thy blood,
Put run to thy urine,
Thou cow of cows, black cow.
- Majority of House Democrats now support Medicare for all (wow!)
- How gut bacteria affect mood
- A new tick born pathogen has been discovered
- A Cat’s purr relieves Rheumatoid Arthritis and other ailments
- Why the EPA was created (someone please send this to Trump)
- Bill and Melinda Gates will provide birth control to women who lose it under Trump
- 2000 US doctors call for single payer health care
CLIMATE AND NATURE NEWS
- Two albino moose spotted in Canada
- NOAA and others find previous estimates of ocean level rise too conservative
- Climate change inaction is a form of genocide
- Due to global warming a giant river in Canada has disappeared
- How our national parks are being affected by global warming
- No encounters: alien search has turned up nothing, so far (or so they say)
- Psychedelic drugs do expand consciousness, lab study finds
- A starshot initiative to Alpha Centauri
- A new dinosaur family tree
- A giant ship worm the size of a baseball bat
- Naked mole rats can live 20 minutes without oxygen, don’t get cancer
- The Bear Man of Finland (video)
- We are hurtling towards the hottest Earth in 200 million years
- Trump moves to open Atlantic coast, Alaska to oil drilling
- Great Barrier Reef is terminal, due to climate change
- New sec of interior brings back lead bullets, endangering eagles, condors, just so sport hunters can have a cheap kill
- The evolution of penguins
- Why did ancient hominids eat each other?
- How the English Channel was violently created by floods
- A planet with a “hot and steamy” atmosphere is found
- Why are climate scientists being censored by the Trump regime?
- A climate scientist talks about disappearing citations
- An early relative of Tyrannosaurs
- As price of ivory falls in China, elephants get a reprieve
- US military adds Pagan, Druid, Heathen and other religions to recognized faith groups
- Jimmy Carter on why he left the Southern Baptist Convention
- Is Paganism on the decline in Britain?
- The Celtic-Vedic connection
- Siuda Baba – a Polish Pagan priestess still survives in folklore
- What have Pagans accomplished in the last 50 years?
- The DeVos plan to force Christianity into American public schools
- The Pagan roots of Easter
- May Day in County Meath
- May Dew
- May Day in Ireland
- The Maypole in Ireland
- The May Bush
- The Dream of Oengus, the love story of Newgrange
- The Fairy Thorn
- Hawthorn, the Fairy Tree
- The Burren
- A great collection of ancient Irish stories and texts
- The Crane Stance of Lugh
- Beltaine festival in Edinburgh, Scotland
- The Witch stones of Scotland
- The Testament of Morann, an ancient Irish description of a true and honorable king (we need this now)
- Irish language for Pagans (video)
- The Celtic Guide magazine, Beltaine issue, is up.
POLITICS AND ETHICS
- Trump is mentally ill Yale Psychiatrists say
- Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren talk about income inequality in the USA, tax reform, free higher education,and single payer Medicare for all (video)
- Maryland becomes first state that will reimburse Planned Parenthood if Congress defunds it
- Fake news activists who filmed Planned Parenthood workers are finally being charged
- Iowa Republicans vote to roll back minimum wage increases already in effect
- Bernie Sanders will head a Progressive conference in June, in Chicago
- How Trump convinced voters to back him, a Jungian analysis of Trump as an archetype
- Dan Rather: Ignore misdirection and stay focused on the real story; the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia
- Bernie Sanders: Syria could easily become another quagmire for the US
- Is Syria just a distraction on a massively larger scale?
- Trump’s unilateral illegal act of war does little to relieve Syrian suffering
- More on the illegality of the Syrian attack (from the ACLU)
- Setting a revolting precedent WI Republicans vote to privatize water
- How Mitch Mcconnell broke the Constitution
- Chinese billionaire says US has wasted trillions on war when it should have invested in infrastructure (well, duh)
- Minimum wage in California now set to be $15.00 an hour
- DeVos rolls back consumer protections for student loan borrowers, making it even harder to get an education in the USA
- Trump orders preparations to attack North Korea
- NC Republicans file bill declaring same sex marriages “null and void”
- Poll: Bernie is most popular, Mitch McConnell most disliked in USA
- Government watchdog is investigating the Trump transition
- Evidence surfaces that Manafort received payout money from pro-Russian Ukraine
- What you can do to preserve internet privacy (more or less)
- Trump wants repeal of the Johnson amendment hidden in his tax bill
- Ivanka Trump has dinner with the Chinese President and on the same day wins Chinese trademarks
- Dow Chemical donates 1 million dollars to Trump, asks him to ignore pesticide study and risks
- Trump administration is putting us on track for a war with Iran
- Trumpcare 3.0 is even worse than the one that came before
- Company building DAPL pipeline just polluted wetlands while constructing another pipeline
- Company building DAPL pipeline demands foreign made pipes and Trump caves (so much for buying American)
- China warns Trump to stop making matters worse with N. Korea
- After public outcry State Department removes post promoting Mar-A-Lago from its website
- Trump continues to reward corporations that offshore American jobs
- Why the proposed corporate tax cut won’t pay for itself (Voodoo economics)
- Trump’s posturing is setting the scene for conflict in Korea
- Saudi Arabia voted in to UN council on women’s rights (no joke)
- How Trump’s tax plan will make the Trump’s richer
- Majority of House Democrats now support Medicare for all (wow!)
- Single payer healthcare advances in California
- Trump’s reviled hotline to report “illegal aliens” flooded by calls about UFO’s (smile)
- Trump opens up Atlantic and Arctic to oil drilling again
- Agreeing with most Americans, Trump now says he wasn’t ready to be president
- Do-it-yourself abortion kits emerge due to fears over Trump’s policies