Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Of Old and New

The bright sun coming in now, after Solstice, makes me want to change lots of things. I've purged my dresser and a few key places in my home just getting rid of old and making room for new - or better yet just leaving it open and clear. As you can see, my blog was in the line of fire! I'm playing with the new layout and background.... I like it today but we'll see if it lasts. 

One thing new in my life is the Anima Medicine Woman Tradition Herbal Path - my lovely long time- long distance friend and fellow herbalist Kiva Rose from the Anima Sanctuary has been offering her correspondence courses at a growing rate. I didn't take it before because I was busy doing Susun Weed's Green Witch Course, which I finished this past Fall. 

I suppose you might think that was enough, right. Well, it could have been.... but I need some deeper transformation in order to realize the truth of who I am. I had a feeling this would be the route for me - fitting both my philosophy as well as my logistical circumstances. The course doesn't separate the cerebral process and the personal process, which is vital for the becoming of an Herbalist in whatever style expressed. 

So far, I am on lesson 2, and it's nothing short of rockin' my world. What I didn't expect is how rough my emotional waters are, and how much I have just, well, ignored - parts of myself that need tending. I'm on the journey now, to find out who I am, really, under the assumptions and stuff and looks and titles. It's a very mysterious feeling so far... not knowing exactly how to do it or what to be open to noticing. I do know, however, that I can't expect anyone else to brave their inner wilderness if I don't know it myself.

I've got some water, a knife, and a backpack....

I'm goin' in..............

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Snippets of Yule

As a bonafide bah humbug, it is useful for me to consciously focus on the parts of Yule that bring me very special moments and memories, and that align with my core values. Here are a few of them......

Lighting my son's hand made tallow candle. In his Pioneers course, they rendered some beautiful deer tallow from a deer that the instructor had taken in as a mercy killing after it had been brutally hit by a car.

A green Yule...... I decided against wrapping paper this year. Everything we wrapped was in re-used stuff: Paper bags, last year's stuff, and extra packaging material from shipped boxes. The coolest ones were the bubble wrap (which my nine year old loves to pop) and the no-longer-needed blueprint paper. The Trader Joe's bags are pretty groovy too.

The amount of herbal gifts I give has drastically reduced from a large basket of maybe 20 goods in it per person or couple, to just one or two. Since working at Great Hollow I just don't have the time to keep up on home made herbal products or inventory for that matter. But I did manage to make a coupe really nice things..... a lovely sacred solstice smudge blend, containing red cedar needles I harvested, rose petals from an organic bouquet my hubby gave me, copal, myrrh, frankincense, lavender, and white sage. mmmmmmm. and the little finishing touch is the shell to scoop it out with.

A delicious and supremely soothing staple is a good quality comfrey salve. This one I kicked up a notch for gift giving - ok fine, for my own guilty pleasure! I put in a little cocoa absolute and clementine co2 and it smells out of this world delicious! The wrap on the left is a wash cloth I crocheted out of some really buttery wool blend yarn, and tied up in it is some good soap.

Now what did I get for Yule? Well, I got a few really special things, but topping the list is a generous antidote to my above stated dilemma...... HERBS! Yes, my Mama herbalist came through with flying colors and granted me a beautiful basket of organic and locally harvested bulk herbs, labeled "to my Medicine Woman Daughter" - almost needed the tissues for that one! Oats, Nettle, Red Raspberry leaf, Peppermint, Sassafras, and Astragalus. Perfect.

Recovery will be a breeze.............
I can sit back for a little while and sip my infusion amidst the boxes, new books and calendars, and watch the juncos collect seeds,
...and the Pileated Woodpeckers as they spiral up the hemlocks in a glorious and rhythmic tandem dance. Happy inbetween days everyone........

Friday, December 19, 2008

Keying Conifers

Learning how to use a key is fun. Last week the kids in my herb class and I did this. First we learned by making a key from our selves, by dividing into two main groups to begin with. The idea is that you start with the most general, and work your way to most specific, splitting the options in to two each time (dichotomous key). First we split into boys/girls. From there we split each group up even further, until finally we could define each individual by their most absolute feature. Then we used the framework to classify two more people (the teachers of course!)

