A Druid’s Web Log – Lughnasad/Lammas is upon us as heat grips the nation

It’s been a rough month. I nearly cried watching Bernie Sander’s capitulate to Hillary Clinton. So many of us Democrats feel betrayed – we wanted a new FDR and instead were manipulated into backing yet another bank and corporate bought leader. As a woman I feel no elation in the choice I was handed.

At least Debbie Wasserman Schultz was finally fired. Thousands of us signed petitions to oust her months ago, due to the abysmal way she scheduled debates. She understood that Clinton had vast name recognition and Bernie had none so she made sure he would get as little exposure as possible. The few debates that were held were at unlikely and inconvenient times. Thanks to WikiLeaks we now know that she also tried to smear him as an “Atheist” when he has never claimed that title.

To make things even more depressing the garden is frying in drought-like hot sun, way up here in New England. We are in the midst of a seven day heat wave, thanks to the climate change brought on by the very corporate interests that Bernie tried to challenge and that Hillary apparently backs. I have been out in the garden daily, hauling jugs of water to the plants, just to keep them alive.

It appears that the Revolution will take a bit more time…

We are now in the time of Lughnasad (Gaelic) or Lammas (Anglo-Saxon, from “Loaf Mass”), the festival of first fruits. It is important to make offerings to the Land Spirits at this time, to ensure a safe and fruitful harvest. Here are my suggestions;

Lughnasad, Lammas, Lunasa, Lá Lúnasa, Calen Awst

(End of July to second week of August)

  • Make offerings to a sacred fire; dry herbs, whiskey, butter, ghee
  • Pour milk offerings on stones
  • Climb a high mountain and leave offerings of quartz, flowers, fruits and grain
  • Offer butter to lakes
  • Flowers, fruits and coins to water
  • Float a wreath down a river
  • Float a small wooden boat with candles and flowers down a river
  • Decorate standing stones with wreaths or garlands of wheat
  • Offer a loaf of the new grain
  • Make offerings of the first harvest; vegetables, basil, herbs
  • Pour stout, honey, cider or milk in the fields and on the stones
  • Make grain dollies, feast of breads, cheese, baked goods, and leave a dish for the land spirits
  • Make offerings to water of fruits and flowers
  • Leave blessings for the trees.

May your harvests be fruitful!

BOOK NEWS

*Reminder – you can purchase my books from all the usual places or order a signed copy from this website! With a personal note!*

  • Secret Medicines from Your Garden: Plants for Healing, Spirituality and Magic
    SecretMedicinesofGardenWritten by Laura PerryI’ve been practicing herbalism for more than 20 years and I’m pretty picky about herbalism books. For me, this one stands out in a very positive way. It’s both deeper and wider than the usual encyclopaedia-style herbal. Hopman leads the reader through the process of getting to know the herbs personally, almost intimately, and includes information I haven’t seen elsewhere. Sometimes when I’m reading a book for review it feels like work, even if it’s a good book, but this one was just a delight the whole way through. It’s crammed full of information and I could really feel the author’s love for the Green People coming through on every page. This book feels less like an instruction manual and more like someone introducing me to all her friends.The book is divided into four parts. Part One: A Wild crafting Primer takes the reader through wild crafting by season rather than via the usual alphabetical listing. I’m really pleased with this. A seasonal arrangement is the smartest way to organize herbs that will be foraged or picked in the yard and garden. This section includes not just seasonal plant information but also some great information about the Doctrine of Signatures, which is a way to help understand an herb’s uses based on its physical characteristics.Part Two: Exploring Invisible Dimensions of the Plant World explores some of the more spiritual aspects of herbalism. Hopman provides a separate chapter for Dracaena and Mullein, two plants that are obviously special to her. Dracaena is the endangered tree whose resin is the ever-popular Dragon’s Blood. One very nifty bit from this section is the author’s instructions for how to make a working torch from the bloom stalk of the mullein plant. I’ve always called the bloom stalks ‘mullein torches’ but now I know how to make a mullein torch that will actually burn and provide light!Part Two also includes chapters on animal spirit medicines, herbal astrology and how to work with the plant spirits. Hopman’s animal spirit practices are based on Native American concepts, largely from the region in the north eastern U.S. where she lives. This is a fascinating set of information that groups plants with particular animals spirits (bear, elk, badger, and so on) based on the plants’ overall energy and purpose. This provides a deeper meaning for these herbs, a different point of view about the medicine they can offer us. Just a note: Many of the plants in this section are native to North America and can’t be found elsewhere. But most of the herbs in the rest of the book are common throughout the northern temperate zone.The chapter on herbal astrology and plant alchemy associates plants with the planets and zodiac signs, which is a really interesting practice that goes back centuries. I especially enjoyed the chapter on plant spirits. I think it’s important to have a relationship with the plants and not just use them as if they were bottles of pills on a shelf. Hopman offers some lovely ways to show your appreciation to the plant spirits, including singing and offering them prayers and blessings.Part Three: Enjoying Nature’s Bounty once again serves up plenty of useful information, including some things you won’t find in most herbals. There’s a whole chapter on Bee Medicine, which is so important now that the bees are in danger from human practices such as certain pesticides. This chapter includes the history of magical and practical uses of bees, honey and beeswax as well as all kinds of interesting bee lore and both medicinal and culinary recipes.Part Three also includes a chapter on kitchen medicine: helpful uses for the herbs and spices you can find at your local supermarket. This part also includes some subjects I’ve rarely seen in herbals: instructions for how to plant and grow a hedgerow as well as all sorts of information about both deciduous and coniferous trees. I was fascinated by the chapters about the trees, especially all the recipes for food, medicine, and incense from the leaves, bark, resin, and other ‘tree parts.’The final section is Part Four: Formula Making, and just this section alone is worth the price of the book. In addition to all the usual instructions for how to make herbal teas, tinctures, poultice, and so on, Hopman includes a large compendium of information based on her teacher William LeSassier’s method of constitutional prescribing. This technique arranges herbs by hot/cold/wet/dry characteristics and applies them based on this system to many common health conditions. Many years ago, I learned the hot/cold/wet/dry correspondences (which go back at least as far as the Middle Ages) when using herbs for magical purposes, but I’ve never seen the system organized so thoroughly and with such detail for medicinal and health uses.

