Hopman, Ellen Evert. A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year. (Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 1995) Bibliography. Indexes. 213 p.
ISBN: 0-89281-501-9

I have to admit that half my original motivation for purchasing this volume was that it was a book on herbalism that WASN'T published by Llewellyn. However, it is an excellent work for the magickal herbalist and/or druidic practitioner.

Hopman has done her archaelogical research as well as researching folklore, magical uses, and medicinal uses, though not all the herbs she cites were actually used by the druidic civilizations.

Two introductory chapters cover basic information about the Druids from history, followed by basic instructions for various types of herbal preparations, information about homeopathy, and the dates of the 8 traditional holidays.

The meat of the work, however, is in the 8 chapters each covering a holiday. After describing the holiday itself, Hopman lists herbs appropriate for the day. For each herb, medical, homeopathic and ritual/magic uses are given. She also gives chapters on herbs for special purposes: consecration and purification of sacred groves and circles, last rites and funerals, handfasting, house blessing, and baby blessings are covered in a similar manner. In a separate chapter, she also covers the herbs that can be documented in Britain during druidic times, giving their probable uses. There is also a chapter with a short outline of herbal alchemy.

One niggling weakness of the book is that while there is an excellent index by herb name, the major entry for the herb is not highlighted in the index entry. The bibliography is useful, as is the pronunciation guide at the back of the book.

Overall, this is an excellent work for those studying magickal herbalism as well as Celtic/Druidic practice.


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