Imbolc blog – A warm January in New England as Brighid walks the land

This Moonth has been rather warm here on the mountain. We started January with a brief spate of snow and cold but soon settled into a pattern of weather that is at least ten degrees warmer than “average” every day. Instead of the expected New England snow we are getting rain. I have started imagining a summer with temperatures that are ten degrees above normal and it is unnerving.

There have been no animals around, no coyotes barking their husky calls at dusk, no deer, bears or moose in the yard. No wild turkeys at the feeders or possums at the compost pile. I am thinking it’s because a local lumber company has been cutting for months, just down the road. My hope is that once they are done and the undergrowth comes back, it will provide food, shelter and an increase in wildlife. The only animals that still seem to be in abundance are the beavers. The pond down the road is expertly blocked up by a mound of silt and chewed branches and is over spilling its banks. States with water issues would do well to think of beavers, they create wetlands wherever they go.

As a good American citizen I have been dutifully trying to keep up with the presidential debates. Last night I tried once again to watch the Republicans. While the Democrats are enthusiastically putting forward new ideas and solutions to improve ordinary citizen’s lives, the Republicans seem fearful. “Americans are terrified” said one of them, going on to declare that ISIL is about to get us and therefore we should be contemplating another invasion of the Middle East. Oddly these are the same people who want everyone to walk around with a gun, despite the fact that thirty three thousand Americans kill themselves and each other every year with guns and the evidence shows that having a gun in the home makes it far more likely that someone in that home will die by accident, homicide or suicide. We sure live in a topsy turvy world.

Besides, how do you wage endless wars and also cut taxes? The sainted Ronald Reagan was mentioned in last night’s debate. But there was not a word about how he grew the military and TRIPLED the national debt. “Voodoo economics” was what we called it at the time.

I was unable to listen to the Republican’s for more than a few minutes. I opted instead to watch the new season of the X-Files on Fox. I can see why Fox wanted that show. If you analyze the plot, besides the usual (and well done) search for extra-terrestrials, the new series is fixated on the idea that the BIG EVIL GOVERNMENT is behind all of the planet’s woes. A perfect propaganda platform for Fox. Watch with a discerning eye and see what I mean.

As I type this it is still January. February 1-2 marks the time of Imbolc, the all-important Fire Festival of the Goddess Brighid, who has been my Patroness for thirty years. On the eve of Imbolc I will put out my clooties (strips of cloth to be used for healing work), a bowl of milk and honey and a dish of oatmeal and butter for Brighid as She passes. I will place a candle in the snow (if we have any!) to burn all night, and make a new “Bride doll” out of straw. Below are some facts about this important Celtic festival, followed by the usual book news and a roundup of the past Moonth’s archeology, religion, herb, nature, political and ethics news. Enjoy!

IMBOLC CUSTOMS

  • Make a Brighid’s cross with your kids
    More…
  • How to lay out a Brighid’s “brat” or cloak
    “A ribbon or piece of cloth exposed on St. Briget’s Eve became endowed with curative powers. It was believed that no work which involved the turning of a wheel should take place on the saint’s day. The placing of a periwinkle in each corner of the kitchen likewise hints at a remote pre-agricultural origin for the festival, but it came to be associated with the pastoral promise of spring, of warmth, new grass, lambs and milk. It is said that the saint placed her foot in water on her feast day so that on that day it begins to warm up each year.”
  • Biddy Boys
  • How to make Bairin-Breac / Barmbrack, a traditional Imbolc bread
  • Song for Brighid (video)
  • Gabhaim Molta Bríghde – Ein traditionelles Lied zu Ehren Brigids. / A traditional song honoring Brigid.Original text Irisch-Gälisch:Gabhaim molta Bríde…
    Ionmhain í le hÉirinn
    Ionmhain le gach tír í
    Molaimis go léir íLóchrann geal na Laighneach
    A’ soilsiú feadh na tíre
    Cean ar óghaibh Éireann
    Ceann na mban ar míneTig an geimhreadh dian dubh
    A’ gearradh lena ghéire
    Ach ar Lá ‘le Bríde
    Gar dúinn earrach Éireann
    English translation:I am praising Bridget
    Who is daughter of Ireland
    She is a daughter of all countries
    We all praise herThe bright light of Leinster
    Bringing light to the country
    The leader of the youth of Ireland
    Our leader of gentlewomenHere comes the dark, hard winter
    Cutting with its sharpness
    But on St. Bridget’s Day
    Ireland’s spring is close by
    Deutsche Version:Ich preise dich, Brigid
    geliebt in ganz Irland
    geliebt von allen
    preisen wir dich.Flamme von Leinster
    erfülle das Land mit Licht
    Jede Frau Irlands liebt dich
    jede gute FrauDer Winter kommt dunkel und kalt
    schneidend und frostig daher
    Aber am Tag Brigids
    Kommt der Frühling zu uns.
  • Virtual Shrine of Brighid  (stop by and leave a prayer)

