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The Sacred Herbs of Yule and Christmas

Remedies, Recipes, Magic, and Brews for the Winter Season

Foreword by Lucya Starza
Published by Destiny Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

An around-the-world tour of ancient Christmas celebrations, Pagan Solstice customs, and magical seasonal plants

• Explores in depth the medicinal and magical properties of the many herbs, barks, and berries associated with the Christmas and Yuletide season

• Looks at the origins of the Christmas tree and Santa Claus, as well as female gift bringers, holiday Spirits, and Yuletide animals

• Shares crafts such as how to make a Yule Log, practices such as Winter Solstice divinations, and recipes for traditional foods and drinks

For millennia cultures have taken time out to honor the darkest days of the year with lights, foods, and festivities.

In ancient Egypt, people decorated their homes with greenery at the festival of the rebirth of the God Horus. The ancient Romans shared gifts, especially candles, at the midwinter festival of Saturnalia. In Scandinavian and Germanic cultures, the Yule Log was burned in the hearth, fruit orchards were wassailed, and sheaves of wheat were displayed to carry luck into the New Year. In Celtic cultures, mummers and guisers went door to door, and European mistletoe (Viscum album) was gathered by Druids as a medicinal and magical aid.

Ellen Evert Hopman shares folklore, recipes, rituals, and crafts to enliven your Yuletide observance. She explores the origins of the Christmas tree and Santa Claus as well as holiday Spirits and Yuletide animals. She explains how to perform Winter Solstice divinations and make traditional foods and drinks such as Elizabethan gingerbread cookies and Wassail. And she looks in depth at the medicinal and magical properties of the many herbs, barks, and berries associated with the Christmas and Yuletide season such as Frankincense and Myrrh, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Hibiscus, Bayberry, and many more. This guide offers practical and magical ways to celebrate and honor the darkest days of the year.

About The Author

Ellen Evert Hopman has been a teacher of herbalism since 1983 and is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. A member of the Grey Council of Mages and Sages and a former professor at the Grey School of Wizardry, she has presented at schools and workshops across the United States and Europe. A Druidic initiate since 1984, she is the current Archdruid of Tribe of the Oak (Tuatha na Dara), an international Druid Order, a founding member of The Order of the White Oak (Ord Na Darach Gile), a Bard of the Gorsedd of Caer Abiri, and a Druidess of the Druid Clan of Dana. A former vice president of The Henge of Keltria, she is the author of The Sacred Herbs of Spring; The Sacred Herbs of Samhain; Secret Medicines from Your Garden; The Real Witches of New England; Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore; A Druid's Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine; A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year; Walking the World in Wonder – a Children’s Herbal; Being a Pagan; Tree Medicine, Tree Magic; and the Druid trilogy of novels: Priestess of the Forest, The Druid Isle and Priestess of the Fire Temple. She lives in Massachusetts.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Destiny Books (September 12, 2023)
  • Length: 344 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781644117811

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Raves and Reviews

“This is so much more than an herbal book. Ellen has covered origins and meanings for this most wonderful time of year as well as including practical workings. Packed full with fascinating myth busters and a festive hamper brimming over with magical and medicinal herbs found and used at Yule. A comprehensive guide to working magic and connecting with the energy of the season. Highly recommended.”

– Rachel Patterson, author of A Witch for Every Season

“Amid the swirl of seasonal tastes, smells, and colors, Ellen Evert Hopman sprinkles elves and international lore in abundance. This is a delightful culinary and medicinal reference with Pagan sensibilities. Hopman’s culinary recipes call for unusual herbs blended with humor and cautions in equal measure. My personal favorite is Fallen Oak Leaf Broth. What a treat!”

– Lyrion ApTower, author of Musings & Miscellany

“Winter Solstice, Yule, the longest night, shortest day; it has for centuries been held by many as a central sacred point in time. Within it is the shared experience of coming together to share in the warmth of family and community, all yearning for the return of the light. Ellen’s book The Sacred Herbs of Yule and Christmas is stuffed full with bits of seasonal wisdom. It is a delightful gift to take with you into the dark and cold, to help warm the heart with stories and traditions, garnishing the anticipation and participation in the joy of the holiday.”

– Laura Wildman, author of What’s Your Wicca IQ?

“A mystical journey through a magical time of year, delving into traditions of old and magical rituals and rites to enrich the wonders of the winter season. The Sacred Herbs of Yule and Christmas is a highly recommended book that adds an extra sprinkling of magic and a depth of meaning to any Yuletide celebration, gathering, or personal observance.”

– Roxie J. Zwicker, author of Haunted Portsmouth and Maine Book of the Dead

“With beautiful illustrations and many recipes, The Sacred Herbs of Yule and Christmas is packed full of historical information about the origins of these traditions. It would be a fun project to work through this book, especially with children, being at the same time educational without the boredom or misery often associated with learning.”

– Luke Eastwood, author of The Druid’s Primer and coauthor of Kerry Folk Tales

“This is a very interesting book, and Ellen Evert Hopman sure knows her stuff. I recommend The Sacred Herbs of Yule and Christmas to anyone interested in the Yuletide traditions. I have a number of her books and am looking to add this one to my collection.”

– T. Sibley, Ph.D., traditional Norse practitioner and author of The Way of the Wise

“A well-developed, comprehensive, and logical presentation on the subject of herbs and seasonal celebrations for Yule and Christmas. The information is accessible for a beginner and insightful for the advanced practitioner. A well-illustrated book that can be used for both instructional and referential purposes.”

– Amoric, Third-Degree Alexandrian High Priest with more than 30 years of activity in the craft commun

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