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An in-depth look at the history, herbal uses, and spiritual aspects of the sacred trees in the ancient Celtic Ogham Tree Alphabet • Details the 20 trees of the ogham alphabet and their therapeutic and magical virtues • Examines the Forest Druid practices associated with each tree as well as the traditional uses in Native American medicine • Describes the Celtic Fire Festiv An in-depth look at the history, herbal uses, and spiritual aspects of the sacred trees in the ancient Celtic Ogham Tree Alphabet • Details the 20 trees of the ogham alphabet and their therapeutic and magical virtues • Examines the Forest Druid practices associated with each tree as well as the traditional uses in Native American medicine • Describes the Celtic Fire Festivals and how each tree is featured in these holy days • By the author of A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year 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.


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An in-depth look at the history, herbal uses, and spiritual aspects of the sacred trees in the ancient Celtic Ogham Tree Alphabet • Details the 20 trees of the ogham alphabet and their therapeutic and magical virtues • Examines the Forest Druid practices associated with each tree as well as the traditional uses in Native American medicine • Describes the Celtic Fire Festiv An in-depth look at the history, herbal uses, and spiritual aspects of the sacred trees in the ancient Celtic Ogham Tree Alphabet • Details the 20 trees of the ogham alphabet and their therapeutic and magical virtues • Examines the Forest Druid practices associated with each tree as well as the traditional uses in Native American medicine • Describes the Celtic Fire Festivals and how each tree is featured in these holy days • By the author of A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year 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.

30 review for A Druid's Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Danni

    Hopman's books are exactly the kind of magical reference books every Druid or Witch needs on their bookshelf. The information is concise, clear, but most of all magical. Every page provides insight to the magical practitioner in both practice and lore/background. I have an immense Ovate crush on her! A Druid's Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine by Ellen Evert Hopman continue's her fantastic work with a brilliant focus on the trees of the Ogham. I've read a handful of books that deal with Ogham and w Hopman's books are exactly the kind of magical reference books every Druid or Witch needs on their bookshelf. The information is concise, clear, but most of all magical. Every page provides insight to the magical practitioner in both practice and lore/background. I have an immense Ovate crush on her! A Druid's Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine by Ellen Evert Hopman continue's her fantastic work with a brilliant focus on the trees of the Ogham. I've read a handful of books that deal with Ogham and working with healing and/or magical trees. Hopman's book on these trees stands out because of the research and practical solutions offered. Each tree has its own section which begins with the Ogham symbol, its English common name, and the Gaelic word for the Ogham. Readers will enjoy reading about the history and lore of each tree. There was a surprising amount about how the trees were used in the ancient laws, too. The Herbal Use part gives information about healing properties based on Celtic herbalism. It also includes information about how the different First Nations in the United States have traditionally used the plant. There is so much to work with in this part! Warnings about different reactions and harm for each plant is clearly made to the reader, but the suggestions are easy to keep within the realm of safety. Finally, each tree receives a part dedicated to the spiritual aspect. All the information seems well researched and practical. This is impressive considering how easy and engaging it was while I was reading. The second half of the book dives into the magical uses of the trees and tools of a Druidic path. I learned a great deal in this section and had some other personal experiences confirmed. The only downside was the time spent on the seasonal festivals. I feel like this is covered in so many other titles (including some of Hopman's) that it was unnecessary for this book. The final chapters on divination and the summary for each Ogham, made up for any redundancy found on the wheel of the year chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to any magical practitioner. This would be an excellent companion during a Druid's Ovate studies!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Brink

