Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Ellen Evert Hopman about Druids and Priestess of the Forest Series


Ellen Evert Hopman is the author of trilogy of Iron Age Druid novels



Ellen Evert Hopman teaches Druids online and is also the author of a number of herbals


Ellen Evert Hopman about Druids and Priestess of the Forest Series


Ellen Evert Hopman lives and works in New England where she teaches a six month Herbal intensive every year near Amherst, Massachusetts, October to April. She also teaches and initiates Druids online and in her area of Western Massachusetts. She is the author of a number of herbals including A Druids Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore, Secret Medicines from Your Garden, Walking the World in Wonder – a Children’s Herbal, and A Druids Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine. She is also the author of a trilogy of Iron Age Druid novels (The Priestess of the Forest series).
Find out more about Ellen and her books
See all her books (and order signed copies) here.
Visit her on Facebook here and here.
and at Llewellyn

Welcome, Ellen Evert Hopman.

Ellen Evert Hopman about Druids and Priestess of the Forest Series

Your real name and pen name?
Ellen Evert Hopman is my real name.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood.
Walking in the woods with my mother we came upon a wild eggplant, growing in a clearing. To me, it appeared huge, shiny purple and very magical. She felt the same. I loved walking with my parents and my brother in natural areas and having picnics outdoors.

About your education?
I had a strange education in that I attended Public secular, Catholic, Protestant, Quaker, Communist inspired and Military schools as my family moved from country to country. I was a State Department brat. I think attending all those schools taught me that there are many different ways to think about the world and to worship. It fostered a tolerance in me for different faiths.
Ellen Evert Hopman about Druids and Priestess of the Forest Series



What career did you plan during your education days?
Initially, I thought I would be an artist. I have a degree in Art Education. Then I majored in Drama and Dance, then Art History. I finished with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling.

What languages you can speak and write?
English, Spanish, German, Italian and (very badly) French. I also know enough Latin and Gaelic that with a dictionary in hand I can translate those languages.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
Nature. She is the greatest artist of all.

What hurts you most in this world?
I hate to see animals that have been abused and are suffering. I am also very hurt by all the war refugees currently living in camps with very little hope. It is upsetting to me that my own country is doing so little to help the millions who are living in tents and camps. I’d rather see my tax dollars go to that than to constantly building more battleships, bombers, and nuclear weapons.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
One in three American women has been abused. I got out of a very abusive marriage and had to re-create my life. That’s when I gave up the house in the suburbs, the dishwasher, the middle-class existence, and moved to the country. I have been living in the woods, writing and teaching ever since.

Ellen Evert Hopman about Druids and Priestess of the Forest Series

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
I’d like to live as a Druidess in ancient times, just to understand who the Druids were and what they actually knew.

What is your favorite genre and why?
That depends on what I am working on at any given time. When I am writing an herbal I bury myself in plant books. When I am writing a Druidic novel I focus on Celtic history. At this time, I am thinking about possibly tackling a memoir so I am reading memoirs.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
I wrote my first book while I was in grad school. I was looking for a book on how to use trees for food and medicine. I couldn’t find one so I made a giant leap of illogic and decided I needed to write the book myself. That was in the mid-1980’s. The purpose of my books is usually to answer a question that I am holding in my head. I assume that if I find the work interesting, others will too. So far it’s worked out!

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
Every book I have ever written has gotten published, so far. Here is a brief accounting of the current tally;
Fiction
My first novel was Priestess of the Forest: A Druid Journey (Llewellyn, February 2008), combining a fictional romance with practical Druid rites and rituals. The sequel is called The Druid Isle (Llewellyn, April 2010). The third book in the series is Priestess of the Fire Temple: A Druid’s Tale (Llewellyn, March 2012). The books take place in late Iron Age Ireland and Scotland and explore the conflict between the Druids and the incoming Christian missionaries.
Non-Fiction
A Legacy of Druids-Conversations with Druid leaders from Britain, USA and Canada (Moon Books, April 2016), Secret Medicines from Your Garden (Healing Arts Press, March 2016)The Secret Medicines Of Your Kitchen ( mPowr Ltd., London, October 2012), Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore (Pendraig Publishing, June, 2011), A Druid's Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine (Inner Traditions - Bear and Company, June 2008), Being a Pagan: Druids, Wiccans, and Witches Today (Destiny Books, 2001), Walking the World in Wonder - A Children's Herbal (Healing Arts Press, 2000), A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year (Destiny Books, 1994),  People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out (Inner Traditions, 1995, currently out of print) and Tree Medicine-Tree Magic (Phoenix Publishing, Inc., 1992, currently out of print).
I have also released video tapes and DVDs on the subjects covered in my books through Sawmill River Productions. See clips from the videos here;
Ellen Evert Hopman about Druids and Priestess of the Forest Series
Gifts I  http://vimeo.com/8428993

What are your forthcoming writings?
At the moment, I am contemplating a memoir. I have already tried writing a few pages and found that it is an exhausting process because you have to relive your life and all its traumas. I am wondering if I have the fortitude to finish such a book.