From there, we took on the world of evergreens. We put our order of questioning to work, tracking the least to most subtle details of each bough. Conifers are incredibly fascinating! And the perfect type of plant to learn to use a key from. They also make good material for a starter talk on the evolution of plant life. And it's always interesting to teach kids about 'naked seeds'.

After noting all the defining features of our green trees, we used the information to finally ID each species. We had a wonderful round table debate on the 'Blue Spruce', commonly known but not listed in my books. With a little help from our lead instructor and the Internet, we found it to be synonymous with the Colorado spruce - of which we did not have a bough.

The kids successfully ID'd at least the genus of each evergreen, in some cases they got all the way to species. Woohoo! Ok, I know the poster looks simple.... but the observational skills that get exercised in the process is a lot more noisy and fun and complicated!

The middle one is supposed to follow through to list the Norway Spruce, one of my personal favorites - the way the boughs drape along it's sides like gypsy sleeves. If you get a good blister of sap it makes wonderful salve or wound dressing. They seem to line the highways of Western Connecticut in an elegant way that buffers the otherwise preppy atmosphere.

Hopefully the kids will be examining their Yuletide tree up close this year!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I LOVE this guy! (Green Dean!)

Mr. Dean has some of THE best plant tutorials I have seen. He is clear, concise, thorough, and really lovely to listen to. His I.T.E.M. acronym is a great teaching and learning aid as well. 

Have Fun!

and more formally:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Before consumtion

Comes understanding. The more I learn about plants, the more I realize I don't know. The world of plants and their intricacies is so vast and layered. Understanding plants on a simple and spiritual level is deeply satisfying, but in order to pass on the knowledge to the next generation I am finding that concrete understanding is most essential.

Take for instance, the simple twig. Or an herbaceous plant. Or second year growth.

As an herbalist these words get taken for granted; tossed around in the books with the assumption that us lay herbalists actually know what they mean. I know they assume because they aren't explained in the glossary or given any special attention. It wasn't until recently that I finally read how to identify the "second year growth" of Mullein. The first year is the basal rosette and the second year is when it sends up the stalk. (hmm, what happens in the third year?) With the rise of global warming, we are paying attention. I for one thought that the tree was confused... with her little buds already on the twig tips in December. Upon more studies.... I now understand these buds as the terminal buds, which hold the genetic information for spring's renewal and supply food for wildlife in the winter. An herbaceous plant actually has a useful definition.... it's not just a random term for low growing nifty plants that aren't trees.

"The inner bark was used to treat stomach disorders"

This is a common type of explanation we might find in an enthobotanical text or a modern herbal. For historical purposes this is very nice to know.

But I am left hanging by a thread. HOW on Earth do I get the inner bark? WHEN do I harvest it? Do I just take my pocket knife and start hacking away? WHAT part of the tree to I take from- the trunk? The twigs? How do I peel back the outer bark? What preparation do I make and what is the safety level? Not to mention that we don't even know what kind of stomach disorder we are dealing with. So many herbals are just infuriatingly uninstructional. They are theoretical.
I realize that the flip side of this can be books and studies that are entirely too dense and overwhelming to feel grounded.

I need to know more. I need to know more variety and how all this harvesting will impact my environment if I teach others to harvest it too. What if we all go harvest the Nettles? The birch bark for fires? The cattail for food and tinder?

The more I study, the more questions I have. And I am not sure I know where to go to get untangled. I'm certainly not going to "Herbal School". I have a family and a job. And I am very bad at following rules and orderly instructions.

I suppose the best thing to do is continue to apply myself to the experience of nature, take extremely good notes, (my latest obsession being leaf rubbings) and follow up with some of the actually good books. I'm finding the herbals less and less appealing, and the nature education books increasingly satisfying. Since I avoid buying herbs and prefer harvesting them myself, identification is essential. Which means botanical detail is essential too... and I'm on my own for learning it.

