Ellen Evert Hopman’s book, Sacred Herbs of Spring is filled with herbal, historical and Celtic traditions celebrating Spring.
The festival of Beltaine, May Day, is a celebration of the return of spring and the promise of summer, a time for love magic and spells for increasing the fertility of the land and the plants that grow upon it. Like Samhain in autumn, Beltaine is also a time when the veil between the physical and spiritual world is at its most transparent and the ancestors and denizens of the Otherworld easily interact with the world of humans.
Presenting a practical guide to the celebration of Beltaine, Ellen Evert Hopman examines the plants, customs, foods, drinks, and rituals of May Day across many cultures. Discussing the gods and goddesses of spring, Hopman details the rituals for honoring them as well as traditional poems, prayers, incantations, folk rhymes, and sayings related to this time of year. She explores well dressing, the custom of honoring the source of sacred water by decorating a well. She also looks at Beltaine’s association with Walpurgisnacht and Hexennacht, which fall the preceding evening.
In the extensive section on the sacred plants of Beltaine, the author explores more than 90 herbs and trees, offering spells, rituals, and recipes alongside their medicinal healing uses. She reveals sacred woods suitable for the Beltaine fires and Beltaine flowers for rituals and spells. She explores herbs for luck, magic, purification, abundance, and love; herbs for protection, such as bindweed, elder, and St. John’s wort; herbs of the Faeries and Elves, such as burdock and dandelion; and herbs for journeying to the Otherworld and contacting the high gods and goddesses. She also details the identification, harvest, and preparation of seasonal edible herbs, greens, mushrooms, and flowers.
Woven throughout with mystical tales of folk, Faery, and sacred herbs, this guide offers each of us practical and magical ways to connect with Nature, the plant kingdom, and the Spirits that surround us in the season of spring.
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