All posts by Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things.

Book Review:

Melusine Draco

Seeking The Primal Goddess by Melusine Draco

Another fabulous offering from Pagan Portals. These shorter books are full to bursting with information and knowledge, but something light and easily read over a weekend. Within the seventy nine pages are five chapters and the afterthought. Each of the chapters which cover a wide variety of subjects such as spiritual bloodlines, hearth fire, going beyond the veil and the Owd Lass and Lad, have a “Hearth Fire Exercise”. These contain something for you to experience on a more personal level. It could be research or an actual journey, like the one I made to a healing well. Melusine guides us on a journey to follow in the footsteps of our ancestors, through the ancient world into the beliefs of Old Europe and the many Goddess figures that litter the past. How they are shaped, renamed, and blended over time. Sometimes this is…

View original post 196 more words

Book Review – A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year

Book Review – A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year by Ellen Evert Hopman, Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 1995.

https://www.amazon.com/Druids-Herbal-Sacred-Earth-Year/dp/0892815019/ref=sr_1_1?s=books

I came to review Hopman’s book because of my reading and review of her most recent book, The Sacred Herbs of Samhain: Plants to Contact the Spirits of the Dead and of the manuscript of her yet to be published book, The Sacred Herbs of Spring.  Though this book is 25 years old, what Hopman offers is timeless.  It is a wonderful introduction to the ancient Druid rituals that are still and even more meaningful in this 21st century.

The Druids were the healers and shape-shifters of the Celtic era, the poet-priests and priestesses who could prophesize the future. With their study of divination, magic, astrology, nature, and herbal medicine, their poetry and songs of incantation could raise the winds and fog and could dry up lakes.  The Bards, the story-tellers for the long winters and for such ceremonies as wakes, weddings and baby blessings, had the ability to listen to the voices from the otherworld and provide guidance, instruction, and knowledge, often providing it for the Celtic kings and chieftains.  The Ovates, the keepers of prophesy, were the executioners of prisoners and the criminal outcasts.  The Celts believed in reincarnation and were polytheistic with each deity holding special functions.  Their three tiered world was the water world of the ancestors, the land of the earthy beings and the sky world of the deities.  The months of their calendar and the letters of their alphabet were given the names of trees.

The Druidic herbal medicines were prepared as they are today as teas, salves, tinctures, poultices and syrups, as well as homeopathic dilutions.  The magical uses of the herbs were administered while in a hypnotic state of consciousness and through spells, a state of consciousness that I attain through ecstatic trance.  The herbs for each of the eight spokes of the cycle of the year is the valuable core of the book, each herb presented in a clear succinct manner including its preparations, and its medicinal, homeopathic, and magical uses.  Mistletoe is important for three of the eight spokes of the wheel of the year, the winter solstice or Mean Geimhridh, the summer solstice or Mean Samhraidh, and Lugnasad that falls halfway between the summer solstice and the fall equinox.  Growing up in California where Mistletoe is very prevalent, I often collected it during the summer for our celebration of Christmas.  I now wonder about mistletoe’s role for the Celts with it growing in the warmer latitudes of California and not in New York or Pennsylvania where I have lived for the last 40 years. Hopman though reports that at least one species grows in northern Europe.  Mistletoe’s great sacredness to the Druids may be due to its greater rarity in these cooler climates. Its twigs and leaves are used for strengthening the working of magic, and for their importance in healing, protection and for producing beautiful dreams.  This parasite is one of the 14 herbs sacred to the druids, possibly the most important next to the oak upon which it often grows.  Research has shown that it stimulates the immune system, inhibits some tumors by activating the killer cells, and it is used to temper epilepsy.

From my love for and writings about the Icelandic Edda, I am familiar with the dart of mistletoe that was used to kill Baldr, the gentle and beloved son of Odin.  There was nothing else that would harm him, a promise made to his mother by every other substance.  Then, at the time of Ragnarok, the final battle with the demise of the gods of war, the gentle Baldr is reborn to lead us into a gentle New Age, a hopeful prophesy.

The herbal alchemy of the Druids defines a relationship between the Earth’s herbal forces and those of the celestial spheres, a system that classifies each herb by its planetary affiliations to the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter or Saturn.  For example, Mars is affiliated with the thorny and prickly plants with a strong acid taste, plants that help with motor nerve, muscle, and left brain problems.  These plants include nettles, hops, garlic and onion.  The sun’s herbs are orange, reddish orange to yellow and are nourished in the warmth of the sun, herbs such as butterbur, borage, motherwort and grapes which are used to help with problems of the heart, circulation, and the spine.

