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Book Review: Tree Medicine, Tree Magic by Ellen Evert Hopman

January, 2018

Tree Medicine, Tree Magic”

by Ellen Evert Hopman

Published by Pendraig Publishing Inc.

Published: 2017

Pages: 245

This second edition is updated and revised from the original published in 1992 by Ellen Evert Hopman, a master herbalist, lay homeopath and founding member of The Order of the White Oak. She is currently archdruid of the Tribe of the Oak, a teaching grove for Druids. She holds an M.Ed. in mental health counseling.

For each of the 19 trees, she includes an illustration; describes their physical characteristics; gives their practical, herbal and magical uses; and provides Druid insights and recipes. Information for each tree takes up about 10 pages; quotes and poems about trees are sprinkled throughout.

Some of the common trees of North America and Europe that get a chapter in the book are ash, apple, birch, elm, holly, maple, oak, pine, poplar and willow.

Hopman treats each sacred tree reverently, sharing its powerful magic and how its legends are woven into various cultures. The traditions she shares are those of “our ancestors, the celebrants of the trees.”

 

 

At the beginning of the book, she explains the many forms which use flowers, leaves, bark, roots and seeds to treat conditions. She tells you what parts of the tree to use, and how to collect and use them. The back of the book contains such useful information as the Celtic tree alphabet and a tree meditation, along with indexes of herbal uses, magical uses, practical uses and illustrations.

Tree Medicine, Tree Magic” is a useful guidebook to work with trees on multiple levels.

 

Susun Weed, author of the Wise Woman Series, praised it, saying, “Trees are the Ancient Ones. They hold a vast wisdom that can heal all ills of body, mind, and spirit. Open this book and open a door to the details of that wisdom, brought to you by one of my favorite herbal authors, Ellen Evert Hopman. Ellen is actually a tree, ‘disguised’ as a person, so she speaks to us directly from the heart of the Ancient Mysteries. There is something for everyone here, whether you seek food for your psyche or physic for your woes.”

 

 

As I read about tree after tree and learned about the old ways, I was inspired to make more connections with them. I harvested white pine needles to make tea; I became aware that a branch of apple with both flowers and fruits is an indication the otherworld is paying a visit, and will now be on the lookout; and I now know to thank maple trees for being among those most tolerant of people.

I cross-referenced it with the Celtic tree moons – nine of the thirteen are in the book – and will be drawing information from the book when planning rituals.

 

For Amazon Information Click Image

 

Hopman’s other 10 non-fiction books include “A Druid’s for the Sacred Earth Year,” “Walking the World in Wonder: A Children’s ,” “Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore” and “The Secret Medicines of Your Kitchen: A Practical Guide.” She also wrote three novels including “The Druid Isle” and “Priestess of the Fire Temple: A Druid’s Tale.”

Visit Ellen Evert Hopman online at www.elleneverthopman.com.

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About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Notes from the Apothecary

June, 2017

Notes from the Apothecary: Apple
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The apple is a fruit that is either revered or maligned, depending on which tradition or religion you look at. For Christians, it is the forbidden fruit, the ultimate temptation in the Garden of Eden. Strangely, the bible itself never names the type of fruit as an apple, and some studies suggest it may actually have been a fig, a pomegranate or even a grape. Despite this, the image of the apple as a fruit of seduction and forbidden knowledge has persisted into the modern age. For the Celts, however, there was nothing sinful about the apple at all. The fruit was associated with the afterlife, yet also with immortality and health. It was also closely associated with the faerie realm, and those who ate an apple whilst in the world of the good neighbours, would never again be able to return.

The Kitchen Garden

There is so much you can do with apples one hardly knows where to begin. For me, it’s my ‘go to’ fruit for jams and jellies. As well as making a fantastic preserve all by itself, it can be added to other fruits low in pectin (the setting agent for jelly and jam) to ease the preserving process. I’ve mixed apple with blackberry, blackcurrants, rowanberries, elderberries and even citrus fruit, all with good results.

As well as preserves, apples make fantastic crumbles, pies and cakes. One of my favourite apple cake recipes can be found here, and is an absolute doddle to make. I use eating apples rather than cooking apples, but experiment and find out what works for you.

 

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One of my favourite uses of apples is something I’ve not yet experimented with, and that’s the craft of making cider, or cyder. There is a difference, other than archaic spelling! Cyder is traditionally made from apples that have only been pressed once, rather in the same way that extra virgin olive oil is produced. Cider is made from a repressing of the same apple pulp, mixing it with water. This makes a longer and lighter drink. I’ve always fancied making my own apple press, although I have a friend who uses a hand blender on chopped apples, with some fantastic results! There’s a guide to making your own cider press here at Mother Earth News. If anyone does this or has done this please let me know how it turns out!

