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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A Druid’s Web Log – May Day 2015 – volcanoes, earthquakes and a new British princess

May is named after Maia, “the great one”, the Italic goddess of spring, and the wife of Vulcan. This May is off to an explosive start, with volcanoes erupting and earthquakes in Nepal and the English got a new princess, the first one who is eligible to reign from birth and will not be passed over by a male sibling. She managed to be born at the Full Moon on Beltaine (May Day) which in some religious traditions is considered the most powerful Full Moon of the year. The Buddha was born on the May Full Moon and also achieved enlightenment on the May Full Moon. He did that latter by sitting under a Bodhi Tree, of course. May is the time when the sap is rising and most powerfully in the days leading up to the Full Moon. Maybe that rising tide helped to raise his kundalini. That’s my thought.

Here on the mountain the oak leaves are “the size of a mouse’s ear” which means it is time to plant corn. I set out just three mounds of the traditional corn, squash and beans. Living in an oak forest it is hard to find enough sunlight, except very close to the house. I also left offerings of milk and homemade corn bread on the Fairy Altar on Beltaine (May Day). Judging by the wreckage around the Altar it looks like the Fairies had quite a celebration. According to tradition they always “move house” on the cross quarters (Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasad and Samhain) so the careful householder will be sure to leave out refreshment for them at those times.

Last winter I had a tribe of male turkeys who came to the bird feeders every day. They did not appear this winter, sadly, but a few weeks ago a solitary female turkey began showing up, accompanied by a huge brown and yellow butterfly that stuck around for days. Those feel like good omens.

In ancient Ireland the time of Beltaine was calculated by the blooming of the Hawthorn Tree so every Druid had to keep watch. Once the Hawthorn bloomed it was safe to send the herds up to the hills. In these parts the trees haven’t even put out leaves yet, but the daffodils are making a carpet of yellow, announcing the return of the summer sun.

Below you will find the usual archeological fare, plus nature, religion and herb news. I have included a few actions you can take to help Nepal and the planet.

Blessings of the summer on all who read this!

*Remember – you can purchase signed books from this website!*

  • The Patrick McCollum Foundation (a Pagan charity) is collecting donations for the earthquake victims in Nepal. We have direct connections in both Katmandu and in the mountain regions that have been affected. Please make a notation on the form provided on the website that the donation is for the Nepal earthquake victims. Donations can be made online at: www.patrickmccollum.orgUpdates on Nepal will be posted as new information comes in.
    Peace & Blessings,
    Rev. Patrick McCollum
  • Nepal Aid Update:
    Hi All,
    I wanted to update you on the Patrick McCollum Foundation’s earthquake aid to the victims in Nepal.  We have forwarded all donations made so far to our team members in the area and relief is in progress as I write.  All monies are being used to purchase tents, blankets, medical supplies and food.  The process of delivering these to the remote mountain villages is difficult, but we have people in place that are able to do so.  The first delivery is in process as I write.The Patrick McCollum Foundation will continue to accept donations and make successive deliveries as the funds are collected.I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to those who have donated so far both from the Patrick McCollum Foundation and from the people of Helambu Nepal.  Your generosity for some means the difference between life and death, and for others serves as a ray of hope among an otherwise horrendous situation.Please share our campaign widely.  We need more donations.  The death toll is still rising and many are at risk.Remember, this region is the origin of Namaste which translates into “My heart sees your heart”.  Let’s show them that we see them and we care!We are one of a few small NGOs who are responding to the area hardest hit and your support really does make a difference.  100% of all donations go directly to the people affected.
    Blessings,
    Rev. Patrick McCollum
    Donations can be made online at: www.patrickmccollum.org
  • Prayers for Nepal
  • A powerful video about the Earth and human consciousness (video)
  • A prominent defender of Tara has passed to the Otherworld
  • Muirean ni Bhrolchain speaks at “Harpers For Tara” (video)
  • Muireann RIP
    by “Charles Burgess”
    Thought that somehow someday
    we would surely meet again…
    Dissolve from mist amidst the green
    and dissolve back again.
    Swore we’d walk these circles
    tracing time across the sky,
    Waking life and mystery
    walking side by side…
    Felt the firelight flicker,
    felt the sweet repeat of rhyme,
    Heard the ancient stories traded
    yours for mine, yours for mine.
    Sure that song would wrap us ’round
    our faces flush with wine,
    Talking of beloved Tara,
    Smiling with a sigh….
    Soon the sun will rise upon
    the Vale of Tara-Skryne
    The gifts you gave the waking world
    in golden light will gleam,
    And we will treasure memories,
    in written words and reveries,
    of our Ard Ollamh, Seanachí,
    Who fought for future history,
    Who spoke like Tara’s Queen.
    A Muireanne, rest blessed, in peace.
  • ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT HOMEOPATHY
    Dear Friends:
    The Food & Drug Administration recently began hearings on the regulation of homeopathy.  When the FDA was established in the late 1930s, homeopathics were specifically exempted from the usual drug approval process,  because they had been successfully regulated since the late 1800s by the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the U.S. (HPUS).
    If the FDA succeeds in applying to homeopathy the same yardstick theoretically applied to pharmaceuticals — viz., proof of safety and efficacy through clinical trials costing billions – homeopathy will be dead in America.  No manufacturer of homeopathic remedies could afford clinical trials on the hundreds of remedies that have been used safely and successfully for over two hundred years.
    You may be saying to yourself that this is ridiculous – and I would agree.  But I’ve attached an article I wrote setting forth what I think is happening here.  I urge you to read it.
    If you’ve benefited from homeopathy, I also urge you to write the FDA.  Public comments on their proposed course of action (which remains vague) are accepted up to June 22.
    In writing, here are some points to consider.Take what you need and leave the rest:The FDA is not interested in any anecdotes about how much homeopathy has helped you or your family.  It might be more useful to write about how conventional medicine failed you, if that was your experience.

