Tuesday 7 November 2023

Authors On Their Own Writing: Ellen Evert Hopman

I've interviewed Druid, herbalist and writer Ellen Evert Hopman about which of her own books she most liked and why, continuing my mini interview series with authors. 

Q: Of the books you’ve written, which is your favourite?

A: That’s like asking someone which of their children is their favorite… My favorite is always the latest book I have written. That’s because it reflects who I am at the moment. My newest book is The Sacred Herbs of Yule and Christmas – Remedies, Recipes, Magic and Brews for the Winter Season. You yourself wrote the foreword, thank you! It’s a lovely introduction to the book! [Thank you! LS] This is the third volume in what has become a series. The other two books are The Sacred Herbs of Spring – Magical Healing and Edible Plants to Celebrate Beltaine and The Sacred Herbs of Samhain – Plants to Contact the Spirits of the Dead.

Q: What’s it about?

A: The new book covers the ancient history of Yule, which is descended from the Scandinavian festival of “Jul”, and the origins of “Christmas”; the “Christ Mass”, which was grafted on to the stories of the winter birth of the Roman God Mithras and the Egyptian God Horus. I cover esoteric aspects of the holy day such as the Spirits that are roaming around, female gift bringers and Christmas Witches, and the magical properties of the herbs we associate with the season such as Pine, Rosemary, Holly, Ivy, Bay Laurel, Boxwood, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Bayberry, Mistletoe, etc. I provide the magical and medicinal properties of each plant, along with traditional recipes and drinks that incorporate each plant and spice.

Q: Why is it your favourite?

A: I like the book because it has many dessert recipes and main meal menus that are appropriate for the Yule festival, as well as a multitude of drink recipes. I list the magical properties of every ingredient so a meal or a brew can become a “potion” that you share with your Coven, Grove, or your family. I like to imagine people using the brews in the ritual cup at their Solstice rite.

Q: Tell me a bit more about yourself and any other books you’ve written.

A: I have quite a few books in print – I think sixteen at last count. I have two children’s books; Once Around the Sun – Stories, Crafts and Recipes to Celebrate the Sacred Earth Year, and Walking the World in Wonder – a Children’s Herbal. I wrote a trilogy of Druid novels that contain rituals and prayers and the Druid path as I understand it; Priestess of the Forest, “The Druid Isle and Priestess of the Fire Temple. The books take place in 2nd to 5th century Ireland and Scotland, with accurate Iron Age herbal formulas. I have a number of Druid books out such as A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, A Druid’s Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine, A Legacy of Druids – Conversations with Druid Leaders of Britain, the USA and Canada (foreword by Philip Carr Gomm), and next May another Druid book is coming out called Celtic Druidry – Rituals, Techniques and Magical Practices. There are more books – you can see them all at www.elleneverthopman.com . I have been a Druid since 1984 and I founded or co-founded three Druid Orders. I recently stepped down as Archdruid of Tribe of the Oak (www.tribeoftheoak.org) and happily handed it over to a new Archdruid. I am an American and I live in an oak forest in western Massachusetts.

The Sacred Herbs of Yule and Christmas can be found here: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Sacred-Herbs-of-Yule-and-Christmas/Ellen-Evert-Hopman/9781644117804 

You can also view The Sacred Herbs of Yule on Amazon. (Note: I earn commission from advertisers for some links. This helps support my blog at no extra cost to those who read my posts.)

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