BOOK NEWS

The book has its own Facebook page and can be pre-ordered now on Amazon.com US or Amazon.com UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The second book is SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN which is also available for pre-order!SecretMedicinesofGarden
    Secret Medicines from Your Garden
    Plants for Healing, Spirituality, and Magic
    Ellen Evert Hopman
    Coming Spring 2016A guided exploration of herbal lore and healing plants found in yards, forests, meadows, and hedgerows
    • Draws on traditional knowledge and remedies from around the world, including Native American, Celtic, and Egyptian traditions
    • Provides simple recipes to safely make herbal remedies from local plants and honey for first aid, immune support, and treatment of common ailments
    • Reveals the “triangle” formula-making system of William LeSassier
    • Explains how to work with plant spirits, herbal astrology, and Animal Spirit Medicine

    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. She reveals the herbal lore surrounding each plant, drawing on traditional knowledge and remedies from around the world, including Native American, Celtic, and Egyptian traditions. She includes recipes throughout so you can make medicines from wild and domesticated plants easily found in yards, forests, meadows, and hedgerows, and she discusses what to plant to ensure you have leaves, berries, and flowers all year.The author reveals how to quickly intuit an unknown plant’s properties using the signatures of plants—universal indications and contraindications based on the form, color, and location of a plant. She includes an in-depth section on honey and Bee Medicine, allowing you to appreciate the labors of these plant-dependent insects. Exploring the magical role of herbs in ancient ritual, Hopman provides recipes for Egyptian temple incense and their sacred medicine known as “Kyphi” or “Kaphet,” used to purify the body, banish insomnia, and promote vivid dreaming. She explores shamanic Plant Spirit and Animal Spirit Medicine as well as herbal astrology. She also explains the “triangle” formula-making system of her herbal mentor William LeSassier to help you develop custom herbal remedies tailored to a person’s unique strengths and weaknesses.Showing how to easily incorporate wild plants into your life to receive their healing benefits throughout the seasons, Hopman reveals the power of the bounty that Mother Nature has provided right at our doorstep.Ellen Evert Hopman has been a teacher of herbalism since 1983 and is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. A Druidic initiate since 1984, she is a founding member of The Order of the White Oak, an Arch Druidess of the Druid Clan of Dana, and a member of the Grey Council of Mages and Sages. The author of several books, including A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, she lives in Massachusetts.

    Healing Arts Press

    ISBN 978-1-62055-557-6

    Spring 2016

Below you will find the usual last Moonth’s gleanings from the media.

*Reminder* you can always purchase signed books from this website and get a *personal note* from the author! (me)

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

NATURE NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

NEWS YOU CAN USE

POLITICS AND ETHICS

 

 

January 2015 Blog

A joyful, healthy and inspiring New Year to all who read this!

The end of 2014 has become “the year of the primeval beasts” around here. Folks have been reporting moose the size of dinosaurs roaming the roads, though I have yet to see them. In my little neck of the forest the pesky possums that were tearing up the lawn looking for grubs have abated, but during the recent warm spell squirrels have taken to burying acorns all over the front and back lawns. I watch them from the kitchen window and think about screaming (but never do). In the summer I will have plenty of seedlings to cull, the animals are trying their best to revert the homestead into forest.

On the political front I have watched in disbelief as reports of the billions of dollars spent on US elections come in. Meanwhile the GOP wants to cut Social Security, food stamps and Medicare for the poor, elderly, children, and underemployed. They can’t do this because Walmart workers and the rest of the “service industry” workers will not be able to feed themselves without food stamps and they would be without health care if it weren’t for Obamacare, so it’s probably still just political theater (one hopes). Also, most American have no pensions or retirement savings and because wages have not kept up with inflation for the last thirty years elderly Americans simply cannot survive without Social Security. Please make your opinion known to your compassionate Republican representatives on this matter.

I am so disgusted by all this that I, an American, have decided once and for all that I am a monarchist. A Constitutional Monarchy seems the best type of government to me these days when I think of all the money and effort that is wasted on bloated, prolonged campaigns that do nothing except produce politicians who serve their biggest donors and not the people. Corporations have become the new aristocracy and someone needs to keep them in check.

As a Druid, I have watched British Druid orders with envy. In ancient times the Druids would always have an Arch Druid at the helm and they were in that position for life. That freed up the time, energy and resources of everyone to be creative, teach, spread and maintain the faith. American Druid Orders are afflicted with the same issues as our national government. Power struggles and elections mean time, bandwidth and energy that should be going into creative projects, teaching, building and worship are squandered.

That is my last little rant for 2014.