What genres you write in and why?
I have written in just about every genre. The only one I haven’t tackled yet is a memoir. I was waiting for my “old age” to write such a book. Now I think it could be done at any age.

What keeps you motivating towards writing?
I can’t do it. If I am not writing a book it feels like I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing on this planet. I seem to have a mission to learn (or remember) the old ways of doing things and to keep passing those along for future generations.

If writing a book is taken as a project, what are the key essentials you take care of in Project Management?
Time, time and more time. It’s all about finding the time. I have worked part time at jobs all my life, just so I would have the energy to keep writing and teaching. That has meant a life of near poverty, but a very rich life all the same. It’s also about discipline. You have to be willing to sit in a chair, all by yourself, for hours on end.

What are your future plans?
At the moment, I am in conversations with a script writer, an actress, and a film editor about making my Druidic trilogy into a film. At some point, we will need to do some massive fund raising, so that will be a project unto itself.

What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or e-book? And why?
Definitely paper. I dislike all the time I am forced to sit in front of a computer and I don’t even own an e-reader. Remember that books don’t have to be made from trees; they could be made from hemp, old rags, and many other materials.

How much real life goes into fiction writing?
A good deal of real life finds its way into fiction. Characters are made of pieces of different individuals the author has known and situations are often based on real life experiences. Those details are what bring the characters and stories to life.

Is a high level of imagination important to have for an author?
For fiction, yes. For non-fiction what is more important is a strong desire to find the truth and the willingness to spend years getting all the information together.

Your dream destination on Earth?
I desperately want to get back to Ireland, to spend time with Druids there and to hear their stories. I want to visit more holy wells and ancient sites. That’s how my Celtic novels get born. I’d also like to visit the rain forest in Costa Rica, to view the plants.

Favorite time of the day?
Dusk, because that when the birds flock to the trees to settle down and the owls and deer, moose and coyotes become active. That’s when you can see and hear the animals. And the sunlight is often purple, gold or orange which bathes the world in a kind of mystery.

Your zodiac/ sun sign?
Leo.

Your favorite color and why?
For a long time, I thought it was green but then I noticed that all my new clothes are shades of turquoise and blue. I think I am trying to calm myself and be more wedded to the Spiritual realms.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?
I just finished “Lit” by Mary Karr. I am now reading “The World’s Best Memoir Writing” by Eve Claxton.

Your favorite book and why?
Goodness. That is difficult to answer. Two books I constantly turn to are “Pagan Celtic Britain” by Anne Ross and “Native American Medicinal Plants” by Daniel Moerman. They have both helped me in my teaching and writing.

Your favorite movie and why?
I love the Harry Potter series. They seem to validate all the years I have been teaching Druid students.

Your favorite celebrity and why?

John Lennon, because he tried to teach peace to the world.

Your favorite food?
Gluten free chocolate cake.

Your favorite sports?
I have no interest in competitive sports. I do love to dance and swim.

What is the force that drives you?
As I mentioned above I seem to have a vocation to celebrate the ways of the ancestors and keep them alive for future generations. I have done that in all my books, both fiction, and non-fiction.

What comes to your mind when you think of India?


For me, India is the Eastern edge of the vast Indo-European span of languages and cultures. The ancient Celtic religion had the same roots as Hinduism and the Celtic religion was the Western branch of the same tradition. Both are descended from Vedic cultures and spirituality.

What three words come to your mind for each – Technology, Life, God,
Humanity, Terrorism, Racism, Childhood Abuse, Love, Parenting, Old age
.
Technology: a mixed blessing
Life: short but hopeful
God: has many guises
Humanity: the best and the worst
Terrorism: sad and unnecessary
Racism: cause of suffering for many
Childhood abuse: way too common
Love: found in all creation
Parenting: kids and animals
Old Age: surprisingly productive and creative

First thing you do in the morning after waking up?
Hug the cats.

The last thing to do before sleep?
Feed the cats.

If one fine morning you wake up and find your sex changed to the opposite, what will be your first reaction?
I’d say “Now my life will be easier”. In most cultures men have privileges they aren’t even aware of.

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
“Every tree is a church for a Druid.”

The last line of your autobiography would be…
“To be continued.”

The title of your autobiography would be…
“One Life Explored”
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