The rituals and celebrations of the Druids take place in the groves of sacred trees such as oak, rowan and hawthorn, rituals that involve repeatedly walking sunwise around the sacred hills, springs, stones, trees and fires, acts that reflect the desire to live in harmony with the cosmos.  Every tree, spring, well, rock, valley, mountain and body of water has its own animating spirits that reveal its sacred relationship with all other flora, fauna and minerals.  At these sacred places poetry, legends and song find their fullest expression.  At these places sacrificial gifts are offered to the deities and fairies to gain their support in providing for a fruitful life.  The twenty-one described herbs used for consecration and purification include Agelica, Asafetida, Basil, Cedar, Juniper, Mistletoe, Sage, and Valerian. Many of the described herbs are also used in funeral rituals and rites and for the journey into the Otherworld, herbs such as Elder and Hawthorn.  For marriage under the Oak the many herbs used include Anise, Apple and Maple.  For bringing peace and prosperity to the home the herbs used include Bay Laurel, Mandrake, and Plantain; and for the rites of passage from birth, for infant naming, and for puberty the herbs used include Ash, Birch, Holly and Rosemary.

These hypnotic and magical rituals beautifully bring alive our need for a harmonious relationship with the Earth and the Cosmos. These rituals are more relevant today than ever because of our separation from our one and only Earth that has occurred over that last several centuries because of our greed, separation that has led to our current battle for survival because of the climate crisis.  I still maintain that there is hope, hope for us to enter the beautiful New Age if we again reconnect with the sacred Earth and the Cosmos, a connection that was very much alive for our ancient hunting and gathering ancestors from the era of the Celts and Druids.

Nicholas E. Brink, PhD

Author of

  • Ecstatic Soul Retrieval (publisher – Inner Traditions / Bear & Co.)
  • Power of Ecstatic Trance
  • Baldr’s Magic
  • Beowulf’s Ecstatic Trance Magic
  • Trance Journeys of the Hunter-Gatherers
  • Grendel and His Mother (publisher – Routledge)

 

Find the book in the usual places or order a signed copy from the author at www.elleneverthopman.com

 

 

 

Calendars with Melusine Draco

Calendars mark the passage of time … and have done since ancient times. 

All my life, I have been a celebrant of Halloween. For me, it is the most important day of the year, the turning point in the old pagan calendar.

John Burnside

 

Calendars are an important element of our daily lives and they govern the way we conduct our daily, weekly, monthly, yearly routine.  In the earliest times, human beings calculated time by observing the periods of light and darkness that alternated continuously. The solar day is considered the earliest form of the calendar. The second basic type of calendar was the arbitrary calendar, which was created by counting the number of days over and over again, either towards infinity or in a cycle. Nonetheless, there were several problems with the arbitrary calendar. Firstly, farmers of early civilizations could not calculate the perfect time to plant their crops. Crop planting is an activity that is closely linked to the seasons, and the arbitrary calendar was not based on the durations of seasons. Therefore, humans began to observe the sun’s passage through a fixed point, and this practice was the precursor of the solar calendar. Calendars that were based on lunar and stellar cycles were also used in the ancient times.

 

A mesolithic arrangement of twelve pits and an arc found in Warren Field, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, dated to roughly 10,000 years ago, has been described as a lunar calendar and was dubbed the ‘world’s oldest known calendar’ in 2013.  While Adam’s Calendar in Mpumalanga, South Africa it is a standing stone circle about 30 meters in diameter, which various astronomical alignments identified at the site suggest it is possibly the only example of a completely functional, mostly intact megalithic stone calendar in the world

 

The Mayans, known for being one of the most technologically advanced civilizations of their time, inhabited the regions of Central America and southern Mexico. Their most notable achievement was their intricate system of time, which consisted of three calendars. These calendars were known as the Long Year, the Solar Year, and the Tzolk’in. The Long Year calendar was used to measure long periods of time and is responsible for the 2012 predictions. The Solar Year is the calendar that most closely resembles our Gregorian calendar; The Tzolk’in calendar consisted of only 260 days and was used mostly for religious purposes. These calendars came under great scrutiny in 2012 due in part to the media portrayal of an ‘apocalyptic’ prediction. However, after 2012 came and went without incident, historians began looking for the true meaning of why the Mayan calendar system ended on that date.