The Apothecary

Surely everyone has heard the aphorism, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ The original saying stems from 1866 and was originally, ‘Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.’ Pithy though these little rhymes are, the apple certainly has many qualities that recommend it as a health food, if not actually a cure-all.

The pectin mentioned previously is a type of soluble fibre, and we need fibre for a healthy diet. There is some evidence that pectin can also lower blood pressure and glucose levels. Apples also contain nutrients that promote healthy bones and brain, and they also contain vitamin C which boosts the immune system and keeps cells healthy.

So while apples won’t necessarily keep all ills at bay, they will certainly contribute to good all round health.

The Witch’s Kitchen

The apple appears throughout various myths from many different backgrounds. We briefly mentioned the Celtic links between apples and immortality. In Norse legend, the apple was given to the gods to provide them with eternal youth. Apples also appear associated with fertility, including the gift of an apple being given to one praying for a child. Apples are also associated with the goddess Hel, and possibly her realm of the same name, the ninth of the nine worlds on the world tree, Yggdrasil. Hel is a realm of the dead, so here we have apples associated with fertility and birth, long life, and death and the afterlife. They are a fruit of cycles, circles and representative of all aspects of being. They are of this world and of magical realms, and represent the link between this world and others.

The apple is also a symbol of poetic inspiration. A branch of apple can symbolise a Bardic or Ovate path. If seeking inspiration yourself, a leaf or small twig from an apple tree in your sacred place may help, or place an apple leaf under your pillow and see what dreams may come.

There is an old superstition that if you can peel an apple in one go, without removing the knife until the peel has come off all in one piece, then toss it over your shoulder whilst looking in a mirror, it will fall in the shape of the initial of your loved one to be. The root of this is most likely an older association with prophecy and fortune telling.

 

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Apples are strongly associated with magic of all kinds, in fact they are a kind of catalyst. Any spell can be ‘offered’ to an apple tree. Charge items with intent, and hang them from the tree, trusting that the intrinsic magic of the tree will aid your spell. Water the tree, and if your spell is successful, plant an apple pip at some point in the future as thanks.

The apple is a wonderful offering to many gods and goddesses (always research first though!), and also to the good neighbours (fairies), along with butter and milk.

Home and Hearth

Towards the end of summer, or start of winter, make a Wassail Bowl. There is a druidic celebration known as ‘Day of the Apple’ after Samhain, and a Wassail Bowl is one interpretation of the brew that was made at this time to ensure a good apple harvest the following season. You don’t have to wait until Samhain though. As soon as you have good apples, you can roast them, and mix them with ale, cider, honey or sugar (honey is nicer) and spices such as cinnamon or ginger, to make a warming, hearty drink to share with family and friends.

Pass your brew around while you brag and boast; not merely an excuse for showing off, but a serious exercise in sharing your ambitions and achievements with your loved ones and your gods. Any commitments made at this time must be seen through, or a forfeit paid.

I Never Knew…

In Greek mythology, Atalanta, the virgin huntress, was tricked into losing a race by Hippomenes rolling three irresistible golden apples in front of her. She had to marry him, which just shows, keep your mind on the job and your head in the game!

 

(Image credits: Top: Red Delicious, copyright Bangin via Wikimedia; Next, De Klok jam apple and roses, copyright Queeste via Wikimedia; Final, Malus Sylvestris, copyright Per Arvid Åsen via Wikimedia.)

 

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Mabh Savage is a Pagan author and musician, as well as a freelance journalist. She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft. Follow Mabh on Twitter, Facebook and her blog.

The Crafty Writer

November, 2010

crafty-writer

Natures

Nature art is all of those fun and inexpensive art projects that are forgotten in today’s instant society. This is the type of thing that can go from creating artwork to seasonal edibles. The list is endless, yet so many people stay with the lets run down to the store attitude, when nature hands us so much to play with.

potato

Today people run to the craft stores to buy a rubber stamp for all occasions, but what if instead you go to your kitchen. Pull out a potato, cut it in half so you have two pieces and taking a paring knife or any thin bladed knife for fine details and slice out the area you don’t want to print. Brush out a thin layer of paint onto a piece of wax paper or any other container that you may have around. Now you have your rubber stamp and ink pad.