In case you are another baffled herbalist.... here are my latest favorite books you might find refreshing:

Hands on Nature by Lingelbach and Parcell / Vermont Institute of Nature Studies

Keepers of Life by Joseph Bruchac

The Tree Identification Book by George W.D. Symonds

Mountain Medicine by Tommie Bass

Although not released yet, I have high hopes for Kiva Rose's Medicine Woman Herbal :)
(no pressure!)

And, while not technically a book, the indispensable

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Life with Plants

Working near full time at the Wilderness school affords some interesting changes. I don't see plants as useful to just me anymore, and not just useful for food and medicine. They seem so much more broad. They span the Earth cycles they are inseparable from, and the generations they weave in and out of. The wintergreen above, we harvested a small amount of to oil and make into salve for the Friday class. It grows intertwined with the Mitchella, on a small cliff overlooking a woodland river. It's mossy and beautiful. Beyond it's fame as a medicinal herb, I now see everything around it: the plants in grows with, the south facing lilt of rock it chooses, high up near water and in a mixed wood forest. I imagine the intricacy of the soil at its roots. 

At the water's edge grow two trees I hadn't yet had the pleasure of meeting up close. The profusely papery river birch makes not only a striking visual display, but superb fire tinder. My son collected a nice big bag along side his cattails, to bring to his Pioneers day on Thursdays.
This beautiful starfish leaf is that of the Liquidambar, or Sweet Gum. I can't help but hear the old song I learned as a young child about the Kookaburra, who lives in the old gum tree. (Merry merry king of the woods is he :)
There is plenty of writing on how the sweet gum sap is used. But little on how the leaf is used. As a home herbalist, I can't imagine going through the long laborious process of reducing the pitch, but I sure would like to know how I can make good use of the intensely fragrant leaves. The smell is rich and sharp, like camphor and peaches, or mint and incense. Peculiar and wonderful. A smell that makes me think of good uses, like healing skin infections or as a scalp tonic.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


(sassafras syrup)

Autumn in New England is undeniably bittersweet. It's the in your face demonstration of transformation. And we all know that when we watch something dramatic or intimate occurring, we can't help but experience it ourselves. The leaves fall again, as they do every year, yet somehow it never feels less. Considering how intrinsic a part of Nature we are, it isn't surprising that we feel the pull, like a seasonal gravity. 

In fact, I'd go as far as to say fall in New England is a cult. People come back here after living afar, just for the fall. People scurry like frantic squirrels, hoarding apples, pumpkins, mums, and corn decorations. Leaf piles are as much of a requirement as a holiday. The crisp air with warm afternoons lend itself perfectly to the trend of quintessential sweaters, which you can watch like a catwalk show if you get to a farm market on a Sunday morning. 
Folks discuss their fall plans, their food menus, their busy work schedules, and their travel experiences. It's weird how many people have travelled so much nowadays. The juxtaposition of old town folks and new corporate families has created a language divide, making directions confusing and history thwarted. Everything has two names.... the "Berry Farm" is now Settlers Park, and so on. Locals have taken stock in our place so much as to create a Southburyopoly game. Good for them.

Of course, it isn't too long before they are hook line and sinker in love with the land. The sweet Earth smells, the apple pies, the old world farms and the new world extreme affluence. It's tempting and romantic. And hard. And no one is as hooked on the virtue of hard work as Connecticut and New York. I'm not sure it's gotten us anywhere closer to ourselves, but gosh darnet it's gotten us closer to being worthy. (yes that was sarcasm)
The corn maize is another great tradition. If you've ever gotten lost in a corn field, you know what a crazy thing it is. Obviously there is no path like the mazes created for us - they are just miles of bewildering unison. The only way to get out is to hope you are paying attention to the sun, and it's not night time. Each time I enter one of these mazes I have mixed emotions. They are so beautiful, with their golden tassels and claw footed roots, and finding your way through is really fun. But I also think of my dear childhood friend back in Iowa (the King state of corn fields) who's older brother, bless his heart, had taken some kind of drugs, wandered off into a corn field, and got lost. He was missing for several heart wrenching weeks. Finally his body was discovered by the farmer, while reaping his crop. It was the saddest thing I'd seen yet, at the tender age of 14. His mom was the apple queen of the town, and perhaps her days spent peeling apples on the back porch became her closest ally. For me, the fall means deadline. Get the warm clothes set up, the wood stacked, the chairs and cushions in, and hope you got all the herbs you needed. Dig up the roots before the soil is too hard, and think ahead. It means 'get ready'. For cold, snow, holidays, and mostly anything that feels like hardship - or really is. So far we've replaced an entire door system and our well pump which broke. I'm stamping 'done' on my quota sheet. 

Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for hard work. But I'm also for reward. I'm all for sleeping late on Sunday morning, stopping for the last of the organic dark plums, giving handmade earrings just because, and looking others in the eyes for the simple love of exchange. I'm all for adoring the gnarled hands of elders, and stopping to investigate a tree. In New England, rewards come cheap - because they are often store bought with the approval of a brand name tag. But the dying breed of us who like to spend the time to hand make one special thing, have a sweetness beyond trend.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Coyote Mentoring

I simply cannot wait for this book to be released...

It's been fun to watch the vidoes leading up to the release!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Flower Faery from the forest edge

Sweet Everlasting. The sweetest little plant indeed... a new one to my repertoire, at least from meeting in person. I thought she was a faery in the woods, dancing along the sides of the path, like a translucent little pixie tugging at my skirt. Skipping along with a twinkle, she tugs each time I pass, hurriedly, as I host others along the trail to and fro. But the moment I was alone, she batted her eyelashes so big I had to stop. Hmmm, I think, looks a little like a tiny boneset, or a small kind of closed up aster.... or....
lots of little ideas passed through my mind. but of course she just kept telling me she was a faery! As if the little curly green shoes were right there in plain sight. The pearlescent, straw-like flower capsules reflect light like an abalone shell. Her diminutive leaves lilt along the stem with nothing more to do than catch dewdrops. Her slightly furry lining draws me in closer, and I draw my cupped hands up the length of her, from earth to flower. I stick my nose into the center of my invisible harvest, only to be struck by the most incredible syrupy smell of a good tangy pina colada. ! It can't be so, I think, it's too tricky! Only something a leprechaun could devise. So I breath in again... and sure enough it's as though I popped a tropical starburst into my mouth. Mmmmm tea, please! I'm coming back for this faery flower with my best tea mug for sure.
And so I sit, on the coyote's midnight path, to watch the glimmer of this pretty little trail batiste.
Perhaps, next time I flip through my books, I'll catch a bit of history, uses or lore.... but no need to rush. I quite like the mystery.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blogger award nomination

Thanks, Livia - for the kind nomination! I'm not exactly sure how it works; who originated it and how they track the nominees or evaluate the winner.... but hey I'll play anyway for vanity's sake.

Who would I nominate? I'll have to go simply with the ones I really read often, as opposed to an objective analysis. If you frequent my blog, these won't come as any surprise.

1) Of course, she's probably already nominated, but the lovely Kiva Rose writes deliciously and informatively.

2) Desert Medicine Woman who I also adore and always look forward to what she has to share.

3) Julia Butterfly Hill - she doesn't write very often, but each piece is succulent, moving, and important.

4) Kitchen Witch - love her un-separateness of plant spirit medicine and tangible earthy wisdom.

5) The Blessed Thistle - just the perfect balance of happy herbal info and political kvetching.

6)United Plant Savers - just as the name describes, this is where you get the info about endangered species and what is being done to caretake them. Important stuff and everyone should be a member :) Perhaps it's not technically a blog, but it has a feed.