 

India has used the Hindu calendar to measure time since their ancient days. Over the years, the calendar has been edited and changed as the regional face of India has changed. There are several variations of the Hindu calendar in use today, specific to the various regions of the country. Each version of the calendar has small characteristics that differ them, however, one thing is the same for all of them: the names of the twelve months. The calendar is made up of both solar and lunisolar calendars, and also centers on astronomy and religion. The early Hindu calendar was born from the astronomical philosophies developed in the late BC time. Lunar months are the basis of the calendar and are determined around the phases of the moon. The calendar marks important religious festival and worship days. While there are many different variations of the Hindu calendar, there is a standard version of the calendar that serves as the national calendar of India.

 

The Roman Book of Days by Paulina Erina

The Roman religion and civil calendar that spread across the Empire was closely aligned to the farming year in central Italy. It comprised of festivals for sacrifice and festivals for games, although the routine sacrifices to the many civil gods were left in the hands of the State priesthood. The more humble cults flourished on the streets and in the countryside, at home private worship continued well after the Roman conversion to Christianity because the ancient gods were so firmly entrenched in pagan hearts.

 

REVIEW: “A lot of people be they neo-pagans or amateur scholars or authors trying to research have the same problem: It’s very hard to get good, concise information on the Roman Calendar. Even otherwise good books and websites only list the major festivals, and mention briefly that some days were dies comitialis, others dies fasti, and so forth and so on. Obviously this is of little help, say, want to know if the hero of your novel could press a lawsuit on the 20th of August, or what festivals are held on the 9th of June. This book is the answer to that problem. It lists every day of the year, and what happens on that day; festivals, lucky and unlucky days, and the character of the day (fasti, nefasti, etc). If you want to know what happens on 20th of August just look up that day, and you’ll see that it’s a Dies Comitialis where citizen committees can vote on criminal and political matters. It’s very useful and a great relief for someone who’s been tearing their hair out looking for this information. I wasn’t sure if it should get four or five stars, since it is fairly short and only gives an abbreviated explanation of each feast day. However I’ve decided on five stars since the information you find here is virtually impossible to find anywhere else, and believe me I’ve looked. More to the point once you have the name of a festival, or the type of day, it’s very easy to find any additional information on the internet. Thus five stars, and a book that’s very highly recommended!” Norse Victorian- Amazon

ISBN: 9781786971517

Type: Paperback

Pages: 144

Published: 14 July 2016

Price: £6.99

Order from https://www.feedaread.com/books/The-Roman-Book-of-Days-9781786971517.aspx

 

Old Year, Old Calendar, Old Ways compiled by Melusine Draco

Most of today’s pagans religiously follow the phases of the moon, and the various witches’ almanacs gear their celebrations and/or observances in line with the dates of the Gregorian calendar in order to synchronise their monthly observances. If we follow our pagan year merely for celebration and observance it makes little difference when we hold our feast days and festivals but if our magical operations need to connect with the Old Ways of our Ancestors then we need to align with the old calendars that were brought to these islands by the Romans, the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons. These formal calendars are the nearest guide we have to help us in understanding the customs and beliefs of our indigenous ancestors. The Roman legionnaires garrisoned in Britain came from all over the Europe and they would have brought their religions and beliefs with them from the far flung corners of the Empire; as would the incoming Celts, Danes and Anglo-Saxons whose influence would have eventually been grafted onto older, indigenous stock especially when similar celebrations fell around the solstices and equinoxes.

 

REVIEW: “Great book! Love the fair days and events in England that still hold with old tradition and the ideas for honouring days. Definitely a book to have on the shelf and look at every couple of days.” Sarah Beth Watkins, historical author and publisher at Chronos Books

ISBN: 9781788762052

Type: Paperback

Pages: 210

Published: 25 January 2018

Price: £7.99

Order from https://www.feedaread.com/books/Old-Year-Old-Calendar-Old-Ways-9781788762052.aspx

 

 

The Calendar of Ancient Egypt compiled by Melusine Draco

This revised ‘Book of Days’ has been compiled from Temple Festival Calendars of Ancient Egypt by Sherif el-Sabban; the Greek and Demotic Magical Papyri lodged in the British Museum; the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris; the Staatliche Museum in Berlin; the Rijksmuseum in Leiden; the Sallier Papyrus IV and The Cairo Calendars currently lodged in the British and Cairo Museums. The latter shows that although the document itself was made during the time of Rameses II, it was a ‘reprint’ of much earlier material For the ancient Egyptians every day was considered to have some magical significance, which caused it to be good, bad, or partly good and partly bad and this calendar was compiled for purposes of religious observance. By consulting the lists of lucky and unlucky days, each individual could protect himself and his family against the danger of the day.