On the personal front I am putting the last touches on another herbal book and lining up gigs for 2015. So far I am teaching in PA, CA and MA.

Below you will find a collection of the last Moonth’s archeology, herbal, nature, Celtic, religion and ethical news. Enjoy!

PA TREE WORKSHOP REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!

TREE MEDICINE TREE MAGIC
May 29, 2015 at 3:30pm to May 31, 2015 at 4:00pm
119 Cherry Ct Matamoras PA 18336
Weekend Workshop Hosted by Ellen Evert Hopman

A Friday night slide show of some common North American trees illustrating their medicinal and magical properties. On Saturday morning we learn about the Irish “Tree alphabet” and then go outside to perform a traditional Druid tree meditation and learn to listen to the trees. Saturday afternoon we learn more about the “Tree Alphabet” and then gather tree medicines such as leaves, pine needles, flowers, barks, etc. Sunday we prepare medicines from the ingredients we have gathered. Each student will leave with a hand-made set of Ogham divination cards, based on the ancient Irish Ogham “Tree Alphabet”. Please bring a notebook and pen, and wear comfortable shoes and outdoor clothes as you will be outside part of the weekend.

Weekend Fee $125 which includes class, lunches, and supplies.

Please send fee to Marjorie Forbes Spadoni, 119 Cherry Ct, Matamoras PA 18336

If you need to stay over locally there is a Best Western 5 minutes away.

484-347-7489 for more info

*Reminder! You can order signed books and get a personal note from the author, via this website*

IRISH NEWS

  •  Press Release: Tara Skryne Presrvation Group 28.11.14
    Press Release 28/11/14
    Campaigners are again hitting Social Media sites to draw attention to issues threatening to affect the Tara landscape Co.Meath.Campaigners have been asking since 2007 for two simple commitments that will solve the long running dispute between heritage and development in Meath. Neither seem forthcoming.

    1. The Tara Landscape Conservation Area designation, which has been languishing for years, needs to be passed allowing no major structural development within Tara Archaeological landscape. This does not affect local housing, farming or business. Public consultation has been long complete and no valid serious objections were lodged.

    2. The Leinster Orbital should be moved north of Navan away from Archaeological landscapes of Tara and Bru Na Boinne. North of Navan should be designated a special development area and South between Navan and Dunshaughlin a heritage area allowing certainty for Meath businesses and investors in long term planning.Recent NRA press announcements that a new Type 1 Service Area between theClonee and Blundlestown junctions of the M3 Motorway is currently being considered, plus the recent sale of lands beside the Blundlestown Interchange in an area previously proposed as the linkage between the M3 and the Leinster Outer Orbital Route, has triggered the start of Facebook and Twitter campaigns by the Tara Skryne Preservation Group who say they are gearing up to oppose any and all commercial and inappropriate development of this archaeologically sensitive area.Type 1 Service Areas typically consist of fuel facilities, shopping/retail courts, restrooms, tourist information, parking and picnic areas.”Inappropriate developments such as this would not only impact the sensitive Tara Skryne landscape but would also impact small businesses such as cafes and petrol stations, taking money out of the local economy and diverting it to share holder driven franchises”, said group spokesperson Carmel Diviney.”The proposed Outer Leinster Orbital Route would have serious detrimental effects on the area and would be in contravention of current planning guidelines as per the Meath County Development Plan.” she added.The Leinster Outer Orbital Route, a motorway around the city of Dublin was proposed to be built between 2011 and 2019 in order to connect Drogheda, Navan and Naas, however it was shelved during the recession. It would serve as a second bypass of the city to complement the M50 linking all of Dublin’s main trunk routes: M1, M2, M3, M4 and M7. The only route that would not be served is the M11.As a major North South link with access tothe Airport via the M3, the Leinster Orbital would be a major development asset for Meath if placed north of Navan where land is available for Business parksand small enterprises, rather than the current route adjacent to significant archaeological areas that have obvious planning issues.The Tara Skryne Preservation Group suspects that plans for the Orbital route are being mooted again if not back on the table, and the long term goal is to sell land for major development in the Archaeological landscapes something that would not be welcomed by residents. The TSPG fund raising drive is to raise money to launch objections, appeals and legal challenges to any large commercial or or inappropriate development of the Tara Skryne Valley.

    Tara Skryne Preservation Group
    Contact: Carmel Diviney 0876011771

    HOW YOU CAN HELP TARA
    Tara Preservation
    Help Save Our Heritage, crowdfunding campaign by the Tara Skryne Preservation Group in County Meath Ireland

 SCOTTISH NEWS

BOOK NEWS

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

NATURE NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

HERBAL NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

PAGAN NEWS

NEWS YOU CAN USE

POLITICS AND ETHICS

*Reminder! You can order signed books and get a personal note from the author, via this website*