7) Red Tent Temple TN - This one fills my heart with joy; to watch the Red Tents across our Earth rise up and evolve brings me a sense of hope and peace for our women, culture, and planet. The author Yarrow has been a special little spark in my life. I love the writing and resources on this blog.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Come and gone: the reverberations of another WHC

The Women's Herbal Conference of 2008 has come and gone. The bliss of the weekend fills one up full of wonder, hope and strength. Herbal knowledge flows and community thrives. Under the guise of learning herbal healing, what really happens here often has little to do with the collecting of facts - that's just the lacy edge. What really happens is that the soul begins to sew together the torn seams of spirit, of joy, sisterhood and self identity. Missing threads re-appear, often in the most unsuspecting moments. They jump out from women you are destined to meet, a song that unlocks the tears you forgot to cry, or in the moment you loose yourself to the rhythm of the dragonflies. Sometimes it pounds you back to your center when the drums begin to thunder, or unearths while walking blindfolded, hand in hand through the forest; a scale of a snake made of thirty wild women; and the world's constriction dissolves.
Half Moon lake holds the prayers of the women, girls and children who attend each year. The plants grow wild and unencumbered here. The wild blueberries ripe and sweet, the elder drips with copious amounts of fruit, the goldenrod scents the air with honey, and skullcap sneaks into the moist and shady pockets.
And yet the return to life brings the deepest sorrow imaginable. Despite the comparatively 'fine' life I have, fine seems unacceptable. Fine seems more like doom. Filled with bills and deadlines and obligations and 'shoulds', injected with laws and societal expectations, and self inflicted limitations, I spend this in between day to both grieve and to effort myself back to alleged reality. While home is an essential foundation for me - the deeper sense of home meaning rooted in one's being always and often through connection to land or place - 'home' in the modern sense of house laundry mortgage and work is truly the dessication of my spirit. Perhaps this is what happens when the 'home' you arrange, is not aligned with the inner home that your soul is; not aligned with your purpose, needs, and venues of gifts and expressions. Perhaps it is through this misalignment that we become trapped in a vicious cycle of obligatory gratitude and deep despondency. Life traps life in unforgiving ways. Life allows room for only a couple passions at a time.

This phase now holds lessons and mysteries yet to be revealed. I will teach, learn, organize, and sequence. And like a vulture I'll tout the others who reflect most truthfully what I believe, what I do even when you can't see that I'm doing it, when my hands don't hold clay, when I don't have a stage or platform or mic for y'all to hear me, it's what I do, if nothing but vicariously for now. It's political, it's ferocious, it's excruciatingly odd and beautiful. I'll push and bark the women doing it in visible and sonic forms so that it happens. It's got to continue.

So I'll say that the most powerful experience this weekend indeed had little to do with plants (because we know that plants can be the messengers) but had everything to do with art, sound, expression, authenticity, and powerful craft. I'll do what I can to get it to you, too. Do yourself a big favor and book yourself for a show, book a show at your own conference or gathering, and pick up their cd's ......... Rising Appalachia, Leah and Chloe: sisters of Alchemy:

While being anointed with the astonishing sounds of these Appalachian soul sisters, I grew roots. I may have even gotten drunk on the intoxicating rhythms, caramelized harmonies and side splitting humor. My feet pressed closer to the earth and my wings flew me across each mountain and valley of lyrical habitats and cultural diversity. My breath rounded and my latent artist heart began to beat again. Partaking in their 'singing out your soul' workshop we danced, sculpted layered sounds, learned celebratory songs from around the globe, and opened our creative lungs together. I'll be singing these tunes forever. Leah and Chloe if only you knew the vast ripples your droplets make.

So I leave you with an order and a warning: Don't go without travelling on their song journeys, but beware of their resuscitating power.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Womens Herbal Conference 2008

And...... we're off! Tomorrow is the first of three days at the Women's Herbal Conference. This will be the first time my daughter, 11, will be joining us. The first of many, I hope. These are the moments that nudge me. When a ripple of knowing reveals itself to me, whispering reminders of why I am here, of purpose and trust in the mystery, in the process, and that all this 'following my path' isn't just a made up story.
When we drummed in the ancestors at the Daughters of the Earth Gathering, I expected to meet my long lost fore mothers. I thought they would finally come to me, let me know where I came from, inform me of a great lineage. But no one showed up. I still don't know my lineage, really. At the tail end of ruckus heartbeat drumming with forty other women and a Voodoo Priestess? I realized the one who showed up

was me.

