May Blog 2017 – Beltaine and the Beginning of Summer!

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;

BOOK NEWS

“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”

The next two books in this trilogy are “The Druid Isle” and “Priestess of the Fire Temple – A Druid’s Tale”, available on Amazon or get  signed copies of all three books from me via this website!

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!*

ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

CLIMATE AND NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

 

October blog 2015 A Full Moon Eclipse brings needed change to the world

This past Moonth we experienced record heat here in New England, it was a record 96 degrees in mid-September and I found myself floating in a local pond, something New Englanders would not expect to be doing in early fall. I feel very grateful to be living in a rural area; a great blue heron flew overhead and the local kids screamed with delight and awe at the sight. No video games for them, they have the real thing in their back yard.

Secret Medicines from Your Garden

Secret Medicines from Your Garden

Late in September I went to California to visit the redwoods and the sea and to teach a class in formula making and case taking at the Philo School of Herbal Energetics, the weekend of September 26/27. This new book covers a lot of what I taught in the class. It will be out in March, 2016 but you can pre-order now.

Secret Medicines from Your Garden
Plants for Healing, Spirituality, and Magic
A guided exploration of herbal lore and healing plants found in yards, forests, meadows, and hedgerows

While there I and three others decided to go to a mountaintop to observe the Full Moon eclipse. We brought chairs and a bottle of wine and expected to have the view to ourselves. Much to our surprise when we got there, there was quite a crowd. Being Californians they turned the mystical event into a party, bottles of local wine and other smoked substances were passed around. Several folks brought telescopes and I was privileged to observe the Moon up close as the eclipse progressed. I had never looked through such a powerful scope; I could clearly see a huge crater and another big treat, I was able to see Saturn for the very first time. What a gorgeous yellow jewel of a planet Saturn is, the rings were clearly visible as golden haloes of light.

But the most amazing thing of all was the Milky Way, Caer Arianrhod, which stretched in all its glory and spangled with stars from one horizon to the other. The stars were clearer than even those I have seen in desert skies and an astronomer on the hill told me that the only time you can see it like that is during a Full Moon eclipse. That won’t be possible again for another thirty years!

Eclipses presage change and this one was exceptionally powerful. Shortly after the eclipse the speaker of the House resigned, Shell abruptly decided to cancel its plans to drill in the arctic, and China signed a ban on importation of ivory. It feels like we are entering a new and hopeful phase where many things are possible.

BOOK NEWS

*Reminder – you can order my books from this web site and get a signed copy!*

UPCOMING CLASSES

  • My six month herbal intensive that I teach near Amherst, MA starts October 17. Write to me for further details;
    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 collection of archeology, nature, religion, herbal and ethics news. Enjoy!

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

NATURE NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwkHnjS4_yo&sns=fb

FAIRY NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS