Druids Herbal Sacred Tree Medicine released May 26, 2008
The Druids used the ancient Ogham Tree Alphabet to work magic and honor the dead, surrounding each letter with medicinal and spiritual lore. Poets and bards created a secret sign language to describe the letters, each of which is named for a tree or a plant. For centuries this language was transmitted only orally in order to protect its secrets.
Combining her extensive herbal knowledge and keen poetic insight, Ellen Evert Hopman delves deeply into the historic allusions and associations of each of the 20 letters of the Ogham Tree Alphabet. She also examines Native American healing methods for possible clues to the way ancient Europeans may have used these trees as healing agents. Druidic spiritual practices, herbal healing remedies, and plant lore are included for each tree in the alphabet as well as how each is used in traditional rituals such as the Celtic Fire Festivals and other celebrations. Hopman also includes a pronunciation guide for the oghams and information on the divinatory meanings associated with each tree.
Review section: Touchstone no. 165 June 2010 A Druid's herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine - Ellen Evert Hopman Destiny Books ISBN 9781594772306 Ellen is a Druid Priestess, founding member of the Order of the White Oak and a master herbalist, and sheÂ has put her tree-knowledge between covers to produce a very satisfying book. The cover is a swirling melange of Native American symbols on a figure who looks Irish, but far from Druidic. Don't be fooled; this is grass roots Druidry including a wealth of practical suggestions for strengthening your connection to the natural world.
Being wary of 'fusion' spiritual approaches, I read with trepidation that, alongside the Druidic content would be referenced practice from the Native American tradition. I need not have worried. Those references relate to the uses of specific trees for specific purposes; and, referenced to the individual tribes, they are fascinating. And, knowing a bit more about the Mohegans from last month's article by Ken and Kath, it was a joy to read about them here.
Part one covers each tree in the traditional Tree Ogham - folk lore, herbal applications and spiritual lore; a thorough and useful guide to be recommended as additional study. Part two deals with the Druidic Arts - magic, tools, celebrating fire festivals and divinatory meanings. It's all good stuff, but the reader might find the most useful section 'The art of the forest Druids', with practical advice for spiritual engagement with trees, and suggestions for making relationship with aspects of the landscape, based on the author's own years of practice. Using the gifts of the tree people goes far beyond a quick 'please' and 'thank you' when we harvest their bounty: there is a profound relationship of gift-giving and reciprocity between the Druid and the natural world, and, along with its practical wisdom, this book will really help the serious student to develop that relationship. Recommended.