I am the ancestor.

I will be the past someday.

It's me, my Mom, my daughter, and my husband and son, that carry this moment into something special. You too. The future is the same thing as the now.


I'll see you all back here in the now on Monday. Or maybe Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Worthy Absence: Announcement

Hello my friends, family and readers,

My hide away time of no-posts hasn't been out of spite. In fact it is because the cauldron of something new has been brewing. Yes, Hecate has had her hands full with me lately.

I am truly thrilled (the thrill quieting the accompanying fear) to announce to you all my new role as the Homeschool Program Coordinator. And what better way to give everyone a window into this amazing place, than to give it a friendly www portal! (I hear Kiva laughing now, thinking back to when I couldn't come to open a blog at all - now I run three).

So for all of you curious ones, come and check out what I am diving head first into at

Great Hollow Wilderness School

and while you're at it? Wish me LUCK!

If you are local - i hope to see you at the Hollow soon!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Daughters of the Earth


This is an off -grid women's tribal event at Earthlands in Mass. Come prepared to nourish and express your deepest self among amazing sisters on sacred land.

I'll be there! I'll be leading a plant walk at some point during the gathering. There will be much magic to participate in.

For all the info, go HERE

P.S. - If Anyone here (local to me) has a one-woman tent I could borrow PLEASE let me know!! There is no lodging ... it's all camping and, well, I've not camped in years so I have no tent. :)

Green Blessings.....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Demulcent Summer: Mallow

In the hazy, heavy heat of the summer, the Rose of Sharon bursts into ecstatic bloom. Her timing speaks of slippery pleasure and arrival ... the climax of summer's landscape. She retains nothing out of shame or modesty. She pushes into visibility the eye-opening beauty of the feminine divine. Her profuse and large flowers pour over the greenery in tidal waves of pink-cranberry-white-green-pink. Each petal boasts a crisp, cool, slippery texture, resembling the soft supple skin of sacred human kissing spots. Her fleshy presence a dichotomy of uncomfortable summer arousal and cooling satisfaction. The bees are quite literally dizzy with pollen and nectar; the entire tree humming with hundreds of honey bees. In order to reach the sweet nectar they must labor themselves deep into the flower by pushing their hind legs against the sides while burying their heads deep into the middle. Her flowers come in stages, each day opening a new cluster and each evening closing at dusk and dropping finished blooms with a soft thud on the rock path. Her littering of spent petals an offering to her own soil for next years cycle.
It's no mystery why Mother Nature blossoms this beauty right now. The Rose of Sharon is perhaps the largest of the Mallow (Malvaceae) family, providing ample mucilage to us hot humans. The cooling flowers are truly delicious, and a beautiful addition to a wild salad. Crushed, the flowers can quickly soothe an over heated face while gardening, or ease an itching rash or insect bite. A strong infusion (cool water, please!) will coat all of your insides with slippery healing, a perfect remedy for hot digestion, IBS, UTI, ulcers, and hot tempered summer folk. (think: Pitta)
Mallow in tandem with Red Clover would be a most wonderful fertility combination, fortifying the lining of the uterus in preparation for implantation of sperm. Mallow also gives sheen to our skin by increasing suppleness and hydration, and because of it's lovely mild flavor, an easy one to share with children. And exceptional sore throat remedy, combine with some prebrewed Echinacea root infusion and your sore throat will vanish in no time flat.

Rose of Sharon's flowers are the plant part I use, and of other Mallows I believe you can use the leaves as well and of course there is Marsh Mallow root - of which I have not grown or wildcrafted (yet!). I use them (the Rose of Sharon flowers) generously ... as a nutritive plant you really can't use too much unless your natural constitution is already too cold and wet. (think: Kapha) But even those types can stand some Mallow in the heat of the summer.

Hibiscus is a particularly delicious (a fruity-sour taste) and very cooling (some consider it a refrigerant, energetically) Mallow species. The flowers are used in the classic "Red Zinger" tea by Celestial Seasonings, and in many other citrus flavor teas on the market. If you grow your own, you have to bring it inside during the winter months, but she's a patio pleaser in the summer time - that is, if you don't eat all the flowers.