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Action food is another fun craft that entertains and feeds you through nature’s foods is the volcano. Take an apple and core it, removing all the seeds, set it aside and throw the core away. Now open a package of instant oatmeal and squeeze some butter all over it. Once you get a nice gooey mess stuff it inside the apple. Place the stuffed apple onto a microwave safe bowl uncovered into a microwave. Turn it on high and watch through the closed door until the oatmeal mixture will boil out of the top like lava and pour down the sides. Remove the bowl and after a little while as it cools the apple is ready to eat. This works best in a carrousel style microwave.

zen

Zen gardens are an excellent form of meditation and centering of your energies. It is the sandbox of the mind. Start with smoothed sand in any convenient container. A rake or stylus depending on size of the container is then lightly dragged through the sand to create patterns as you empty your mind of thought. The flow of the rake is a reflection of your emptying thoughts. Rocks, pebbles, beads are all items that can be found on the surface to add to the design. These blocks are like roadblocks in your life, if seen and brought into the flowing design of the rake it can slide around them and add to the design instead of break it. It isn’t the design that makes the Zen Garden so beautiful, but the relaxation and flow that comes to you when you empty your mind and let nature enter it.

    • Crafts

  • can bring you back to nature, if you let them. A good craft is one that you enjoy and helps you relax. The world of today is filled with stress and high tech pressures. You may think your texting and video games are relaxing you, although, really all they do is create their own stress of winning or waiting for the response creates its own stress.

    To close your mind to it all and let it empty of everything as you release yourself to natures influence is very rewarding. Do not think the first time you use a release like the Zen Garden it will bring the rewarding total release that you may expect. Like any craft, it is the practice that brings you to higher achievements and rewards. Learn to relax, and enjoy what nature is able to bring you.

    Let’s Spell it Out

    September, 2009

    Balance Through the Sacred Apple

    One of the fruits most associated with the Autumnal Equinox is the apple.  You can use it as an altar decoration or as part of your Sabbat feast.  This versatile yet average-every-day-fruit has some very ancient magickal roots.

    The Apple Tree is associated with the goddess, most specifically Ishtar, Aphrodite (Venus), Hera, Athena, Freya, Cerridwen, Pamona and Idunna.  The Greek Pamona and the Norse Idunna are perhaps the best known for their sacred, magickal apples.  Pamona was considered both a Hamadryad (a wood nymph) as well as a goddess while Idunna was a maiden goddess of the earth.  Pamona as the goddess of the apple tree tended a sacred grove of them while Idunna was in charge of the Golden Apples that maintained the immortality of the Norse pantheon.  Due to its magickal correspondences, the apple is also associated with Venus (Aphrodite) as it is a fruit of the element of water and when sliced cross-wise, it reveals to you the pentagram or the Star of Knowledge, the same shape that the planet Venus makes as it travels through the skies.

    The pentagram that resides within the apple is called the Star of Knowledge is because according to Druidic lore, the apple tree is the keeper of all knowledge, and since ancient times, the apple has been a symbol of love, fertility, magick and wisdom.  These markings also represent the womb of the Mother Earth Goddess, from whom we come from and to whom we must return.

    It is also a Faery Tree, so make sure to plant one in your yard as an invitation to them.  When picking apples for the Autumnal Harvest, make sure to leave a few hanging on the tree to show respect to the Faeries, the spirit of the tree as well as the Mother Earth Goddess.

    THE SPELL

    This is a very simple spell; you only need an apple (Golden is preferred, but not required) and a knife to cut it.  Make sure to wash your apple before using it magickally!

    Either create sacred space or cast a magick circle in the tradition or style of your choice.

    Standing at your altar, hold the apple up to the Gods and say:

    “Fruit of the Faery Tree;

    Symbol of love and fertility,

    Symbol of magick and wisdom,

    Keeper of the sacred pentagram.”

    Cut the apple cross-ways to expose the Star of Knowledge and then say:

    “Fruit of the Tree of the Goddess;

    Pamona, Indunna and Venus,

    Keeper of the apples of gold,

    Containing wisdom ancient and old.”

    Take a bite of the apple slice, making sure to notice its watery goodness and taking in the sustenance.  Say:

    “I take Your wisdom within me,

    Nourish my mind and soul fully.

    Show me the way, guide my path,

    So I may be serious, but also laugh.

    At this time of equal night and day,

    I am balanced in every way.”

    Close your eyes and meditate as to how to be bettered balanced in all aspects of your life. Contemplate as to how to give equal time to the different hats that you wear In both your mundane and spiritual life.  Ask Pamnona, Idunna and Venus to share Their wisdom with you.  When done, say:

    “My thanks to the apple Goddess,

    At this moment, I am blessed.

    For the good of all and harm to none,

    So say I, so shall it be done.”

    Place the remaining apples outside as an offering to the Faeries!

    SOURCE: Autumn Equinox: The Enchantment of Mabon by Ellen Dugan