    The book finishes with several helpful appendices. There’s an excellent section on herbal contraindications, which is very important because so many people seem to think that natural automatically means safe. The Sources and Resources section is extensive and is organized by chapter. The book finishes with three indexes: plants by common name, plants by scientific name and a list of common health concerns.

    The whole tone of Secret Medicines is friendly and informative, obviously written by someone who cares deeply about the plants and about making sure the knowledge of how to use and respect them is not lost. This one is already one of my favourite herbal references, and I’m sure it will continue to maintain a place of honour on my shelves.

    ~review by Laura Perry

    Author: Ellen Evert Hopman
    Healing Arts Press, 2016
    pp. 337, $19.95

  • A new review of A LEGACY OF DRUIDS
    Legacy of Druids

    Legacy of Druids

    Thank you, Ms. Hopman, for writing this book! I enjoyed the ethnographic interview style as it allowed me to easily imagine myself as the fly on the wall. The interviews captured the heartfelt thoughts and aspirations of genuinely interesting people who, I think, would not be afraid of being considered outliers. Some were wonderfully eccentric and yet all were intellectually challenging, thoughtful and imaginative. The all shared the will and curiosity not just to question and to explore ideas, but also to manifest them. Their propensity to stick a finger in the eye of modernity was refreshing. The format of the book makes it an easy read in so far as the writing style was neither dense nor academic. The ideas expressed by the Druid Leaders were thoughtful, non-dogmatic and I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that they obviously disagreed amongst themselves, too. Each interview stands alone from the others. As such, one could read each interview independently to gain unique insights. Taken together, the interviews weave a compelling tapestry of memory, courage, curiosity and intent from wonderfully curious minds. This is not stale history; this is living history.

    Cuardaitheoir Eire

  • And another…A Legacy of Druids by Ellen Evert Hopman is a capsule held in time, with interviews by Druids from all over the world that were taken twenty years ago. It is interesting to hear their stories, especially from those people I know now, and whose perceptions have changed with the passage of time.It’s not a book on how to be a Druid, but rather a conversation with an entire room full of them. You get to “work the room” so to speak in this volume, finding so many different personalities, histories and visions for the future. The foreward by Philip Carr-Gomm was perhaps the most interesting for me, and which coincided with my perception of Druidry as it is today. That this should be so is obvious; as a nature-based tradition, Druidry is always evolving, and here was have the proof that this is so.Dynamics, schisms, traits, perspectives of different Druid traditions, with a lot of American vs British is reflected in the interviewees’ words. That these perceptions and their individual predictions for the future have changed over the last twenty years is, I think, a very good thing. With the popularity of the internet, dialogue has opened across vast oceans, with views being shared, references, academia, experiential gnosis and more. The divide between the two has lessened greatly, to the benefit of all.Of course, I did not agree or resonate with the words of every Druid (or Druid friendly person) interviewed. Like being at a party, there are some people you want to hang out with and others that you don’t. But all of it is informative, in its raw, unedited state. You get real flavour of who that person was at that time, and what Druidry meant to them at that particular point in time.A very interesting, and original work. I would love to see a modern version of this done, with as many of the same people in the original work, as well as new voices!Joanna VanderHoeven(I fully agree that someone else should spend thousands of dollars and travel around the USA and UK to gather more contemporary Druid voices. To anyone who takes up the task, best of luck to you!)

UPCOMING CLASSES

  • Register for The Herbal and Spiritual Properties of Trees on September 3rd
    Limited to 10 participants!
    Class minimum* – 4
    Taught by Ellen Evert Hopman, Herbalist and Author.
    Ellen will be discussing the herbal and folklore traditions surrounding common North American trees and harvesting and preparation methods.
    After 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.**
  • The Western Massachusetts School of Herbal Studies
    Intro to Herbalism and Self Care
    With Ellen Evert Hopman M.Ed. ~ Registered Herbalist AHG
    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 books and DVDs
    October 15, 2016 – April, 2017
    Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    Call for information: (413) 323 4494
    http://www.elleneverthopman.com (order books from this site and get a signed copy and a personal note from the author!)
    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.
    Cost: $1,000.00 (plus a $100.00 non-refundable Xeroxing fee)“My class at the Western Mass School of Herbal Medicine was a wonderful experience. Anyone interested in the history of the uses of herbs and their medicinal uses will appreciate this course. The instructor, Ellen Evert Hopman, is amazing. Her passion for herbalism is portrayed through her knowledge of many years in the field and appreciation of Mother Earth. I thank her for sharing her skills and passing on a true tradition of our natural habitats. And I cannot forget to mention you would be working with an author as well. Just a little added extra!”~ Lealani Maxwell-Mason, B. S. Business/ Psychology”The information she shared with me has helped me in many aspects of my life! I learned the skills to identify, and properly utilize, many herbs as; essences, teas, salves, poultices and tinctures. I found her program to be quite thorough!” ~A. Potter“Studying herbalism with Ellen Hopman provided an opportunity to connect in an intimate learning circle with one of the most learned, experienced and wise woman herbalists of the Pioneer Valley and beyond. I left this course with a strong foundation in herbal practice both in the realm of materia medica and in applying knowledge to clinical situations. The experience in practice and depth of wisdom offered by this teacher is profound and unique. I highly recommend her course.” ~ A. PyecroftMA NURSES CAN GET CEUS BY TAKING THIS COURSE*Reminder – you can purchase my books from all the usual places or order a signed copy from this website! With a personal note!*
  • An old filmed interview done at Pantheacon
    My website is wrong; it should be http://www.elleneverthopman.com and I have had a few more books since this was done!

*Below you will find the past Moonth’s archeology, herbal, religion, Fairy, nature, politics and ethics news. Enjoy!*

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

ANTHROPOLOGY

HERB NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

FAIRY NEWS

DRUID NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

 

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September Blog 2015 – Summer heat continues as the calendar slides into fall

This path Moonth the effects of global warming have been intensely felt – record heat, drought and fires in the western US, and here in New England at the very end of August it still feels like July. By now the weather should be clear, dry and cool but next week the humidity and summer-like temperatures will be bouncing back yet again.

My neighbor reports that he was standing in his yard a few weeks ago and a huge stag came huffing and racing across the yard, pursued by something that was “larger than a coyote”, followed by a coyote. They came crashing through at breakneck speed and if my neighbor had stood seven or so feet closer he could have been trampled. No one on my street can let cats or small dogs out anymore, though some still do. It’s just a question of “when” not “if” the cats get eaten. I found a small poodle half eaten, right next to my driveway, watched over by some very sinister looking vultures.

Apparently scientists released a pack of coy-wolves into a wilderness area nearby about twenty years ago, to help control the deer. Then they issued hunting permits so humans could go in and shoot the deer. Now the coy-wolves have little to eat except domestic animals; cats, dogs and the occasional old or sick deer. So much for science.