 

REVIEW: “I am teaching a course on ancient Egypt, so I was able to use this every class day to read the prognostication for the day and tell my students how they should behave. It makes things more fun.” LARA1407 (Amazon)

ISBN: 9781788765831

Type: Paperback

Pages: 202

Published: 5 November 2018

Price: £7.99

Order from https://www.feedaread.com/books/The-Calendar-of-Ancient-Egypt-9781788765831.aspx

 

The Kindle e-book version of these calendars are available on special order offer UK£0.99/US$0.99 : The Calendar of Ancient Egypt 7-14th February: The Roman Book of Days and Old Year, Old Calendar, Old Ways 7-14th March 2020

How to Save the Planet

Luke Eastwood’s How to Save the Planet offers the reader ten realistic and effective things they can do to help avoid deepening the climate crisis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“If you’re feeling weary and overwhelmed and are not coping with the emotional impact of the climate emergency, this book may also be for you.” Read the whole review on Druid Life: https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2019/11/10/how-to-save-the-planet-a-review/ ‎

“Let me start by saying that this kind of primer is absolutely essential. ” Read the whole review on Pagan Pages https://paganpages.org/emagazine/2020/01/01/book-review-how-to-save-the-planet-10-simple-steps-that-can-change-the-world-by-luke-eastwood/

In this guest blog, Luke talks about his aims for the book https://wrycrow.com/2020/01/15/guest-post-reaching-out-to-the-wider-world-how-to-save-the-planet/

Here Luke talks about his own experiences of trying to be green – https://blakeandwight.com/2020/01/14/a-guest-post-by-luke-eastwood-how-we-can-really-make-a-difference-to-the-world/

And this one about the reality of living in something that looks like the plot to a sci-fi novel! https://markhayesblog.com/2020/01/13/how-to-save-the-planet-guest-blog-by-luke-eastwood/

You can buy a copy of How to save the Planet from many online retailers, here’s the amazon.com link – https://www.amazon.com/How-Save-Planet-simple-change-ebook/dp/B07X437H1X

 

Friday 13th 2019

Bardic inspiration…

Rosher.Net

After the storm, when everything’s battered:

Bleeding, twisted, broken and shattered.

The only next step is to pick ones self up;

Make a space, build a fire, help a friend, share a cup.

Tomorrow will come, and the Sun will still rise

To shine light on the aftermath – hope never dies.

Be not overwhelmed nor your efforts decrease,

But keep hope in your heart, work for good, call for peace.


/|

View original post

The Giants of Avalon

Wheel of the Year Blog

We were brought from the lands of hot winds and burning, shifting sands. We were giants, once, and foolishly believed that the human Brute King and his iron clad army were no threat to us. But giants are not as cunning as mankind. We had size and strength on our side but that was all. The men had numbers, malice, trickery and a phrase: “The bigger they come, the harder they fall.”

We fell hard that day. The Brute King fought and won the final battle between mankind and the giants in the most despicable way. As the crimson sun set on the battlefield, he put my brothers and sisters to the sword, staining the sand in their hot red blood. He told us we were the lucky ones. He told us he was saving us, but really the Brute King wanted us as living monuments of his victory to…

View original post 2,348 more words

The Autumn Equinox

Inspiration for seasonal Pagan writing…

Wheel of the Year Blog

Okay, so with only a week until Alban Elfed I have left this a bit late, I know. I apologise for that! However, if you are planning to write a festival tale for this particular festival, it’s time to get planning (and writing!)

In some senses, the Autumn Equinox is the most difficult festival to write for. There is a dearth of specific stories or mythology which you can straightforwardly retell, so it is going to require you to think outside of the box somewhat. However, that isn’t a bad thing because this means it is your chance to get really creative. You have a chance here to strike out and write a piece which is truly unique to you and your understanding of the season, so relish that rather than being afraid of it!

In terms of where to begin, you could start looking for a story or myth…

View original post 743 more words