July Blog A Soggy Solstice and Happy Interdependence Day

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Solstice. I found myself dancing in my rain boots in a torrential downpour as a live hammered dulcimer player and guitarist played tunes in a soggy tent at 10:30 AM on the 21st. It was lovely.

Here on the mountain it has been a very rainy spring and June has brought back the possum or whatever critter is tearing up the front lawn. I have been busy stomping back the sections of turf that he or she has torn up in a quest for bugs. The solitary female turkey who crossed the yard every day all winter now has a passle of tiny babies in tow. I feel honored that she has taken up residence in this part of the forest.

I am hard at work wrangling Druids for a book of interviews that will be out later this year. Called  A LEGACY OF DRUIDS (Moon Books), it features interviews with many Druid luminaries, including some who are no longer with us such as Isaac Bonewits, Lady Olivia Robertson, and Tim Sebastian. Philip Carr Gomm is writing the foreword.

My newest herbal SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN (Inner Traditions/Healing Arts Press) is also in production and will be out in spring of 2016. Stephen Foster, the amazing photographer who contributed to WALKING THE WORLD IN WONDER – A CHILDREN’S HERBAL will be doing the photos, last I heard. Stay tuned.

  • Announcing a book giveaway essay contest. Three copies of each book will be awarded to those who hand in the very best essays!
    1. A DRUID’S HERBAL OF SACRED TREE MEDICINE – send me an essay about Herbalism via this website
    2. PRIESTESS OF THE FIRE TEMPLE – A DRUID’S TALE – submit an essay about Druid spirituality via this website
    3. SCOTTISH HERBS AND FAIRY LORE– send an essay about Scottish lore or tradition via this websiteDeadline August 1. Length is up to you but I am looking for quality over quantity. I will ask for your snail mail address if you are a winner.I am not going to publish any of these essays, I will just look them over and pick the best! Good Luck and feel free to share this message!

Meanwhile, my book SCOTTISH HERBS AND FAIRY LORE (Pendraig Publishing) gets a wee mention in a blog.

And the third novel in my Druid trilogy PRIESTESS OF THE FIRE TEMPLE – A DRUID’S TALE gets a review in Aontacht, the magazine of Druidic Dawn

Upcoming workshops;

    September 5-6, 2015
    119 Cherry Ct, Matamoras PA 18336
    Advanced case taking and formula making class with Ellen Evert Hopman, Herbalist AHG
    Learn Basic Five Element Theory; seasons, flavors, taste, voice tone, emotions
    Learn the basics of Facial Diagnosis; lines, colors, moles, blemishes
    And 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 and make some remedies to take home.
    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 we have a Best Western 5 minutes from my house.
    484-347-7489 for more info
    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. $150 for the weekend; register here.
    Lodging: They do not offer lodging. Please go to the Anderson Valley Chamber of Commerce page for available lodging.
    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)


*Remember that you can purchase signed books from me via this site!*

Below you will find a collection of the past Moonth’s archeology, herb, nature, Druid, and religion news as well as some politics and ethics. It’s been an amazing Moonth legally; it’s refreshing that the Supreme Court has finally done some good things for the American people as a whole by preserving equal rights for all citizens in terms of marriage and  ensuring that millions will keep their access to health care via the Affordable Care Act (sadly, until we get national single payer healthcare/Medicare for all we will still have millions who are uninsured, a national disgrace)

Happy Interdependence Day and enjoy the reading!











Post Samhain and a big hurricane 2012

By the time you read this Samhain (Halloween) will have largely come and gone for most. But the date of October 31 is a vestige of the Christian Gregorian calendar. In older times the festival was celebrated the eve of November 11. Further back I am fairly certain folks would have taken advantage of the nearest Full Moon, because the light of the Moon makes it easier to travel.

This year the Full Moon fell on October 29, in the teeth of a giant hurricane (named Sandy). I found myself outside in the woods, invoking the Gods (I was pretty surprised when Odin showed up, not one of my regulars) and I realized that the Wild Hunt was upon us. I knew that death and destruction would follow, happily I was spared here on the mountain with just a downed tree and a few fallen branches.

My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes, their neighborhoods, their businesses, and their loved ones. As of today at least seventy have perished in the storm, here in the USA, and another sixty or so in the Caribbean. Many suspect that global warming is a root cause, the waters of the Atlantic are much warmer now, feeding larger storms.

New York City is still half underwater and a sea wall will likely have to be built, or they will face this again. The Appalachian mountains are getting snow as I write, though the media has mostly ignored their plight, concentrating instead on the disaster in their own backyard.

If you missed the celebration of the ancestors on October 31 due to the storm, you can still observe the festival on the ancient date (from my book Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore – Pendraig Publishing):

Martinmas, Hallowmass Foy (also called Old Samhuinn) 11-12 November

This is the last legal “Quarter Day” when rents and contracts were once due. Since cattle and sheep were often killed at this date, it was the traditional time to make Haggis out of minced livers, hearts and lungs. The offal was mixed with oatmeal and suet and seasoned with salt and pepper. It was then stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled. Black Pudding was also made with sheep’s blood.

To Make a Haggis: Lady Login’s Receipt, 1856
1 cleaned sheep or lamb’s stomach bag
2 lb. dry oatmeal
1 lb chopped mutton suet
1 lb lamb’s or deer’s liver, boiled and minced
1 pint (2 cups) stock
The heart and lungs of the sheep, boiled and minced
1 large chopped onion
½ tsp. each: cayenne pepper,
Salt and black pepper
Toast the oatmeal slowly until it is crisp, then mix all the ingredients (except the stomach bag) together, and add the stock. Fill the bag just over half full, press out the air and sew up securely. Have ready a large pot of boiling water, prick the haggis all over with a large needle so it does not burst and boil slowly for 4 to 5 hours. Serves 12.

Black Pudding (Marag Dubh)
1 lb suet
1 lb oatmeal
2 onions
Fresh sheep’s blood
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop the suet and the onions finely. Mix the dry ingredients then add the blood. Stuff into a casing and tie. Put into a large pan and boil in water gently for three hours. Remove and cool. Cut into slices and fry in hot fat. A classic side dish with fried bacon and eggs. Serves 4.
If you slaughter your own animals, use fresh blood, or get fresh blood from an abattoir (ask your local butcher shop where you can purchase sausage casings).

A banquet is held after a day of fasting. A wether (a male castrated ram) is sacrificed. Guizers enter from the kitchen, hobbling and dancing in pairs. They are dressed in white with petticoats beneath their robes and tall, woven straw caps, making noises like human grunts and bird calls and rapping on the floor with a staff. One of them plays a fiddle and another has a straw basket on his back. They beg for money and food and are given coins, butter, mutton, and cakes.

Cattle are given their feast of an entire sheaf of grain each. Turnip lanterns (the original Jack O’Lanterns) are lit.

All blessings of the Celtic New Year, whenever you celebrate it!

I have been very concerned about the fact that millions in the North East still don’t have power, and the chaos that will result on election day. I called the DNC and was referred to this number 1-800-311-8683 which they tell me folks can call to find out where their polling place will be, if the old one is underwater, without power, snowed in, etc. Please spread this around! Thanks.


  • The first review came in on Amazon for the new book The Secret Medicines of Your Kitchen:
    “A colorful, attractive book that explores the world of popular herbs,fruits and vegetables by a professional herbalist. Includes cooking hints, historical notes, and suggestions for using herbs to help in healing. A cheerful welcome gift for cooks, for anyone curious about herbs and especially a suitable introduction to herbs for young people”. – Lucy Vecera
  • Changing Times, Changing Worlds
    November 9 – 11
    Conference at U. of MA, Amherst, MA (I will be doing three workshops at this conference)
  • Crystal Falls Wellness Center
    Saturday, November 17 Southampton, MA
    1- 3:30 pm
    author fair, I will sell and sign books
    285 College Hwy (Rt 10/202)
    For more info: Lori (413) 536-7192 X 1117
    *Reminder – you can purchase all my books via this website. You will get a signed copy and a personal note.




  • Scottish man dies, takes his dialect with him (link removed by source)






May the dark season bring you peace, introspection and renewal!