I was privileged to recently spend three hours with a group of indigenous shamans from Columbia. It was a very moving experience. Luckily I speak Spanish so I was able to catch things the translator missed. The shamans (led by a woman) spoke of their struggles with the Colombian government and gave a few details of their sacred practices. One in particular caught my attention. They live around a sacred mountain which they consider to be the navel of the world. They have 54 sacred sites that they visit on a circuit to feed the Land Spirits. They need to offer payment or gifts to keep the land healthy. They give simple things like shells, fluffs of cotton, etc. to sacred trees, rocks, rivers, the ocean, etc. They showed how apartment buildings are being put on top of the sacred rocks and how fences are keeping them away from sacred trees (they climb over the fences now, just to get to the sites). They showed highways and trash dumps on top of some of their sacred sites. It was very sad.

When they “make payment” at sacred sites they do it for their own lands and also for all peoples on the Earth.

They said the damming of rivers and pollution of water, earth, fire and air and the lack of spiritual relationship with the land is causing the weather disasters and sickness they see now. They are very concerned about that.

I asked them what we could do here on Turtle Island (America) and in other places to do the work so the waters and land stay healthy. They said to consult local indigenous tribes to find out where the ancient sacred sites are in your area and if there are no indigenous people left, consult old farmers who might have a memory of such things.

I immediately thought about my own Celtic Druid tradition of course. Most of us are now living in the diaspora and we need to find liminal places in the landscape where we dwell, where the walls between the worlds are thin. I consider that to be one of the most important tasks of a Druid.

Here where I live we have given things like silver coins, fruits, vegetables, grains, milk and flowers to the stones, waters and the soil. If you give to a stream, that water runs into a river and then into the ocean where it laps against all lands, eventually. Even if you just sing to or pray over water it will carry the message.

I wonder if this is one reason we Druids are so scattered now, so we can do this work all over the globe.

You can read more about the indigenous shamans of Columbia (the Mamos) and how to help them here.

When the shamans ended their talks a lot of hugs were shared. They told me and others that we are all one, doing the same work, one heart.

BOOK NEWS

Secret Medicines from Your Garden

Secret Medicines from Your Garden

I have a new herbal SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN coming out in March 2016 (inner Traditions/Healing Arts Press) and we have been putting the finishing touches on the illustrations.

Endorsements are already coming in for my newest Druid book A LEGACY OF DRUIDS, a book of interviews with American, Canadian and British Druids (Moon Books). It should be out late this year or early next year (I haven’t been given a publication date yet).

 

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS

  •  ADVANCED FORMULA MAKING AND CASE TAKING CLASS
    September 25-26-27, Philo, California (near Mendocino)
    Advanced case taking and formula making class with Ellen Evert Hopman, Herbalist AHG
    A Friday night lecture on the Doctrine of Signatures.
    On Saturday and Sunday you will learn basic Chinese Five Element Theory; seasons, flavors, taste, voice tone, emotions and the fundamentals of Facial Diagnosis; lines, colors, moles, blemishes
    You will also learn an advanced formula making technique to design individually crafted remedies for individuals
    In-between we will walk outside and meet some of the plants and trees in the garden.
    The Philo School of Herbal Energetics website has information on directions & lodging. $250 for the weekend; register here.
    Lodging: They do not offer lodging. Please go to the Anderson Valley Chamber of Commerce page for available lodging.
  • SIX MONTH HERBAL INTENSIVE IN WESTERN MA (near Amherst)
    October 17, 2015 – April, 2016
    Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    The Western Massachusetts School of Herbal Studies
    Intro to Herbalism and Self Care
    With Ellen Evert Hopman M.Ed. ~ Registered Herbalist AHG
    author of “Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore”, “A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year”, “A Druids Herbal – Of Sacred Tree Medicine” and other books and DVDs
    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.
    Cost: $1,000.00 (plus a $100.00 non-refundable Xeroxing fee)
    MA NURSES CAN GET CEUS BY TAKING THIS COURSE

“I studied with Ellen Evert Hopman back in the late 90’s. The information she shared with me has helped me in many aspects of my life! I learned the skills to identify, and properly utilize, many herbs as; essences, teas, salves, poultices and tinctures. I found her program to be quite thorough!” ~A. Potter

*Below you will find the usual past Moonth’s assortment of links to archaeology, religion, nature and Druid news. Enjoy!*

*And Please Remember!* You can purchase books, DVDs and tree elixirs from this site, and get a signed note from the author.

WAYS YOU CAN HELP THE PLANET

ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

NATURE NEWS

FAIRY NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

NEWS YOU CAN USE

POLITICS AND ETHICS