Rose of Sharon's equal directions of upwards and downwards growing patters remind me that her moving energy is mostly neutral, perhaps adaptive; not too stimulating or sedative, but rather "even keel". This is how I feel when I eat and drink of her medicine. And similar to the Rose genus, she feels like a heart soother; emotionally healing and uplifting but without illusion. A gift of Nature indeed.

Speaking of gifts, the Wineberries are ripe and very plump this year, keeping the kids happily picking bowl fulls each day.

And the Wormwood got so tall it began to fall over on itself .... so I harvested plenty and made a long smudge wand for my friend's Lodge.

mmmmm, the smell.
Some wild teas for my women's circle....

My hobby on the side, inspired by my daughter who crochets far better, but less often, than I. These special medicine pouches will probably go to the Red Tent Temple Artisan Fundraiser, coming soon.
Oh yes. And my beloved Catnip, the Don Juan of Cats. I go to him for vibrational healing .... he has the most incredible purr.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Want One!

An herbal medicine cooker?! Does anyone have one of these?

Medicine Woman's Gathering Announcement

Blessings to you, my friend Kiva, and your beautiful family for offering these healing, transformational gatherings!

All nature, herbal and healing oriented women are invited to journey to the amazing Animá Learning Center and Botanical Sanctuary for the 1st Annual
Medicine Woman Gathering
Aug. 1st - 6th, 2008
A full week of reconnection, celebration and Medicine Woman Tradition lessons and practices – with Tradition cofounder and SageWoman columnist Kiva Rose. Explore the essence as well as practicalities of healing, learn how to use the Animá Medicine Wheel as an aid in diagnosis and treatment, identify and help gather Southwestern mountain and desert plants, join in the processes of medicine making, and feast on native foods lovingly prepared. This event and all Animá opportunities by sliding-scale donation.
For more information and to download the registration form, go here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Memory Keeper

I keep the memories in my blood.
I keep the scents of the plants in my skin, never to wash away.

I keep the records in my bones.
The Grandmothers beckon us to speak
The ancient language of Mother Earth
Who lives inside our bodies
And expresses
And change
The landscape teaches us if only we listen and receive
The gifts
The path
The medicine
The Grandmother is shaking her feathers wildly
To us, now, in command. To become and to step up

It is time
To kiss the tears of our men,
To worship the stretch marks of our bellies,
To sing like Frog Woman from the waters deep inside our needs unmet
To announce our right to remain whole
To scream like Hawk Woman in protection of our territory: Earth!
Our water, our air, our soil, our own Earthly bodies, searching
I heed the call of the woman lost
And found
I let in the medicine through my hands on her flora, her stone, her pitch
I let in the medicine through my cheeks on morning dew, my knees in the sentient river, my heart paying vibrant attention
I keep the memories in my blood,
I tell them
To the girls and to the women and to myself
I tell them to the paper and the garden and the unsuspecting neighbor
I ink them into others when I cast my gaze,
A spell of needed change
Bring it on I say. We are ready. We are strong. We are remembering.

Forest Gypsy

The Russian Sage oil came out beautiful. Lightly clouded with resin and deeply warm and fragrant. In she went to the warm pot with sweet beeswax and large semi soft clumps of Red Pine Pitch. It all softened and blended perfuming my kitchen with the smell of honey, sage and forest. When it was all melted, I strained it through cheesecloth to remove bark bits.
It was thick and syrupy. I stirred it every so often, keeping the pitch melted and suspended in the oil and wax. It cooled over a few hours and became opaque and creamy. I poured it into little pots to finish cooling.
The salve remains a softer consistency, more soft than my usual salves, I think I overestimated how much hardness the pitch would contribute, because I eased by about half an ounce on the beeswax. It's more of a firm ointment than a balm or salve. I like it though. I have a feeling this one will get a whole lot of loving use.
And a special thank you to Darcey who enlightened me on melting pitch into salve or oil.