    Book Review – A Druid’s Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine by Ellen Evert Hopman, Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 2008. I came to read A Druid’s Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine after having read and reviewed three of Hopman’s other impressive books: A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year; The Sacred Herbs of Samhain and her soon to be released book The Sacred Herbs of Spring. In Sacred Tree Medicine Hopman has revealed her knowledge of the ancient Ogham Tree Alphabet, and the Ogham words used to de Book Review – A Druid’s Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine by Ellen Evert Hopman, Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 2008. I came to read A Druid’s Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine after having read and reviewed three of Hopman’s other impressive books: A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year; The Sacred Herbs of Samhain and her soon to be released book The Sacred Herbs of Spring. In Sacred Tree Medicine Hopman has revealed her knowledge of the ancient Ogham Tree Alphabet, and the Ogham words used to describe these twenty trees along with her knowledge of Gaelic. She is an amazing linguist in her ability to call upon three ancient Ogham documents to describe these trees: The Word Ogham of Morainn mic Moin; The Word Ogham of Mic ind Oic, and the Briatharogam Con Culainn. These three sources converge on meaningful descriptions of the trees and the losa fedo or brush in the woods. Hopman’s Ogham description of each tree or bush provides a description of some central and important Celtic belief or way of life, e.g. the Hazelnut describes the nature of the classes of people from peasant to king, the Heather the importance of the bee and honey to the Druids, and the Aspen the rituals surrounding death and burial. The Ivy describes the ways of farming, and the Blackthorn the use of dyes and dying agents. The descriptions of these twenty trees have opened me to a new and deeper understanding of the life of the ancient Celts of Ireland and the importance of these trees in their lives. In each tree chapter the description of the tree is followed by the tree’s herbal uses and its many diverse uses found among indigenous American people. This again shows the incredible depth of Hopman’s knowledge of these sacred herbal trees. The third section of each chapter examines the spiritual aspects of the tree. This spiritual section is of special interest and importance to me in my practice of ecstatic trance for calling upon the tree or herb as a spirit guide. Through ecstatic trance I have met and communed with many animal spirit guides, but more recently plants have become my guides as they were for our hunting-gathering ancestors. The shamanic body postures as researched by Felicitas Goodman are used while in an ecstatic trance for healing, divination, metamorphosis or shape shifting, for journeying into each of the three worlds, the underworld, the middle world and the upper world, and for providing initiatory or death-rebirth experience. To commune with the plant world I like to begin with a divination posture to become acquainted with the plant, then with a healing posture, specifically the Chiltan Spirits Posture with my right hand over my heart, to fall in love with the plant. My third meeting with the plant uses a metamorphosis or shape-shifting posture to become one with the plant as in marriage, and fourth, an initiation or death-rebirth posture for letting my relationship with the plant change my life. Hopman’s description of the spiritual aspects of the trees has provided me with deeper and more beautiful connections in my relationship with each tree. Our acre garden has been void of Oaks, so I am planting an Oak grove that is providing me with a special sacred space to commune with the Oak, though they are still small, and I will never see them in their maturity. The Oak, one of the twenty trees, is the “noble of the wood.” As the tallest of trees it lives in the three worlds with its deep roots in the world of the ancestors, the trunk in our middle world and branches in the sky world of the deities. It offers much to life with its healing properties, its uses for living by providing heat from its fire, wood for the structures in which we live, and for many other items necessary for living such as bows, boats and their oars. Its acorns provide flour for baking and food for animals. The ancient laws defined the punishments for harming an Oak, e.g. the fine for stripping the bark for tanning a pair of woman’s sandals was one cow hide and an oxhide for a pair of men’s sandals. With such laws and fines, harvesting Oak for its many purposes must have been quite restricted and involve Oak grove rituals that validate its sacredness. These trees were sacred to a lengthy list of deities including Indra, Jupiter, Yahweh, Thor, Baldr, Artemis, and Brigid. One word for oak, dorw, became our word “door,” i.e. the tree that is inhabited by a spirit who opens the door to the otherworld. Sacred Tree Medicine ends by offering divination exercises using the tree Oghams that tell us how to open ourselves to and learn from the trees that come to us in these exercises, a beautiful section of the book that I find most meaningful and exciting for my spiritual growth. The divinatory message from each tree offers us new and meaningful insights that affirm its sacredness and brings it alive within us. The Oak reminds us to stay centered and balanced with our roots grounded and our head in the spiritual sky. The Oak opens us to regain that balance which we might have forgotten or from which we have become distracted. Of the twenty trees I will review one more, the Heather, since I have been a bee keeper. Opening a hive with thousands of bees flying around me and not stinging is a very spiritual experience. Heather is one of the losa fedo, or bush of the wood that grows on scrub land or in waste places, land that is a wonderful habitat for bees, bees that bring sweetness to our lives through their hard work. Archeological discoveries from two to five thousand years ago provide evidence of brewing. I have frequently brewed mead, a wine made with honey. Heather was used for thatching, baskets, ropes and brooms. Medicinally it is an astringent and antiseptic. Its tea cleans the liver and blood of toxins, and it is used for coughs, colds, cystitis and other bladder and kidney conditions. Spiritually, bees were sacred to the Forest Druids. The Welsh saying is so true: “The day the bees stop humming the world will end.” They symbolize the work of the Druid as teacher, healer, philosopher, and naturalist, i.e. work guided by the sun for bringing nectar back to the tribe and the wisdom shared for the benefit of all. Heather brings good fortune. The Divinatory lesson that Heather brings us reminds us that our Great Earth Mother brings us sweetness, the sweetness and joy of the spirits that we have likely forgotten and need to again embrace. Each of the twenty trees has a beautiful message that we need to embrace and keep alive within us. In Part 2 of the book the nature of the druid magic and the tools used by the druids to bring alive this magic are described. This magic is used during the four Celtic fire festivals, Beltaine, Lughnasad, Samhain, and Imbolc. The rituals call upon the deities and spirits of these celebrations, whether for the beginning of new life at the end of winter, growth in the middle of summer, the completion of our work that ends with the fall harvest, or the middle of winter for the rest we need to prepare us for the work of the following spring. The rituals of these celebrations are described in a delightful way. Central to these celebrations and festivity are the twenty sacred trees and what each has to offer us, celebration that involves feasting with many foods and special recipes that I look forward to preparing. Also central to these celebrations is the involvement of children who learn the importance of these turning points in the yearly cycle of life as taught to us by the Yew Tree if we would again practice the rituals of our Celtic past, rituals that would be as much fun and more meaningful than their current secularization with Halloween and Mayday. Listening to our ancestors and the spirits of the Earth is taught to us by the Aspen. Returning to these ways of our past is needed to again selflessly value our Great Earth Mother, selflessness taught to us by the Elder in order to save her from the destruction caused by our greed. Though to do this we need the strength to face this spiritual battle by embracing the Holly and again appreciate what our Earth has to offer us by listening to the teachings of the Ivy. Each book I have read by Ellen Evert Hopman opens new doors, and even though I have read and loved many of the ancient myths, the Tain, the Mabinogion, Cuchulain of Muirthemne, among others, she brings these stories alive in an interconnected and meaningful way that I find most beautiful. They are not just myths but are about a way of life. Because of her writing I am eager to delve more deeply into the ways of the Celts and Druids.

  3. 5 out of 5

    James

    Parts of this book are a great reference for those interested in the history of the Ogham alphabet, Druidic divination, and even traditional Irish recipes appropriate for different festivals. However, parts seem to have been lifted wholesale from traditions, particularly Indigenous North American ones, which are definitively not Druidic or Celtic. Also, the book will be minimally useful to those who do not live in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Not a book for Floridians, Austra Parts of this book are a great reference for those interested in the history of the Ogham alphabet, Druidic divination, and even traditional Irish recipes appropriate for different festivals. However, parts seem to have been lifted wholesale from traditions, particularly Indigenous North American ones, which are definitively not Druidic or Celtic. Also, the book will be minimally useful to those who do not live in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Not a book for Floridians, Australians, etc.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    This was a strange read, in need of an editor. The information about the trees was interesting, but most of the herbal associations were appropriated from North American indigenous sources. It didn't feel much like a "Druid's Herbal" in the sense that a) most of it was not Celtic, and b) there isn't enough information given to actually make the remedies. I felt like information about (some, but not all) of the holidays on the wheel of the year was tacked on to fill out what otherwise would have This was a strange read, in need of an editor. The information about the trees was interesting, but most of the herbal associations were appropriated from North American indigenous sources. It didn't feel much like a "Druid's Herbal" in the sense that a) most of it was not Celtic, and b) there isn't enough information given to actually make the remedies. I felt like information about (some, but not all) of the holidays on the wheel of the year was tacked on to fill out what otherwise would have been a very short book. It seems like there should be tree associations/usages for each of the sabbats.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erika

    There is a wealth of information in this book, mainly on oghams. An excellent and informative read but captivating if you're looking for knowledge. There is a wealth of information in this book, mainly on oghams. An excellent and informative read but captivating if you're looking for knowledge.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sylvr

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wyldviolet

  8. 5 out of 5

    Greg Schori

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie Schmidt

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kizzi

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

  12. 4 out of 5

    Krystine

  13. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

  14. 4 out of 5

    Listening Owl

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Godwin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennye

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amizt

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michele Dumpleton

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Loomer Virgin

  22. 5 out of 5

    Drucilla Pettibone

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cheralyn Darcey

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bosn Whitewolf

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christina Brown

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Elliott

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meeghan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Hopman

  29. 4 out of 5

    Doreen Shababy

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dani Catherine

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