    Homeopathy has been used successfully for over two hundred years.  How many conventional medical treatments have lasted that long?  Homeopathy persists because it works, not because those who use it are loonies.

    This is merely the latest in a long history of attempts by orthodox medicine to kill homeopathy, starting with the establishment of the American Medical Association.  If you want the full story, read Harris Coulter’s Divided Legacy.Nowhere in the FDA hearing announcement is there a definition of what is meant by “homeopathic.”  The announcement refers to “human drug and biological products labeled as homeopathic” without definition or examples.  The FDA continually confounds “drugs” and homeopathic remedies.  The two are totally different.

    According to the FDA announcement, “Negative health effects from drug products labeled as homeopathic have been reported through the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System and the National Poison Data System (NPDS), which is maintained by the American Association of Poison Control Centers and tracks human poison exposure cases. Data in the NPDS pertaining to homeopathic drug products is tracked under the category ‘Homeopathic Agents.’”  Nowhere are these “negative health effects” explained or elaborated.  No data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System is cited, and as the attached shows, Poison Control data doesn’t reliably distinguish between homeopathics, herbal products, and dietary supplements.

    The FDA does not understand homeopathy and how useful it has proven, particularly in epidemics.  The FDA falsely claims that homeopathic remedies “can cause side effects, drug interactions, and allergic or other adverse reactions.”  Drugs, which work biochemically, can indeed do all these things; homeopathic remedies, which work energetically, do not.Homeopathic remedies are non-toxic, unlike the pharmaceuticals and GMOs the FDA promotes.  Why does the FDA feel compelled to attack a safe, proven system of healing like homeopathy when the agency is not doing a decent job of making sure people don’t die from OTC and prescription drugs?  (For more on this, see the new documentary “Bought” by Jeff Hays.)

    This is not about our health and safety but about achieving a monopoly for the pharmaceutical industry.  If safety were the true motivating factor, the FDA would be holding hearings on acetaminophen, laxatives, cosmetics, and proton pump inhibitors, all of which are sold over-the-counter and all of which had more “poison exposure cases” than homeopathic remedies.

    At risk is our right to choose what goes into our bodies or the bodies of our children.  It is no accident that the FDA hearings coincide with a move in California to make vaccinations mandatory and in Australia to withdraw welfare from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.

    We live in difficult times.  It is frightening that we have to fight for our rights to a safe environment, healthy food, and the kind of healthcare we want.

  • ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
    Ask Bill Gates to divest from fossil fuels in his investment portfolio

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